One of the reasons I decided to get into sex education work was that I realized HOW MUCH information, knowledge, science, and research about sexuality and relationships that most of us are just NEVER exposed to! For like, years and years and years folks have been studying human attraction and passion and desire and biology and health outcomes and physiology and so many other facets of sexuality. Really intriguing stuff, IMO. Yet, due to a whole context of reasons (not the least significant being society's wildly conservative - cough cough PRUDISH - perspective on all things related to our genitals), the vast majority of this knowledge isn't pushed to the forefront of public awareness.
BUT GOOD THING I'M HERE, RIGHT?
(btw, that was sarcasm)
But forrealsies, I thought I would share with you some of my all-time favorite resources that I find myself referencing back to again and again and again. I obviously don't have time to disseminate every single itty bitty iota of wisdom contained in them to all of you, so if you want to soak in more than I'm able to post on this here blogaroo (because there is SO. MUCH. MORE), I highly encourage you to read these sexy gems yourself.
oh! and I made all of the links and pics clickable, so you can buy them from Amazon, easy pleasy!
Some of them are a little more nerdy than others, and some are ones I have come to love more recently - others I've been obsessed with for 10-plus years (damn! I'm old!). Feel free to leave any questions you have about them in the comments and I'll be more than happy to respond.
1. Guide to Getting it On by Paul Joannides
Hands down, my all time favorite. It covers a wide array of topics (a kind of one-stop-shop read about sex), is wildly informative while laugh-out-loud witty. The author recently wrote in his newsletter, "When I first published the Guide To Getting It On, I was told no one would want to read a how-to book on sex with a sense of humor. It's not unlike sex education today, which is being taken over by people who are all triggers and no smiles. They think it's an act of violence if you use the wrong pronoun, and they become mean when you don't agree with them." ....and I couldn't agree with this guy more. Oh! And the illustrations! Fun and handy. If you can only get your hands on one of the books on this list, buy this one.
2. Why We Love by Helen Fisher
If you've read my blog post woman crushing on Helen Fisher, you already know why I think this book is a must-read. It's a really brilliant combination of scientific research (like, I'm talking BRAIN SCANS) and practical, everyday use and interpretation. It gives a historical, anthropological (not dry or boring, cross my heart!) perspective to present-day dating, mating, pair-bonding and attraction. Really cool shit. So many of the once-belived "unexplainable" behaviors of our lovers can be explained by this book. Do it - you won't!
3. Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving by Betty Dodson
Please, please, please, please, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease - if you don't know who Betty Dodson is, Google her immediately. Like, right this second. I'll wait.
OK, so hopefully in your Google search, you were able to find some sort of video with Betty, because she deserves to be seen and heard all at the same time. This woman has spent the majority of her life making people feel GOOD about their genitals. Encouraging self exploration and discovery and pleasure. How freaking empowering is that? She probably knows more about the clitoris than just about anyone in the world.She even used to do "bodysex workshops" where folks would come TO HER HOUSE, get naked, and get to know their genitals, their pleasure, and even their orgasm with her assistance. So fucking cool. I love listening to her talk (which is why I hope you found a video). She speaks so open and freely yet SO intelligently. Like, she doesn't give a fuck and it really gives me warm and fuzzies inside. As you can probably gather from the title of this book, it's almost like the masturbation bible. I'm not sure why you'd need any more motivation to read it than that.
4. Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel
Another one of our #womancrushwednesday's here at SL&ATF, Esther Perel flips a lot of the preconceived ideas we have about intimacy, desire and commitment upside down. In a time and society where we are hesitant to talk about emotions, vulnerability, and all our feels (ugh, I'm so sick of this notion that whoever has the least feels is the strongest and most powerful), this book highlights how integral those conversations are to sexual desire! Especially over the long term. If you are at any time in your life hopeful to have a LTR with spark, this book is essential. (PS on a personal note, this book has been helpful for several peeps who I am close to understand desire changes in their relationships)
5. Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski
How many times do I have to talk about this book before you actually buy it? Yea, I'm talking to YOU! Kidding, kidding. No pressure. But forreals, this book has been SO incredibly helpful in explaining and understanding the science of sexual desire - particularly for women or people that have sex slash relationships with women. It emphasizes the importance of CONTEXT in desire (versus just our genitals or biology), provides advice for turning - as the cover says - "on the ons and off the offs" in our brain, and what I think is the most important facet - WILL MAKE YOU FEEL TOTALLY NORMAL (even when Cosmo makes you feel otherwise)! Read it. That's all.
6. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman
Have y'all heard me call John Gottman my relationship yoda? I was first introduced to him through his marital therapy textbooks, and while they were pretty dense to read (jam packed with knowledge), I found them to be SUPER captivating. I remember being SO HAPPY to discover he had written a book for us laypeople - a practical guide for those of us IN relationships versus clinical practitioners. While the title implies this is a read for married folks, I promise you, anyone who is or aspires to be in a relationship can benefit from this book.
Happy reading, lovers!