Why Good Sex Matters: Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life

Nan Wise. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-1-328-45130-9
In this astute debut, neuroscientist and therapist Wise analyzes the connection between mental health and sexual satisfaction and offers tips to improve one’s sex life. Humans are addicted to “quick pleasure fixes” like television and social media, Wise writes, and suffer from anhedonia—an inability to experience authentic pleasure. There’s a heavy focus on science in the first part of the book, as Wise discusses brain circuitry, neuromodulators, and the brain’s relationship to sex and pleasure. She shares her research into how the brain reacts to an orgasm (it becomes infused with oxygen) and concludes that “orgasm may serve as the best possible ‘exercise’ for the brain.” She addresses the ways that various stresses (fear, rage) create an emotional imbalance and lower sex drive, and shares stories of patients she’s treated who’ve confronted issues related to intimacy, self-esteem, and more on their way to better sex. Wise also offers “Good Sex Tools,” which include generic self-care tips (do yoga, journal) and a test for readers to figure out which kind of lovers they are (“rough and tumble,” “needy”). Those looking for a more fulfilling sex life will benefit from this smoothly written, if at times clinical, look at how a person’s mental state can elevate or sabotage their sexual experience. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 09/23/2019
Release date: 01/07/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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