10 Incredible Books About Sex & Sexuality To Add To Your Bookshelf

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    I went to a public high school, but my school took an abstinence-only approach to sex ed. In fact, it was pretty similar to the sex ed scene in Mean Girls — it was taught by the football coach, we were warned that having sex would pretty much ruin our lives, and we all learned absolutely nothing. In fact, the Mean Girls sex ed class was better than the one I took, because at least the Mean Girls coach gave out condoms — mine never mentioned any form of birth control.

    Instead, I learned about sex from friends, the internet, and books — and books were by far the most accurate source of knowledge on that list. I’m one of the legions of fans who credit the American Girl book The Care and Keeping Of You for teaching us all about puberty — not just periods, but also pubic hair, pimples, and B.O. 

    Now that I’m an adult woman and a professional sex & relationships writer, I still read books to learn more about sex. So I put together this list, including some of my favorites, some of my colleagues’ recommendations, and some suggestions from my Twitter followers that I’ve already added to my to-read list.

    Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, PhD


    This bestselling book explores the whys and hows of women’s sexuality — asserting that there’s no one “normal,” and it’s useless to compare your own experience to others.


    Simon & Schuster Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life, $, available at Amazon

    Faking It: The Lies Women Tell about Sex — And the Truths They Reveal by Lux Alptraum 


    In Faking It, Lux Alptraum challenges the idea that faking an orgasm is a bad thing. Instead, she explores how often, when, and why women lie about sex.  Read an excerpt on Refinery29


    Seal Press Faking It, $, available at Amazon

    Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure, & Relationships by Juno Roche


    In Queer Sex, trans activist and writer Juno Roche combines her own story with interviews with other trans and non-binary individuals, creating a narrative that offers both insight and practical advice. Read an excerpt on Refinery29 UK.

    Jessica Kingsley Publishers Queer Sex, $, available at Amazon

    Mating In Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel


    In Mating In Captivity, renowned relationship therapist Esther Perel explores erotic desire, explaining why it’s so hard to maintain it in a long-term, monogamous relationship — and what to do to keep it alive.

    HarperTorch Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, $, available at Amazon

    The Ethical Slut, Third Edition: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton 

     
    This guide to ethical non-monogamy remains a go-to for people interested in polyamory, two decades after it was first published.

    Ten Speed Press The Ethical Slut, Third Edition, $, available at Amazon

    Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown


    Writer and activist adrienne maree brown introduces the concept of “pleasure activism,” arguing that, as she puts it, “pleasure is a measure of freedom.”


    AK Press Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, $, available at Amazon

    The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina: Separating the Myth from the Medicine by Jen Gunter, MD


    Dr. Jen Gunter, who’s become known as “Internet’s OB/GYN” thanks to her viral Goop criticisms, gives us a guide to vaginal health, including yeast infections, painful sex, and “the myth of the G-spot.”

    Citadel The Vagina Bible, $, available at Amazon

    Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon 


    This sex ed book features illustrations, instructions, and sex tips from over a dozen sex experts. Moon and Diamond take a trans- and genderqueer-inclusive approach to their suggestions, showing that there are many ways to have incredible sex.

    Allison Moon Girl Sex 101, $, available at Amazon

    Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free by Wednesday Martin, PhD


    Dr. Wednesday Martin challenges myths about women’s supposedly relationship-focused nature, arguing that in fact, women may struggle more than men with sexual exclusivity. Read an excerpt on Refinery29.


    Brown Spark Untrue, $, available at Amazon

    Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power, and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All by Jaclyn Friedman


    In Unscrewed, Jaclyn Friedman examines the state of sexual power in the United States,  looking at how politics, religion, education, and other factors play into our sex lives.

    Seal Press Unscrewed, $, available at Amazon

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