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Intimacy & Desire: Awaken the Passion in Your Relationship
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Intimacy & Desire: Awaken the Passion in Your Relationship

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  337 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Many couples begin marital counseling with Dr. David Schnarch with their sex lives in shambles, wondering what's wrong with them, considering divorce. One partner will complain that the other doesn't desire him, the other complains that she's married to a sex maniac. During his 30 years in practice as a marriage and family therapist, Dr. Schnarch has discovered that sexual ...more
Hardcover, 428 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by Beaufort Books
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Graeme Roberts
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Every adult, straight or gay, should read this book. The subtitle of the edition I read is Awaken the Passion in Your Relationship, by the way, not "Marriage." Important distinction.

The trouble with publicly acknowledging that you have read such books is that it is like announcing that you just finished "Dealing With Your Sexually Transmitted Disease". The truth, however, is that everyone needs help with their relationships from time to time, and that almost none of us is trained to deal with th
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for anyone who is married to read but I need to start this review with a some words of caution: This book was written by a non-LDS sex therapist about long term relationships and contains open and sometimes explicit discussion on sexual behavior. That said, the main focus of this book(Chapters 1-10)is how to grow and blossom a loving, long term relationship-not by loving your partner more or communicating better-but by using what he calls the Four Points of Balance. He discu ...more
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on marriage. Doug and I just returned from an advanced clinical training seminar with Schnarch's wife, Ruth Morehouse. This was requied reading. We both enjoyed it very much. One of Schnarch's best points is that the best in us can admit the worst in us and seeks to grow. The worst in us denies its very existence - and in trying to pretend we have no issues we do great damage. Doug and I often say counseling provides one arena for confession and redemption because we face o ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Stephanie by: Billy Grammer
So unbelievable. Even if you don't struggle with sexual desire, this is an outstanding look at how marriage requires the maturation of self rather than simply seeking to change the things about your partner you don't like. The concepts he discusses in this book even pertain to relationships outside of romantic ones. I don't know if any book I have read has so altered my perspective on relationships. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Asher J.
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found the tone of this book frankly obnoxious. I'm confident Dr. Schnarch would relate this to my level of differentiation--and maybe he'd be right right--but the fact remains, it's hard to stay with it, at times. That's partly about the frequency with which he insists that his clinical intuition trumps research-validated approaches (though, to his credit, he's usually transparent about the fact that he's doing so), and partly about the extent to which this book feels like a very, very extensi ...more
Aug 08, 2011 added it
I outlined this almost 500-page book because my boss wants to teach a 12-week workshop on it. It ended up being quite interesting, as this guy approaches love, lust (and lack thereof) in very evolutionary terms, and talks a lot about neurology, "mind-mapping," and how habits, behaviors and beliefs get formed early on, and hard-wired in our brains. It has a corny title, yes, but I even got a dissertation idea out of this book. I would recommend to anyone interested in psychology, relationships, o ...more
Travis Miller
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a life-changing book that completely altered my perspective with a 'new' view regarding differentiation and balance as one navigates through their committed relationships. Supported by Interpersonal Neuro-biology research, this book observes the normal stages and marriages and tracks down methods to improve the self and relationships with others through validation sources, intimacy, balance, and differentiation.

It is a must read.
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book changed me in some very profound ways.It gave me a better understanding of the purpose of relationships without the sappy platitudes. It connects research with practical usable ways of working with the complexities of long term intimacy and desire in relationships.
Tess Mabon
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 stars is simply not enough.
Insight after insight landed in me while reading this. I would like to attend the couple training that Dr Schnarch and the Crucible Marriage offers. I hope to be able to in a not too distant future.
Jessica Wilcox
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Wonderful information if you can get past some of the crude or graphic portrayals.
Leo Ostapiv
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it
It took me 16 hours to read this book during trip from Kyiv for San Francisco

- Solid and well grounded ideas
- Most of the concepts are illustrated on interviews with real couples
- Explanation of sexual desire problems as part of the marriage life
- Connection between self-development and sex
- Own behavioral wire-frame : Solid Flexible Self(tm)--the ability to be clear about who you are and what you're about, especially when your partner pressures you to adapt and conform. 2. Quiet Mind-Calm
Jan 03, 2016 added it
Shelves: self-help
I didn't expect to like this book but it was recommended by the couple's therapist I've been seeing so I gave it a chance. My relationship wasn't having sexual desire problems explicitly but I still found the tools and stories in the book helpful.

I liked that each chapter focused around a specific couple (and that some of the couples were same sex) I found myself relating to many of the problems the couples had and that helped me figure out which techniques would be useful to me.

The thing I appr
Jun 19, 2012 added it
This didn't hit the mark for me. First, the author has trademarked some of his ideas, which I found a little distasteful and definitely distracting. Second, and most importantly, there seems to be a lot of diagnosis without much practical advice. For instance, the problem may be that you and your partner are in emotional gridlock. Yes, you think, that is us! How do we fix it? Well, the book says, get your Four Points in balance. Umm... Okay... How do I do that? That question is not answered. Jus ...more
Mar 22, 2014 rated it liked it
This book definitely pushed my edge in regards to his level of detail describing sexual intimacy between couples and his occasional crass language in doing so. That being said, I found the book fascinating and several of the couples resonated deeply with the struggles my husband and I are working through in regards to how we sabotage our own relationships and treat each other so unkindly. Definitely worth reading, but I advise doing so with a bit of caution if this is not necessarily the spot yo ...more
Matthew Parks
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gifts
This would be a 5 star book for me if it weren't for the amount of cursing in it, which I don't care for.

This is easily the best book on the marital sexual relationship. It's not so much about hormones and biological drive as it is about our personal development. This is a great guide to sexual harmony in marriage!

I don't agree with some of his premises -- he invokes a lot of darwinism as cause for things -- and while he doesn't come off as much of a religious man, his concepts resonate regardle
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A great follow up to Passionate Marriage. The author seems quite pleased with himself, but his research and methods seem solid.

I particularly like Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's adaptions of his research. She borrows a lot from his findings and even studied with him, but I find her approach more rewarding and practical.
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Unusually frank. I didn't care for the constant references to human evolution (seemed like padding to me). Some of the theories/practices seem a little contrived because of the formulaic way Schnarch repeatedly refers to them, but that doesn't actually lessen their efficacy, it just makes them seem a little trite. Get past these two incidental annoyances, and this book is worth every penny.
May 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teens-and-adults
This is more for couples who have serious sexual problems than for those who just want to spice up their sex life. For a sex book, it was a little on the boring side, and also a bit too clinical for me.
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best relationship book I have read

I was recommended this book to better understand myself in relationships and everyday life. I was blown away, will be coming back and re-reading again down the road.
Donni Hakanson
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A book I pick up, then put away.... not sure why except I HAVE gotten some useful insight and I guess sometime it will fully grab me to complete.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great read demonstrating Schnarch's groundbreaking therapy using real life examples. You will see yourself in the pages of this book.
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010s
amazing amazing amazing
This book completely transformed my relationship to long-term relationships, and will crucially inform my work with couples in therapy. Empowering, insightful, entertaining.
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much from this book about myself and the variety of
issues couples struggle with when emotions are tangled with sexuality. Practical and very real life stories.
Beth Trotter
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for anyone in relationship, or planning on being.
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good theory supporting a positive psychology, behavioral therapy approach; but lacking in direct application on paper.
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A good read. A must for those in a relationship.
Todd Haines
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Happy freaking new year to me. Not really what I expected but useful info. Lots of quotes. Time for a more fun subject for my next book.

Good info though.
Noosh Baggins
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Finished it last night but not ready to write a review yet. I'd like to finish "Passionate Marriage" also by Dr. Schnarch and then I will review both of them at the same time.

Intimacy and Desire
Recommended by, Jennifer Finlayson-Fife
Update: (5/13/20) I finished reading a Passionate Marriage so I’m ready to write my review now.

First of all, If you struggle with low desire READ THIS BOOK. You will be SO glad you did.

My husband and I read this book together. We read and discussed each chapter at l
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David Schnarch is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified sex therapist, and author of numerous books and articles on intimacy, sexuality, and relationships. He is the Director of the Crucible® Institute and his work has attracted clients and students from across the globe. His book Passionate Marriage is a perennial bestseller, offering the general public his revolutionary approach in a pragm ...more

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