suggested readings

I like to practice what I preach.  For this reason, I recommend books I have personally read and found helpful.  Since there are too many to list - below are some of my favorites. 

for couples


Passionate Marriage: Love, Sex And Intimacy In Emotionally Committed Relationships by David Schnarch is a classic must have for couples, whether you are married or not.  The book addresses intimacy, couples differences, and communication patterns from a psychological principle of individuation.  Now, I know this sounds complicated but its really not and Schnarch does an excellent job laying it out.

Mating In Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Pearl sounds like a book on domesticated animals and that's pretty accurate except Esther is talking about humans!  The book explores the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire and discusses how people seek grounding and continuity in a marriage.  If you are interested about habits and how their certainty decreases desire and therefore leads to less sex, this is a book for you. 


The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work is one of the best self-help books for couples.  Using rigorous scientific procedures to observe couples habits and interaction, John Gottman revolutionized the study of marriage!  A highly informative and engaging book - containing a series of checklists, exercises, and quizzes designed to strengthen a marriage.  A must read for any couple or anyone in a relationship!

As an individual who appreciates honest, straight forward approach, I was grateful to hear Terrance Real candid voice.  How Can I Get Through To You? is a journey filled with powerful stories of couples.  Special attention is give to empower women's voice and to help men hear and connect with their feelings.  If you appreciate no nonsense approach, this is a book for you!

bdsm aka bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism

So you watched Fifty Shades of Grey, got all excited, and want to learn more about Anna's and Christian's sexual world! Despite the movie's inaccurate portrayal of consent (you can read more about this on my blog) it did splurge interest in the public.  Jay Wiseman's SM 101: A Realistic Introduction, is an excellent book for those seeking an introduction to BDSM and most importantly, consensual bondage!

Ready to take BDSM to the next level?  Different Loving: The World Of Sexual Dominance And Submission by William Brame, Gloria Brame, and Jon Jacobs presents a world of alternative sexual lifestyles.  This book is not only great for those who wish to know more about the exotic and erotic sides of the BDSM but also a great read for couples who enjoy dominance and submission.

sex and sexuality

Whether you are a woman in your 20's or 60s, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that when it comes to performing oral sex, you are either clueless or feel like you never got the operational manual!  The good thing about oral sex is that it is never too late to learn.  Sex Tips For Straight Women From A Gay Man by Dan Anderson and Maggie Berman, is a book that helps women understand how to elicit that ultimate pleasure in your men.  This book does a great job of providing you with that operational manual that has gone missing!

If you are looking on a great text to take you beyond the limits of traditional monogamy, this is it!  The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy is an excellent guide to explore infinite possibilities that open relationships can offer.

Sexuality researcher and nurse Beverly Whipple joins neuroscientist Barry Komisaruk and endocrinologist Carlos Beyer-Flores in producing a fascinating book The Science of Orgasm.  What more can you want?!

female sexuality

This is absolutely the golden grail on women's sexuality!  This book offers answers to everything - from how to have more satisfying sex to questions about anatomy, hormones, sexual orientation, body image, disability and chronic illness, and the list goes on and on!  Written by highly experienced therapists, Sallie Foley, Sally Kope, and Dennis Surgue, bringing you women's experiences combined with science-based information, exercises, and advice.  Sex Matters for Women is a fundamental must read!

It is never too late to explore and learn!  Vagina: A New Biography by Naomi Wolf offers an exploration into history, culture, biology and the world of vagina.

male sexuality


The New Male Sexuality by Bernard Zilbergeld, has been around since 1992!  That's a little over two decades!  It was 'new' then so how can it possibly be 'new' now you might ask?  It is new simply because most of the general public still doesn't know much about sexuality.  Shocking as it is, the reason this text has been around for so long is mostly due to the lack of knowledge.  This book covers introduction to male sexuality, the sexual reality, how to have better sex, and resolving problems.

This is not a direct text on male sexuality - however - it is an excellent book addressing male depression.  It covers how men who are depressed carry depression from their fathers and express it by rage, workaholism, distanced relationships, self-destructiveness, and substance abuse - all of which effect intimacy and sexuality!  I Don't Want to Talk About It by Terrence Real is a must read for men and women!

male to female transgender literature

Personally, when it comes to learning about new people, nothing comes close to an autobiography.  I have read Crossing: a Memoir, by Deirdre McCloskey 8 years ago and the memories of her experience still stay with me!  This fascinating memoir follows Deirdre through her transition as an economist professor at the University of Iowa at the age of 52.  The most interesting aspects  are Deirdre's reflections on the nature of gender and identity.  Just writing about this makes me want to re-read the book again!

Julia Serano's Whipping Girl, is a powerful look at gender, society, femininity, attitudes towards trans women, as well as sexuality.  Serano, both an activist and a professional biologist, combines her personal experience with her background in biology to present an alternative social perspective.  Highly intelligent, provocative, and thought provoking, this book is a must read for everyone.

female to male transgender literature

Max Wolf Valerio's personal account of his journey, gives a reader an authentic, gripping, account of life before, during, and after injecting testosterone.  This book gives a great personal view of the physiological and psychological changes the body goes through during hormone therapy.  Poetically written, The Testosterone Files is as much educational as an illuminating experience as Valerio confirms some of the readers assumptions about gender. 

Jamison Green, a leading activist in the transgender community, offers a unique insight into the multiple challenges of his experience.  Becoming a Visible Man, is not just an autobiography, but an evaluation of politics and gender!  Offering a personal view into the multiple challenges of the FtM transgender experience, ranging from the encounters with prejudice and strained relationships with family to the realities of sex reassignment surgery.  I highly recommend this!

for family, friends, and anyone interested in learning about transgender experience

Recently a twitter follower asked me what to do when your family has a difficult time accepting your desired gender and without a doubt, True Selves was a book that I highly recommended!  Brown and Rounsley's text provides individuals with introduction to many aspects of living as a transgender and gives information about the dilemma of feeling trapped in the wrong physical gender.  The book also does a great job of detailing the process of transition.  Anyone who is not familiar with transgender reality will benefit from this book and I wish we could have it delivered to every household like we used to deliver yellow pages!

This is not related to the recently new Amazon TV show Transparent, which I wish could have hired a real transgender actor, but a book about transgender teens in Los Angeles.  Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers, is a deeply moving portrait of teens who are brave to cross the binary lines of gender.  As Cris Beam volunteers at the school for gay and transgender kids, she quickly becomes immersed in the lives of pained and powerful group of transgirls.

for professionals


Easily accessible, the Handbook of Clinical Sexuality for Mental Health Professionals by Stephen Levine, Candace Risen, and Stanley Althof, is divided into six major sections with helpful annotated references: Being a Therapist; Intimacy; Sexual Dysfunction; Sexual Identity Struggles; The Forgotten; and Additional Vital Topics.

Originally developed by the late Sandra Leiblum, who is a leading expert in the field.  Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy by Yitzchak Binik and Kathryn Hall, is the leading clinical reference and text in the field.  This volume, now in its fifth edition, addresses the full range of sexual problems and concerns that lead men, women, and couples to seek help.

Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy by Alan Gurman, is an authoritative handbook providing a definitive overview of the theory and practice of couple therapy.  In addition to presenting major couple therapy models in step-by-step detail, the book describes effective applications for particular populations and problems.

New Directions in Sex Therapy: Innovations and Alternatives by Peggy Kleinplatz is intended for anyone who deals with sexual issues and concerns in therapy–clinicians of every kind, novices and advanced practitioners–rather than only those who define themselves as sex therapists.

Treating Sexual Desire Disorders: A Clinical Casebook by Sandra Leiblum, showcases in-depth case presentations illustrating effective treatment approaches for individuals and couples.  The book illuminates the complex interplay of biological, psychological, interpersonal, contextual, and cultural factors.

If you are looking for an introductory text, this is it.  Sexual Dysfunction: A Guide for Assessment and Treatment by John Wincze and Michael Carey, provides an overview of the most common sexual dysfunctions and the full range of assessment and treatment approaches.

Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working With Gender - Variant People and Their Families by Arlene Lev is a must read for any professional working with gender-variant people!  An excellent and comprehensive resource.

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability by Cory Silverberg, Fran Odette, and Miriam Kaufman is the ultimate book for professionals and general public.  The book addresses people who live with disabilities, pain, illness, or chronic conditions.