Gottman's research finds that the foundation for great sex is a healthy friendship system. The components of this system are updated Love Maps, a thriving Fondness and Admiration System, and predictable patterns of Turning Towards. In most instances, sexual gratification won't steadily improve without attention to the friendship system. Keeping that in mind, here are some books to help you along the way toward increased sexual intimacy.


For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality
by: Lonnie Barbach

This books was voted a #1 self help book over a dozen national surveys.  Written by an acclaimed sex therapist, this book includes a very detailed description of the female sexual response with exercises, explanations and insights that bring about higher levels of fulfillment.

Come As You Are
by: Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.

Once readers understand the underpinnings of gratifying sexuality for women--that it is not what is happening in the bedroom,  but how the woman feels about what is happening--our focus shifts to context, emotion, trust and mood.  Based on ground breaking research and brain science, this book can lead readers from frustration to a new found sense of validation and confidence.

Forty Beads: The Simple, Sexy Secret for Transforming Your Marriage
by: Carolyn Evans

The author makes a broad assumption in this book that men want sex much more frequently than women, and for that, her tone is somewhat disparaging-to-men. And the book can be raunchy. So why is this book on my list? Because many women have found that the 40 beads ritual opens tender feelings for their men who are vulnerable enough to engage in it with them. Given a bag of 40 beautiful beads by his mate, the man drops one in a container to indicate his desire for her. The “rules of engagement” make things interesting and can spark romance again. (This would make a great companion piece to Slow Sex, by Daedone)

Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine
by: Eugene Monick

From ancient Greek ϕαλλός is the symbol of the generative power in nature. Archetypes are inherited ideas which are present in the unconscious of the individual. This book has been written so that the masculine archetype phallos can be more consciously understood. Monick addresses male power in both this book.  As one reviewer put it,  ...a frank but intelligent and spiritual book by a man about men without intercession and without courtship to the feminine in the audience. I often recommend this book to women who are genuinely interested in a better understanding of men and not just interested in getting them to put the toilet seat down.

Slow Sex:
The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm

by: Nicole Daedone

This is a step by step guide for the practice of "OM-ing," or orgasmic meditation. The practice clears obstacles for women of feeling objectified and make them the subject of daily intimacy. It helps men to attune in ways that may feel novel. A good book for exploring sexuality together

The New Male Sexuality
by: Bernie Zilbergeld

Dr. Zilbergeld is a psychologist with 20 years of experience with a focus on sexuality.  He writes about  some of the most urgent questions of men today, including the latest information about Viagra and other breakthrough medical advances. Bernie Zilbergeld reports findings from his twenty years as a psychologist specializing in human sexuality, as well as those other experts in the field, and shares his own and his clients' experiences The result is the most comprehensive guide ever to enhancing desire and arousal, focusing on pleasure rather than performance, and keeping sex exciting and fulfilling.

The Whole Lesbian Sex Book:
A Passionate Guide for All of Us

by: Felice Newman

Libray Journal lamented, "Why can’t more heterosexual sex manuals be this good?" Geared toward a lesbian readership, this text makes explicit suggestions for anyone wanting a comprehensive manual for all women who desire women ― lesbian, bisexual, butch, femme, androgynous, and transgender.

Pain & Passion: A Psychoanalyst Explores the World of S & M
by: Robert J. Stoller

If we think of “normal” as defined by a culture that’s changing all the time, then we can be comfortable with more and judge less.  This book is written as a series of interviews between the author and people who engage in sadomasochism.  He has some interesting conversations that will enlighten those who are curious about the world of S & M .  The psychochoanalyst-author explores themes such as “How does experience become eroticized?” “ When is a behavior a perversion?” “ What leads one person to pursue acting on a fantasy, while for another, the urge is only an idea?”

The Empowered Woman’s Guide to Pleasuring a Man

by: Ian Kerner, PhD

(The author also wrote Be Honest—You’re Not That Into Him Either!)
Do you know the three types of erections all men experience? What are some of the male brain’s natural sex stimulants? The difference between a “local” and a “global” orgasm and how to stimulate a “global” one?  If the answer is “no,” you may find this book to be interesting and illuminating. A good companion book to She Comes First (see below).

She Comes First:
The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman

by: Ian Kerner, PhD

The author (who is also a sex therapist ) shares with us his experience along the way from feeling like a failure with women (because of his problems with premature ejaculation) to being an expert in bed, especially in the art of cunnilingus, which he has coined coreplay rather than foreplay.  The book is very, very specific in its guidance.