When wellness entrepreneur Chrisanna Northrup began experiencing the relationship blahs that are part of every couple's journey and wondered where she and her husband were located on the "bar" of normality, she resolved to learn everything she could about what really goes on in other people's private lives. Soon, she'd recruited two of America's top sociologists, Yale Ph.D. Pepper Schwartz and Harvard Ph.D. James Witte, in a landmark undertaking that would become The Normal Bar. Key to the project's success was the partnership of AARP, AOL, Huffington Post and Reader's Digest, which encouraged tens of thousands to take the project's innovative OnQ survey.
What has resulted is the clearest picture yet of how well couples around the world are communicating, romancing each other, satisfying each other in the bedroom, sharing financial responsibilities, and staying faithful – or not. Since the analysis breaks down the data by age and gender, racial and geographic differences and sexual preferences, the authors are able to reveal, for example, what happens to passion as we grow older, which gender wants what when it comes to sex, the factors that spur marital combat, how kids figure in, how being gay or bisexual turns out to be both different and the same, and the tiny habits that drive partners crazy.
The book is dense with revelations, from the unexpected popularity of certain sexual positions, to the average number of times happy – and unhappy -- couples kiss, to the prevalence of lying, to the surprising loyalty most men and women feel for their partner (even when in a deteriorating relationship), to the vivid and idiosyncratic ways individuals of different ages, genders and nationalities describe their "ideal romantic evening".
But The Normal Bar is much more than a peek behind the relationship curtain. Its array of prescriptive tools helps readers establish a "new normal" that is more likely to result in relationship happiness. Mindful of what keeps couples stuck in ruts, the book's authors suggest practical and life-changing ways to break the cycle of disappointment and frustration.
Part can't-put-it-down portrait of how real couples behave, and part easy-to-follow roadmap to achieving relationship happiness, The Normal Bar is a must-have guidebook for anyone who's ever thought of pairing up, has paired up, or wants to find a deeper level of satisfaction with the person they've chosen.