13 Books for Sexual Wellness
The path of sexual wellness and wellbeing is a journey I have been on for several years, and now I get the gift of walking with other women on this path.
Like many of you, I didn’t have anyone to talk to at the beginning of my journey. Books were my only resource and place of refuge. Though they could never fill the role of mother, sister, mentor, friend, at times their comfort came close, and for those moments I am forever grateful.
Here is a list of 13 books that have served me on this journey.
Many of these authors have felt like divinely appointed teachers on this intimate and emotional journey, their books landing in my lap at just the right time.
Their work is diverse and speaks to different aspects of healing and sexual awakening. Not all of them deal directly with sex or sexual issues, but each has given me something every woman needs on this path: the sense that she is not alone.
Remember: You are the heroine. This is your journey. May you find in these books words of life, encouragement, empowering information, revelation, and hope on your path.
Note: Don't feel like you have to read all of them overnight! (Or all of them ever.) Your path will be your own, and you can trust the unique curves of your own journey. Lean into what resonates with you, don't worry too much about what doesn't. Get excited! Keep an open mind and continue learning.
Review the list below and let your heart speak to you about which 1 book may be meant for you on your journey right now.
“Despite our culture’s vested interest in making us feel broken, dysfunctional, unlovely and unlovable, we are in fact fully capable of confident, joyful sex.”
— Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
My Aha-Moment: Hallulujah I am normal! My body is beautiful. My desires are perfect, just as they are, and if I want to grow in pleasure and sexual potential, I can!
Move it to the top of your book list if: The question that keeps you up at night in regards to your body, your sexual functioning, your "low" or "high" desire for sex, is Am I normal?
“I want you to love me. I want you to trust me enough to let me love you, and I want you to stay here with me so we can build a life together. That’s what I want.
— Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
My Aha-Moment: Not all men are bad and only want to use me.
Move it to the top of your book list if: You’ve ever been sexually abused/used, and your heart feels empty and dead and unable to trust.
3.The body keeps the score: Brain, Mind and Body in the healing of trauma
“When our senses become muffled, we no longer feel fully alive… If you have a comfortable connection with your inner sensations … you will feel in charge of your body, your feelings, and your self.”
— Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
Move it to the top of your book list if: You love pioneering research and want to learn the
“The bottom lie is that too little or repressed sexuality leads to emotional emaciation, lack of nurturance, or perversion, while too much sex can lead to exhaustion, both physically and mentally, especially if the sex we are having is not connected to deep love.”
— Katie Silcox
My Aha-Moment: A personal self care practice is KEY to sexual wellbeing. Also...Tantra is NOT a weird esoteric practice, it's super awesome.
Move it to the top of your book list if: You are in need of practical tools and new ideas to help you connect to your feminine power OR you have no idea what people mean by "feminine power" and want a solid introduction.
“Erotic intimacy is the revelation of our memories, wishes, fears, expectation, and struggles within a sexual relationship. When our innermost desires are revealed, and are met by our loved one with acceptance and validation, the shame dissolves. It is an experience of profound empowerment and self-affirmation for the heart, body and soul. When we can be present for both love and sex, we transcend the battleground of Puritanism and hedonism.”
— Esther Perel
My Aha-Moment: Holy cow, I have my own erotic blueprint!? And I don't have to be afraid of that word "erotic" anymore?
Move it to the top of your book list if: The idea of "erotic intelligence" is a brand new concept
6. Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch, PH.D.
“Giving up your individuality to be together is as defeating in the long run as giving up your relationship to maintain your individuality.”
— Dr. David Schnarch, Ph.D
My Aha-Moment: My own strong sense of self-- especially in my relationship with my husband-- is one of the biggest keys to keeping love and intimacy alive.
Move it to the top of your book list if: One of your most predictable and loathsome patterns in your marriage or romantic relationships (if you are dating) is losing who you are and becoming enmeshed with your lover.
“Don’t ‘Just do it!’ to make your partner happy!”
— Dr. David Schnarch, Ph.D
My Aha-Moment: Courageously facing conflict-- especially conflict in regards to different desires levels for sex-- is the doorway to trust and intimacy... and mind-blowing sex.
Move it to the top of your book list if: You never/always want sex and your partner does/doesn’t.
“Focus less on the impression you’re making on others and more on the impression you’re making on yourself.
— Amy Cuddy
My Aha-Moment: My body has wisdom! It can guide me home to true confidence in the bedroom if I let it. It's possible to shift all the anxiety I have been feeling about sex into excitement.
Move it to the top of your book list if: You feel anxious a lot in the bedroom or in the boardroom and want to know the radical new research findings on how to defeat the demons of self-doubt.
“The medicine for the pain is in the pain...When we welcome what we most want to avoid, we contact the part of ourselves that is fresh and alive. We touch the life we truly want and evoke divinity itself.”
— Geneen Roth
My Aha-Moment: Sex is like food! A woman's relationship with sex (like food) is often a source of shame and confusion. But...hidden inside that same relationship is also the doorway to freedom!
Move it to the top of your book list if: You have a history of stuffing your emotions, running from your feelings, and distrusting your body and desires.
“We have rethink what sexuality is. For many, sexuality is simply what happens between two people involving physical pleasure. But that’s only a small percentage of what sexuality is. Our sexuality is all the ways we strive to reconnect with our world, with each other, and with God.
— Rob Bell
My Aha-Moment: Sexual wellbeing cannot be separated from spiritual wellbeing.
Move it to the top of your book list if: You need help reframing/redeeming your theology around sex.
11. Healing the wounded heart: The Heartache of sexual abuse and the hope of transformation by Dan B. Allender
“Mainly, you are giving yourself a little space [when you come to your yoga mat]. A moment in which you can simply be. A moment in which you do not have to explain yourself to anyone. A moment in which you do not have to make anythign special happen. You are totally awake and completely present, but there is no need to make anything happen. Claim this moment of rest that belongs solely to you.”
— Dan B. Allender
My Aha-Moment: My heart ca
Move it to the top of your book list if: You
“Mainly, you are giving yourself a little space [when you come to your yoga mat]. A moment in which you can simply be. A moment in which you do not have to explain yourself to anyone. A moment in which you do not have to make anything special happen. You are totally awake and completely present, but there is no need to make anything happen. Claim this moment of rest that belongs solely to you.”
— Overcoming Trauma through Yoga
My Aha-Moment: My heart can heal by way of my body! My conscious mind doesn't have to micro-manage the whole freaking process!
Move it to the top of your book list if: You have experienced any form of sexual trauma, or just feel betrayed and distant from your own body. If the invitation to come to your mat feels like a holy one, take this book with you.
“I won’t take no for an answer,” God began to say to me
When He opened His arms each night
Wanting us to dance.
— St Catherine of Siena
My Aha-Moment:: I am loved with an infinite tenderness. (Sometimes I just need to let poetry minister to me).
Move it to the top of your book list if: Your poetic, mystic-loving, soul needs to be honored and fed.
I've shared my top picks, now I want to hear yours.