Knowledge is power, and knowledge about sex doesn’t begin — and end — in a high school classroom. When we read books that are sex-positive, they can only have a positive impact on our sex lives. Sex-positive books teach us to look at sex as a joyous thing to be shared, and not as a shameful or “dirty” thing to be done in the cover of dark, and only with the blessing of a priest or other “man of God.”
In the 21st century, both men and women are becoming more sex-positive than they were in years past. They aren’t as judgmental of sex workers of all stripes who make a living in the adult entertainment industry. And while there are a number of reasons why this is so, the bottom line is that today’s books reflect this enlightened view on sex and sexuality in all its stripes.
With that in mind, here’s a list of the 19 best sex-positive books that you need to put on your bookshelf in 2020 and beyond.
Best Sex Positive Books:
1. “Changing Reality” by Serge Kahili King
Drawing from his Hawaiian background, Serge Kahili King talks about “Huna,” which is part of the ancient Shamanic tradition in Hawaii, to speak to a progressive couple’s sex life. “Reality is experience, and experience is reality,” King explains, who teaches the reader how to incorporate these ancient practices into their everyday lives, and most especially their sex lives.
2. “Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life” by Emily Nagoski, PhD
Nagoski’s book is a New York Times best-seller, so you know it has something great to say. And “Come As You Are” does not disappoint. This book is a deep-dive into female sexuality, exploring how (and why) it works, and explains — using ground-breaking science — how being cognizant of the female sexuality cycle will transform your sex life for the better.
3. “Sex Matters: From Sex To Superconsciousness” by OSHO
For a variety of reasons — both justified and otherwise — OSHO is a controversial figure. However, “Sex Matters: From Sex to Superconsciousness” is one of the few works that everyone can agree is a valuable, sex-positive book. OSHO’s approach to sex is multi-dimensional: he first explains how important love is in our lives, while also pointing out that “love’s journey” involves responding to our innate biological urges (which includes sex). This goes against Christian teachings about sex, which insists that people ignore their urges to “please God,” which Osho says isn’t very loving at all.
4. “Carnal Knowledge: Sex Education You Didn’t Get In School” by Zoe Ligon and Elizabeth Renstrom
Sex education in school is lacking, to say the least. But Zoe Ligon’s “Carnal Knowledge” takes an honest, inclusive approach to sex that includes everything from kink to non-hetero sex. What’s more, she goes through everything from biology and physiology to advice on how to maintain loving relationships.
5. “Love and Awakening: Discovering The Sacred Path of Intimate Relationship” by John Welwood
Welwood’s approach to relationships is simple: instead of taking a “what am I doing here?” approach, he takes the approach of seeing the relationship as a soul’s journey. In so doing, he turns sex into a transformative experience for both parties, taking a loving and enlightened view into the act, and proving that sex positivity has more than one layer.
6. “Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence” by Esther Perel
Couples who have been in long-term relationships and marriages often suffer from a sexual slump – where sex becomes a rote task and there’s no lust involved. Esther Perel, however, teaches you how to “bring the lust home.” In so doing, she acknowledges that lust – and love – are complex desires, and her approach is warm and inclusive.
7. “101 Nights of Great Sex” by Laura Corn
Sometimes, you just need a guidebook to great sex. And that’s what Laura Corn’s book does. Combining ideas both sexual and sensual in nature, “101 Nights of Great Sex” is sure to keep you (and your partner) on your toes.
8. “The Trans Partner Handbook: A Guide To When Your Partner Transitions” by Jo Green
As more people transition from male-to-female and female-to-male, the complexities of being trans – especially when it comes to their partners – deserves to be explored. We’ve certainly come a long way in our acceptance of being trans, even if our books on sex haven’t done so. But Jo Green bridges that gap with her “Trans Partner Handbook,” which is the most sex-positive take on having a trans partner on the market today.
9. “The Guide To Getting It On!” by Paul Joannides
“The Guide To Getting It On!” has already had its ninth edition released (in 2017), and it has grown and changed with the times. Paul Joannides has created what is arguably the definitive bible for sex and sexuality, and combines fun illustrations, funny anecdotes, and a no-nonsense approach to sex and sexuality to create one of the most sex-positive books of our generation.
10. “The Ethical Slut” by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton
Not all relationships are straight, monogamous, and in the missionary position. “The Ethical Slut” is one of the first books that tackles the complexities of polyamorous and open relationships. It also takes the time to dispel myths and misconceptions about these types of relationships.
11. “Transcendent Sex: When Lovemaking Opens The Veil” by Jenny Wade, PhD
Have you ever had mind-blowing sex that somehow transcends space and time? Jenny Wade, PhD, has — and she feels that all sex should be that mind-blowing. What’s more, Wade discusses how sex can alter states of consciousness, and teaches how to create an environment that’s ten times more powerful than the most intense orgasm.
12. “Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure, and Relationships” by Juno Roche
Queer people need love too. And whether this is your first non-binary relationship or you’re an old pro at these types of relationships, Juno Roche takes a non-judgmental and inclusive approach to how to successfully navigate these unique, yet fulfilling, relationships. The result is one of the most sex-positive books of the 21st century.
13. “Speaking Kind Words” by Drs. Rob and Janelle Alex, PhD
Sex, and sexuality, isn’t just about the physical act. “Speaking Kind Words” — that is, communicating to your partner how much they mean to you without taking it to a lust-filled place — is just as important. Drs. Rob and Janelle Alex have written the definitive step-by-step guide to speaking kind words, and the result is a sex-positive book that’s physical as well as emotional.
14. “Getting Off: A Woman’s Guide To Masturbation” by Jamye Waxman
Both men and women “get off” when a woman masturbates — but not every woman does it the same way. Waxman’s book is the definitive guide to female self-pleasure, and one that’s not too “girly” in the process.
15. “Little Moments Of Love” by Catana Chetwynd
As was mentioned before, sex isn’t just about the physical act. If you need an artistic reminder of how all the small things make up the “big” things of your relationship, Chetwyd has created this clever collection of illustrations to remind you that the best sex is the mental kind.
16. “The Toybag Guide to Chastity Play” by Mistress Simone
We all know about BDSM, but did you know there’s a type of BDSM that has almost nothing to do with sex? Chastity play is a type of sexual fetish that controls how the receiver orgasms, down to whether or not the receiver is allowed to participate in sex in the first place. For those who like to include BDSM in their sexual toolbox, “The Toybag Guide to Chastity Play” is one of the most sex-positive books about kink on the market today.
17. “She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring A Woman” by Ian Kerner
Kerner is one of the first, and only, men to discuss how important it is for a female to have an orgasm first. In this book, he does a deep-dive into female sexuality — how it works, why it works, and all the layers involved in its workings — and puts the responsibility on the man to learn how, and why, it’s important to make his female partner “come first.”
18. “The Way Of The Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide To Mastering The Challenges of Women, Work, & Sexual Desire,” by David Deida
Deida’s approach to the “superior man” has nothing to do with machismo or toxic masculinity. Rather, Deida believes that men have the power to transform their reality using a higher state of consciousness. In so doing, these men can not only master their professional lives, but they can also have mind-blowing sex the likes of which they’ve never seen before, or since.
19. “Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good” by Adrienne Maree Brown
In these changing times, activism is just as much a part of our sex lives as anything else. Brown’s approach to combining activism and sexuality is one of the most enlightening — and timely — sex-positive books of the 21st century.
These are just a few of the many sex-positive books that you need to add to your library in 2020 and beyond. Which of these is your favorite?