Thursday, March 20, 2014

Partners in Passion Guest Post & Review!

Title: Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-Term Love
Authors: Mark A. Michaels & Patricia Johnson
Release date: February 11th 2014
Publisher: Cleis Press
Buy Link: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Happily married partners in passion themselves, award-winning authors Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson provide readers with a fun, step-by-step manual to creating a lasting, loving and erotic relationship.

Partners in Passion proposes alternative models of long-term connection, founded on mutuality, a collaborative mindset, empathy and transparency. It features interviews with long-term couples and includes an extensive resource guide that covers everything from health to erotica, with excellent advice from many of today’s leading sexuality and relationship educators.

Inside, you'll learn:
- Why communication is important but talking is overrated
- How to balance the need for intimacy with the need for personal freedom
- Ways that sexual adventuring can strengthen your bond
- Tips to deal with discrepancies, distractions and disruptions in your sex life
- Ways to maintain a vibrant erotic connection throughout your lives


I am so excited to be a part of the tour for this new Cleis Press publication. I'm lucky enough to have a guest post today courtesy of the authors of this book, Mark A. Michaels & Patricia Johnson on a topic that interests me in particular- kink. Without further ado, here's what they have to say on the topic!

Guest Post:

Kink is a term that covers a variety of activities and forms of sexual expression. It is a catchall word for sexual practices and interests that are outside the mainstream—from role play to dominance and submission, a vast array of fetishes, and sadism and masochism. Tristan Taormino defines kink as ". . . an all-encompassing term to
describe the people, practices, and communities that move beyond traditional ideas about sex to explore the edges of eroticism," and we like her definition.

Initially, the world of kink seemed a little strange and scary to us. Nonetheless, sexual exploration has been a core part of our relationship since day one. Even before we met, each had a deep and abiding interest in sexuality and a willingness to explore. This open and curious attitude had its limits, however, and we both had inhibitions and judgments about some forms of sexual expression that were unfamiliar.

Some of these inhibitions were based on cultural messages that impinged on our abilities to fully embrace our sexualities and sexual tastes. It took us a while, both individually and as a couple, to discover what worked for us, a process that involved both reflection and experimentation. Actual experiences also played an inhibiting role. Before we met, we had both been to BDSM clubs in New York City – the Vault, Hellfire, and Paddles.

Most of our experiences in this realm were somewhat off-putting. We were outsiders with interests that were not really congruent with the scene, and we certainly had no understanding of its various dimensions, rules, and protocols. After we started teaching Tantra, we came both more curious and more judgmental; we wanted to know more about all aspects of human sexuality, but the idea of inflicting pain on or humiliation seemed antithetical to the Tantric approach in which each partner worships the other. As we continued to explore, we began to recognize that kink and Tantra have a great deal in common and that many serious kinksters are closer to the true spirit of Tantra, which involves fearlessness and a radical ability to recognize the sacred in what is generally perceived to be profane.

As a result of these explorations, we've incorporated some kink into our own interactions, and this has expanded our sexual palette and given us access to new pleasures. We like to say that virtually everyone is a little bit kinky, it's just a matter of discovering the particular kinks that work for you. For us it was impact play. Mark, who grew up in a very feminist milieu, had to adjust to the idea that flogging or spanking a partner was not intrinsically abusive. The key to making this shift was tapping into the pleasure and arousal that the seemingly abusive behavior inspires. This is something that's of great value in any erotic encounter. If you can tune into and feed on your partner's enjoyment, your own enjoyment will increase commensurately.

Recent research indicates that couples who have adventures together (this includes any kind of adventure from travel to sex) are more deeply bonded and have higher levels of relationship satisfaction. There's also a study showing that participants in BDSM scenes have lowered cortisol (stress hormone) levels after a scene, even if the scene itself has not gone particularly well. Kink and other forms of conscious sexual adventuring seem to be good for relationships and stress management. If you have reasonably good communication skills, these activities can strengthen bonds between or among partners.

About the Authors:

Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson are a devoted married couple. They have been creative collaborators – teaching and writing about sexuality and Tantra together – since 1999. Michaels and Johnson are the authors of Partners in Passion (Cleis 2014), Great Sex Made Simple, Tantra for Erotic Empowerment, and The Essence of Tantric Sexuality. Their books have garnered numerous awards: Independent Publishing (IPPY), ForeWord Reviews, and USA Book News Best Books, among others. They are also the creators of the meditation CD set Ananda Nidra: Blissful Sleep. To support the pleasure-positive community in New York, they co-founded Pleasure Salon in 2007.

My Review:


Five stars.


This is one of the rare times that I can honestly say that everyone should read this book. Whether you're young and just starting out in the world of sexual relationships or a senior citizen looking on how to best continue, this book has something for everyone to learn.

There is so much useful information packed into this guide, I can't even begin to describe it all. So, I'll hit on some main things that I personally enjoyed or learned from in this book.

Not shockingly, the sections on kink and exploring sexual fantasies interested me. I'm not a stranger to the lifestyle of BDSM, and I have to say the advice about communication and exploring new ideas and activities with your partner is dead on and crucial. There are plenty of tips for everything, from how to admit that you're into a fetish to how to meet like minded people. Color me surprised when I found a familiar website, Fetlife, mentioned. This is a great site, and I was really happy to see it incorporated.

Similarly, I was happy to see open relationships and polyamory represented in a non-judgmental and professional way that explains the lifestyles well. They're words that come with bad associations, and I'm very happy to see the authors clearing up the confusion and connotations that encircle them.

Honestly, I'm really impressed with the amount of technical knowledge that this guide includes. There are anatomical diagrams, plenty of facts about medical conditions that effect sexual regions and desires, and even things such as STIs and safer sex. Additionally, these facts are cited in the back, along with resources on everything from sex shops to safety websites. It's a great list that includes some sites and businesses that I'm already familiar with and recommend.

Advice on how to be the best partner you can both emotionally and physically, tantric sex, how to keep your bedroom sexy, how to last for the romantic long haul and so much more are held within this book. If you are sexually active, this should be in your life. I know that my copy will stay on a nearby shelf for whatever questions may come up in our own boudoir. I'd also like to point out to my darling readers that THIS BOOK IS LGBT INCLUSIVE! Couples of all ages, experience, and orientation are represented here, so when I say everyone I mean it. This is a huge plus for me as well.

Thank you so much to Cleis Press for sending me a copy of this in exchange for my honest review, and to Mark A. Michaels & Patricia Johnson for taking the time to talk with me about their new book.


  1. This book is one that we need sitting on our shelf, I feel. I'd love to get my hands on it, there's always something to learn, and I'm always looking to learn more :)