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Lust for Love
Rekindling Intimacy and Passion in Your Relationship
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- ebook $13.99 $17.99 CAD
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Sex is dying in America. Inundated with sex and starved for it, obsessed with it yet clueless about it, we are slowly forgetting how to make love. The crisis of modern sexuality is seen in high divorce rates, in the degradation of sexuality through pornography, and tasteless displays of empty, counterfeit erotica. Most of all, it’s seen in sexless marriages and platonic relationships where cybersex has become more addictive than the real thing. Sex has become so trivialized, coarsened, and vulgarized that couples no longer feel its pull. The once powerful and irresistible magnetism of sex is being diluted and drained.
The authors propose replacing the 1960s’ sexual revolution with a new sensual revolution, a rediscovery of intimacy that encourages and ennobles human relationships, elevates healthy lust, and gets us from looking up from the glowing screens of our smartphones to the people around us, most especially the people we love the most.
Lust for Love embraces the idea that what our most important relationships need most is lust. It is necessary to rediscover what’s sexy again, how to bring back romance, and to understand that in addition to love, we need lust to repair our unfulfilling sex lives and broken relationships. Lust for Love proposes a return to what lovemaking was always meant to be: a desire to know and experience another person in the deepest possible way.
For my wonderfully
spirited and talented boys.
Brandon and Dylan Lee
who were raised
with wisdom inspired by
mythology, music and art—
I admire your courage,
and the extreme faith you both have
To be you
and no one else
is the hardest and most rewarding road.
I love you endlessly.
Your wild and loving
When two people from radically different backgrounds agree wholeheartedly on something, listen closely. There is a good chance that what they have to say might just be important. Let this book be the proof of that. The co-authors of this book, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and I, are indeed very different people, from very different traditions, and with very different approaches to life and the world. An outspoken, courageous, and prolific speaker and writer, Shmuley is also a religious teacher. The perspective he brings to Lust for Love is drawn from years of experience providing advice and counseling to married couples.
My background contrasts with Shmuley’s. Many would consider it the opposite of his. But while the broad strokes of my biography are well known, there is also a private side of my life that few will have heard. I started modeling for Playboy at the age of twenty-two and spent my twenties as a cast member on Baywatch. At an age when most people are discovering themselves for the first time as adults—in a time before the Internet had yet taken over our lives and everyone had a taste of celebrity—I found myself sharing my own image with a generation. I watched as my name broke out from my immediate circle of friends, eventually reaching households all over the world. Surreally, I was called a “sex symbol,” a “bombshell,” a “goddess.”
It was a disconcerting experience for a shy, small-town girl from Vancouver Island—a quiet, studious girl who loved her mom and dad but who also had to deal with no small amount of trauma. In the early days it was tough, grappling with uncertainty and the sense of exposure. But I discovered I felt comfortable as long as I pretended to be someone else—playing the part in public, finding within myself a different persona for every shoot.
Some might smirk, but in no way do I want to disown the Playboy years or diminish their importance to me. These experiences were a sort of university for me. Through them, I was given the opportunity to meet and befriend fascinating and beguiling people—men and women, souls and intellects—whose experiences and character and wisdom shaped me. It was an education—unique and brilliant and precious. Thinking of these years I am reminded of the words Anaïs Nin wrote on the development of woman on her own terms, rather than as an imitation of man. The theme of “woman finding her own language, articulating her own feelings, discovering her own perceptions.”1
It’s sometimes assumed that I should want to renounce those years as decadent or foolish. This is not the case. In hindsight, I am very proud of the independent, unorthodox path I took, a path that allowed me to develop on my own terms, and not—as some might presume—on the terms of men. I am proud of the intense spiritual rewards my life has brought me and the wisdom I have been lucky enough to receive.
Most of all, I am proud and in awe of the women I’ve met along the way—powerful, wise, fascinating women; women as diverse and varied, as contradictory and manifold, as the types Nin lists in her diaries: “the masculine, objective one; the child woman of the world; the maternal woman; the sensation-seeker; the unconsciously dramatic one; the churlish one; the cold, egotistical one; and the healing, intuitive guide-woman.”2
I want to do justice to these women. I don’t at all renounce my past. It is out of those experiences—and with these companions and guides—that I was able to define myself. It would have been so easy to lose myself then, eclipsed behind a stream of images. But I was there, among these women, and it is there I came to understand the power and autonomy that was available to me in sensuality, there that I came to possess myself in that power, and that is what saved me.
It hasn’t all been roses. Over the years, I learned that fame can also be a prison. It can leave very little room for a real person to live behind it, very little space for honesty, and very little time to age, or mourn, or love. Life is untidier than celebrity makes out. At times in my life it has been hard to shake the sense that my life was happening to someone else—that I was the lesser twin to my public image: Pamela and me. It was Pamela who won the praise and the credit, renowned but shallow, never really allowed or expected to have any depth, while I was the thoughtful, sensitive one, reading voraciously, searching for meaning, suffering through my divorce and raising my boys, sometimes waking up and wondering where the last twenty years had gone.
“Look for something hard enough and you will find it,” my father once told me. Lately, I have taken a hard look at my life and experiences, and I’ve realized that I have a lot to say. Playboy models aren’t supposed to have much to say—at least according to some—but it is this very background that I draw on for my philosophy. That’s why, when I first met Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, I did not expect that we would find so much to agree on.
I was introduced to Shmuley through mutual friends based in Malibu. He wanted to recognize my activism at the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala. I was honored that I—having no Jewish background—would be recognized in this way. I went along, curious to meet him. Our first conversations were cordial but fascinating. He had heard I was a very good mother and was interested in how this reconciled with my public image.
At the time, I was going through a difficult stage of my life and was preoccupied with the problem of happiness in marriage. Naturally, the discussion turned to this theme—to marriage and the difficulties it faces in our society. I was fascinated to discover the wealth of insight he had into both the eternal and modern problems of love. He had a great ability to put his finger on the complexities of romantic life, concisely and simply. It was a surprise to me to discover a religious teacher who was so awake to the needs of intimacy between lovers, who understood that love must closely trace the contours of passion if it is to endure.
I was also intrigued to discover my beliefs about the importance of sensuality and sex in marriage being reflected back in fluent quotations from scripture. My father gave me a keen interest in mythology and folklore, and I have always had a huge respect for the wisdom buried in the mythologies of ancient cultures. So it was there—not in religious scripture—that I always looked to get perspective on human sexuality. On reflection, though, it is not surprising there is agreement between mythology and religion. Religious traditions are also human traditions, and sex and love are at the core of human experience. Such timeless and enduring expressions of human experience would naturally contain the same basic truths, the same delicate wisdom.
As fascinated as I was with his ideas, Rabbi Shmuley was also intrigued by mine. He was very interested in what he saw as apocalyptic contradictions in my character and how they related to the topics we were talking about. It was clear from our discussion that I—just like anyone—have experienced my share of heartache in life. But, he exclaimed, if anyone should be free of the loneliness of our society, surely, it should be me. It should be Pamela—the lifelong cover girl. The woman who—as the tabloids and gossip blogs would have it—could have any man she wants. If Pamela could be lonely, if her heart could be broken, that’s an apocalypse! What hope is there for anyone else?
Of course, as we both knew, this is a myth—I am a human being just like anyone else. Experiences affect me as much as they do anyone else. And, as the great psychologist Carl Jung once wrote, “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” But the question itself was fruitful. We decided that perhaps, instead of despair, it would give people hope or reprieve to know that we are all—without exception—on the great quest for romantic companionship and sexual contentment. During the course of our conversation, we realized that this supposed contradiction in me led deeper into the issues we were discussing, toward an understanding of the reasons for the death of love, of passion, of sex, in our contemporary society.
That was when we decided to work together on a book—a book that would capture these tensions, that would diagnose the problems of romantic passion in the twenty-first century, and that would point toward the solutions. Our book is a call for a fundamental change in relationships that will impact not only individuals but society as a whole. We want to inspire a revolution in human affairs that we believe must happen to afford the greatest possibility of romantic fulfillment to the greatest number of people. It is a sensual revolution that follows other cultural and sexual upheavals in our recent past, an adjustment that can restore balance to the way men and women relate to each other.
This transformation isn’t something new to humanity. We experienced it a long time ago. We simply need to rediscover it and practice it once again in our modern relationships. Ancient mythologies carry its secrets. It is the first flowering of human sexuality in a time before histories were written, and it can be found throughout the literature and poetry and philosophy of every age and every culture. It is the enduring art of human intimacy.
Our book is about how it has been lost, and not for the first time. Human intimacy has been distorted before, by technologies that changed the way people connected to each other, and it was necessary each time for society to relearn how to love. In 1946, Nin wrote of “the dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.”3
We are living through a similar change. How much has the “communications revolution” impoverished intimacy? There have been great strides forward in recent decades: sexual liberation, global activism, and a revolution in information. These are precious gains and should not be lost. But without a practiced understanding of the mysteries of human intimacy and sensuality, the technologies of our age can easily lead us into alienation, disaffection, and loneliness.
Shmuley and I agree: if the arts of intimacy and sensuality have been forgotten, they must be remembered again. Our culture must rediscover sensuality and sexiness, for the sake of meaning and value in our intimate lives. Our hope is that this book—the joint efforts of the most unlikely of co-authors: a rabbi and a Playboy cover girl—can help make that happen.
RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH
When Pamela and I did our first TV interview together about sex and relationships on The Dr. Oz Show, Mehmet, our host and a friend of many years, asked me what she and I had in common that would cause us to share a joint message on eroticism and desire. I answered that it was all so plainly evident: An international sex symbol and a global object of desire, joining with a famous actress and animal rights activist, to rescue relationships.
The audience chuckled.
In truth, I had been offering a variation of this joke years before I ever met Pamela. When my book Kosher Sex was first published in the United Kingdom in 1998 and I began lecturing about the book around the world, people wanted to know what my credentials were to offer the public advice about sex. I responded, “My name is Shmu-ley, a contraction of two Hebrew root words. ‘Shmu,’ from the Hebrew root word, ‘Shamoo,’ meaning ‘Killer Whale.’ And ‘Lee,’ from the Hebrew root words ‘Pamela Anderson Lee.’ When you put them together, you get ‘Larger than life Jewish sex god.’”
It’s time for a more serious response. What could I, a rabbi, possibly have in common with one of the world’s most recognizable sex symbols, enough to write an entire book about sensuality, eroticism, and relationships? The answer of course is being human. No matter our backgrounds or beliefs, we all essentially want the same thing, and that’s especially true when it comes to relationships. What every person seeks in a romantic relationship is a contradiction: passion and intimacy, a lover who is also our soul mate, which is why it’s so difficult to achieve.
On the one hand, we want passion and excitement—an end to boredom. We want to feel wild desire. We want someone’s touch to take us to the moon and back in an erotic encounter. This comes from novelty, adventure, and risk. It comes from sharing our bodies with a lover. On the other hand, we seek companionship and an end to loneliness. We want true human warmth and authentic intimacy. This comes from precisely the opposite—sharing everyday experiences and routines with someone who begins as a stranger and ends up a soul mate.
Whether you’re a rabbi or a Playboy cover girl, your desire for these conflicting needs is ever present. Being human entails searching for the fire of passion and the cool waters of intimacy. But fire and water don’t mix. One extinguishes the other. Hence, most people fail at maximizing their relationships. We see this all around, especially when people say that their husband or wife is their best friend, connoting a close yet largely causal relationship bereft of erotic lust and fiery desire.
From our first conversations, Pamela and I agreed that every person pursues these opposing conditions and ends up frustrated. A celebrity of significant stature can feel this more acutely than most, as life lived on the red carpet can lead to an addiction to excitement. But the exclusivity of fame can induce a greater feeling of isolation and solitude.
I was amazed at Pamela’s candor in discussing her own romantic journey and relationships. We hit it off from our first conversations on the subject. I am someone who values honesty and forthrightness, and Pamela was a model of trust and sharing. She has a world of experience with little hesitation to impart her valuable insights. It was clear that even if we disagreed somewhat on how a person might arrive at the twin goals of passion and intimacy, we were in full agreement that human fulfillment depends on reaching that destination.
Moreover, we agreed that the unique conditions of the modern world were undermining our ability to achieve these vital objectives. We agreed that porn was objectifying women and making it harder for men to experience feminine depth, even as we disagreed as to whether or not Playboy was a culprit. We agreed that the overtly sexual nature of modern society was impeding our experience of sensuality, even as we disagreed on what constituted sexual overexposure. And we agreed that lovemaking in our society had lost its erotic underpinnings, even as we disagreed on how it could be recaptured. Above all else, we agreed that what was needed to right this ship was not an evolutionary approach of predictable advice but a revolution in romantic thinking and erotic purpose. The result is a uniquely resplendent book, approached from utterly different experiences but pointing to the same promised land of passionate connection and intimate oneness.
The reader would be forgiven for assuming that in this book I, as the rabbi, am the traditionalist while Pamela represents the voice of liberal openness. In truth, Pamela wowed me from the outset with her solid commitment to traditional values. She spoke constantly of the inspiration she received from two parents who have loved each other in a decades-long marriage. I am the one who is a child of divorce. She told me of her deep desire to find fulfillment in a monogamous and committed relationship, while I was the one who wrote a book called Kosher Adultery, enjoining husbands and wives to have an affair with each other and spice up marriage with radical honesty and erotic fantasy. Above all else, Pamela shared with me her constant efforts to raise two young men who cherish and respect women, while I have strived, as the father of six daughters, to raise women who love marriage but never lose their independence. The moral of the story is that we humans are complicated creatures and what you see is not always what you get.
But then religion has been misunderstood as being hostile to sex from its inception. We’ve all heard the old wives’ tales of priests warning boys that masturbation will lead to blindness or that Catholicism insists that sex is only for having babies. In truth, Judaism is a deeply erotic religion that orders a man to pleasure his wife sexually before he himself is pleasured. It is a religion that has long advocated that desire is more important than compatibility, that lust is greater than love, that carnal connection is the highest form of knowledge, and that sex is not for procreation but for conjoining husband and wife as bone of one bone and flesh of one flesh. The holiest book of the Jewish Biblical canon, says the Talmud, is Solomon’s erotic love poem captured in Song of Solomon. In Judaism, sex is the very soul of marriage, and a termination of a couple’s sex life constitutes a functional termination of the marriage itself. The pragmatic nature of marriage today as an institution primarily promoting companionship and friendship rather than fostering and sustaining deep erotic longing is utterly foreign to the Jewish faith.
Being a child of divorce forces you to address the confusing question of how two people responsible for your very existence could have ever been driven apart. Is there some sort of magic glue that can keep a man and woman happily under the same roof for the duration of their lives and can avoid that painful outcome, and what can you, their offspring, add to the equation? Is marriage an ossified institution that has passed its shelf life, and are your parents better off apart?
I was lucky in that, from an early age, I came down firmly on the side of marriage. I believe that having a soul mate as a lifelong partner is humanity’s greatest blessing and that we have to find a remedy to the increasing landscape of broken hearts and shattered homes—and not just for the benefit of children who deserve to witness parents who are still in love, but for the participants in the marriage itself.
Marriage is not a prison. We do not stay together because kids need security or because we have a mortgage that has to be paid off. Rather, we stay together because desire and longing have been sustained and erotic interest in one another has increased through shared experienced. I reject marriage as an institution and embrace it instead as an instrument of erotic expression. I reject monogamy as deadening and embrace it instead as the avenue by which to fully focus our sexual lust. And I reject commitment as something confining and embrace it instead as the fullest means by which we humans attach ourselves to our other half.
As a student of Jewish mysticism, I have long been conditioned to identify the essence of another person from which all seemingly unrelated actions flow. Pamela is a fervent proponent of animal rights, and when we honored her at our Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala for standing up for Israel, she praised the Jewish state as a country with one of the highest rates of vegetarianism and veganism (wow, who knew?). I have since come to understand that her unmatched championing of animal welfare stems from her deep attachment to every incarnation of life. And what is sexuality other than humankind’s most passionate expression of feeling alive? It is this feeling that we wish to impart to the reader.
In our time, the deep yearning for sexual connection is being replaced with a shallow desire for sexual conquest. Building erotic yearning is being replaced with immediately satiating every sexual itch. And sexuality is overtaking sensuality. The two are not the same. Whereas the former is a strictly carnal experience of bodily friction leading to climax, the latter is an electrifying elixir of psychological and spiritual indulgence leading to the orchestration of two halves as one whole. The former employs our genitalia as the principal sexual organ, while the latter melds the mind and heart into an explosive carnival of sensual delight.
Should we be surprised, then, that ours is a generation of marital sexual famine, where the average couple has sex once a week for seven minutes on average, and nearly one out of four couples has no sex at all? When sex is reduced to unimaginative predictability and rote, when lovemaking becomes a rushed means to orgasmic end, when foreplay is passed over for immediate penetration, should we be surprised that television becomes the most exciting thing happening in the bedroom?
Our book seeks to reverse these corrosive trends by restoring lovemaking to what it was always meant to be: a deep and passionate desire to know and experience another person in the deepest possible way. It may seem odd that two bodies locked together in an erotic charge can provide for a far deeper understanding than a conversation or the exchange of ideas. But then, knowing someone experientially is always superior to knowing the person intellectually. The heart has always been superior to the mind. That we are blind to this truth speaks volumes about the blissful ignorance of relationships and how much sex has been degraded in our time.
And that’s what so intrigued me about Pamela. While she was being portrayed as the object of fantasy and the incarnation of desire, she was herself fantasizing about passionate monogamy and an erotic connection in a committed relationship.
This is not a book for the faint of heart. It rejects prudery in favor of erotic openness just as it rejects sexual license in favor of romantic focus. The false choice that has been visited upon us moderns between the extremes of a pragmatic and predictable partnership, on the one hand, and base pornography on the other is one that should be repudiated utterly.
It’s time we recaptured the ancient idea of the sacred feminine not as a woman of wifely duty and pious virtue but as a risk-taking adventuress whose very being captures the infinite possibility of joyous sex. Husbands must come to recognize that even the most devoted wife can never be fully possessed. Her sexuality is an overflowing fountain, her erotic needs a bottomless pit, her carnal desire an ever-expansive plain.
That men no longer see their wives this way is one of the reasons they turn to shallow substitutes like porn, which dulls their senses and makes a mockery of true erotic imagination. The sensual woman is a walking magnet, always pulling the masculine presence even as she gravitates toward one man who becomes her chosen.
If it’s true that our troubled world—filled with so much friction and strife—needs to “make love, not war,” then it’s equally true that love cannot be made when we are constantly fighting an inner war. The battle for sexual focus—to be passionate and intimate about one person—is one we must finally engage in, freeing ourselves to experience the blessings of erotic liberation.
Pamela and I are two distinct people, but in this book, we have found one voice. A voice that calls for love and appreciation. A voice that calls for desire and passion. A voice that calls for commitment and dedication. A voice that calls for erotic attachment and sensual connection. And a voice that calls for a new relationship between the masculine and feminine.
HAVE WE FORGOTTEN HOW TO MAKE LOVE?
The Art of Intimacy
This art of love discloses the special and sacred identity of the other person. Love is the only light that can truly read the secret signature of the other person’s individuality and soul. Love alone is literate in the world of origin; it can decipher identity and destiny.
Oscar Wilde once wrote, “One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.” We believe he’s wrong. We believe intimacy isn’t lost in marriage. We believe passionate, romantic love can exist within a long-term relationship, lasting years after the echoes of wedding bells fade. We reject the belief that we have to put off marriage or reject monogamy altogether to have exciting, passionate, toe-curling sex.
The notion of marriage being the death of Eros is one that is foreign to our thinking. Marriage is where sex flourishes—or at least it should. The real death of sex is caused by a culture that has rejected the foundations of intimacy that fuel passion—emotional and spiritual connection, subjective knowledge of another human being, and sexual restraint that builds anticipation—choosing instead mechanical detachment, objectification, and immediate gratification.
One of my favorite writers, essayist Anaïs Nin, once said people don’t know how to make love, to discover the artistry of intimacy, because in their “microscopic examination of sexual activity” they exclude important aspects of intimacy that are the necessary fuel to ignite it. “This is what gives sex its surprising textures, its subtle transformations, its aphrodisiac elements,” she writes. When you don’t have it, “you are shrinking your world of sensations. You are withering it, starving it, draining its blood.” Instead, we need to find the source of sexual power, which is curiosity and passion. When you don’t nourish it, “you’re watching its little flame die of asphyxiation. Sex does not thrive on monotony.”1 Sex can’t survive without passion and intimacy.
- "Opposites attract but they don't always agree as much as these provocative authors and their passionate call for sensuality and sex in marriage." —Mehmet Oz, M.D., Professor of Surgery, Columbia University
- "The unlikely pairing of Pamela Anderson and Shmuley Boteach provides surprising power and insight. Any sense that one is there only to provide beauty and the other only wisdom quickly evaporates as together the authors not only explain but demonstrate how listening and respecting those unlike oneself is actually the sexiest thing around. I don't know that I'll ever see Ms. Anderson in tefillin and I know I don't need to see Rabbi Shmuley in the bright red one piece that got me through many dark times. But this book is more than stunt casting -- it's full of actionable advice." —Ken Kurson, former Editor-in-Chief, New York Observer
- "Pam Anderson's Baywatch beauty is much more than skin deep with her reflections on Anäis Nin and Freud in this intriguing collaboration with the world's favorite Rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, with his wide-ranging wisdom from the Bible to Kosher Sex. Their unique partnership has come up with this engaging exploration in the 'Lust for Love' where readers will greatly enjoy following how their 'pillars of eroticism' can lead to fulfilling the desire for intimacy."—Dr. Judy Kuriansky, international psychologist, United Nations NGO representative, faculty of Columbia University Teachers College, and author of The Complete Idiots Guide to a Healthy Relationship
- "My dear friend Rabbi Shmuley and Pamela Anderson have written an electrifying book about how to bring lust and passion back into relationship and marriage. Passion is the electricity and the energy that we absorb from the universe making us feel fully alive and connected. However, it's secrets have largely remained hidden. It takes wisdom and insight to unearth them. Shmuley and Pamela have done an excellent job at revealing some of these profound mysteries that will transform your life and your relationships."—Uri Geller
- "When I first met Pamela Anderson during a cold winter day in Berlin, everyone in the lobby was looking at her as a 'sex-symbol'. Which she definitely is. But once you spend only a few hours with her, you will immediately recognize that besides being an actress, a mother, a lover, a friend, she is a courageous fighter for justice - and love. After reading her book with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach it is difficult not to be convinced that what we need today more than ever is - a sensual revolution!"—Srecko Horvat, author of The Radicality of Love
- On Sale
- Apr 24, 2018
- Page Count
- 304 pages
- Center Street