There's no shame in wanting to read expert insights and useful advice to improve your relationship, both with yourself and your partner. While we do often advocate sexually exploring both self and partnered pleasure with lube, toys, and new positions, the pillars for better sex are always the essentials: education and communication. Yep, so for just a moment put the Oomf to the side and get your reading glasses ready instead.
The self-help books on this list offer practical and compassionate advice to better understand your connection with intimacy. Utilize this list as a guide to having open and honest conversations about how you express your sexuality. Remember though, it’s best to put this newfound knowledge to practice.
Emily Nagoski, a sex educator and former researcher at the Kinsey Institute, explores the ways we experience pleasure in this now-classic read on the science of women’s sexuality. It’s a nonjudgmental look at sexual desire, backed by scientific research and data. As Nagoski explains: An orgasm doesn’t have to be elusive, and a fulfilling sex life doesn’t just boil down to what’s between the sheets.
In Becoming Cliterate, psychology professor and human sexuality expert Dr. Laurie Mintz exposes the broader cultural problem that’s perpetuating this gap, and what we can do about it. By dispelling the lies, misunderstandings, and myths that have been holding us back, Becoming Cliterate tackles both personal and political problems and replaces them with updated outlooks and practical skills needed to change our collective perspective on sex.
Psychologist and sex researcher Dr. Lori A. Brotto offers a practical, easy way to find better sex for women using mindfulness in this acclaimed book. Nearly half of all women experience some kind of sexual difficulty in their lives. It’s often not just about sex either—stress, expectations, and time management can all affect women and their sexual responses. Dr. Brotto outlines practical, accessible mindfulness exercises that women can use to have a more satisfying, fulfilling sex life.
Whether addressing sexual frustration with your partner, trying out new fantasies, or negotiating the terms of a BDSM scene, Stella Harris believes that communication skills are vital to sexual fulfillment. Tongue Tied gives readers straightforward advice on how to conquer their fears, identify their needs, and feel positively empowered.
Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Esther Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire and explains what it takes to bring lust home.
Author, activist, and doula adrienne maree brown makes the argument that the pursuit of pleasure is not just necessary to sustain ourselves through revolution but is actually a revolution in itself. Drawing on the black feminist tradition, Adrienne challenges us to rethink the ground rules of activism. This book explores how changing the world goes hand in hand with tapping into our deepest emotional and erotic desires.
The fear that quality sex can’t survive a long-term relationship is a common one. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tackle that fear. Dr. Stephen Snyder takes his thirty years as a sex therapist, as well as stories from hundreds of couples and individuals, and creates the guide that will keep your marriage, and your sex life, fun and interesting.
For more than 20 years, Betty Dodson, sex expert and pro-feminist, has been dedicated to taking the shame out of masturbation, showing it to be a healthy form of sexual expression. With warmth and intelligence, and informative line drawings, Dodson explains how anyone can learn to fully enjoy the pleasures of self-love, pointing out that masturbation is still the safest sex.