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September 13, 2008, 2:30 PM

Mating in Captivity: Sexuality and Monogamy

Participants: Michael Kimmel, Francis Levy, Pamela Paul, Esther Perel, Owen Renik (moderator)

This roundtable will address the ways in which monogamous partnerships affect sexual desire, sexual function, and sexual need. How do secrets and risky behaviors play a role in undermining domestic stability and trust, while potentially enhancing sexual activity? Does domestic partnering imperil our inherent sexual drive? Is it more beneficial to preserve the stability of the family unit than to explore one's sexuality to the fullest? Is it possible to do both? What are the chemical and structural influences that play a role in this dynamic? The multidisciplinary panel will examine these questions and the way that imagination can play a role in the sexual dynamic of marriages and long-term sexual partnerships.

Michael Kimmel is among the world's leading researchers on masculinity. He has written or edited more than 20 books on the subject and edits the scholarly journal Men and Masculinities. A Professor of Sociology at SUNY Stony Brook, he teaches courses about sexuality, gender, and masculinity. He is National Spokesperson for the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS), and lectures all over the world on engaging men to support gender equality. In 2004, he became the first man to deliver the annual International Women's Day lecture at the Parliament of Europe.

Francis Levy is the author of the recently published Erotomania: A Romance. His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, and The Quarterly. He is Co-Director of the Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination.

Pamela Paul is the author of Parenting, Inc., Pornified: How Pornography Is Damaging Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families, and The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony. A frequent contributor to Time and The New York Times, she has also written for The Washington Post, Slate, Salon, Psychology Today, Redbook, Self, Ladies' Home Journal, and The Economist.

Esther Perel is a system oriented family therapist in private practice in New York City. Trained by Dr Salvador Minuchin, she is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Medical School, and the International Trauma Studies Program, in affiliation with Columbia University. She is the author of Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic, now translated into 20 languages. Perel is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy and the Society for Sex Therapy and Research.

Owen Renik is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis. He teaches clinical psychiatry at the University of California Medical Center at San Francisco, and is a former Editor-in-Chief of The Psychoanalytic Quarterly.


Edited Transcript

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Discussion Board

This forum allows for an ongoing discussion of the above Philoctetes event. You may use this space to share your thoughts or to pose questions for panelists. An attempt will be made to address questions during the live event or as part of a continued online dialogue.
Lisa Graham says:
I'm thrilled someone is willing to address these difficult questions. Thank you for organizing this very important series.

Lisa Graham, MSW, LSW
Cincinnati OH

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