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Michael Castleman Has Recipes For Renewing Ardor

By Corrie M. Anders, The Noe Valley Voice

A Noe Valley author has written a new self-help book that may be the ideal complement to that box of chocolates or bouquet of roses this Valentine’s Day.

The book, Sizzling Sex for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Maximize Erotic Pleasure at Any Age, is the work of health and sex journalist Michael Castleman.

“There are people who are actively trying to enhance their sexual relationships,” says Castleman, 70. “Valentine’s Day is the time of year when more people are open to sexual enhancements.”

In addition, Covid-19 is compelling many couples to spend more time at home, so who couldn’t use a few tips on love and affection?

The 456-page book, published last month by Skyhorse, is a comprehensive guide to enhancing one’s lovemaking skills and re-kindling passion when desire may have ebbed. Chapters run the gamut from erotic massage and oral sex technique to elder hook-ups and consensual non-monogamy.

The writing is down to earth and at times frank enough to make Cupid blush. But it is based on 2,500 sexology studies and the author’s 46 years of dispensing practical information on sex.

Castleman, who works from the Alvarado Street house he has shared with wife Anne Castleman, a retired physician, since 1987, wrote his first sex guide, Sexual Solutions, while in his 20s. He has written a twice-monthly digital blog, “All About Sex,” for Psychology Today. In his spare time, he’s written four mystery novels.

Castleman says the most pressing concern for people in long-term relationships is what he calls the “desire difference,” when one partner wants to engage in sexual activity more frequently than the other. It’s the number one reason a couple might consult a sex therapist.

“The fact of the matter is that when people fall in love, they can’t keep their hands off each other. [But] the hot and heavy period lasts six months to two years,” he says. “After that, ardor cools, and for different people, it cools at different rates.”

Frustration can occur when “the person who has higher desires is always reaching and cuddling and hoping to get lucky” and the less receptive partner backs off, “cringing for fear of giving the wrong message,” Castleman says.

In a loving relationship, there are many potential solutions, but one of the simplest, he says, is to schedule a sex date.

“Sex therapists say, ‘Decide how often you want to make love, pull out your calendar, and schedule it.’ People have to get past the idea of spontaneous sex.”

Castleman says the rise in use of pornography has been the biggest change in sexual mores since he wrote his last ad- vice book, Great Sex, in 2008. In Sizzling Sex for Life, he devotes more than 50 pages to the complicated subject, exploring its historical roots, male-female differences, the potential use by adolescents, and its connections (or not) to addiction, violence, or emotional betrayal.

Knowing their male partner watches porn can cause “tremendous anguish” in some women, says Castleman. “They think the guy is horrible. They think it’s mental infidelity, or that they can’t compete with those women [porn stars].”

However, Castleman argues, experimenting with porn, especially the feminist variety—his book lists half a dozen internet sources for femme porn—might provide the spark for a new level of intimacy.

And that might keep more than a few home fires burning from one Valentine’s Day to the next.

You can order Sizzling Sex for Life ($24.99) from Folio Books at foliosf.com, among other outlets in the city. For further information about the book and its author, see SizzlingSexforLife.com

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