Sex really does matter. When it is happening in a relationship, it only accounts for about 15% of relationship happiness, but when it’s absent–or conflicted, it accounts for 75% of relationship unhappiness.
The best basic sex ed book, the one that will answer all the questions you never even thought to ask and is used throughout the world as a warm and humorous yet highly accurate textbook in college and medical school sex ed courses, is Guide to Getting it On: A Book About the Wonders of Sex by Paul Joanniades.
- Rekindling Desire: A Step-by-Step Program to Help Low-Sex and No-Sex Marriages
by Barry and Emily McCarthy
Barry McCarthy is one of the foremost sex therapists writing today. This easy to read but very comprehensive book covers the most common causes of low sex and offers a practical approach to treatment.
- Passionate Marriage; Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch
- This is a timeless classic and one of the pioneering works in the field written by one of the most experienced marriage and family therapists on the planet. This book helps couples examine their expectations and develop the scaffolding they will need to continue deepening intimacy and keep sex alive and interesting for a lifetime together.
- Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
by Esther Perel
this engaging book is a must read for the couple that is very happy together but has lost some of their passion and vibrancy.
For Women Only
- Outliving Your Ovaries by Marina Johnson, M.D. For the first time in history, women are outliving their ovaries by three to four decades. The health and quality of life implications are huge and the hormone debate is not simple or black and white. The nuanced issues must rather be understood in all their complexity in order to make an informed decision. This book, written by an endocrinologist does a magnificent job of distilling a huge body of medical research literature and communicating these complexities in language the average woman can understand. A must read for any woman approaching midlife.
- Tickle Your Fancy by Sadie Allison is a book I often recommend to pre-orgasmic women. It is a very basic, very informative, how to.
- The Return of Desire: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Sexual Passion by Gina Ogden
- This book, written by a woman to empower women to move beyond shame, guilt, and cultural taboos to claim the fullness and vibrancy of their own sexuality by connecting mind, body, heart and spirit.
- Becoming Orgasmic: A Sexual and Personal Growth Program for Women
by Julie Heiman, Joseph LoPiccolo, and David Palladini
Many women struggle with the personal frustration of not being able to experience arousal and orgasm and often this can cause distress in an otherwise satisfying relationship. This book offers a step by step guide for women to becoming orgasmic.
- For Yourself: The fulfillment of female sexuality
by Lonnie Garfield Barback
This book is a classic guide to helping women become more knowledgeable and comfortable with their own sexuality and learning to become orgasmic, with or without a partner.
- Sex Matters for Women: A complete guide to taking care of your sexual self.
by Sallie Foley, Sally Kope, and Dennis Sugrue
This is a candid book written to help women discover their own sexuality.
Just for Men
- Great Sex: A Man’s Guide to the Secret Principles of Total-Body Sex by Michael Castleman
This is an excellent book for men to read. The front cover is evocative and the author is a reporter who spent some years answering letters to the editor of Playboy Magazine. Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction: [T]he bitter cultural debate about sexually explicit media misses a key point. Pornography is bad for sex. Very bad. It causes or contributes to all of men’s major sex problems: hang-ups about penis size, involuntary ejaculation, erection impairment, and ejaculation difficulties. It also completely misrepresents how women become sexually aroused and experience erotic fulfillment (page 3).
- The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011 By Athol Kay We live in a culture where the differences between men and women have been largely eroded. Men iron and fold the laundry, cook and take out the trash and somehow it’s still “not enough.” But perhaps it’s not about doing more. Perhaps it’s about recovering essential differences and valuing the tension those differences create. Vive la difference! This book explains the biology and sociology of sexual attraction and how to maintain that attraction in a monogamous marriage by honoring the differences, maintaining the tension, and leading the “dance.”
- The New Male Sexuality, Revised Edition by Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D The classic, and comprehensive, guide to male sexuality and male sexual problems available.
- Coping with Erectile Dysfunction: How to regain confidence and enjoy great sex
by Michael Metz and Barry McCarthy
This is a must read for anyone seeking help for ED. Metz and McCarthy are two of the premier sex therapists working in this area. Their work is compassionate and helpful.
- Coping with Premature Ejaculation: How to overcome PE and Please your Partner and have Great Sex
by Michael Metz and Barry McCarthy
This is a must read for anyone seeking help for PE. Metz and McCarthy are two of the premier sex therapists working in this area. Their work is compassionate and helpful.
- How to Overcome Premature Ejaculation
by Helen Singer Kaplan
Another classic in the field of sex therapy using a very positive approach to the intimate issue of ejaculatory control.
- Researched Products: Salonia, A., L. Rocchini, et al. (2009). “Acceptance of and discontinuation rate from paroxetine treatment in patients with lifelong premature ejaculation.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine 6(10): 2868-2877.
Sexual Compulsivity (Addiction)
- Don’t Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addiction
by Patrick Carnes
‘Sexual addiction’ is the metaphor we use to talk about the compulsive use of sex and orgasm to soothe anxiety instead of intimacy and closeness. Patrick Carnes is probably the foremost authority on ‘sexual addiction’ today. His books are enlightening, non-judgmental, and offer hope for those struggling to break free from addiction and those who love them.
- The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships
by Patrick J. Carnes
Delves into the other side of sexual addiction metaphor – the ‘co-addict’ or partner who remains in a relationship with someone who uses sex for self-soothing instead of intimacy.
- Love, Infidelity, and Sexual Addiction: A Codependent’s Perspective
by Christine A. Adams
The writing style is not as enjoyable as Carnes’ book but the content is similar.
Sex During and After Cancer
- Making Love Again: Hope for Couples Facing Loss of Sexual Intimacy
by Virginia and Keith Laken
Virginia and Keith Laken are a married couple who share the story of how prostate cancer and its treatment devastated their marriage and the heroic struggle they went through to regain sexual intimacy.
- Up Front: Sex and the Post-Mastectomy Woman
by Linda Dackman
Author Linda Dackman tells the compelling story of how breast cancer altered her body image and hence her relationships and sexuality and how she struggled to reclaim a sense of sensuality and sexual vibrancy in the aftermath.
- Man to Man: When the Woman You Love Has Breast Cancer
by Andy Murcia and Bob Stewart
The authors, a policeman and a journalist supported each other through their wives ordeal with breast cancer and learned a lot about how to effectively support and advocate for their wives during the treatment process.
- Woman Cancer Sex and Man Cancer Sex by Dr. Anne Katz
- These comprehensive and compassionate books are written by an RN and AASECT certified sexuality counselor who is a cancer survivor herself.
For Christians of Faith
- Sex is Holy
By Mary Rousseau & Charles Gallagher
For those who can get past the specifically Roman Catholic jargon, this book is a great primer on the orthodox Christian view of sexuality and the vibrant place it should hold in Christian marriage.
- A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy
by Douglas E. Rosenau, Ph.D.
This is a much more modern book about the positive view scripture holds of sexuality but is written by and for a protestant evangelical perspective.
- A Celebration of Sex Guidebook
by Deborah C Neel, Douglas E Rosenau, and W. Ellen Fox
The companion workbook for “A Celebration of Sex, by Douglas Rosenau.