When a new self-help book offers marriage help, unhappy once-in-love couples reach for it with hope. Save Your Marriage the Sexy Way (For Men and Women--Both) has a catchy title with a promise. Unfortunately, author Ken Llewellyn can't deliver. It is so peppered
with his cranky personal views with what comes across as political and gender-based bitterness that it is difficult to find the advice in all the pulpit-yelling. "Nice does not a good marriage make", writes Llewellyn, "but a dominant Testosterone filled man and a submissive Estrogen embracing woman." He strongly states numerous times that to not "take" his woman, a man is not a "real man".
It is like a peanut butter and tuna sandwich. Separately, either flavor might be ok, depending on how it is dealt with. Handled together, in the same bite? Simply unappealing. It is as if one is reading two books in Llewellyn's Save Your Marriage the Sexy Way. In one, his very strong, long-winded opinions about feminism and putting women back in their place (aka dress sexy, obey, diet, etc) smack of offensive good-ol'-boys club, soapbox-style rhetoric. In the other, he seems to genuinely wish to help decrease the divorce rate with heartfelt (if rather one-sided) advice.
There are some very well detailed step-by-step tips, though nothing new, as well as places to find further information online. However, it is largely based in giving her permission, making her obey, etc. While he literally offers permission for wives to read the book, the actual "sex tips" are for men to use on their now-submissive wives. A true self-help marital guide, as advertised, should offer wives more than simply obey, respect, and "be sexy" for their men--good sex goes both ways!
There is more than one 'tip' that is just downright annoying, but here is just one example. He admonishes women never to withhold sex, no matter the reason--for she is the woman. Then, he tells men not to "reinforce bad outcomes" or lack of orgasm on her part, be it due to lack of interest, enthusiasm, whatever, with actual intercourse. He tells husbands to only reward her "responsiveness" and not to reward anything less. "You are not there to ask her. You are there to tell her... your woman will LOVE it." He leads from there into semi-heavy dominance play: calling him "sir", asking/begging permission, along with very firm, repetitive encouragement to take charge, lead, Command, "BE THE MAN." Along this vein: "It is simply not normal for women not to respond," validating this by saying that women do not want to be asked but told what to do by her man.
(The word "normal" varies from person to person, regardless of gender, does it not?)
He balances all the "dominant bull" stuff by telling husbands--very clearly and bluntly--that it is their job to help their wives be not just happy in bed but multi-orgasmic, and
he states firmly that this should be the goal every time. He offers education to achieve this. Even so, only with his permission--once permission is mentioned, it is reinforced over and over and over... And over! "You are in charge. You are the man."
He "commands" while she "respects". There is also a Pavlov's dog-like method for him to command and allow her orgasm with his "dominant" voice. The author also laments how little we, as a society and as a world, are doing to continue to be fruitful--that we all must do our duty by marrying and having as many babies as we can. "The West has no excuse"... This "birth-death" (his concept for less babies being born) "is caused by pure selfishness." He goes on to admonish that Real Men Are Fathers. He returns to his facts about our "literally breeding" the real man out of our men, so finding that level of manliness/testosterone to ravish her fully can be tough. He goes so far as to tell American women that this is why so many Western men go find Asian wives: they still know how to respect, obey, and be "feminine". But he has to be worthy by joining a gym, getting more in touch with his testosterone, and being a "fully integrated male--BE THE MAN".
Rather than being helpful, he simply bashes both genders. To continue, he goes on to explain that men are shallow for putting off fatherhood. Again, insulting the readers for personal choices? Everyone has the right and responsibility to choose when parenthood is/if right for them, though he does have a right to his opinions.
He justifies his bashing by openly announcing that he is not "P.C." However, he goes far beyond this concept. There will be no happy marriages but the ones in which he dominates fully, she surrenders and obeys, and they have very large families. In essence, if you have read that line, you've got the book--largely because he states these things, one or all, over and over through the entire book. It is more than repetitive.
On nearly every page, there are at least 2-3 words in capital letters (up to 5-6 here and there) and another reminder to get back to our caveman roots and follow our hormone-given roles. There is very little to none in the way of wiggle room for these assignments. It is offensive, not only to the "feminists" that he continually mentions, but to men as well. Sadly for Llewellyn, we are more than the sum of our hormones.
The last part that doesn't work is simply structural. He never quite got past the outline of the book. Combined with the feel of a ranty blogger feel, the inability to make a point without virtually yelling at his readers, it makes it seem half-done and belligerent rather than empathetic and helpful.
One positive is the admonishment to continually see, appreciate, and verbally show your spouse that you are attracted to them still. He reminds us that "stale" marriages are often a product of simply not seeing one another. Seduce your partner. Another is the advice not to badmouth your wife or husband to friends--as Llewellyn says, that "injects poison" into the relationship. Then he trots out obvious, clear, good advice such as "TALK to each other".
This self-help book suffers from whiplash. It smacks up one side and down the other partner, but then offers little nuggets of platitudes or already known advice. The opinionated portions are just so much of the book, however, that it takes over. One book, sadly, buries the other. Bashing the readers is a tough way to get them to do what you think is right. Not every woman wants or secretly needs to be dominated, and not every man feels emasculated by his wife. However, for those whose beliefs and feelings align with Llewellyn's, Save Your Marriage the Sexy Way would be useful and even cathartic.