If you’re looking to amp up your oral game, discover new positions, or simply better understand your sexuality, you might consider hitting the sex books.
Yes, practical experience is one of our favorite ways to learn about sex, but there’s also a benefit to exploring some outside sources. By reading about sex, you’re exposing yourself to new techniques and attitudes in regards to sexuality. Combine that with some hands-on learning, and you’ll soon go from sex student to master.
To help get you started, we’ve collected fourteen of the most foundational sex books to enhance your erotic library. Peruse the list below and find the perfect fit for your nightstand.
By Lisa Taddeo
This nonfiction read acquaints us with three women and their own experiences with passion and desire. Taddeo spent eight years researching and writing her book in order to dive deep into the sex lives of 17-year-old Maggie; Lina who is in a decade-long, romance-less marriage; and Sloane whose husband likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. Written in a gossipy and profoundly nuanced way, this book is so wild, you’ll forget that it’s based on true stories.
By Elle Chase
So much of pornography and mainstream views of sex include slimmer bodies. But Elle Chase’s book goes to show you don’t have to be a specific size to have great sex. Chase’s guide provides 101 tried and tested positions and sex hacks for plus-sized pleasure. One of the most empowering sex books, this discussion of sex and body image demonstrates how everyone deserves creative, sultry, and amazing sex.
By Pamela Madsen
This memoir isn’t your typically sexual awakening story. In this book, Madsen explores how her marriage and love life felt like it was lacking the passion she needed and how she sought it out in different ways; all while keeping and deepening the love in her marriage. Madsen also details how she mended her relationship with food and her body and how it took her journey to sexual, personal, and spiritual wholeness.
By Anthony David Adams
Got an hour? According to studies on rapid love and research by Dr. Arthur Aron, discussing these 36 questions will deepen the love in your relationship. The questions go deep into who you and your partner are and prompt you to be open and vulnerable with your answers. Designed for couples’ reading, The Love Game is practically guaranteed to bring you and your partner closer together.
By Danielle Harel and Celeste Hirschman
In this enlightening discussion of desire and intimacy, sex and relationship coaches Danielle Harel, Ph.D. and Celeste Hirschman, M.A help break down some of the most common sexual issues as well as what we can do to solve them. Addictive and filled with real-life examples, Coming Together helps you identify your unique needs and enhance the intimacy between you and your partner. You’ll finish the book with both the inspiration and the motivation necessary to take your sex life to the next level.
By Dr. Sadie Allison
If you’re dating a vulva-owner, then grab a notepad. This fun guide will teach you everything about the clitoris, from where to find it to how to touch it. This short read has tips for foreplay, different types of orgasms, ideas for sex positions, and even 23 illustrated pages to get a clearer sense of the lay of the land. Whether you’re in a relationship or single, it’s a great read to fine-tune your touch and get cliterate.
By Wednesday Martin
There are many assumptions about sex and relationships out there–one of them being that women who cheat are inherently damaged. But In this cultural and feminist critique of our society, Martin goes over research, analyses of media, and testimonies of real women in order to challenge our beliefs of monogamy and womanhood. Get ready for a ride: this book will help you reframe your views on your own identity as well as how we as a society treat women.
By Helen Fisher
Have you ever thought of the scientific reason behind love? With research into the psychology of love and how it affects the brain, anthropologist Helen Fisher centers on how romantic love is an innate part of our human nature.
By Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy
Traditional monogamy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. For people looking for something outside the conventional two-person coupling, The Ethical Slut provides insight into polyamory, open relationships, and other unconventional types of relationships. Easton and Hardy, self-proclaimed seasoned sluts, dispel myths that are typically associated with being in open relationships and give their tips in order to have successful encounters–such as how to improve interrelationship communication and have safe sex.
By Xanet Pailet
Dealing with sexual roadblocks? Whether you’re struggling with emotional or physical hurdles preventing you from having good sex, overcoming these obstacles is 100% possible. Pailet’s sex book serves as a guide to remove our sexual roadblocks in order to connect or even reacquaintance ourselves with our sexuality. Pailet also provides guidance and even exercises to talk about sex, get through sexual abuse, and even boost your libido.
By Emily Nagoski
We all know about Viagara, so why is it that vulva owners don’t have a magic pill to boost their libido? This book has the answer. Using scholarly research and various studies, Emily Nagaski breaks down some of the complex nuances of female sexuality. This enlightening book helps you to take a new look at your own (or your partner’s) sexuality in order to further learn the factors that go into maximizing pleasure.
By Ian Kerner
She Comes First is a must-read for any person looking to amp up their cunnilingus game. This essential guidebook helps readers learn the ins and outs of performing oral on a vulva owner. It’s humorous and informative, and will definitely teach you a new, indispensable skill for the bedroom. Kerner centers on the philosophy of focusing on female pleasure, with a holistic approach to the vulva owner’s body and mind, in order to please her and him.
By James Nestor
Most of us view breathing as a subconscious or a thoughtless act—but it’s really the foundation to living a healthier life and having better sex. In this breakdown, journalist James Nestor goes all over the globe in order to find out why the practice of breath is seemingly lost; as well as what age-old principles should be integrated to improve the quality of our lives. After all, when we experience anxiety during sex, one of the first things we can do is return back to the present moment (and that starts with breathing!).
By Adrienne Maree Brown
Can self-love be used as a tool for self-love or a sign of resistance? In this guide, Adrienne Maree Brown gathers a collection of original essays and written works from other feminist thinkers to explore the idea of “pleasure activism.” The book covers topics like sex work, race, gender, sex, and drugs to build a new narrative about the politics that surround us and what makes us feel good.
By Emily Morse and Jamye Waxman
Written by our very own Emily Morse and Jamye Waxman, this is a comprehensive guide on all things sex. They go over positions, step-by-step instructions, a guide for tantric sex, and fully illustrated and gorgeous pages. As the name implies, this fun guide is designed to get you having hotter sex ASAP.
By Catherine Millet
If you’re looking for an addictive read, Catherine Millet’s tell-all is for you. Set in an ultra-sex European backdrop, this book recounts Millet’s many exciting and inspiring sexual encounters; from public sex in Italy to an orgy in a Parisian restaurant. Centered on physical gratification and sexual liberation, Millet details how her sexual encounters affected her and her own definition of sex.
By Barbara Carrellas
There’s definitely a spiritual component to sex, and discovering the practice of tantric sex can help you get there. Carrellas explores the ancient practice of tantric sex and adds modern aspects to it in order to accommodate our fast-paced and modern world. It has extra information on BDSM, practices for asexuals and aromantics, expanded practices on trans and gender non-conforming folks.
Want to stay on top of all of the sexual trends, steamy tricks, and relationship advice? Subscribe to our newsletter ASAP.
María Lysandra Hernández is a writer and book lover from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. She (virtually) received her BA degree in Writing, Literature and Publishing with a minor in Global and Post-Colonial Studies at Emerson College. She now lives in Los Angeles, and her work has been published in Anomaly, Raíz Magazine and Are We Okay? A Memoir.