Some of us got a stellar sexuality education from fantastic adults in our lives. The rest of us (read: most of us) had to fill in the gaps ourselves.
Whether you are still filling in some major gaps or you’re well-versed on the topic of sex, sexuality education is ongoing. There’s always something to be learned about yourself and the people you might encounter in the bedroom.
While there are many great resources out there, we've put together a small, recommended reading list for adults to get you started.
Girl Sex 101
One of the great injustices of sexuality education, at least in Australia, is the utter lack of teaching about queer sex. Luckily, author Allison Moon created Girl Sex 101 for “ladies and lady-lovers”, complete with illustrations, scenarios and the no-nonsense advice you might have missed out on in the sex guides of youth (minus any patronising language). Girl Sex 101 covers trans-inclusive information about finding other queer women, consent, asking for what you want, checking in after sex, strap on play, hand sex, cunnlingus, and all the ins and outs of safe pleasure.
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a holistic, intersectional resource for transgender and gender non-conforming readers. This book covers everything from relationships and mental health to employment and legal issues. The authors have lived experience and understand that “there is no one way to be transgender”. Although Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is about a lot more than just sexuality, it covers heaps of foundational sexual health info, like the effects of gender norms and socialisation on dating, reproductive health, disclosure, pleasure, and how taking hormones might affect sexual response.
Come As You Are
Sex educator Dr Emily Nagoski really wants women to know they’re normal. Her book Come As You Are sees her slice through tall weeds of misinformation surrounding sexuality to help cis women, and those who have sex with them, see the facts more clearly. It’s an accessible, engaging breakdown of up-to-date science about bodies, psychology, desire, arousal, orgasm and love, that is feminist, trauma-informed and culturally critical. There are even worksheets and quizzes to help readers reflect on the mechanisms of their own sexuality.
The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain and Illness
Don’t be put off by the ambitious title, the authors of this book admit early on that they can’t conceivably cover all disabilities and chronic illnesses. However, it’s still a great resource for broad issues and specific questions among people with a range of abilities, which points to further resources along the way. This guide aims to tear down societal barriers to a satisfying sex life. It debunks damaging myths like good sex requires no planning, offers exercises to help build self-esteem, and shares information about how bodily sensations may change after injury or illness. Ultimately, it wants to give readers the tools to become their own sex experts.
The Ultimate Guide to Kink
Tristan Taormino has written many books considered to be bedrocks in sexuality education, including Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships and The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. She’s also written lesbian erotica, created feminist porn and is a sex educator, so you’re in safe hands reading her Ultimate Guide to Kink. This guide also gathers expertise from fellow BDSM educators, who write tutorials and challenging essays on the complex world of kink. This book is for readers who are kinky, kink-curious, or sleeping with kinky people.
Moan: Anonymous Essays on Female Orgasm
This one isn’t an educational book per se, with facts and figures. Rather, it’s an essay collection chronicling real answers of women who responded to the prompt: “How to Make Me Come”. The results are practical, emotional, heart-breaking, hilarious, and hit close to home for many women. Sometimes the best way to learn is through reading the experiences of others and Moan showcases an amazing range of orgasmic possibilities among women, from someone who comes just from kissing, to someone who has never had an orgasm. It’s true what they say; everyone is different.