In this series, we’re talking about books! We try to cover as much as we can on this blog, but in the hopes of expanding your knowledge of gender and sexuality, we put together this list of books for you to reference as you need it.
In this installment, we’re recommending books about kink, non-monogamy, and the trans experience. There is a wealth of information on these subjects available online, of course (some of it much more accurate than others!), but if you want to supplement the reading you do online, these books are certainly a place to start!
Books about kink
BDSM 101 by Rev. Jen
You may be able to tell from the title, but this book is a manual designed to teach you the basics of BDSM! It goes over bondage and discipline; dominance and submission; and sadism, masochism, or sadomasochism, and also communication, safety, fetishes, bondage, and beyond. If you are a newbie to the world of kink, or even if you’re familiar with these concepts, this book will have something for you.
The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy
These books talk about exactly what their titles suggest: topping and bottoming. There is a different volume for each subject, and they go into detail about the ethics and emotions that go into being a top or being a bottom. The authors focus on safety and recognize that there is an art to both of these roles.
The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge edited by Tristan Taormino
This book is a compilation of resources written by different BDSM and sexuality educators. There are two sections to the book: a guide section full of techniques and illustrations, and a section of personal fantasies and philosophies to give you a well rounded view of kink and how it can fit into your lifestyle.
Books about non-monogamy
The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy
This book is a comprehensive guide that will teach you how to approach non monogamy in an ethical way. The book goes over myths about non-monogamy (and the truth!), dealing with sex negativity in your life, how to set boundaries, how to keep sex safe, how to open a relationship, and how to deal with jealousy + conflict, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are now three editions of this book, with the most recent one being updated in 2017.
Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha
The authors of this book delve into sociology, psychology, and evolutionary history to discuss human sexuality. They provide evidence that monogamy actually goes against human nature, and that “standard” modern relationships might not be quite as “natural” as we thought.
Opening Up by Tristan Taormino
This book has tips about making non-monogamous relationships work, which were compiled from interviews with a wide range of non-monogamous folks, ranging from partnered non-monogamy to solo polyamory. Taormino goes over benefits and drawbacks to this type of relationship structure in order to give readers a balanced take.
Books about the trans experience
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
You’ve probably heard of this book - Janet Mock’s memoir about growing up trans is a New York Times Bestseller. She shares her experience and comments on how the intersections of class, gender, and race shaped her life.
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community by Laura Erickson-Schroth
This book is a reference guide for trans folks, by trans folks. This book has a whopping 672 pages, so it goes into detail on a number of subjects that are relevant and helpful for trans folks today. Topics covered in the book include: race, religion, employment, medical and surgical transition, mental health topics, relationships, sexuality, parenthood, just to name a few. If you’re in search of a comprehensive guide to tons of information that trans folks should have access to, this is it!
My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity by Kate Bornstein
Not only does this book go into detail about theory regarding gender and sexuality, it also offers quizzes, puzzles, and exercises to provide guidance to readers who are discovering their gender identities. This book provides crucial information about gender in an accessible and engaging way, and is a great resource for folks of any gender identity.