Discovering Your Couple Sexual Style: Sharing Desire, Pleasure, and Satisfaction, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Discovering Your Couple Sexual Style

Sharing Desire, Pleasure, and Satisfaction, 1st Edition

By Barry W. McCarthy, Emily McCarthy


146 pages

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Winner of the 2009 Smart Marriages® Impact Award

Think all sex should be earth shattering? The quality of most couple sex doesn’t measure up to the much distorted image of the perfect romantic love/passionate sex encounter portrayed in popular culture. In Discovering Your Couple Sexual Style: Sharing Desire, Pleasure, and Satisfaction, renowned marital and sex therapist Barry McCarthy and his wife Emily McCarthy urge couples to ignore what they see on TV, in books, or online, and discover their own unique sexual style.

The McCarthys offer three guidelines for sexual satisfaction: develop positive, realistic sexual expectations; explore sensual and sexual options; and communicate sexual desires. With this foundation, couples can take a straightforward survey to determine which of four couple sexual styles best fits their relationship. Based on three years of research and treating more than 4,000 individuals and couples, Discovering Your Couple Sexual Style provides information, guidelines, exercises, and case studies that will help readers find their own sexual voice and develop a mutually satisfying sexual style.


"This is no "cookie cutter" approach to relationships; McCarthy and McCarthy unearth unique qualities of each couple and show them how to blend intimacy and eroticism in a realistic and fulfilling style. Every couple can grow—and keep growing—with this book’s guidance." - Michael Metz, co-author of Men’s Sexual Health

"Once again the McCarthys have created a classic, easy to read, and relevant guide to a great sex life that is tailored to your personal style and taste. Great insights, compelling stories and fun exercises make this a must read book." - Dr Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love (

"With wisdom and clarity, the authors provide a wealth of solid information for couples who want to overcome personal challenges, bridge their erotic differences, and create a deeply rewarding and enduring sexual life together." - Wendy Maltz, author of The Sexual Healing Journey and Passionate Hearts

"The very concept of a "couple sexual style" is radically transformative and inspirational. It creates hope and confidence as couples realize that it's in their power to create and maintain, decorate and refurbish their own style—together." - Diane Sollee, Founder and Director of

"I appreciate that the authors note taht , while this is a self-help book, it is not a do-it-yourself help book. The book provides value to the sexuality field, particularly to therapy and counseling. It is a resource that is accessible to the average person by not bring over-priced or too daunting in size to read. It also normalizes areas of sexuality that are often viewed to be on the fringes by our society." - Shanna L. S. Klunk, LSW, MSW, licensed psychotherapist, in Contemporary Sexuality, june 2010. Vol 44. No. 6

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part I: Developing a Healthy Couple Sexuality. Establishing Positive, Realistic Sexual Expectations. Determining Your Couple Sexual Style. Communicating Your Sexuality: The Five Dimensions of Touch. Successfully Implementing Your Couple Sexual Style. Part II: Enhancing Desire and Satisfaction. Keeping Your Sexual Options Open. Building Bridges to Desire. Indulging in Eroticism and Sexual Fantasies. Optimizing Sexual Intercourse. Savoring Orgasm and Afterplay. Part III: Surmounting Sexual Challenges. Overcoming Sexual Inhibitions. Dealing with Illness and Sex. Looking for Help from Pro-sex Medications. Confronting Sex and Aging. Part IV: Maintaining Healthy Couple Sexuality. Nurturing Sexuality as Intimate, Erotic Friends. Maintaining Sexual Vitality. Appendix A: Choosing an Individual, Couple, or Sex Therapist. Appendix B: Sexual Health Books and Resources.

About the Authors

Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, professor of psychology, and certified sex and marital therapist. He has published extensively on couples and sexuality and given more than a hundred workshops around the world.

Emily McCarthy, having worked for years as a speech therapist, now collaborates with her husband on books that address issues faced by married couples.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Human Sexuality
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Couples & Family