REVIEWS
Everything You Know About Love And Sex Is Wrong

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Of course everything you know about love and sex isn't wrong. But Pepper Schwartz and her publisher know how to make a catchy title. Professor of sociology at the University of Washington and coauthor of several books on relationships, sex, and parenting, Schwartz here offers 25 common myths and debunks them. Her goal? "I want to help you take a fresh look at a whole lot of sacred cows." She accomplishes this, although only a handful of these 25 cows are grazing in the sex field. An example: "Even if sex isn't fantastic in the beginning, it can be fixed." Not true, Schwartz cautions; if you're disappointed early on, bad sex can derail love, bonding, and commitment--and practice won't make perfect.

Most of the myths she includes are about relationships, as in "you will know when you have met 'the one,'" and "your lover should be your best friend." In the "Never Go to Bed Mad," chapter, she denounces the practice of "venting": "The idea is that, like a vent, you can let hot air out and make the temperature cooler. But what scientists find is that anger builds up more anger," fostering "the kind of adrenalized conversation that encourages couples to say things that they never should say."

Schwartz's Ph.D. seems to be in pragmatism. In the chapter "Everyone Should Cohabit Before Marriage," she warns, "If you eventually hope for marriage, don't live together for over a year. Let's get real. You know everything you need to know by then, and if you think you don't, you are kidding yourself." And on lusting after someone other than your partner: "Attractions are more often an artifact of the circumstances than of the person -- and so many people can be fascinating for a short period of time."

Whether on flirting or fantasizing, each chapter reads like a quickie column (she's written for Glamour and Playboy), and superficial advice is all she can squeeze into a few pages on such heavy topics as infidelity. While this is not a deeply analytical look at complex issues, it would be helpful for anyone just beginning to challenge longstanding relationship assumptions, or wanting to reconfirm values and ideals.

John Gottman, author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
Pepper Schwartz's delightful book clears away the cobwebs from clouded minds and gives us the power to see things as they are.

Book Description
Many of us have been brought up with common beliefs about intimacy and love that are not only untrue but also potentially damaging. What we've heard from our mothers, our friends, or from the media has become so ingrained that we-intentionally or not-force ourselves and our partners to adhere to certain rules or behavior that can be self-destructive.

In the provocative and audacious style that has become her hallmark, Pepper Schwartz questions assumptions, challenges values, and breaks rules. Drawing on compelling stories of individuals with whom she has worked and the studies she has conducted over the past two decades, Dr. Schwartz uncovers a new way to understand our most intimate relationships. As she explores why we believe these myths to be true and why they seem to have such an enduring influence, she also provides fresh alternatives that allow us to discover more fulfilling emotional lives.

About the Author
Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., is a professor of sociology at the University of Washington and the author of numerous books on love and sex. Dr. Schwartz was the "Sex and Health" columnist for Glamour for seven years and has appeared frequently on radio and national television, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Dateline. She is currently the relationship expert for Playboy.com, where she writes and edits four sections.

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Everything You Know About Sex Is Wrong: 25 Relationship Myths Redefined To Achieve Happiness And Fulfillment In Your Intimate Life by Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D. (Perigee 2001, ISBN: 0-399-52712-5), $23.95, 277 pages, softback.

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