Ill-Equipped for a Life of Sex: A Memoir

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9780060792145: Ill-Equipped for a Life of Sex: A Memoir

We quickly became the typical I-must-talk-to-you-every-night-and-drive-over-to-your-house-at-10-p.m.-because-I-absolutely-cannot-go-to-sleep-if-I'm-not-in-the-same-bed-as-you couple falling in love ... But just as quickly our honeymoon period came to an end. At first it wasn't clear. And then it was very clear. And then it was so fucking clear that John and I found ourselves driving to Beverly Hills for couples therapy.

When Jennifer Lehr found herself, at age twenty-eight, falling in love with a brilliant, kind, supportive comic named John, she breathed a sigh of relief. After a decade spent in a string of destined-to-fail relationships, and countless hours of therapy trying to repair the damage, her Mr. Right had come along. Even Jennifer's judgmental grandparents had no choice but to succumb to John's considerable charms.

Happily ever after? Not so fast. True love, Jennifer soon discovers, doesn't necessarily go hand-in-hand with a white-hot sex life. Just months into the relationship, she finds herself grappling with the question: What do you do when you find the committed, loving partnership you've always hoped for, but the sex is just so-so ... that is, when and if it happens at all? Distraught, yet dedicated to making their relationship work, Jennifer and John embark on couples therapy, twelve-step meetings, romantic getaways, Scheduled Date Nights ... and their gritty determination begins to pay off.

Looking back at her life (sexual history, botched romances, neurotic parents) while tracing her and John's bumpy progress toward marriage, what emerges is a provocative, courageously honest, poignant, and ultimately cheering chronicle of one woman's sexual odyssey. Ill-Equipped for a Life of Sex is the quintessential modern-era love story -- complete with confused expectations, myths of romantic love, and the overriding hope that a successful relationship can be forged from the rubble.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Lehr made a splash when she self-published a book entitled 78 Drawings of My Face, a no-holds-barred look at the UCLA Art School scene. In 1998, she founded Private Edition Celebration Books, a business that creates custom-designed coffee-table books commemorating people's lives. Jennifer lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

From Booklist:

Can lackluster sex turn a beloved partner into an ex? That's the question pondered in this engaging--if overlong--memoir from Lehr, an L.A.-based publisher of coffee-table books. When 28-year-old grad student Jennifer meets former alcoholic and drug addict John, she's convinced he's the man of her dreams. Jennifer has a wretched track record when it comes to romance, though, and her attraction to John seems borne of desperation rather than desire (she openly admits that he looks "like a troll"). From tense teenage dates to forbidden forays with handsome actors, Lehr recounts her rocky road from sexual dysfunction to marital bliss (well, not quite). Husband-to-be John, it seems, is soporific in their sessions between the sheets. Lehr is determined not to take his lack of lust lying down (so to speak), trying every trick in the book, from therapy to antidepressants, to light the libidinal fire. While her candor is admirable, Lehr's descriptions of sex may be a bit too explicit for some readers' tastes. More than 50 black-and-white photos--with black eye strips protecting the identity of former amours--keep things lively when the narrative loses steam. The sensationalistic aspects of this memoir may well generate plenty of off-the-book-pages publicity (an appearance with Howard Stern seems inevitable). Hoopla aside, Lehr's journey to happily-ever-after doesn't quite work as a piece of narrative nonfiction, but it may help the similarly bed-bound become better equipped. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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