Before you blow another $4 on Cosmo’s “best-kept, mind-blowing, sex secrets!” (aka reprinted, boring sex cliches), consider turning some pages that, though not glossy nor graced by Kate Hudson’s smiling blondeness, will actually soak the sheets. Behold: the books every sexy librarian must catalog before earning the right to walk around in a tight pencil skirt, seductively staring over her wire-rims as she beckons you between the stacks.
Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino: Of course, Taormino will top my list—especially now that we met earlier this year and she recognized my name and The V-Spot and we’re totes BFFs, she’s doomed to make appearance in every column. Deal with it.
Tackling modern non-monogamy in more realistic terms than its more famous, ethically slutty counterpart, this book is an easy read that’ll have you communicating like a pro, whether you’ve got one partner or 10. Read with your smart phone in hand —it’s time to master time management.
Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá: Though published in 2010, this book flew off 2011’s sex shelves. Do we really need to discuss that we’re closer to bonobo monkeys in sexual behavior than other primates to justify the sexual reality that we’re not wired for monogamous marriage? Celebrity lightning-unions, a staggering divorce rate and my own wandering eye all tell me “No”, but geeking out on the historical origins of our sexual selves will make your feel smart and smutty. Read naked whilst sipping an expensive Scotch in the study.
Healing Sex by Staci Haines: Haines tactfully tackles what all other sex writers are afraid to mention—how to reclaim your sex life after sexual trauma or abuse. A sex-positive guide for female survivors of all identities, this read empowers you to bring “sexy” back on your own terms. Read while treating yourself, whether that be a bubble bath, clay face mask or an entire Ben & Jerry’s pint.
Erotica from Cleis Press: Publishing titillating titles with sexy covers like Do Not Disturb (hotel rendezvous stories), Gotta Have It (sudden-sex shorts) and annual anthologies such as Best Women’s Erotica and Best Lesbian Bondage Erotica, Cleis gets everyone off. Read with one hand.
The Low Down on Going Down and Blow Him Away by Marcy Michaels and Marie Desalle: These approachable guides on everything oral promise “advanced techniques to wake up the neighbors.” Read after warming up the tongue and stretching out the jaw because these manuals require mouth-on practice.
The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women by Tristan Taormino: VIP back-door entry always requires a password. Find out what it is from the author, who’s truly a pro at two things: non-monogamy and anal sex. Read with a bottle of—you guessed it—Sliquid Sassy Booty Formula.
Something by Violet Blue: This award-winning sex writer hashes out modern, specific sex topics in everyday jargon. Check out otherwise rarely covered topics such as The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn and The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Strap-On Sex. Read with the DVD remote in hand or a bend-over boyfriend on standby.
Female Ejaculation and the G-Spot by Deborah Sundahl: Consider it found. Read with Njoy’s 1.5-pound stainless steel spot-hitter the Pure Wand and a towel.
Your sex-bible of choice: The Guide to Getting it On by Paul Joannides is a 928-page monster of sex advice with chapter titles like “Fun with Your Foreskin.” It covers it all. The Whole Lesbian Sex Book by Felice Newman (founder of Cleis Press) gives the girls what they want while S.E.X., written by the creators of sex-ed-website Scarleteen.com, is something every parent should give her teen.
The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy: Written by an experienced Dom and sub, in just a handful of pages these books cover the BDSM basics, including how to find the empowerment in being a submissive and how to be a convincing Top even if you’re actually a nervous Nellie. Read whilst sitting on your throne, stiletto-clad feet propped up on the kneeling bottom of someone who looks like the useless little ottoman he is.