1. Guide To Getting It On! A Book About The Wonders Of Sex by Paul Joannides and Gröss Daerick Sr.
WHY: This is the seventh edition of a book bigger than your head that covers the basics and has chapters ranging from how to have sex when you move back in with your parents to how to separate porn from reality. And every section has humorous drawings to make everything seem less daunting.
2. Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha
WHY: It’s an anthropological examination on marriage and monogamy, which questions many of the “norms” we’ve set up in society. It’ll also make you feel more normal when you’re the only single person left in your group of friends.
3. She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman by Ian Kerner
WHY: Organized like Strunk and White’s Elements of Style (seriously), this guide de-mystifies the female orgasm for men and is responsible for allegedly improving many a dull sex life. There’s also a version for understanding the male orgasm, published after the massive success of this one. And even though it’s targeted at straight couples, there’s tons of information that is applicable to couples of all orientations.
4. Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human Loving by William H. Masters, Virginia E. Johnson, and Robert C. Kolodny
WHY: Cheesy cover aside, this book was revolutionary because it challenged previous theories of sex (such as Freud’s) and introduced the four stage model of sexual response (excitement, plateau, orgasm, resolution) and addressed homosexuality, gender roles, and methods of birth control, making it still incredibly relevant as well as historically fascinating.
5. Masters Of Sex: The Life And Times Of William Masters And Virginia Johnson, The Couple Who Taught America How To Love by Thomas Maier
WHY: The Showtime series is amazing, but there’s so much that is left unsaid for the purpose of dramatic tension. This biography recounts the unorthodox relationship between William Masters and Virginia Johnson as well as their process for finding the info that would later support their groundbreaking book. It closely examines their complex relationship while also taking a step back and taking a look at the sexual revolution they inevitably began.
6. Sexual Behavior In The Human Male by Alfred C. Kinsey
WHY: Without Kinsey, there would be no Masters and Johnson. Kinsey’s work, published in 1948, was highly controversial as it addressed masturbation, adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, and bisexuality. Kinsey himself was bisexual and used himself as a subject to extract data firsthand, and while much more research has been conducted since, there is an astounding amount of information that still rings true today. He also later wrote a version for women, which was also groundbreaking.
7. Domination & Submission: The BDSM Relationship Handbook by Michael Makai
WHY: Whether you’ve been inspired by 50 Shades of Grey or simply been a closeted BDSM fan for years, this book not only gives you tips, but also explores what being “dominant” and “submissive” even means and how it translates to your real-life personality.
8. Thy Neighbor’s Wife by Gale Talese
WHY: This is about as firsthand an account of the American sexual revolution you could possibly get, revealing just what happens behind closed doors and the role sexual fantasy plays in our everyday lives. You’ll be guaranteed to never look at people the same way again.
9. The Complete Kama Sutra: The First Unabridged Modern Translation of the Classic Indian Text by Alain Daniélou
WHY: Because duh.