Books that help us feel at home in our bodies.
How we connect with our bodies changes during different stages of life. Depending on what is going on in our lives, we may need to turn inward and gently remind ourselves of the infinite beauty our bodies hold. Only then can we go about nourishing our desires.
These books thread into a feminist view of radical self-love and deeply honor feminine energy and sexuality. Written by authors we admire—including psychologists, OBGYNs, and doulas—these books are reframing the narrative and helping us feel at home in our bodies.
Author | Emily Nagoski
Dr. Emily Nagoski is like your nerdy, sciency best friend. Pairing scientific studies with humor, she takes readers on a curious exploration and explains how psychology impacts sexual desires. Backed by modern science, Nagoski opens the door to our unique sexuality, and she removes judgment, helping us understand our anatomy, as well as the ways we find arousal.
Reviews | “Emily Nagoski has written one of the most important books about sex any woman (or anybody else) could ever pick up, full of insights that are both fascinating and deeply useful. Synthesizing new research and theory about sexuality with old-school sex-positive information of the sort you didn’t learn in sex ed (unless, perhaps, you are a Unitarian, or Scandinavian, or lucky enough to be in Dr. Nagoski’s class), I guarantee Come As You Are will open minds and change lives.” — Carol Queen, Ph.D., Founding Director, Center for Sex & Culture
Price | $17.99, or less secondhand
Author | Sonya Renee Taylor
Sonya Renee Taylor is an activist and poet. In “The Body is Not an Apology,” she guides readers through new ways of awakening love for the body and dismantles shame created by society. Taylor’s book invites us to find peace in these beautiful bodies we were born with.
Reviews | “The Body Is Not an Apology is a gift, a blessing, a prayer, a reminder, a sacred text. In it, Taylor invites us to live in a world where different bodies are seen, affirmed, celebrated, and just. Taylor invites us to break up with shame, to deepen our literacy, and to liberate our practice of celebrating every body and never apologizing for this body that is mine and takes care of me so well. This book cracked me open in ways that I'm so grateful for. I know it will do the same for you.” —Alicia Garza, Co-Creator of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and Strategy + Partnerships Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Price | $19.95, or less secondhand
Author | Diana Richardson
For anyone wanting to explore a more spiritual approach to lovemaking with an emphasis on female sexual arousal and satisfaction, this book is for you. Diana Richardson explores meditation and relaxation as ways women can ignite and deepen their sexual experiences. For those curious about tantric sex, read more about it here.
Reviews | "[Richardson] presents tantric meditations and exercises designed to develop awareness, increase sensitivity, and ultimately lead to inner expansion and a profound sense of peace and fulfillment.” — Kathy Heckler, New Age Retailer
Price | $14.95, or less secondhand
Author | Laurie Mintz
The name of this book says it all. Using science-backed research, Dr. Laurie Mintz invites us to explore how we receive pleasure. She argues that women’s anatomy requires a different approach for reaching orgasm, and she goes through the history, anatomy, and techniques for clitoral arousal, as opposed to intercourse. As a bonus, the final chapter is dedicated to men.
Reviews | "This read doesn't just zero in on the politics of pleasure inequality, it also offers up solutions that help the reader become more hands on (literally) with their own sexuality." — Bust Magazine
Price | $16.99, or less secondhand
5. Queer Sex
Author | Juno Roche
Juno Roche's book offers an educational and transparent look into gender—especially as it shows up in sexuality. Written through the lens of the trans and queer community, it creates space for an essential conversation while also encouraging a broader look at the vast landscape that is intimacy. Roche helps readers explore intimacy and develop a deeper understanding of what sex means for all bodies.
Review | “Queer Sex is an audacious and inspiring challenge to a system that shames trans bodies and desires. Roche's words are a gift to anyone looking to open their minds and fall in love with the possibilities of love.” — CN Lester, musician and author of "Trans Like Me"
Price | $18.95, or less secondhand
Author | Hannah Witton
Targeted at a younger audience, “Doing It!” is for anyone beginning to learn about sex and what it means to them (ages 14+). This book is a wonderful starting point to help empower teens in their relationships and self-confidence. Hannah Witton also hosts a YouTube channel where she has honest and funny conversations about sex, adolescence, and being a woman.
Reviews | "The writing is frank and informative and suited for young adults of the 21st century. This book is not preachy, instead reading as if it was written by an extremely approachable sex ed teacher who is addressing questions from the anonymous "Question Box."...an excellent resource for health curricula and is a must-have for libraries serving young adults." — School Library Connection
Price | $16.99, or less secondhand
Author | Lisa Lister
This book acts as a how-to manual for various areas of a woman's life. Lisa Lister helps the reader reconnect with feminine wisdom through exercises that realign desires. She teaches earth-based spirituality, movement, dance, and breath-work, offering tools for reconnecting to the feminine. Lister also explores menstrual cycles and teaches readers how to be synced to the rhythms in nature.
Reviews | “Lisa Lister doesn't mess around. She's here to break boundaries and barriers that have been created by what society defines 'normal' and in turn, remind us what's real.” — Kyle Gray, Bestselling Author of “Angel Prayers”
Price | $16.99, or less secondhand
Author | Gigi Engle
Gigi Engle is like the big sister you don't have, offering an honest conversation about "demystifying female sexuality." Her book is broken down into bite-sized lessons, making it an easy handbook format for becoming more empowered in our desires and sexuality. This newly released book (January 2020) feels like the perfect addition to the new year.
Reviews | "Engle convincingly speaks to the importance of female self-empowerment... It’s critical that women retain agency over their bodies and prioritize their needs. This bold, sex-positive book delivers on its promise to instruct and encourage women who want more from their sex lives.” ― Publishers Weekly
Price | $19.99, or less secondhand
Author | Michaela Boehm
“The Wild Woman’s Way” offers a more spiritual approach for women to find peace within themselves. An expert in tantric yoga, Michaela Boehm focuses on healing through ancient wisdom such as the "Wild Woman'' archetype whose story of "body Intelligence" has been passed down for thousands of years. Boehm explains how women can use tantra outside of the bedroom as a way to create intimate connections themselves and their physical bodies.
Reviews | “…The Wild Woman's Way drips from the pages like the sweet nectar of relief. As pragmatic as it is compassionate, this intimate, humorous, and ultimately relaxing invitation to re-wild yourself, stripping away all that is not your true nature, will leave you inspired and curious to discover the wild woman within.” — Lissa Rankin, MD, New York Times Bestselling Author of “Mind Over Medicine”
Price | $27, or less secondhand
Author | adrienne maree brown
A powerful collection of essays, this book covers a wide range of critical topics, including sex work, orgasms, and sexuality. Rooted in honest essays from women’s rights activist and black feminist thinker, adrienne maree brown, “Pleasure Activism” pulls from black feminist traditions while weaving in conversations and insights from the likes of Cara Page and Audre Lorde. Read this one for new narratives surrounding important subject matters, as well as for critical insights about how humans can experience pleasure in everything.
Review | “adrienne maree brown...continues to stake her claim as one of our most critical thinkers and strategists by intentionally combining the power of story-telling with practical applications to help readers conjure their own definition of pleasure and how it is inextricably linked to every part of our existence.” — Monica Simpson, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
Price | $20, or less secondhand
11. The Vagina Bible
Author | Jennifer Gunter
Dr. Jennifer Gunter is a gynecologist, OB/GYN, and passionate advocate for women's health. Her newly released book (Aug 2019) is a tell-all of sorts and answers every question you’ve ever had about vaginas. Using her knowledge and experience, she writes with clarity about the sometimes confusing and strange things going on with the female body. Don’t miss the chapter on clitoris anatomy, or the one debunking the “g-spot" myth.
Review | “Dr. Jen Gunter is a fountain of critically important information and she’s funny as hell. Buy this book if you have a vagina or if you spend any time at all in reasonably close proximity to one.” — Ayelet Waldman, New York Times Bestselling Author of “A Really Good Day”
Price | $18.95, or less secondhand
12. The Pleasure Gap
Author | Katherine Rowland
Using the insight she’s gained from hundreds of interviews with women and health care professionals, Katherine Rowland explores "our culture’s relationship with women's sexual expression” in her newly released book (February 2020). Rowland argues that low libido and sexual desire are much more complex than society has painted them to be, and she aims to discuss this honestly while exploring how we can find enlightenment and freedom in sexual expression.
Reviews | “…Rowland skillfully synthesizes many different ideas and approaches, and encourages women to embrace a broader understanding of their own sexual desire as an ongoing process of self-discovery and self-assertion.” ― Publishers Weekly
Price | $28, or less secondhand
Courtney Jay Higgins is the Associate Editor at The Good Trade. She is also a Yoga Instructor, vegetarian, wellness and fashion enthusiast. Originally from Colorado, her soul found California when she came to get her degree in Visual Communications at the Fashion Institute Of Design & Merchandising. She has a background in telling a story through writing, creative direction and content creation. Her online blog hosts her unique perspective on the mergence of fashion and spirituality.