For anyone wanting a deeper and stronger love life, Thomas Moore's new book, The Soul of Sex, is essential reading. In it, Moore, best-selling author of Care of the Soul and The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, examines sex and love and their relationship to all aspects of life. He explores the meaning of sex and asserts that being a part of a healthy sexual relationship can lead to a balanced, fulfilling life. According to Moore, today's society puts less value on beauty, which affects our feelings about sex and love. Moore argues, "But to the soul, beauty is more important than almost anything, and so it plays an important role in our desires and cravings. It lies at the heart of sexuality and is responsible for a good portion of the pleasure we find there."Moore draws on several sources, including mythology, celebrity portraits, and case studies to illustrate his point. He cites the story of Aphrodite and Anchises early on in the book as "the key" to keeping the human aspect of sexuality alive. In the story, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, desires a relationship with a mortal man something she achieves with the young shepherd Anchises. Moore illuminates the deeper meaning in the story's details, and its relevance to our lives now.
Moore urges readers to cultivate an awareness and appreciation of the body, and explores how both imagination and physical sensation play crucial roles in enhancing the sexual experience and creating more soulful relationships. Referring to the body as an "erotic landscape," Moore guides readers on a journey to the body's different areas, from the face and hair, to the sexual organs, and explains how each part has sexual significance. Moore also, of course, emphasizes the connection between sexuality and spirituality. Referring to Greek mythology, ancient Eastern religions, and Christianity, he illustrates how different belief systems continue to inform our sexuality, and how they have in the past affected our sexual psyche in both positive and negative ways. Moore also provides examples, through stories of religious and sexual imagery, of people of various faiths who have successfully combined sexuality and spirituality.
In a culture in which many bristle at the mere mention of the words "eroticism" or "sex," Moore affirms that embracing sexuality is both natural and healthy. By bringing sensuality and joy back into our relationships, he advises, we can achieve more satisfying and well-rounded lives.
Reviewed by Paul Ladd.