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Sex Detox

Sex Detox by Ian Kerner
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From the New York Times bestselling author of She Comes First and Be Honest—You're Not That Into Him Either comes a revolutionary 30-day program to detoxify and rejuvenate your love life

The premise is simple: When it comes to sex, dating, and relationships, sometimes we get in so deep the only way out is to start over again. For many of us—whether we're in a relationship, or actively dating in the hopes of finding that someone special—our love lives have become a source of toxicity. Sex Detox offers a revolutionary way to start fresh and take action.

Just as a physical fast will rapidly alter your metabolism and natural body chemistry, so too will a sex or dating detox impact your mind and body, enabling you to reset, rewire, and ultimately rejuvenate your love life. In this practical, life-changing guide, Ian Kerner lays out a friendly, achievable 30-day course of action that will help you turn off the noise, take a necessary pause, and rebuild your love life from the inside out.

If you're in a relationship, you'll learn to see your sexual history not just as a series of physical encounters, but rather as a unique and vital part of your identity, which needs to be nurtured and fed in healthy ways. You'll experience the "thrill of the chaste" and learn how to touch your partner with a renewed sense of passion and possibility. If you're single, the dating detox will give you a chance to step off the dating treadmill, catch your breath, and recover inner strength for the road ahead. You'll recalibrate your aspirations to connect to potential mates from a place of strength and self-knowledge.

Whether you're single or coupled, Sex Detox will enable you to achieve the relationship results you deserve.

HarperCollins; Read online
Title: Sex Detox
Author: Ian Kerner

Chapter One

Doing Without to Eventually Have It All

A program for everyone—couples, singles, or anyone anywhere in between

The premise of this book is simple: When it comes to sex and relationships, sometimes we get in so deep the only way out is to start over again.

For many of us—whether we're in a relationship or actively dating in the hopes of finding that someone special—our love lives have become a source of toxicity, rather than one of sustenance and renewal.

This program is a powerful way to take action in an area of your life that often lacks a clear point of entry: sex and relationships. Think about it: When you want to get in shape, you sign up for a gym membership; when you want to lose weight, you go on a diet; when you want to get out of credit card debt, you consider consolidation plans. But how do you start consolidating your love life?

If you're in a relationship, I'm going to ask you to take sex off the table for thirty days (and, yes, nights too) and give yourself over to the "thrill of the chaste." This is not to say that you can't or won't end up having sex in the days that ensue—after all, accidents happen, and hopefully they are ones with happy endings—but rather I implore you not to have the kind of sex that is joyless, soulless, or more of the same; bid farewell to the sex that is bereft of the passion, intimacy, and sense of loving connection that you crave and deserve. And if you're stuck in a rut and thinking to yourself that the last thing you need in your life right now is to be having even less sex, then consider this program the difference between slowly being starved to death in an environment that leaves you feeling desperate and powerless and actively choosing to undertake a diet that you know will result in your becoming a healthier, stronger person both inside and out.

But also know that you don't have to be in a relationship currently to benefit from this program: If you're one of the tens of millions of single people on the hunt for love, and you're feeling burnt out and bruised by the process, it's time to go on a dating detox—to take a break not only from any casual sex you may be having, but to stop dating altogether for the duration of this program and reset the relationship-results you seek.

Regardless of whether you're single, coupled, or somewhere in between, you only have one love life, and it's time to live it to the fullest.

The birth of an idea: to live and think in L.A.

Much of this book was written during what turned out to be one of the most romantic periods of my life: when I was doing a six-month production stint away from my family in Los Angeles. I know that doesn't sound terribly romantic, so perhaps I should explain.

I was filming a television program for the Discovery Health Channel that helped couples in long-term relationships overcome difficult hurdles. During this time, my wife Lisa and son Owen came out from New York to visit for long weekends, which never seemed long enough. In between, Lisa and I had resorted to "drastic measures"—naughty emails, breathy late-night phone calls—reminding me of exactly what I was missing on the sizzling island of Manhattan.

When I returned to New York, Lisa surprised me with a "welcome home" dinner, inviting a number of our closest friends. After we were mellowed on merlot and mingling, I half-jokingly asked one of my wife's oldest friends and her husband if they wanted to participate in my program of limiting sex to boost libido.

"Are you kidding me?" cracked Thea. "When it comes to not having sex, you could take our picture and put us on the cover of your book." Then they chuckled away their discontent with wine.

I turned to Steve, Thea's husband. "When was the last time you were able to feel close and connected to each other without feeling like there was something missing from your marriage, without being painfully aware of what was lacking?"

"Not since Brian was born. What was that, around three years ago, sweetie?" he replied, to which she nodded with sullen embarrassment.

So I seized the opportunity to explain. "What if you could turn that on its heels? Make not having sex sexy? What if instead of pretending you were exhausted or sick or too stuffed from dinner or watching a documentary on whale migration patterns, you could embrace and recharge your sense of intimacy by not having sex—you know, transform it into something you were not doing together?"

They were intrigued, so naturally I pressed: "What if the two of you became achingly aware of not touching each other, of not kissing, of not making love, to the point that one more moment of not being entangled in each other's arms made you feel like a tight coil ready to spring? What if instead of avoiding sex, you promised to ache in longing to revel in that first touch, that first kiss, to conjure up that extraordinary sense of self and mutual discovery you once felt as teenagers, but this time with each other?" (I might have been a little less eloquent than this at the time, but I was certainly as passionate!)

"That's a nice idea," said Steve, "but we all know that's impossible."

And that's when I told them: Not only was it possible, it was theirs for the taking. All it required was a decision—they had to be ready to rebuild their libidos from the inside out with that explosive sense of intellectual curiosity, emotional hunger, and physical longing that was present long before they'd begun to worry about mortgages, nursery schools, and love handles.

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