Think more about sex by thinking about it in a different way
Alain de Botton is the author of the international bestsellers, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Art of Travel and Religion for Atheists, and other books that try to throw light on the big challenges of our lives. He is the founder of Living Architecture (www.living-architecture.co.uk), a social enterprise which gets top architects to build holiday homes for rental by anyone. He is also founder of The School of Life (www.theschooloflife.com), for which this series has been designed. The School of Life is a London-based enterprise that is dedicated to the most useful ideas relevant to the dilemmas of everyday life. We consider questions like: How can we fulfil our potential? Can work be inspiring? Why does community matter? Can relationships last a lifetime? We don't have all the answers, but we will direct you towards a variety of useful ideas from philosophy to literature, psychology to the visual arts that are guaranteed to stimulate, provoke, nourish and console.
"Few of us are remotely normal sexually," de Botton (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work) writes in this accessible philosophical meditation. But though "[w]e are universally deviant," the author opines that we are thus "only in relation to some highly distorted ideals of normality." Acknowledging that feelings of aberrancy are "aggravated by the idea that we belong to a liberated age," de Botton goes on to explore, in two illuminating sections, "The Pleasures" and "The Problems of Sex." The former addresses topics like biological and physiological reactions to sex, fetishes, fashion, and the subjectivity of beauty, while the latter deals with impotency, sexual rejection, pornography, adultery, and more. De Botton is never prescriptive, and the intellectual rigor of his investigation prevents this book from settling into a self-help reference guide. After all, his aim is to guide readers in how to think about sex in a different way, not to teach them how to have it. While he hypothesizes that the world would be far simpler if sex were taken out of the equation, the pragmatic yet optimistic de Botton concludes that "the pain sex causes us" is worth it, "for without it we wouldn't know art and music quite so well." Agent: Caroline Dawnay, United Agents (U.K.). (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.