This new book, Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy,and Long-Term Love, provides readers with education, guidance and skills to maintain a fulfilling relationship with someone. I see this becoming a timeless reference if only because it is thorough and thoughtful. Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson have not only done their homework–they’ve lived it as a couple for the past 15 years.
This book is written so well–its language is clear and invites readers through a journey to learn more about how we tick, particularly within the realm of sexuality and relationships. Firstly, these authors debunk myths that are toxic in our society because they create double standards of what it means to be in a relationship. It’s also important to embrace the similarities and differences that couples have. They talk about defining your relationship based on what works for you, and by figuring out what your wants and desires are. If these are discussed, especially when it comes to sex, then it will be easier and more enjoyable to function within the relationship.
I loved how thorough the education is in this book. From discussions about body parts and pleasure, to exploring touch, communication, kink and flirting, these authors provide an array of information that is sure to be useful for all readers. Even as a single person or a polyamorous person, one will learn valuable things from this book.
Here’s a sample excerpt that relays well the authors’ tone:
Another aspect of sexual responsibility is respect for others–their boundaries, their health, and their emotional well-being. This means not only treating them with respect during your interactions; it also means honoring their wishes, starting with the assumption that what you do is private and confidential, in the absence of a specific statement to the contrary. Some people can face serious consequences in their everyday lives should their private actions be made public, so don’t kiss and tell. All of these rules apply regardless of the person with whom you’re interacting (page 289).
This book covers sexual function issues as well as changes that occur naturally throughout our lives in regards to sexuality. While these topics may be introductory in this book, the material is informative. In addition, although the authors provide great advice for those in relationships of any length, they don’t presume that it is in every reader’s best interest to stick with a relationship. It’s important to recognize that relationships are dynamic and change over time. What’s best for one person now may differ in time–this may result in ending a relationship, and that’s okay.
An overarching point of this book is that relationships change over time. One of the biggest transitions partners experience is from new relationship energy (NRE) to the enduring love that comes afterward. This happens somewhere around the 6 month mark when the infatuation starts to dissipate. This can be a dramatic change, but it can also be a seamless one. The example the authors use is the story of Romeo and Juliet: had they remained alive, their love–their infatuation, obsession, and passion–for each other would not have survived. The new love feelings do end, but what can evolve after isn’t death or the absence of love. Indeed it is not about “falling in love” but “rising in love.”
Below is an interview from the authors! a big thanks Cleis Press for sending me this book in exchange for my honest review of it. xoxo
What inspired you to write Partners in Passion?
Partners in Passion had been brewing for years. Our original concept was to write a book entitled More Than Soulmates, based on our view that relationships are creative processes and that it’s far more important to deliberately build intimacy than to look for the ‘right’ partner. When Tristan Taormino recommended us to Brenda Knight of Cleis Press, we had an opportunity to pitch our general concept and then write a proposal. The book evolved into a far more comprehensive examination of relationships and sexuality.
What does this book mean to you?
It’s the summation of our 15 years of teaching and writing together. As much as we aim to express some ideas that are universal, it’s also a deeply personal book, an expression and physical manifestation of our love for each other.
Writing together is incredibly intimate and requires us to use all of our relationship skills. Because Partners in Passionis at once so ambitious and so personal, the process of writing it tested those skills and required us to practice what we preach.
What sets Partners in Passion apart from other relationship books?
Although our book is often categorized in the self-help or sex tips genre, we see it as being much more than that. It includes a good deal of social and cultural commentary and challenges conventional wisdom on many levels.
Many relationship books seem to be focused on problems, on how to fight more effectively, or on how to get what you want from your partner. Partners in Passion emphasizes collaboration, empathy, and finding common ground while celebrating differences. Our focus is on what has worked: for us and for other people who are in thriving relationships. We interviewed many such people and quote them in the book.
There’s no one-size fits all approach to good relating. It’s up to people to discover what works for them.
What else makes it valuable to readers?
In addition to what we’ve said about the broader social commentary and how the book is an expression of our own relationship, we wrote Partners in Passion to be a practical guide. It provides readers with tools to help them create rich, collaborative, and erotically engaged relationships, regardless of orientation, gender identity, relationship style or status. We like to say it’s a book for anyone who’s in a relationship or wants to be.
Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson are a devoted married couple. They have been creative collaborators – teaching and writing about sexuality and Tantra together – since 1999. Michaels and Johnson are the authors of Partners in Passion (Cleis 2014), Great Sex Made Simple, Tantra for Erotic Empowerment, and The Essence of Tantric Sexuality. Their books have garnered numerous awards: Independent Publishing (IPPY), ForeWord Reviews, and USA Book News Best Books, among others. They are also the creators of the meditation CD set Ananda Nidra: Blissful Sleep. To support the pleasure-positive community in New York, they co-founded Pleasure Salon in 2007. www.MichaelsandJohnson