10 Books on Sex Positivity

Hemingway, Twain, Christie, and Dickens: all considered great authors of their time, but how great could they have been if none of them wrote on the topic of sex positivity? A positive outlook on sex, sexuality, and identity–especially when introduced during the formative years–can have an invaluable influence on a person’s growth and development. The following books are ten hand-picked selections that present sex outside of the restrictive and outdated boundaries of being exclusively for the cisgender, heterosexual, and young.

Sex Positive Now: Everything you need to know about sex positivity, Allena Gabosch and Jeremy Shub

An excellent place to start with sex positivity is learning about what it is. Allena and Jeremy’s collection of essays walk the reader through what sex positivity means in itself and as a movement, framing it in relatable, inviting ways for the timid newcomer. The anthology features essays on kink, sex work, feminism, queerness, and sex ed and is a fun and diverse stepping stone for diving into the deep abyss that is human sexuality.

Come as You Are (The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life), Emily Nagoski

Perhaps one of the most popular books on the topic currently, Nagoski’s Come As You Are takes readers on a humorous and educational journey through the twists and myths of the female anatomy and the adverse effects of external influence on the way we view sex. Her book’s main foundation is simple: sex is different for everyone; being conditioned to believe that everyone thinks and feels the same way about sex perpetuates misinformation and taints experiences. Sex is unique, she stresses, as is every individual, so don’t let stress overtake your sexual encounters.

Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships, Juno Roche

This poignant read by transgender activist Juno Roche tackles sex, desire, and relationships through conversation with leading figures of the trans and non-binary communities. Her book celebrates the wonder of trans bodies, challenges our cis-normative concepts of intimacy and sexuality, and encourages society to push the boundaries of how it views sexuality, gender, and dating.

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir, Samra Habib

A harrowing tale of finding one’s identity amid persecution, Habib was a Pakistani Muslim refugee who found herself navigating a new world along with burgeoning ideas of faith, love, and queer sexuality. Her memoir details her fight to grow her feminist spirit while surrounded by men who want to control her and women who believe in pious obedience. We Have Always Been Here is a triumphant call to those who feel out of place in the life they were born into and a celebration of fearless rebellion.

Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex, Joan Price

Lest us not forget that sex is not only for the young, Joan Price, in her book, offers a candid exploration of senior sexuality and experience. Through her interviews exclusively with people over the age of fifty, she shares the stories of straight, gay, coupled, and single older people who discuss how their relationships and sex lives have changed with time and age, along with their hopes and worries associated with these changes. Taking on a subject that is often ridiculed or ignored altogether, Price offers a genuine and straightforward account of senior sex lives, offering advice to those participating and allowing them a space to share their stories.

A Quick & Easy Guide to Sex & Disability, A. Andrews

This graphic novel is critical when learning about sex positivity, as disabled representation in sexual education is often lacking. Whereas traditional materials promote ableism, Andrews’ book helps disabled people and their partners learn proper sexual communication, self-love, confidence, and suggestions for having the best sexual experience possible. So whether you or your partner are disabled or just want to be educated, this is a great, light read to learning how to achieve accessible and fulfilling sex in an inclusive manner.

Girl Sex 101, Allison Moon & and KD Diamond

Heralded as “a sex book like no other,” Girl Sex 101 navigates the tumultuous perils of female sexuality through the help of thirteen sex educators. Among other things, the illustrated novel teaches about the female anatomy, how to communicate in the heat of the moment, graphic tips for oral, anal, and hand sex, and the best positions to avoid fatigue. Friendly to all genders and intersex people, this inclusive book teaches how to be a better partner and better lover to yourself.

Sex Positive Talks to Have With Kids: A guide to raising sexually healthy, informed, empowered young people, Melissa Pintor Carnagey LBSW

There are fewer things more awkward than the “where do babies come from?” question, but don’t worry; this book has you covered on this and more. A famous sexuality educator for children and families, Carnagey lists over 150 conversation starters and exercises for introducing positive associations with bodies, feelings, safe/unsafe touch, gender, sex, consent, and more. This book will help anyone decide when and what the first step should be in introducing these concepts to their child and makes it easier than ever to normalize these talks.

All the F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life, Gigi Engle

Nicknamed the “sex handbook for the millennial feminist,” All the F*cking Mistakes embraces the “slut” ideal and helps women unleash their inner “slut” by teaching them how to take back their confidence and by demystifying female sexuality without any of the stigmas. From masturbation to knowing your worth, Engle’s bite-sized, no-nonsense lessons hope to teach women to find their sexual empowerment and self-worth with none of the guilt.

Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, Adrienne Maree Brown

Last but not least, Brown’s book skillfully weaves the ideas of pleasure and response to supremacy through a collection of essays highlighting the importance of reclaiming one’s entire self, happiness, and security after the impacts of intersecting forces of oppression. From sex work to climate change, Pleasure Activism speaks on the politics of healing and happiness and how they play with activism.