You’d think that sex, love, and romance would be the most natural things for humans, but that’s not always the case. Many of us are often left floundering when it comes to these vital parts of life. Sex ed in school often leaves people more confused than before, your parents may not have the best knowledge on love to pass down, and you’re left trying to put the pieces together.
Still, there are plenty of other places to turn to when you need advice navigating love, sex, and romance. Storytelling is one of the key things that makes us human. Stories have been used to spread warnings, share ideas, pass on memories, and give knowledge. Since the genesis of the written word, books have become one of the go-to sources for storytelling. So why not turn to books to soak in wisdom on love, sex, and romance?
This one is for the book worms. The true romantics. Or anyone who’s looking to learn more about the world of intimacy. We’ve rounded up the best books on sex, love, and romance for you to turn to whether you’re single, dating, married, or anywhere in between!
Keep in mind that many of these books use gendered language, that may not sound inclusive to people who aren’t cis-gendered and straight. While wisdom can usually still be extracted no matter your gender and sexuality, we also tried to include books that use more inclusive language and content as well.
Getting The Love That You Want by Harville Hendrix
This legendary guide on love hacking was written by power couple Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., and his wife Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D. Originally published in 1988, it was updated in 2008 with updated perspectives from the authors.
They have been together for over thirty years, and have six children together. In between all that, they also created Imago Relationship Therapy: A healing process for couples and parents. This book is a reflection of their decades of experience as therapists and educators in the realm of relationships. Reading this book will help you deeply build your communication skills, and learn where your subconscious habits and needs are coming from.
Women’s Anatomy of Arousal: Secrets Maps to Buried Treasure by Sheri Winston
Sherin Winston had a long career as a midwife before focusing her work on sex education. A natural extension of being a birth worker and reproductive healthcare provider, she uses her in-depth knowledge of female anatomy to show new pathways to pleasure.
Winston goes beyond the clitoris and G-spot to uncover and explain the complex erectile network that lies in the human body. This book is poetic, funny and full of incredibly helpful diagrams and visuals. She discusses female ejaculation, the energetics of arousal, and much more!
Although the title may be gendered, this book can be helpful for anyone with a vulva, and people who have sex with people with vulvas. Dive into this book and then get ready to dive into bed.
Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski
Another book dedicated to debunking the not so complicated, but not well-understood world of female arousal. Nagoski’s book stood out thanks to her use of groundbreaking science and research to show the importance of how you feel about the different components of your sex life.
This book is accessible and informative, discussing how mood, trust, sex, and body image all tie into how a woman relates to sex. The revised version uses new research to further decode the science of sex.
Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary by Morty Diamond
In this book, Morty Diamond explores the crossroads of gender and sexuality to create raw and honest depictions of dating, sex, love, and relationships amongst people in the gender variant community.
There are contributions from other award-winning others discussing everything from one-night stands to marriage and everything in between.
Wired For Love by Stan Tatkin
If you want to go deeper into why you and your partner are the way you are, this is the book to turn to. Tatkin created an in-depth guide on understanding your partner’s brain and creating a relationship based on trust and love. He draws on neuroscience, attachment theory, and emotional regulation to create ten guiding principles that help improve any relationship.
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
The love languages are one of the most turned to tools amongst people in relationships. Dr. Gary Chapman wrote this book over 30 years ago as a way to understand how you and your loved ones receive and give love best.
In his book, Dr. Chapman outlines these love languages: Physical touch, gift-giving, words of affirmation, quality time, and acts of service, and to use them to heal and enhance your relationship and deepen levels of intimacy.
How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
This book was written by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh who passed away at the beginning of 2021. Part of his legacy is in this book where he brings compassion, clarity, and humor to answer the question of how to love.
He breaks down the four essential components of love: Love is understanding, understanding brings compassion, deep listening and loving speech are key ways of showing our love, and you can only love another when you feel true love for yourself. He also included meditation practices that you can do by yourself or with your loved one to expand your understanding of and capacity for love.
Although reading may seem like a solo activity, it certainly doesn’t have to be! If you want to deepen your sex life or your relationship then why not read one of these books with your sweetie? You can take turns reading a chapter to each other before bed or play the audiobook during long car rides.
If you’re single or don’t want to read one with your partner, then no worries! It can be just as impactful to soak up this knowledge on your own. Wherever you’re at, grab your reading glasses, a comfy pillow, and get your nose up in a book!
Natasha (she/her) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @natasha.s.weiss.