Monte Paulsen, editor of the DRAGONFLY REVIEW OF BOOKS, February, 2004
The other bold title in this year's Valentine's Day Avalanche is Peace Between the Sheets: Healing with Sexual Relationships (Frog). Lawyer-turned-relationship-counselor Marnia Robinson argues that many of us are literally addicted to orgasm, stumbling through life from one dopamine hangover to the next.
The first half of Robinson's book makes the case that orgasm unleashes the same sort of chemical assault on the brain as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine or other drugs. She asserts that many couples' relationships eerily resemble the addict-dealer relationship pattern: newfound delight, devolving into angry resentment. "We remain at biology's mergy," she writes, "until we begin to make the connection between the great sex we had last week and the disharmony we are experiencing this week."
Her solution, detailed in the book's second half, is to avoid getting sexually "overheated," abstain from orgasm for pre-agreed cycles, and learn to engage in a calmer form of intimacy. Robinson proposes that "the satisfaction lovers have been looking for lies in a mutual experience in which both partners stop using each other for physical gratification and make nurturing each other their primary focus."
Robinson concedes that many people - especially women who discovered orgasm late in life - may be reluctant to embrace such a cure. To these she suggests: "If you are still skeptical, get out a calendar and track it for yourself - both orgasms and pronounced mood swings over the following two to three weeks. If you are open-minded, you may see the connection between cause and effect for yourself."
Taoism is one of many ancient practices credited by Robinson as a source of inspiration for her "hold it" philosophy....