Wellness

10 Books That Will Make Your Sex Life Even Spicier

Reading is sexy.

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Face it, “Let’s read about sex, bay-bee!” is likely never going to become a can’t-get-out-of-your-head song lyric. But when it comes to getting to know your body, your partner, and what turns you on, a lot can be said for hitting the books. Part how-to manual, part orgasm guide, sex-positive books focus on helping you figure out what makes you feel good — with or without another person’s body in the mix.

Read these alone, with your partner, with your book club, or even with your mom. The more you become comfortable reading about sex, the more you become comfortable talking about sex. Because sex is a form of communication in itself, using books as a way to bridge a communication gap can be invaluable if you’re in a relationship. But they can be just as valuable if you’re single, helping you navigate your body and what you want out of a relationship. Here, sex experts share some of their favorite sex-positive books.

Use these as suggestions, but remember, just like when you choose a sexual partner, the best sex-positive book for you is the one that you respond to. “Look for a book for what you want to learn,” says Marla Renee Stewart, MA and sexpert for Lovers, a sexual wellness brand. “Get recommendations from sex educators, friends, check out the preview of the books, and read the reviews on them to see if they have something in them that you think you would enjoy. Check out the author's reputation, too, to see if they have a following that believes in what they are saying in the book. Remember, being sex positive is about choice!”

This title frequently pops up on “best sex-positive books” lists for a reason: It’s smart, well-researched, and focuses on the science behind arousal and desire which — spoiler alert — begins way outside the bedroom. “It really shows how we show up or don't for sex and what it means for us as individuals in our sexual lives. Learn how to navigate your own sexuality easily and rid yourself of myths that aren't serving you in your sexual life,” says Stewart.

Even though it’s nearly 20 years old and comes with some dated elements (it was published pre-Tinder), this book, compiled from anecdotes, can give you helpful and innovative ideas for how to have sex beyond the heterosexual stereotype. Even if you don’t consider yourself a lesbian, reading outside the box of heteronormativity can be helpful in expanding your own sexual practice and exposing yourself to possibilities you may not have thought about.

If you’re into astrology, why not use it as an inroad into your sexuality. While sexuality is unique, learning what Aries are into and what Libras may never have considered can be a fun way to try something new and clue into what you like. “In this book, you'll find basic matches according to the sun sign and see if your sign might have a base of compatibility with other signs,” explains Stewart. “This helps to enlighten you about past relationships and also makes you think about your current or future relationships and how you need to further navigate them. The quiz helps you to see which sign would be best for you based on their traits, and as always, reading about signs is going to be fun.”

Stewart also recommends a book she co-authored, which integrates sexual theories with practical techniques. “It's full of self-awareness exercises where you can discover more about yourself in each and every chapter,” she says. “It's also not gendered and purposely inclusive so that everyone can enjoy pieces of this book.” Also key: Instead of just focusing on the main act, there’s plenty of text devoted to foreplay and verbal seduction, too.

Written by an OB, this can be considered a “vagina owner’s manual” for any person who has a vagina (or has sex with someone with a vagina). “This is great,” says Anna Cabeca, OB-GYN and author of The Hormone Fix, who recommends this book to her clients. Not just focused on sex, the book focuses on vaginas throughout someone’s life, which helps break the taboo surrounding topics like menopause.

How do you keep sex exciting when things have gotten comfortable? How do you enjoy the benefits of emotional intimacy to ratchet up physical intensity? These are the questions the author, a psychiatrist, asks in this book. Using his experience working with over 1,500 couples, Snyder shows that the brain truly is the biggest sex organ we have, and how we can use it to our advantage in even the longest of relationships.

Who said one plus one equals a relationship? Considered the definitive guide to polyamory, The Ethical Slut talks through some of the issues that may come up, whether you decide to open a relationship or pursue multiple partners. Even if you feel like you’re generally monogamous, this book can open your eyes on some issues regarding jealousy that come up in partnerships, and can be helpful in redefining what a relationship and commitment means to you.

Regardless of whether or not you’ve had explicit sexual trauma in your past, it’s helpful to understand any subconscious feelings that may hold you back in the bedroom. This book, written by a therapist, helps you unpack your subconscious and enjoy a guilt-free sex life.

No matter how you and your partner(s) label themselves, this book is a helpful reframing of sex, sexuality, and pleasure. Written by transgender activist Juno Roche, with input from other activists and educators in the queer and trans space, this book explores how to break binary rules and expectations.

Whether you’re seriously into kink or have only dabbled in BDSM, one key theme of sex is power. This book, by kink educator Anton Fulmen, explores what dominance and submission mean — both in and out of the bedroom — and explores how to play with both, whether you want to be vanilla-adjacent or full-on kinky.

Sources:

Anna Cabeca, OB-GYN and author of The Hormone Fix

Marla Renee Stewart, MA and sexpert for Lovers