Looking for *quality* information about sex can be hard to come by. After all, it’s a difficult topic for many to discuss at length, and most of the sites we use to communicate and get information on pretty much everything else (social media, online search, news, etc) censor the topic to some degree. That’s why books are more important than ever these days to convey some of the nuances across a range of topics from pleasure, relationships, sexual identity, and more.
As veterans in the Sextech industry for nearly a decade, we’ve come across a variety of books published over time that have caught our attention. Whether you’re looking to learn more about the vagina, explore your sexual identity, or find a suitable sex ed book for your kid, we’ve rounded up some great picks below, categorized by topic.
The Guide to Getting It On
By Paul Joannides, Psy.D. (Author) and Daerick Gröss Sr. (Illustrator)
If you only get one book from this list, this comprehensive book on sex goes over pretty much every topic under the sun. It’s often used for college-level sex-ed courses, but don’t let that make you think it’s not a fun read. I was fortunate to win a copy of one of these books when I was in college and it was great to basically have as an encyclopedia to sex on my bookshelf whenever I had a question or was curious to learn something new.
Not only is this book packed with information about a range of topics from anatomy, sexuality, sex advice, and more — it also has fun-yet-educational illustrations throughout that keep this dense book feeling informative and accessible.
Better Sex Through Mindfulness
By Lori A. Brotto, Ph.D. and Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
Although this book is more geared towards better sex and mindfulness for women, a lot of these lessons can be applicable to anybody. Basically, external factors such as stress, anxiety, and ability to focus can hamper sexual desire, arousal, and overall pleasure. Dr. Brotto and Nagoski go over why that is in depth, case studies, and then share tips and techniques to practice mindfulness in the context of sexual pleasure.
Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability
By Dr. Miriam Kaufman, Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette
For anyone (or anyone with a loved one) who experiences disabilities, including chronic pain and illness, this book is all about how to have a satisfying sex life and relationship. Along with a firsts section busting myths about sex and disability, it goes over all of the usual topics about sexual techniques and communication but with the lens of different considerations to take into account when one or both partners have a disability.
Vulvas and Vaginas 101
The Vagina Bible
By Dr. Jen Gunter
This book is a great modern-day resource to consult when you're looking to better understand all things vagina (and vulvas). Just released in late 2019, the Vagina Bible is based on OB/GYN Dr. Gunter's knowledge and research of vaginal and vulvar health, including dispelling myths about commonly discussed remedies (yoni eggs, anyone?).
Come As You Are
By Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
If you've had questions about sexual arousal and desire, look no further than Emily Nagoski's book. There, you will learn that our varied experiences are quite normal, our sex drives are different and can change over time, and we are not alone in our experiences and questions, even if it might feel that way sometimes because we don’t have many places to discuss sex openly. This is a really important book if you have questions or concerns about your own experiences and are looking for new contexts and tools to embrace and be your best self.
She Comes First
By Ian Kerner, Ph.D.
While this book was first published in 2009 and geared towards heterosexual couples, it’s basically an entire book on cunnilingus and why it can be something great to add to your sexual repertoire. He goes over some anatomy background and then guides and illustrations on positions and techniques for oral sex.
Girl Sex 101
By Allison Moon and KD Diamond
This book is centered around pleasure for women and those who love them — and it’s trans and nonbinary inclusive. The book is formatted like taking a road trip and comes with stories and illustrations, so it’s a fun adventure to learn how to have better, more fulfilling sex.
I particularly love how the focus at the beginning is on communication and consent, which are two very important steps to better pleasure and sex, and then the anatomy information and techniques come after.
Also check out our guide to sex toys for people with penises.
The Penis Book
Aaron Spitz, MD
Aptly titled the Penis Book, it’s basically a book of everything you might want to ask a doctor about the penis, but may not have known to ask or felt too awkward to ask. Dr. Spitz, who is a urologist and served as an assistant clinical professor at UC Irvine’s Department of Urology for 15 years goes over a range of topics from STI to blood flow and erections.
Anal Pleasure and Health: A Guide for Men, Women and Couples
By Jack Morin, Ph.D.
This is the comprehensive guide to all topics related to anal exploration from pleasure, anatomy, health, and relationship dynamics. What I really enjoy about this book is that Morin covers both anal pleasure and how to keep yourself healthy and safe while engaging in anal play.
The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women
By Tristan Taormino
This book is also a great primer on all things anal sex (masturbation, sex, sex toys, and more). While it is geared towards womxn, it’s packed with information that anyone curious about anal sex could benefit from learning. Taormino goes over anatomy, techniques, and communication when it comes to anal pleasure so you can feel well-informed and well-prepared for your next exploration.
Partners in Passion
By Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson
Written by a married couple, this book goes over advice for keeping a long-term relationship alive and exciting for years to come. They cover a wide range of topics on how to keep your relationship exciting and draw their knowledge both from their experience as teachers and from scientific studies.
The Ethical Slut
By Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton
If you’re curious to learn more about relationship structures beyond the typical monogamous, married, living together structures, this book is an excellent introduction to a variety of relationship structures.
Although it’s initial focus has (and still) is on polyamory and open relationships, their newest edition goes beyond that to discuss relationships where couples don’t live together, don’t have sex with each other, and where couples have different sex styles and interests.
Along with discussing different relationship models, they also go over advice for better communication, how to deal with jealousy, and how to live harmoniously.
Sex Over 50
Also check out our guide for Sex Toys for Seniors.
Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex
By Joan Price
Joan Price is a "senior sexpert" who has written extensively about sex after 50. Each of her books has a somewhat different angle, so you can check out her work and see which one is the most interesting to you. I chose this one because it covers the most ground of what happens for women and men as they get older, and all of the different experiences you can choose to partake in no matter your age.
The Whole Lesbian Sex Handbook
By Felice Newman
Although this book has been out for a while (how to date and where to meet people has changed a LOT since the book update in 2004) a lot of other information about pleasure, communication, and techniques are still very relevant for today. Think of this as an encyclopedia of sex specifically geared towards queer women (including Nonbinary and Transwomen).
The Joy of Gay Sex
By Charles Silverstein, Ph.D. and Felice Picano
Like The Whole Lesbian Sex handbook, this is the encyclopedia of gay sex education. It initially came out in the 1970s but has been revised several times since its initial launch.
Organized by entries (from Anus to Wrestling) this book goes over every single term or technique you wanted to know (or didn’t know you’d want to learn) backed by informative illustrations.
The Trans Partner Handbook
By Jo Green
This book is written for partners of people who are transitioning and goes through a number of common topics and questions a partner might have during the process. It’s written from the perspective of someone who has a partner who is trans and runs an online support group for partners of trans people.
BDSM and Kink
Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge
Edited by Tristan Taormino
If you’re looking for something that goes beyond a quick primer on BDSM or kink, look no further than Taormino’s book where she brings together experts and thought leaders to discuss everything from specific kinks, techniques, and partner dynamics.
History, Science, and Society
By Mary Roach
Bonk is a fun adventure exploring the quirky nooks and crannies of sex. You basically follow Mary Roach around through her two-year adventure going to labs, brothels, pig farms, sex toy R&D labs, and more, as she learns more about what's going on in the world of sex in all of these places. It's a lot of fun and very approachable for anyone who is curious to learn more about the curiosities of sex.
Disorders of Desire
By Janice Irvine, Ph.D.
This is probably one of the more interesting, overlooked books about sex out there. It examines the evolution of the field of sexology through the 20th century, but it also looks at how social, political, and cultural influences have shaped the state of sex today. If you've ever wondered why our world is still so weird about sex and sexuality, this book will take you through the historical twists and turns of how and why things are still weird and antiquated.
By Jaclyn Friedman
Friedman shows that even though there has been a lot of talk of empowerment (she aptly calls it "fauxpowerment") in the media and in advertising, the state of our culture, especially in regards to sexuality still has a long way to go. She shows that a lot of these external forces are what shape our reservations and fears of sexuality today, especially for women. She also interviews a lot of folks who are working towards changing the state of sexuality today (we got a shout out in it!) and talks about what people can personally do to change things in their own lives. If you're interested in learning more about modern-day culture in regards to sex and some of the cool, more recent things going on, add this book to your reading list!
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