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How Does Biology Dissolve Sexual Love—And What Can We Do?

Cupid's Poisoned Arrow

From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships

by Marnia Robinson

Cover of Cupid's Poisoned Arrow

“Radical, compelling, vexing…. I can’t stop thinking about this book.” —UCLA biology professor Jay Phelan, PhD, co-author of "Mean Genes"

In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about how the brain in love triggers neurochemical reactions for infatuation, lust and attachment. Too often, however, those phases don’t last and are followed by boredom, irritability, heartache, the urge to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol—and attraction to new potential mates. Marnia Robinson’s latest book, Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships, zeroes in on this untold part of the story: how and why biology dissolves our romances, and what we can do about it.

Cupid turns conventional sex advice on its head. Yet its innovative ideas for sustaining intimate relationships are carefully grounded in:

  • Recent neuroscience discoveries,
  • Forgotten wisdom from cultures worldwide, and
  • The personal experience of couples and singles who share their stories in the book.

The part of the brain where we fall in love is also where we fall out of love. Indeed, this ancient brain mechanism, which all mammals share, has far more say in our love lives than the rational part of the brain. This primitive circuitry plays an unsuspected role in compulsive behaviors, too, such as porn addiction (a topic Cupid addresses with refreshing practicality, and not a shred of moralizing).

This key part of the brain doesn’t operate on logic. Good intentions, and even vows, mean nothing to it. It operates on cues, that is, behaviors that deliver subconscious signals, bypassing the rational brain. Cupid uncovers the “poisoned arrow,” that is, the prime signal that gradually erodes mutual desire and puts the primitive brain on guard. As it turns out, discerning lovers throughout history have shielded their romances from this threat by learning to make love differently. Cupid also reveals which signals increase the desire to remain close, making it easier for mates to enjoy lasting harmony.

With greater knowledge of these two sets of behavioral cues, lovers are no longer at the mercy of Cupid (their genetic programming). Not only can they aim for the romance they want, they will also understand how their sex life affects other aspects of their day-to-day lives.

Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow is a skillful blend of understandable science, informative personal reports and light-hearted humor, which make for enjoyable, thought-provoking reading. Between its chapters, curious readers will also find intriguing essays about various traditions (Taoism, Christianity, Buddhism, cortezia, karezza, etc.). These reveal little known, and often remarkable, clues about the hidden potential that lies in our sexual relationships.

“Marnia Robinson's courageous book seriously challenges conventional ‘wisdom’ about human sexual interactions. It is as antithetical to modern cultural beliefs about sexual behavior as Galileo’s treatise was to astronomy.” —A.J. Reid Finlayson, MD, Division of Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow will be available June 23, 2009.

View back cover

View front cover detail

Read Chapter One: Biology Has Plans for Your Love Life

About the Author:

Marnia RobinsonWith degrees from Yale and Brown universities, Marnia Robinson left a corporate career to explore the striking parallels between recent scientific discoveries and traditional sacred-sex texts. Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow is her second book, and is slated for publication in German this year, too. Her first book, Peace Between the Sheets, was also translated into various other languages. Robinson and her husband Gary Wilson (who tracks down and analyzes the scientific research she uses in her books) have given presentations worldwide on the unwelcome effects of evolutionary biology on human intimacy. Their ideas were recently featured in the forward-thinking anthology Toward 2012: Perspectives on the Next Age. They maintain the Web site Reuniting: Healing with Sexual Relationships ( and have contributed pieces to various books and magazines. They live in Ashland, Oregon.


Pre-order from Random House, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Marnia's Blog

Why Bonobos Make Bad Role Models

Even though sexual utopians can no longer boast about Bonobo nonviolence, they often maintain that Bonobo promiscuity would be suitable for humans-presumably because we share a lot of genes and even some behaviors.

However, the sexual utopians are forgetting one thing. Bonobos don't have "pair-bonder brains." We do.

Bonobo chimps appear to be our closest living relatives. Zoologists once characterized them as the "make love, not war" hippies of the chimpanzee species,… Continue

Posted on June 30, 2009 at 8:30am

Why Does the Honeymoon End--and What Can We Do?

Cupid's Poisoned Arrow

From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships

by Marnia Robinson

Cover of Cupid's Poisoned Arrow

“Radical, compelling, vexing…. I can’t stop thinking about this book.” —UCLA biology professor Jay Phelan, PhD, co-author of "Mean Genes"

In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about how the brain in love triggers neurochemical reactions for infatuation, lust and attachment. Too often, however, those…


Posted on June 7, 2009 at 7:30pm — 2 Comments

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At 11:01pm on June 9, 2009, Steven M. said…
Yes, I got Patty's email and snail mail address. Thanks for asking. Re: music on an ARC page will take a bit of time that I do not have at the moment but I'll get back to you on it. Blessings, Steven M.
At 3:12pm on May 26, 2009, Steven M. said…
Hello Marnia,
Nice to see you and Gary at the Daniel Sheehan event. Have you heard what is up with Patty these days? Let's compare notes.
Blessings, Steven M.
At 2:36pm on March 1, 2009, Ashland Source Center said…

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Coronavirus News

Explosive If True: “I’m a Clinical Lab Scientist, C19 Is Fake, Wake up America” | The True Defender !

What we found was that all of the 1500 samples were mostly Influenza A and some were influenza B, but not a single case of Covid, and we did not use the B.S. PCR test. We then sent the remainder of the samples to Stanford, Cornell, and a few of the University of California labs and they found the same results as we did, NO COVID. They found influenza A and B. All of us then spoke to the CDC and asked for viable samples of COVID, which CDC said they could not provide as they did not have any samples. We have now come to the firm conclusion through all our research and lab work, that the COVID 19 was imaginary and fictitious. The flu was called Covid and most of the 225,000 dead were dead through co-morbidities such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, emphysema etc. and they then got the flu which further weakened their immune system and they died. I have yet to find a single viable sample of Covid 19 to work with. We at the 7 universities that did the lab tests on these 1500 samples are now suing the CDC for Covid 19 fraud. the CDC has yet to send us a single viable, isolated and purifed sample of Covid 19. If they can’t or won’t send us a viable sample, I say there is no Covid 19, it is fictitious. The four research papers that do describe the genomic extracts of the Covid 19 virus never were successful in isolating and purifying the samples. All the four papers written on Covid 19 only describe small bits of RNA which were only 37 to 40 base pairs long which is NOT A VIRUS. A viral genome is typically 30,000 to 40,000 base pairs.

COVID-19 Nasal Swab Test Led To Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak | Forbes

Many who’ve had a nasal Covid-19 test performed on themselves have described it as feeling like that swab got as far back as their brains. If done correctly, the swab is angled parallel to the floor, all the way to the back of the nose, and the swab is rubbed on an area called the nasopharynx. The actual term is a nasopharyngeal swab, not nasal swab, because it’s the nasopharynx that contains the highest possible viral load to best determine an active Covid-19 infection. The distance from the average nasal tip to the nasopharynx is close to 6 inches. So if it feels like there’s a half a foot being stuck up your nose, well, you’re not so far off.

US to Require Quarantine for All International Air Travelers | The Epoch Times

President Joe Biden on Jan. 21 issued an executive order that would require international air travelers to quarantine upon arrival to the United States.

CDC says asymptomatic people don't need testing, draws criticism from experts | TheHill

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) quietly changed its guidance on Monday to now say that asymptomatic people do not need to be tested for coronavirus, even if they have been in close contact with an infected person. The agency made the move by updating its website but did not make any public announcement or explain the reasoning behind the major revision.  The guidance now states: “If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms: You do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.”

What Kind of Covid Test Should I Get? Answers on Cost, Accuracy and More | WSJ

There are two generally available types of Covid-19 tests. The first, and most commonly used so far, is a PCR test, which is short for polymerase chain reaction. It’s a molecular test, meaning it searches for the virus’s genetic material in a nasal swab or saliva sample, and it is often processed in a highly complex laboratory. There are two ways to collect a nasal sample: from the inside of a nostril, or from the back of the nose and throat. The second way, called a nasopharyngeal swab, requires a professional to probe more deeply into the nasal cavity to get the sample. Some testing sites may ask you to swab your nose or cheek yourself, or spit into a tube. Each of these collection methods creates a sample that can be analyzed with a PCR test. Antigen tests, which search the sample for viral proteins instead of the virus’s genetic code, are becoming more widespread in the U.S. Right now, antigen tests are typically offered at doctor’s offices, nursing homes, schools and other congregate settings where groups of people need testing fast.

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