Sex & Relationship
Here are some of my favorite books about sexuality
by Paul Joannides
I ordered this book the moment I left the house and went to college. This book is a manual for sex in all of it’s form and capacities. This is where I first learned about threesomes, fisting, lesbian sex, anal sex, and BDSM. It covers a wide berth, but doesn’t go into much depth, which makes it a shame-free and inclusive way to learn about all things related to sexuality. The book also has beautiful illusions of people being sexual, with a range of body types, genders, ages, races, and abilities, clearly saying the message sex is for all!
by Jack Morin, Ph.D
This book is so rich in content and understanding of sexuality. Reading it once was not enough. Jack Morin has gathered data on people’s peak sexual experiences, and uses that to explore the psyche of sexuality and attraction. He emphasizes the paradoxical nature of attraction and how small amounts of anxiety or insecurity can actually be an emotional aphrodisiac. Through reading this, you’ll also learn about your own Core Erotic Themes, and what they can tell you about your psyche. This book was pretty dense but still so much fun to read.
by Ester Perel
I gave this book to my partner early in our relationship once it seemed like our relationship was getting more serious. I did this in hopes that our monogamous relationship would still be sexy even as we stayed together for years. And that’s exactly what this book is about: reconciling committed partnership with erotic passion. She describes how desire and love operate on different trajectories, however she describes how they can coexist.
by adrienne maree brown
I just started listening to this audiobook and I’m already loving it! The author, as a queer woman of color, dives into pleasure as a way of life: a political statement, a spiritual path, a way to look at work and relationships, and a form of activism. It’s deeply inspiring on multiple levels, and listening to her words is giving me lots of pleasure.
by John Gottman, Ph.D, and Nan Silver
The little book continues to inform the way I think about committed relationships. Instead of studying what goes wrong in relationships, the author, John Gottman, studies what goes right in relationships. With seven easy principles including relationship repair, building fondness and admiration, and nurturing the foundation of a long term partnership. This book feels out-dated in the way it talks about gender roles and marriage, but it’s truly valuable for anyone of any gender thinking about what it takes to be in long term partnership.
by Marshall B. Rosenberg
This book has shifted the way I practice communication not only in my romantic relationship, but in many settings. This book provides concrete tools for how to shift communication towards clear, concise, authentic, and connective communication. I recommend this to my clients often.
by Ester Perel
I listened to this on audiobook, and loved listening to Ester Perel’s voice. She has so much wisdom and professional experience on why cheating occurs, why it’s hurtful, how to heal from it, and how to prevent it. She also looks at infidelity across cultures and the cultural differences on the importance of honesty, which I found interesting.
by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá
I fondly refer to this as the best book I read in 2014. Which means I’m due for a rereading. This book has a broad lens on human sexuality, going back to our hunter-gatherer days, studying the sexual practices of our nearest primate cousins, and looking at sexuality through as practiced in a variety of cultures. This book empowered me in my sexuality in a foundational and unshakeable way.
by Tristan Taormino
This book was most valuable to me because it showed models for how to practice consensual non-monogamy in a variety of different forms: from solo polyamory to partnered nonmonogamy to polyfidelity to swinging. It also touches on important topics such as navigating boundaries, dealing with jealousy, and juggling schedules. I read this book in 2015 when I was first starting to practice ethical nonmonogamy and I found it very helpful, especially when first starting out.
by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
This book was hugely powerful in understanding trauma and the long-term impact on the body and psyche. This book changed the way I view the world and myself. It also ignited a passion and desire to help people struggling with trauma. Bessel van der Kolk studies the impact of trauma on the brain and body, and looks at how it impacts people’s capacity for pleasure, trust, and self-control. He also spends about a third of the book looking at different treatments for trauma including meditation, yoga, theater, EMDR, and sports. It highlights the immense human capacity to harm and to heal.
by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D
This book is helpful for understanding the science behind female sexuality. It dives into anatomy, body image, the stress cycle, and arousal. My biggest takeaway was about stress, and how to dispel stress the way that it actually moves through and leaves the body. Revolutionary. I found the metaphors and how it's written a little tiresome, but well, well worth it.
Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life
by Justin J Lehmiller, Ph.D
This book is a collection of discoveries from Lehmiller's mix-methods research on what Americans desire. He normalized fantasies (group sex BDSM are actually quite normal fantasies!) and connected various personality traits to the likelihood of various fantasies. He also offers a roadmap for how to talk about fantasy. It's juicy and scientific and excellent at de-shamifying fantasy.
CURRENTLY READING: Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy
by Jessica Fern
This book has become the unofficial bible for poly communities. I'm only a few chapters in and I can already see why.
Although most of these authors are white men and women, I'd like to cultivate a greater ethnic and racial diversity in the literature about sexuality I digest. Please give me recommendations if you have enjoyed books, podcasts, or shows related to sexuality written by people of color.
I linked the books to Thriftbooks, which recycles books, offers books at a discount, and ships for free if you order more than $10. Highly recommend them.
Where Should We Begin with Ester Perel
"No" - Kaitlin explores her sexual boundaries from youth to adulthood
Death, Sex, Money
TED Radio Hour:
- "Biology of Sex"
- "Just Sex"
TV Shows (more fun, less knowledge)
Love, Sex, Goop
(Un)Well - Tantric Sex episode