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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The One Where I Talk About ... That

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Let's just get this out of the way right off the bat:  I'm a huge prude.  I don't think that's a bad thing in this tell-all (and on Facebook, no less!) world.  I don't even think I'm that unique, especially not among Mormon women.  Really, I can't be the only girl out there who doesn't like to talk about ... well ... you know ... that.  So, you can imagine my response when I received an email asking me to review a book titled Real Intimacy: A Couple's Guide to Healthy, Genuine Sexuality.  It was that last word that got me (*blush*).  I thought, no way do I want to read about that, let alone write about that.  Then, I paused.  After all, the book was written by three family therapists specifically for married Mormon couples.  Maybe, I could learn something.  So, I read it (I admit to placing a Post-It note over the subtitle so I wouldn't get any curious kiddos asking me what the book was about) and now I'm going to review it.  The blush is already creeping up my cheeks ...

Like I mentioned, Real Intimacy was written by three family therapists (Kristin B. Hodson, Alisha B. Worthington and Thomas G. Harrison), all of whom are LDS and practice in Utah.  Their aim?  To speak to married couples (the advice they give is directed toward Mormon couples, but is applicable to couples of any religion) candidly about sexuality.  This isn't something that happens a lot in most LDS households, which pretty much ensures that young brides and grooms are completely clueless about sex until their wedding nights (and, often, for a long time afterward).  Thus, the authors seek to not just explain the basics, but also to help couples achieve the kind of healthy, nurturing intimacy that makes marriages strong.  

What I like most about the book is the authors' definition of intimacy.  They believe that true intimacy isn't just about sex, but about closeness in four areas—physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual.  Only when all of these are in balance, they say, can we create true oneness.  The authors spend most of the book talking about how couples can find this balance.  They discuss issues that are unique to LDS couples (and others raised in strict religious settings), as well as those that can be found in marriages of all type (pornography, infidelity, sexual abuse, etc.).  Using case studies, they talk about how real couples have confronted and dealt with such issues.  In dealing with your own issues, the authors recommend being frank and honest with your spouse, trusting them with your innermost fears, doubts and insecurities.  While the book does bring up specific sexual issues, it's mostly about communication with and consideration for the most important person in your life.

Real Intimacy is a quick read (less than 200 pages, not including appendices).  Each chapter also includes a "Nuts and Bolts" section which summarizes in about a page what has been talked about in the preceding section.  This makes the book an especially fast and easy read.  Or, if you want the most valuable information (in my opinion, anyway) just read the "His Approach, Her Approach" chapter.  It provides an excellent chart showing how men and women look at things (including sex) in completely different ways.  

All in all, I think Real Intimacy provides some excellent information for married couples.  It's nothing revolutionary, to be sure, and the writing could definitely use some improvement.  I also would have liked more discussion of issues unique to LDS marriages.  Still, it's a valuable book that would be useful for any couple, whether they've been married for 5 months or 50 years.  

Visit the authors' very informative website by clicking here

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of And They Were Not Ashamed by Laura M. Brotherson)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R, only because it talks about sex in a very frank and straightforward way.  The book is geared toward married adults, which is the audience for whom it is most suited.

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of Real Intimacy from the generous folks at Cedar Fort via the lovely ladies over at SparkPoint Studio, LLC.  Thank you!        


  1. I'm not a prude but I'm not married...I wonder if this one would do me any good. ;)

    1. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who's not married. I mean, yeah, you'd learn stuff, but it wouldn't be very applicable at the moment, you know?

  2. I totally laughed reading this. You're so cute and funny ~ I'm glad I found you! Loved your honest review. Thanks!

    1. Aw, thanks! Now I'm blushing even more ...

  3. I don't think being a prude is a bad thing. I also think that its great to have books that handle this topic respectfully and provide sound information, especially to combat all the non-prudish TMI & rather perverse culture. Thanks for the review. Can put a link to it on my blog?

    1. Agreed. I think private subjects should remain private -- which doesn't happen much these days.

      You absolutely CAN share the link to my review. Thanks, Tamara!


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