Partners in Passion by Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson
Pleasure Panel review by Ali’s Addiction
These authors offer a mature and reasonable perspective on relationships in their book, Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-Term Love by Mark A Michaels & Patricia Johnson. There is wisdom behind their words, and each and every chapter gives the reader something to think about.
Most importantly, this book tries to encourage the reader to consider what matters to them in their relationship rather than trying to force a specific belief onto them. In this way it is very accessible and I’m sure many readers will be able to appreciate the authors’ non-judgemental approach to love in various forms.
They dispel the myth that monogamy is the natural and optimal standard and instead propose it is just one form of human behaviour, and highlight how some people are untroubled by sexual infidelities but are unsettled by the thought of a partner’s emotional intimacy with another, whereas others are pained at the thought of a partner making love to another but are untroubled by deep friendships.
Partners in Passion also examines other common relationship myths, such as the misguided idea that you have to be in total harmony all the time and how that is just as toxic as the idea that you need to find a perfect match. There will inevitably be differences and disagreements. One of my favourite tips outlined in this book when dealing with conflict, and a very simple one to follow, takes the ‘don’t go to bed angry’ rule one step further and suggests deciding on a designated space to discuss disagreements, in order to refrain from creating an association between your bed and conflict.
Having reviewed another relationship guide book, Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After edited by Kristina Wright, not long ago I was interested to see how this would compare. Partners in Passion is certainly a lot more extensive and covers a wider variety of issues. In particular this book delves further into alternative sexual paths, such as exploring Tantric sex or educating about the difference between kink and abuse.
Michaels and Johnson have provided a great introduction to Tantra which includes a step-by-step guide to solo and partnered streaming. Streaming is the movement of sexual energy from the genitals to the rest of the body and involves rocking pelvises, pulsing PC muscles, controlled breathing and making orgasmic sounds. When solo streaming you should lay flat on your back, whereas streaming with a partner is performed sitting in the Yab Yum position.
This book encourages couples to explore new sexual experiences together and to communicate their erotic fantasies, and provides them with the foundation to do so. The authors also address their own preconceptions and judgement about the BDSM community before being exposed to it first-hand; ‘A sexual way of life that many assume is frightening and primarily dark revealed itself as having a surprisingly playful and light-hearted dimension.’
For a book of this size (460 pages) there aren’t many pictures and, as a predominantly visual learner, it was a bit of a struggle to read through pages of endless text, but the chapters are helpfully divided into easy-to-manage sections and the authors’ writing style seems to flow with ease. It’s useful to note that from page 409 onwards is dedicated to resources, including information about the authors and a list of further reading material, so you can explore the topics in greater detail.
– Ali Addiction