Yesterday was the first day of summer! You know what that means—It’s time to put on your sex geek t-shirt and get ready for some sexy summer reading! As a graduate student, I am excited to finally have time again to read texts that haven’t been assigned to me. Unfortunately, time is still limited, so as you’ll see, my personal list for the summer is quite short. To make up the difference, I am supplementing my list with some of my all time favorite books for folks who are new to exploring their sexuality. I’ve added some blogs as well! Enjoy!
What I’m reading this summer
My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory by Cooper S. Beckett
Cooper Beckett loves to talk about himself, but it’s ok because he’s just so good at it! It’s one thing to vaguely point out that you’ve made mistakes along the way, but Cooper truly walks the talk. What I’ve always appreciated about him is the fact that he’s not afraid to name each of his mistakes through non-monogamy so that others can learn from them.
I asked Cooper what he wants us all to know about My Life on the Swingset, and he said:
“My Life on the Swingset is a book that doesn’t hide behind the benefit of hindsight. The book was written as things happened, and thus tackles surprising things like divorce and major errors in judgment. It also showcases the unexpected highs of swinging and poly, from discovering the joys of the prostate orgasm, to learning how to navigate sex parties and sexy vacations.”
*Note: the audiobook comes out on 6/30, in case you’d like to turn part of your summer reading list into a summer listening list! I’m so excited to read (and maybe also listen to) this book!
Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, PhD
There’s a lot of confusion about women’s sexuality, and one of the biggest myths is that there can be a quick fix to female desire issues in the form of a pill; a “Female Viagra” as many are calling it. Come As You Are delves deep into the science of women’s sexuality to provide insight on how we can tackle the real issues around female sexual dissatisfaction and difficulties with arousal.
Although this isn’t a topic I generally focus on, it’s something that I’m asked about quite frequently, so I’m happy to be gaining wealth of knowledge through this book. I also have a feeling this book will become a staple of my book resource list that I recommend on a regular basis for years to come.
Best Sex Writing of the Year Edited by Jon Pressick
The truth about sex writing is that there’s a lot of good stuff out there, but sometimes it takes some weeding through the bad stuff to get there. This anthology takes the guess work out, and provides an inclusive resource of some of the best sex writing on topics such as: porn, sexual assault, BDSM, disability, aging, STI stigma, and sex work.
When asked about this book, editor, Jon Pressick, said that Best Sex Writing of the Year is “an invitation to all readers to explore the wide world of sex, sexuality and gender. We are in desperate need of more conversation about sex, more discussion to change the parts of our society that need fixing and celebrate the great advances we have already made in the conversation of sex.”
I can already tell that Best Sex Writing is a thought-provoking, beacon of permission and conversation starter in a variety of sexual topics. I look forward to discussing what I read in this book with my friends, colleagues, and fellow Sex Geeks.
Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon (and several amazing guest authors)
This book is for women-identified people and all who love them! If you’re interested in Girl Sex, but don’t know where to start, this book will guide you with illustrated education, a story, and sections by guest experts of all walks of life. Read more about Girl Sex 101 HERE
Playing Well with Others by Lee Harrington and Mollena Williams
Maybe you’ve been playing with kink in your bedroom and are ready to take it elsewhere, or maybe you read Fifty Shades of Grey and are ready to jump right in! Either way, Lee Harrington and Mollena Williams’ book, Playing Well with Others will provide a strong foundation for your new foray into your local kink scene! This book provides in depth information on what public kink venues are available and the etiquette of getting involved and playing in these spaces.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
This is one of my favorites for anyone wanting to learn about gender diversity. As transgender narratives become more visible in our media, it’s vital that we understand the realities that transgender and gender non-conforming individuals face. Janet’s story shows much of what the media leaves out; what life is like as a person of intersecting marginalized identities. While it is a powerful story of living and thriving with unapologetic authenticity, it is also educational in that it provides basic information about gender, as well as accessible language for discussing trans issues.
More than two by Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux
There are a lot of guides on nonmonogamy out there, but this book is specific to polyamory. Authors Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux provide the tools and skills needed to communicate and negotiate needs and agreements, tackle common pitfalls such as insecurity and jealousy, and give a comprehensive look at what ethical polyamory can be. The More Than Two website is also full of information and resources. I highly recommend checking it out!
Bondassage by Jaeleen Bennis and Eve Minax
There are plenty of ways to play with kink, but one of the most versatile is sensation play. You can use a variety of toys to cause pleasure, pain, tickles, hot and cold temperatures, and more. Bondassage is the ultimate guide to getting started with sensation play, and is my favorite book to promote in my workshop, Sensation Play: The Art of the Tease! Co-author, Jaeleen Bennis says that this book helps readers “learn some easy, practical ways that they can spice up their play time and connect more deeply.”
The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage by Midori
I recently had the benefit of listening in on one of Midori’s famous bondage workshops while working at The Pleasure Chest LA, and while this wasn’t my first time learning from her in person, this particular experience was a good reminder of all that rope bondage can be. Midori understands that rope doesn’t need to be overly complicated or serious to be hot, and actually, it can be downright silly and fun! This book includes that same wisdom, practical knowledge and accessibility, along with beautiful photos that help guide you through the steps to tying your partner up in all kinds of safer, sexy ways.
JoEllen Notte’s mission is to save the world from mediocre sex, and she does that by providing some of THE BEST information on sexual health and pleasure, casual sex, online dating for introverts, superhero sex toy stores, and sex and depression. You’ll quickly see why many refer to her as a Sex Ed Superhero!
What I love about Sunny is that, like me, she talks about alternative sexuality in ways that are welcoming and accessible, making the topic less scary for people who are new. At the same time, I love that she goes several steps further, so once you’re past her posts on sex toys and swinging, you can move on to the ins and outs of edge play. If I had to come up with a catchy tagline for this website, it would be: “Come for the world class blowjobs, stay for the fucksaw!”
The Frisky Fairy
Rebecca Hiles, aka The Frisky Fairy, writes about polyamory, sex toys, sex and cancer, and other sexuality topics with wit and candor. Her insight and personal perspective on alternative sexuality often comes out of stories from her daily life; making her a relatable voice in topics often considered taboo.
Following the Fifty Shades craze, a lot of folks are interested in BDSM from the “s” (submissive/slave/bottom) side, and Mollena Williams says it best- being a sub does not mean being a doormat. If you are looking to learn about BDSM and how to be a strong, independent sub, this is the site for you!
Ask Orpheus Black
Orpheus provides a point of view on D/s and kink from the D (Dominant) side. His posts always challenge my worldview, and especially my ideas on what D/s relationships can aspire to be. If Dominance and/or submission are of interest to you, this blog is a great place to gain new perspective.
This is your destination for some of the best sex toy reviews on the internet. Epiphora is honest, thorough, and always on point. She has hundreds of reviews posted with new ones coming out all the time. Chances are likely that a quick search on her site will provide you with all the information you could want on the toys you’ve been curious about!