True intimacy is more challenging than it sounds, especially if you haven’t had good role models to show you how to do it well. Opening yourself up to another person (whether a close loved one or a new partner), physically and emotionally, can be terrifying in its vulnerability.
However, pushing through those feelings can bring you to new heights of intimacy and make you and your partner feel even closer. One way to boost your intimacy level is by learning from authors with experience.
Here is a list of six books on intimacy by experts and sex therapists that we believe are worth the read and how they can help — report back and let us know what you think!
How Can I Read My Way to a Better Sex Life?
We look up to people who are wiser and have more experience; they’ve truly “been there, done that.” We’re lucky enough to live in a time where we have access to different experts on everything from pottery to making the perfect loaf of bread.
Learning how to be more intimate can start with the right book written by the right expert. There are countless bestsellers and must-read sex books, but this list is close to our hearts.
As always, all of the knowledge in the world can’t help if you don’t also put it into practice. After reading books on sexual intimacy, be prepared to change your life accordingly.
Can Books Help Me If I’m Single?
If you’re single, whether that means you’ve recently gone through a big breakup or are just starting on the journey toward finding a partner, self-help books on intimacy can still be beneficial! After all, the most intimate relationship you will ever have is with yourself.
Before considering extending love to another person, you must learn to love yourself. Books on intimacy can also help you know what to look for when you decide to get into a long-term relationship. They can help you recognize the signs of a good, supportive partner you can trust and someone full of red flags.
Can Books Help My Long-Term Relationship?
If you’re already in a long-term relationship, books on intimacy can help you too. There are plenty of options for books designed for married couples (or any long-term partnership, even without a legal label). We recommend reading through them with your partner so that you can discuss your strengths and struggles and start working through them together.
Books can’t always help you on their own, though. You may also want to schedule an appointment with a sex or relationship therapist, especially if you and your partner are experiencing larger or more complex issues.
Which Books on Intimacy Worth Are Worth the Read?
While this isn’t the ultimate reading list on intimacy, these are six of our favorite books on intimacy that we strongly believe are worth the read. Many of them are available in either hardcover, softcover, or audiobook, so you have multiple ways to take in the information!
We’ve tried to include what audience may enjoy each book the most, but reading each will give you a well-rounded viewpoint on sex as a whole!
1. Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski
Subtitled The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life, “Come as You Are” is a New York Times best-selling revelation. This book, written by Emily Nagoski, an American sex educator and researcher, dives deep into feminine sexuality and what makes us tick — and by feminine sexuality, we don’t mean only for women.
She also digs deep into many persistent myths surrounding sexuality that can make us feel inadequate in the bedroom. You may be shocked at how universal a lot of those feelings are.
If you’ve felt disconnected with your sexuality or struggle with not feeling good enough, “Come as You Are” is a great resource to help you love yourself again (and have great sex, too).
2. Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel
Renowned therapist Esther Perel (who also has an excellent podcast called “Where Should We Begin?”) wrote “Mating in Captivity” to examine the difference between our sexual desire and domesticity.
As one of the leading experts on erotic intelligence, Perel helps guide readers through the hurdles of keeping a hot sex life alive in a long-term relationship. She also offers case studies and real-life examples, which can help people feel less alone.
We strongly recommend “Mating in Captivity” for anyone who feels the fire has gone out in their long-term relationship.
3. She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide by Ian Kerner
Many books on intimacy are written by AFAB people, which can sometimes alienate those with a more traditionally “male” perspective. She Comes First, authored by sex counselor Ian Kerner, offers a straightforward guide on providing sexual pleasure to someone with female parts.
Kerner offers advice while maintaining a sense of humor for men and male-presenting people looking for ways to get their partner off more regularly.
If you really want to up the ante, combine the advice in this book with our Awaken Arousal Oil, which can increase pleasure and sensation while you’re pleasuring your partner.
4. Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown
Writer and activist Adrienne Maree Brown authors this unique book on combining pleasure with politics and how social justice can be one of the most fulfilling experiences. You can craft a life beyond your wildest dreams when you combine things that make you happy and give you pleasure and truly own who you are and what you believe in.
If you’re interested in learning more about how sex plays a role in the world around you and what you can do to help make that world a better place, “Pleasure Activism” will blow your mind. Spoiler alert, you’ll probably want to have a quickie after you finish it.
5. Attached by Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A
Healthy relationships are often seen in very black-and-white terms, but the reality of what makes them great is a lot more nuanced. Levine and Heller work together to write a comprehensive guide on the science of love and intimacy, helping to guide you toward forming a more strong, fulfilling bond with your partner.
The authors also discuss the issues that can occur due to previous traumas and experiences and how different attachment types (anxious and avoidant) can impact your relationships. “Attached” is the perfect book for people who want to increase their relationship with their partner, both inside the bedroom and out.
6. Women's Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston
Anatomy can be complicated, but don’t let a lack of understanding stop you from experiencing as much pleasure as possible. In “Women’s Anatomy of Arousal,” Sheri Winston explores what makes us tick in more depth than anyone before.
Winston also creates integrated maps to help empower people, whether you have female anatomy or are just looking to understand your partner better. This book can increase the potential for pleasure enormously.
If you’re looking for a scientific, anatomical breakdown of female sexuality and how each part works individually and as a whole to bring pleasure, this is the book for you.
Intimacy is just as important as lubrication when finding and maintaining a successful long-term relationship. Each featured book on intimacy offers a unique viewpoint and can help with a specific area of sex and intimacy. When you’re dedicated to improving your life and with a partner who is just as dedicated, you’ll be experiencing the best sex of your life in no time.
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