Great Summer Reads to Wake Up Your Sex Life

When I think of summer, I have this picture of long lazy days by the water, listening for the distant voices of my children while I wander off into a great book, quietly stepping into some new ways of thinking or sharing in the stories of life that change us just by hearing them. Ana Freud said, “Sex is something we do, sexuality is who we are.” What better time than the brief interludes of warm sunny days to ponder the mystery of intimacy, with fresh insights and revelations to bring increased clarity to how we live our sexuality as well as fun and passion to what we do with the people we love most.

Understanding ourselves as sexual beings and building a language to explore who we are in these mysterious places is a large task. For some people, the taboo of adding language to sexual acts keeps them silent and unfulfilled. Even for me, the loveologist that sells love products and can say the words “oral sex” to perfect strangers, I can often find myself silent with my husband, lacking the know how and the courage to describe my fantasies or describe the kind of touch that most moves me.

When I received my copy of Getting the Sex You Want by my friend Tammy Nelson, the director of the Center for Healing and Recovery and Passionate Partnerships, I was both curious and a little skeptical. Based on the couples therapy work she has been doing at her office in Connecticut, Tammy offers up some well known techniques and strategies for building the communication skills to connect with your partner. The communications method, which is based on the work of Harville Hendrix’s work, Getting the Love You Want felt a bit contrived at first, but she quickly demonstrates how basic communication skills applied to our intimate lives has the power to revolutionize what you are doing in the bedroom and quickly spills over into the rest of your relationship.

One example she shared of a husband who had so much shame about masturbation (and don’t we all share a bit of that) experienced such a huge relief when he was finally able to talk about his needs of sharing the experience in their sex life together. The book was full of examples and exercises to try by yourself or with your partner that demonstrated how a shared and agreed upon method of communicating about sex could easily turn into inspiring new found abilities to express sexual needs and desires. I was so impressed with the book that I tried the technique myself later that week. Things that I had never thought of saying to my husband suddenly seemed possible.

The first question that anyone going to a sex therapist asks is “Am I normal?” This question and the fear of what it might mean if we deviate from normal in our sexuality can control our lives and our relationships. Another book that has recently come across my desk Tantra for Erotic Empowerment by Michaels and Johnson, is an active workbook of sexual self discovery. The books premise is that giving and extending permission to experience ourselves as sexual beings without fear of shame or rejection is truly the ground work for profound change and acceptance in the entire relationship.

While I don’t have that much personal experience with Tantra practices, I would say that anyone who is learning to love their partner in a long term relationship is bound to encounter where the physical and spiritual worlds meet in lovemaking. Understanding our sexuality in the context of our human nature normalizes as well as sanctify this most mysterious form of human communication. Unlike many books written about tantric practices, which can get really esoteric, this one provides a clear map for the beginner as well as deeper insights for the tantric practioner. Even if all the content is not for you, there are enough thought provoking exercises to keep the book interesting long after the sun sets.

If you haven’t already read a review about Bonk by Mary Roach, let me say that there is nothing quite like actual sex history to wake you up to the wide and and amazing world of human sexuality. She is a meticulous researcher and has a genuine sense of humor that alleviates any embarrassment you might be feeling about reading about the extremely checkered history that our discomfort with our sexuality has created through the centuries. It will probably help you feel better about the places you are still stuck, and if you ever wondered where some of the far out porn fantasies came from- read sex history. Even if you don’t want to own this book, reserve it at your local library. Some fun fact from the book will spur some exciting discussion at your next bbq.

Here’s to a summer memorable for how we all learn to love more and show it in ways that will keep you connected long into winter.

Check out Wendy’s new Q&A Column, debuting next Tuesday, May 26th.

Wendy Strgar, the owner and founder of Good Clean Love, manufacturer of all natural love and intimacy products. She is a sex educator focusing on “Making Love Sustainable,” a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love and family. She has learned that physical intimacy is an important component of sustaining healthy loving relationships through her own marriage of over 25 years.


John D.
Past Member 7 years ago

I've read the book BONK. It is great and by no means offensive. I can warmly recommend it. It's so important to speak about everything even about sex. That's what a good loving relationship is all about. You can't make someone happy by not knowing exactly what he/she needs or wants. Nor you.

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Vural K.
Past Member 8 years ago


Wendy Strgar
Wendy Strgar8 years ago

I have seen the book - thanks for coming. I met the author last year and helped her find her first vibrator. I taught her a bit about love too, I thought. So much so that she included me in the book. I was glad that she never included my name and got my company name wrong too, as her depiction of me left me wondering why I travel so much and work so hard at teaching how to love. I was a bedraggled warrior according to her, with bed head... not so great for my peri-menopausal ego. Funny you should mention it. I am working on a review of some other great books that I have been sent. Will post those soon. Keep the suggestions coming. As others have commented, having a real discussion about human sexuality is so refreshing, in part because it is so unusual.
thanks for writing... Wendy

Elysandra Gonzalez

I often think TOO MUCH talk and discussion like as if the sex act becomes similar to watching face the nation w/your other half, well thats just NOT sexy. People often cheat because they like the whole y and spontaneoty of being w/someone else! I'd say DON/T make your love life into a text book! ugh! Just be comfortable with and trust your partner, and never forget the cologne/perfume, to shower and wear sexy undies and you'll be fine!

Adria M.
Past Member 8 years ago

#1 way to improve sex life: Partner and self need to stop working opposite shifts! Otherwise, it just doesn't matter WHAT we read!!!


Teresa G.
Terry Goffinet8 years ago

I always enjoy your articles, Wendy. Another great book recently released is "Thanks for Coming" by Mara Altman. The book is her journey to discovering orgasm is done with humor and humility.

Aniko P.
Past Member 8 years ago

Thanks for this article Wendy.

I've read the book BONK. It is great and by no means offensive. I can warmly recommend it.

It's so important to speak about everything even about sex. That's what a good loving relationship is all about. You can't make someone happy by not knowing exactly what he/she needs or wants. Nor you.