The Heart of Desire confronts the old contradiction of the long-term relationship: for many of us, the spark of sexual desire and passion can flounder when we establish trust, stability, comfort, and a family-like bond with our partner. It is possible to flourish—sexually and emotionally—in a secure love relationship, but it takes some mindfulness and work.
In the first portion of the book, Resnick explains the lust/love dilemma and why the commitment of love can undermine sexual desire. She then outlines a practical plan, describing where to start and how to proceed when one or both partners feel the impending need for change. Integrated throughout each chapter are exercises for an individual and/or couple to delve into. These body- and mind-based strategies focus on body awareness, mindfulness, identifying your and your partner’s love style, and recognizing your own ingrained patterns and habits in regard to dealing with stress or conflict.
Along with breathing, stretching, and mindfulness exercises, the author highlights real-life examples (from her experience as a sex therapist and psychologist, but also some personal life experiences) that validate and support the program she developed. The effectiveness of this approach are backed by research in the fields of sexology, psychology, and neuroscience.
The second half of the book focuses more specifically on sexual pleasure, including more sexual exercises that draw attention to self-discovery, encouraging sexual playfulness, expanding body knowledge, and connecting more deeply with your partner. Resnick emphasizes that there is a vast spectrum of erotic experiences, and that couples need to sample these options widely to fight off boredom. She highlights non-verbal forms of communication and intimacy, self-disclosure, and suggests ways for partners to be both excited and relaxed with each other.
Sex and overall health are intertwined. Any long term couple may want this on their book shelf–or on the bedside table!–as they breathe new life and passion into their relationship. Very approachable, easy to read and follow, and all-inclusive.