A Sex Therapist’s Reading List: Guides and How-to Books for a HOT Summer

Woman reading in beach chairAs a sex therapist, my professional library is often scoured and delighted in by colleagues and clients alike. The books on my shelf boast attention-grabbing titles and alluring content. As the summer heat approaches, why not read about heating up your sex and intimate life? Below is an authentic peek into what is on my bookshelf, and what I regularly recommend to clients, family, and friends.

The Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love (2012) by Stella Resnick, PhD. Published by Wiley.
A highly user-friendly book exploring the love-lust dilemma through the lens of the latest scientific research. Using everyday language, the author explains how early programming impacts sexual desire in committed partners. This book provides a body-mind program to sharpen the reader’s skills for fulfilling sexual pleasure. Topic covered include: “What Dampens Desire,” “Sexual Health and the Body,” and “The Nuances of Sexual Pleasure.” It is a must-have for your library.

Resurrecting Sex (2002) by David Schnarch, Ph.D. Published by Harper.
This book will assist you in creating erotic, meaningful sex whether you have had long-term difficulties, or just find yourself bored. For men and women alike, this is a fantastic self-help book for sexual difficulties. There are very few of us who don’t experience sexual difficulties at some point in our lives and relationships — why not read ahead as preventative care, or a solution to what has you stuck? From desire, to pain, to an elusive orgasm, this book can support you with a solution-focused approach for long term learning and development.

The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex: the Most Complete Sex Manual Ever Written (2002) by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans, Illustrations by Phoebe Gloeckner. Published by Cleis Press.
I can’t say enough about this book; it’s straightforward yet casual, informative yet fun to read. From erotica to technique, communication to anatomy, this book has it all. I find it to be my go-to resource for quick and easy-to-understand information. This book is a great resource for wanting to learn about a specific aspect of sexuality, such as oral sex, to wanting to improve your masturbation experience. This book explores the world of sex toys, fantasies, and sex play. The illustrations are top-notch and educational. Ever wonder what a two-strap harness is? Or where the prostate gland is? These illustrations cover everything you wanted to know, and possibly more. It’s a fun book to explore with someone or on your own.

Pleasure: A Woman’s Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need and Deserve (2006) by Hilda Hutcherson. Published by G.P. Putman’s Sons.
For a woman, reading this book is like having a girlfriend telling you what’s what when it comes to orgasms, pleasure, and communicating with your partner about what feels good — not to mention helping you explore new ways and new locations for pleasure to be experienced and expanded upon. Hutcherson’s savvy approach will give ladies a new perspective on their bodies and their bodies’ potentials. This book takes the pressure off of the orgasm as the end goal, and instead provides us much more fulfillment in the journey.

Tantric Sex: the Path to Sexual Bliss (2008) by Kavida Rei. Published by Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Incorporated.
This book ushers readers into understanding and embracing the beauty of tantric sex, while providing space for the reader to explore at their own pace. The book’s back cover explains that it can provide you the opportunity for “deeper self-knowledge, greater intimacy, and genuinely fulfilling relationships.” It also touts the discovery of “mind-blowing sex” — who couldn’t use some of that?! This book is full of beautiful photos to guide the reader into an experience of mindfulness, sacredness, and holistic sensation.

Happy reading and enjoy the results!

(Author’s note: I have no affiliation with the authors and I am in no way compensated by them for my suggestions.)

© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Denise C. Onofrey, MA, NCC, Sexuality / Sex Therapy Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Kenna

    May 29th, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Just having these titles on my nightstand will be enough to get my husband all hot and bothered! I dare say that I wouldn’t even have to read a page!

  • Jon L

    May 29th, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    having read and reread a lot of self help books I’m not too sure of the effectiveness of help books.im not sure if a book couldn’t help me in something that involved me how another can help me in something that involves me and another person.sounds like a lot of work.

  • Denise Onofrey

    May 30th, 2013 at 7:46 AM

    Hello Jon L – Consider these books “perspective changing” in addition to “self help”.

    Have a wonderful summer!

  • amber v

    May 30th, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    Do you really think that reading these books could help me? I mean, I kind of thought that something as big as this would need guidance from a therapist too. Not sure I would be ready to tackle this alone.

  • Denise Onofrey

    May 30th, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Hello Amber V. –

    I agree that a book can not always offer the same insight, feedback and support as a trained sex therapist. However, the books listed can be a head start to understanding yourself and your relationship. If you are interested in finding support in your area GoodTherapy.org provides a search engine for users to find therapists https://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html

    Best of luck!

  • Denise Onofrey

    May 30th, 2013 at 7:29 AM

    Hello Kenna – Your comment made me smile! The power of suggestion is, well, powerful!


  • liz

    June 3rd, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    I think my husband would be uncomfortable if he saw I was reading these

  • Chantal

    February 12th, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Good day Doc

    I am studying to be a psychologist and really want to go in to family and sex therapy. Will these books be helpful to enhance my studies?

    Kind Regards

  • Denise Onofrey

    February 16th, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Hello Chantal – Yes, absolutely. All these books should be on your shelf so you can recommend them to your clients as well as enrich your learning. Good luck!


  • Emma

    October 15th, 2015 at 2:28 AM

    Thanks for recommend some of book to read. Consulting good sex therapist is good idea along with self help

  • Crystal

    November 13th, 2015 at 6:19 PM

    I have been with my guy for 10 years, we have never had a lot of sex. I’m looking for more of a sex “workbook” that will provide tasks or activities to help us improve our sex life.
    Any advice?

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