Sex Detox — Ian Kerner

Basically, Sex Detox is a guided meditation on the role past relationship experiences have on your present day relationship life. While its primary focus is on the bedroom, its goal is that the program it details will help improve every aspect of your monogamous long term relationship OR help you get centered enough to work one out. It’s got both a partnered and singles’ section, and is arranged in a series of six 5-day modules. These modules involve centered breathing questionairres, and guided journal entries. Also, you make the conscious decision to not have sex or date during the time you’re detoxing, so that you have an opportunity to reset yourself and your relationship to sexuality. The end goal is that you (re)gain the ability to have physical intimacy without sex, and understand what your mental/emotional blocks are. Kerner tosses in a few patient examples along the way, so that you get an understanding of some of the issues the different modules are raising.

Like many relationship books, it locates nutty pathology in the female. The vast majority of the examples center on women adjusting themselves or their expectations in order to better suit their partners’ needs. The majority of the couples are also heterosexual. Off the top of my head, I can only think of two LGBT couples (and it’s a matched set! One lesbian and one gay!), and no examples of male sexual issues, like erectile dysfunction. It presents a pretty standard relationship conundrum. Women internalize sexual/relationship issues and have a hard time talking about their sexuality or sexual histories. Men have issues with commitment. Plus 10 for a frank discussion of consent in a healthy relationship, but minus 20 for reading like a compilation of Cosmopolitan quizzes.

I muchly prefer the underrated Survivor’s Guide to Sex, by Staci Haines. While it’s oriented towards sexual assault survivors, the activities and journal entries it suggests would be revelatory for anyone to try and do on their own.

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