Depending on the type of sex ed you received in grade school, chances are it shaped your perspective of sex and still has some influence on you. Sex is complex, and sexuality is even more so. Especially for women, it's somewhat insane to me that the topic of sexuality and embracing great sex is still taboo. Fortunately, more and more scientists, writers, and even comedians are opening the doors to understanding the complicated and absolutely amazing world of sex.
Whether you're extremely confident in the bedroom or haven't had sex yet, there's always a great reason to up your sexual education because really, it'll only make your future experiences better. The more you know about your own body, preferences, dislikes, and fantasies, the more you'll be satisfied. And the sooner you stack the books listed below on your nightstand, the sooner you'll be enjoying your bedroom.
After reading multiple groundbreaking books on the scientific studies of sex, marriage, love, and gender, it's been so much easier for me to personally embrace my sexuality. In a society where a women's worth is all too often based on her sex life, I find it all the more important to know as much as possible, and enjoy the crazy, intense facts about sex. So it's time to get busy! By reading, of course...
1. Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski
This book is one that will dramatically change your perspective on your own body and idea of creating and sustaining a satisfying sex life. (And bonus: It has an amazing cover.) Nagoski goes into fascinating details on how and why women's sexuality works the way it does, which has a lot more to do with emotions and minor day-to-day details than one would think. If you've ever struggled with understanding how your own body responds to sex or you just want to understand the real complexity that sex is for a woman, pick up this book immediately.
2. Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá
Sex at Dawn approaches the subject of monogamy by questioning it in ways that will change the way you view marriage and a happily-ever-after lifestyle. Diving into evidence from anthropologic and historic studies of sex throughout different cultures, this witty and interesting book shows just how odd our expectation of marriage is when faced with evolution. So if you're curious about why some relationships last and others don't, along with many other questions of our sexual history as a species, Ryan and Jethá have you covered.
3. Bonk by Mary Roach
Mary Roach is an absolutely hilarious writer, and her one-of-a-kind descriptions of sex, orgasms, and desires is truly something every woman should read in her life. Bonk explores the scientific research, both historical and modern, that are trying to make the bedroom a more satisfying place. This book asks all the questions you've ever thought in the back of your mind about sex, and it answers each one with a witty and knowledgeable voice.
4. The Sexual Spectrum by Olive Skene Johnson
We're all different, especially when it comes to sexuality. Johnson's book, packed with years of research, goes into what exactly influences human sexuality and how it all works. Asking difficult questions with an informed and entertaining perspective, The Sexual Spectrum will open your mind with science about why people are homosexual, heterosexual, transexual, etc. Whether or not you're super into gender and human sexuality topics, this book is an incredible read and is one that will change your perspective in a positive way on sex, gender, and everything in-between.
6. Why Women Have Sex by Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss
The title of this book is straightforward, but the content inside is filled will mind-boggling questions, answers, and studies behind women's sexual motivations. With more than 1,000 interviews conducted just for the sake of this book, it's filled with real voices revealing the truth behind why women want, crave, and need sex. Including social and psychological aspects, both Meston and Buss prove why physical attraction happens differently for everyone.
6. The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti
The Purity Myth is a necessary read for every single woman who has ever felt like her virginity defined her. It's for the women who have grown up in a world where having sex isn't encouraged, but punished. It's for everyone, because this idea of virginity is harmful. By taking a deeper look at cultural and social expectations in societies for women, Valenti shows the harsh reality that a woman's worth can solely depend on her sexuality rather than her kindness, ideas, or personality. This will change your perspective on the idea, or rather the myth, of virginity, and will encourage the fact that every woman is worth so much more than sex.
7. Guide to Getting It On by Paul Joannides
I have to include a how-to book, and this just happens to be one of the best. Seriously. It isn't an instruction manual, but rather a book that links the complex combination of science and emotions in the bedroom. Yes, it will improve your sex life, and it will also improve your ideas on what good sex is and should be. With chapter titles like "Popsicles & Penises" and "Sunsets, Orgasms, & Hand Grenades", this book is as entertaining as it is educational.
8. Dirty Minds by Kayt Sukel
Have you ever wondered about why love makes us into crazy, nonsensical beings? Sukel, with a background in neuroscience, takes big steps to answer that question, including doing things like having her brain scanned while she orgasms. Covering more than just sex, Dirty Minds indulges in the topic of love in all sorts of different relationships, including family and friends. This book covers the science of sex, love, and everything you wish you would have learned in your high school sex ed classroom.
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