I write a monthly column on sexual health for Midlife Boulevard, my most recent article is shared here. Reading Your Way to Better Sexual Health offers you a few suggestions on books about sexuality, plus a little erotica sampling.
The holidays are all about gifting—the pleasure of giving and receiving. And, really that’s what good sex is all about too—giving and receiving. No matter how fabulous your sex life or how much you enjoy sex, you can always learn more.
I want to suggest that you consider treating yourself to something different this year. Why not make an investment in your sexual life and your sexual health? This isn’t (necessarily) just so you’ll have more sex. Sexual health is more than good sex, it is vital to keeping your body functioning smoothly. There are a variety of delightful ways to enhance your sexual health, and good old-fashioned reading is definitely on the list. For me reading about sex is two-fold—educational and arousing.
In no particular order here are some books I can recommend, most are in my library.
- Partners in Passion, A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love by Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson. “Happily married partners in passion themselves, award-winning authors Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson provide readers with a fun, step-by-step manual to creating a lasting, loving and erotic relationship. Partners in Passion proposes alternative models of long-term connection, founded on mutuality, a collaborative mindset, empathy and transparency. It features interviews with long-term couples and includes an extensive resource guide that covers everything from health to erotica, with excellent advice from many of today’s leading sexuality and relationship educators.”
- A Passionate Marriage, Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch, a marital and sex therapist.. I read this book years ago and am reading it again. “Chapters—covering everything from understanding love relationships to helpful “tools for connections” to keeping the sparks alive years down the road—provide the scaffolding for overcoming sexual and emotional problems. This inspirational book is sure to help couples invigorate their relationships and reach the fullest potential in their love lives.”
- Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After , by Kristina Wright “…takes a peek behind the closed doors of married and committed couples to find out what makes long-term lust last. Award-winning author and editor Kristina Wright curates a collection of sexy and powerful erotic fiction and memoir from some of the top authors in the genre, all of whom are in committed relationships ranging from five to over thirty years.” I have this book–it’s pretty exciting even for single women!
- The Secret Pleasures of Menopause, by Christiane Northrup, M.D. This is one of the few books I’ve read that is full of positive aspects about menopause. Dr. Northrup is considered one of the experts on menopause. In this book she talks about this next phase of life as full of possibility.
A couple of contemporary memoirs I’ve enjoyed:
- A Round Heeled Woman by Jane Juska. Living vicariously as Ms. Juska’s attempts to find sex through the personals is in part funny and sad. Her story is almost brutally honest about the ups and downs of dating and discovering sex at an ‘older age’.
- Free Fall: A Late-in-Life Love Affair by Rae Padilla Francoeur. “In her memoir, Free Fall, Francoeur discloses her discovery of a new love after nearly two decades in a relationship that won’t end, despite her need and desire to move on. Francoeur succumbs entirely to the intensely physical and stimulating relationship she finds with this new man—allowing her body and mind to truly embrace pleasure and sexual desire—and shares intimate details of a love affair that changes everything, leading her to celebrate her sexuality and rediscover herself.” Powerful read–I loved it.
And for some light sexy reading, you might try the early books in the Outlander series by Diane Gabaldon, Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence, or Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies. And, of course let’s not forget Anais Nin’s writing—any or all of them.
There are so many books dealing with sex — for fun, educational, medical — all have a purpose depending on what you’re looking for. Many women find erotic literature helpful in increasing arousal. I believe that every woman should have a ‘toolbox’ of what I like to call sexy essentials– books provide a nice complement to sex toys, self-care products and lingerie.
It’s the season to indulge-you’re worth it.