ASSECT Newsletter July 2011 - Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD,
Staying in Love: The top secrets of great relationships
Robyn Salisbury. Random House, 2009.
Staying in Love is a unique book designed to increase communication within the couple and promote positive changes that result in growth. If used in thefashion directed by the author, it may actually achieve this goal because of the way it is structured.Staying in Love presents the reader with 32 chapters with such varied topics such as “Can’t I just have simple sex?” “Differing libidos,” and “Sex after sexual abuse.” Each chapter is only a few pages in length and presents an overview of the topic, often with brilliant insights. The chapters are concise enough that a couple could actually read it together without becoming too frustrated with the process. Then, as you would expect from a skilled sex therapist, Salisbury includes some relevant discussionpoints after each brief chapter to help spark open and honest discussion between the couple.Salisbury has fashioned this book with the idea of presenting a couple with the many different aspects that contribute to a happy and satisfying sexual relationship, as well as personal growth in the area of sexuality. By keeping each chapter short and easy to read, it is something that could easily be incorporated into one’s weekly routine, allowing time for digestion of the information and exploration of each new topic.
Since each individual starts off with a different foundation and set of expectations, by presenting helpful and honest information regarding sexuality and relationships for the couple to discuss,they can learn about the other person while at the same time exploring their own sexuality. In thisway, the couple can share more of their ideas and feelings with each other on topics that might nothave come up freely in conversation. This book could easily be enjoyed by couples of any sexual orientation, as the topics of discussion are relevant to all. But it is not limited to use by couples.Individuals would also benefit from asking themselves the discussion questions for exploration of their own sexual knowledge, style and relationship skills. Salisbury presents a wide range of material, some concepts of which could be difficult for the layperson to grasp were it not for her seemingly effortless ability to translate more complex psychological concepts into a flowing colloquial style. I would highly recommend this book to be given as bibliotherapy to couples and individuals and to a general audience overall.
Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD, specializes in sex therapy with couples and individuals in New York City. She can be reached at email@example.com.