Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction” as Want to Read:
Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  139 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Desire, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Desire

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Oct 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some problems with this book -- it's repetitious in places and the argument can feel loose -- but the breadth of Cheever's premise overrides these weaknesses for me. Is this a book about sex addiction? Not quite. This is really a book about addiction in general, and it's a broad-ranging discussion. Cheever supports her point that all addictions share neurological similarities, from the little ones we can hide to the big ones that devastate lives. The drive to stir up physiological proc ...more
Dear Susan Cheever:, no. A few uninspired personal anecdotes of marital infidelity/serial monogamy/"open marriage," stirred idly together with some lackluster attempts at reportage, plus a goodly amount of I Tell You Gay Story about Daddy, all mingle together to produce something that's not so much genre-transgressive and innovative as it is...well, it kind of smells like feet.

It's odd because much of her writing in this book is about the excitement of writing; but other than a few los
Overall I thought this was a brave book tackling ideas that our society is not comfortable in confronting (cf. my review of "A Long Goodbye"). Anyone who has felt the slightest attraction to anything "bad" will find much to relate to in Cheever's book. She brings in a lot of great information, studies, theories, explanations, etc., that the reader can mull over.

My only complaint is that I wanted more. This is a slim book at just 148 pages. Reviews and descriptions led me to believe that Cheever
Kate Davis
Not so much a book about desire as a book about sex addiction. And not so much sex addiction, as working through her own life experiences. I'm sure it would be a thrilling read if you're a personal friend of Cheever's; as it is, it's slow, redundant, and overly-personal to be scientific, and under-personal to be a memoir.
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Light on "hard science" and "in-depth interviews," mostly anecdotal evidence of the author's own pathologies. I learned a few things about sex addiction, but mostly I learned that being John Cheever's daughter makes you weird.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a big disappointment. It is filled with Cheever's opinions laced with quotes from sex addict experts and her own experience. There is nothing new or even freshly summarized about sex addiction. It is redundant and pompous.
Oct 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at sex and love addiction. Well researched while also sharing the author's own revelations. Cheever's style is direct and simple which makes all of her work an edifying and enjoyable read.
May 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-for-fun, adult
Kind of like a big magazine article + a smart woman/foolish choices memoir. Two of my favorite things. I read it in about 2 hours. Fascinating and eye opening.
Pris robichaud
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exploring Desire and Addiction, October 5, 2008
Susan Cheever is most often mentioned as the daughter of literary great, John Cheever. However, with this book she has entered a new arena of her own. With this book, Susan has presented us with a novel that explains that sex addiction should be treated not as a failure of morality or character but as a disease of brain biochemistry resulting from a combination of genetics and life events. This is a groundbreaking effort and one that is a great rea
Loriann Oberlin
I read this book since I work with couples and ultimately with various types of addiction in my practice. Overall, Cheever recounts some of what's already been published regarding sexual addiction, and she does delve into addiction in general quite a bit. In fact, I learned a few things about AA and its founder Bill W.

Cheever weaves research with her own personal story, which of course had to take courage. Possibly not new but perhaps the way these were written, I liked the following insights:

I found this book while browsing my library's new books a few weeks ago. I did like the cover, and the synopsis was rather intriguing.

Cheever opens the book by talking about her third wedding. And how they cheated on their then-spouses sleeping with each other when they first met. How they agreed their relationship was open. Not just in the sense that they were married to other people so duh, but their love would survive having to sleep with other people. o_O It took me a while to return to this
Nov 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated the candor with which Cheever shared her own personal history of acting out, and her family's history of addiction. I also appreciated the way that she tried to present all the various lines of study and theories about why people become addicts, and how it can be treated. To a fair degree, Cheever does a solid job of presenting the case of the sex and love addict with compassion and in terms that hopefully would enlighten a non-addict.

However, I would have liked to have heard more
Dec 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cheever delves into addiction research and successfully melds it with her own life story in her new book about desire. She had already done a good bit of research on her book about Bill Wilson, the founder of AA. Here she goes into the issue of "thirteen stepping", the practice of forming sexual relationships with those new to recovery. Apparently Bill went from alcohol to women, and asked for a whiskey numerous times while on his death bed. Interesting! I don't know that I learned anything prof ...more
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps another reason why I haven’t posted is because I haven’t been very inspired by what I’m reading. I just finished Susan Cheever’s Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction, and found it uninspired. The topic is fascinating, but they way in which the book was put together didn’t do much for me. Cheever interweaves her own personal stories with addiction with a deeper look into the many definitions of addiction and how our society views it. She also wrote about the causes of addiction and the treat ...more
Mark Valentine
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cheever's entry point concerns sex addiction but she really writes about addiction in general--addictive behavior and additive substances. I value her honesty, her research, her candidness.

I once played a part in a play in which the character constantly referenced a desire to eat turkey. I saw that character's language as figurative references for sexual contact with his wife (the part was Old Man Parker--the father--in "A Christmas Story"). Having read this now, however, I see my own tendencie
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I got this book from a roommate who was telling me about the sacred ritual aspect of boning and the addiction aspect. I am basically not interested and cannot relate. So, well, if you can relate, this would probably be good. The writer talks a lot about being ashamed to write the book, which is interesting and weird because the whole topic feels very current. I bet this is very helpful for someone if it is relevant, I feel like I am in a foreign land where all of my fears are real. So. There you ...more
Jan 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't have sex addiction but I might have love addiction and she had some of the same questions that I do about it all. She heavily researched the subject and brought up a lot of Helen Fisher's findings about the brain on love being a lot like the brain on drugs. Is your beautiful magical relationship, love or addiction? Her answer was it could be both which I liked. On top of all that, I really liked her writing style that is honest and insightful and it made me want to read all of her books.
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction” leaves more to be desired.

This book is a perfect example of why you should not judge the book by its cover. The cover is fetching (designed by my cousin), the title is even catchier, yet the content falls short of being engaging. This book is filled with anecdotal evidence and personal experiences, which provide no specific insight into the sex addiction. The few interesting points about addiction in general are better suited for a long magazine essay than a m
May 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish the subtitle wasnt about sex addiction. I wonder how many people pass this book by thinking it's about people who want to do it to everything that moves?
This book is not about that -- its about"codependency". It's about people who "need" love, it's about that incredibly vulnerable place inside people that wants to be with another person, and the real struggles involved in getting that right, the misplaced emotions with it all. This was a pretty painful but a truly brave book.
I didn't have time to finish this, as the waiting list is long. I read probably the first half of it, and while interesting, it was not engaging enough for me to finish.
What's most compelling is that Cheever talks about sex addiction and monogamy and is not a faithful person by her own admission.
Dec 27, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Poorly written and organized. Insightful gems include pointing out that one is more likely to be a sex addict if one were raised in a bordello than if one grew up in a small town where sexual promiscuity was frowned upon. Ya think?

You'd think a book about sex addiction would be titillating and exciting. Not in Cheever's hands.
Jun 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

the female version of the patrick carnes version of sex addiction

they recognise the occurance of the trance but don't seem to know what to do with it

very focused on fidelity, not very focused on personal developement
Addiction in General and Sex Addiction in particular are the topics.
Jan 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
not totally coherent (ideas flow sort of inexplicably) but makes excellent points about modern partnerships and desire and addiction
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not so much, so far. Trying to see if she ever learns to apply pp68-70.
Gail M
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
ugh, somewhere between science and non-science, a lot of speculation and, overall, depressing.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting read. More about addiction in general.
Christine Jackson
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-discovery
Insightful, sensitive take on the emotional and psychological causes behind sex addiction and other types of addictions.
Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I'm just jealous.
Jan 10, 2009 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
i known about sex and love
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Deviant's Pocket Guide to the Outlandish Sexual Desires Barely Contained in Your Subconscious
  • The Power of Beauty: Men, Women and Sex Appeal Since Feminism
  • Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between)
  • Generation S.L.U.T.: A Brutal Feel-up Session with Today's Sex-Crazed Adolescent Populace
  • Neü Sex
  • Psychopathia Sexualis: A Medico-Legal Study
  • Pimpology: The 48 Laws of the Game
  • The Pleasure's All Mine:  Memoir of a Professional Submissive
  • SuicideGirls: Beauty Redefined
  • The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, and Why
  • Straight: The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality
  • Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women
  • Not in Front of the Children: "Indencency, " Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth
  • Why Do We Say It?
  • Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads, and Cashing in on Internet Sexploration
  • Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions
  • Women, Sex, and Addiction
  • Know What I Mean? Reflections On Hip Hop