How To Think More About Sex (School of Life) | Alain de Botton

Summary of: How To Think More About Sex (School of Life)
By: Alain de Botton


Sex has long been considered a taboo topic, and even as society evolves, it continues to be laden with shame and discomfort. Alain de Botton’s book ‘How To Think More About Sex (School of Life)’ takes us on a journey to explore why sex remains an awkward topic and how deepening our understanding of attraction, desire, and intimacy can ultimately improve our relationships. The book not only reveals the inadequacy of solely focusing on the biological aspects of sexuality, but it also delves into our psychological development, fetishes, and the delicate balance between love and sex.

Understanding the Complexity of Human Sexual Desire

The biological account of sex only explains so much. Humans’ psychological development influences the complexities of sexual desire and pleasure, and we find attraction in intelligence, strength, and beauty. Although sex was once accepted as a natural function, sex-related feelings of shame and guilt still exist today. Sex remains a sensitive topic, and people’s tastes diverge from the norm. Therefore, to understand why sex can make us feel awkward, we need to take a closer look at our psychological development.

The Estrangement Process

The process of growing up involves estrangement from our bodies and others. Self-control and conventional decorum restrict intimacy and sexual desires are often in conflict with societal expectations. We seek sex as a way out of isolation.

The Power of Sexual Self-Acceptance

Sex helps us embrace our true selves and build trust with our partners. Through accepting our “shameful” private selves, we can reconcile with our public persona. As we explore each other’s bodies, we develop a sense of welcoming acceptance, which leads to trust. By embracing our true sexual selves, we no longer have to hide, and we gain approval, leading to greater pleasure.

The Psychology of Physical Attraction

Physical attraction goes beyond biological determinants and is connected to deeper psychological factors. We tend to find attractive what we ourselves lack, such as personality traits or virtues. Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman’s different looks suggest different qualities that may appeal to individuals based on their life experiences. Understanding the psychology of attraction can help us avoid superficial judgments.

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