The best books for great sex, deep connection, and rainy day romance

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in sex and relationships. When I was a teenager I was the go-to person for questions ranging from How do I give a good blowjob? to Where do I go for an abortion? to Should I say I love you before she does? I was sort of like the kid in Sex Education on Netflix. Perhaps, given the fact that I come from a long line of troubled marriages I tended to find great satisfaction in supporting others in working out their relationship woes. These days I do that as a job, along with trauma resolution, acting, writing, and nude modeling. 

I wrote...

Good Sex: Getting Off Without Checking Out

By Jessica Graham,

Book cover of Good Sex: Getting Off Without Checking Out

What is my book about?

A deep spiritual life and an extraordinary sex life are not mutually exclusive. This keenly personal and unflinchingly frank guide teaches readers how to find mindfulness in sex—without losing the fun and adventure. Graham weaves together her own story of sexual healing and transformation, with meditations, down-to-earth suggestions, and advice on everything from orgasms to threesomes to navigating differing desire levels.

Not only a tool kit for creating a rich and deeply satisfying sex life, this fun, explicit, and inclusive book conveys the deeper message of how combining meditation with sex can bring about profound spiritual awakenings.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Passionate Marriage: Love, Sex, and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships

Jessica Graham Why did I love this book?

I was a few years sober from alcohol, and in my first heterosexual relationship in quite a while when I read this book. Just being sober during sex, and having a penis involved, kept things interesting for about a year or so. But after a while, I wanted a deeper connection with my partner during sex, and more frequency. This proved to be challenging. One day I was crying on the phone about the state of my carnal life to a mentor and she recommended Passionate Marriage. So, I dug into the 408 pages of this relationship masterpiece. Spoiler alert, it didn’t save that relationship, but it did change my life.

It taught me about the erotic charge that can come from differentiation and how to navigate “relationship crucibles.”  I also first learned about open-eyed orgasms from Schnarch. I had been squeezing my eyes shut since I started having sex at 14, but after reading this book I was ready to be eyes wide open. I was also introduced to how incredibly spiritual sex could be, and that it was possible to have sex so good it felt like you had been plugged into the electrical socket of the universe. My next relationship was chock-full of mind-blowing sex and sexual awakenings beyond my wildest dreams.

Note to the reader: the first quarter of the book is quite dense, but it becomes way more accessible as you get in deeper! 

By David Schnarch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Passionate Marriage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Passionate Marriage has long been recognized as the pioneering book on intimate human relationships. Now with a new preface by the author, this updated edition explores the ways we can keep passion alive and even reach the height of sexual and emotional fulfillment later in life. Acclaimed psychologist David Schnarch guides couples toward greater intimacy with proven techniques developed in his clinical practice and worldwide workshops. Chapters-covering everything from understanding love relationships to helpful "tools for connections" to keeping the sparks alive years down the road-provide the scaffolding for overcoming sexual and emotional problems. This inspirational book is sure to…

Book cover of Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy

Jessica Graham Why did I love this book?

As someone with Complex PTSD and a boatload of attachment wounds, practicing ethical non-monogamy has brought up a lot for me over the years. I always found that most available resources skipped right over how someone with a history (and nervous system) like mine might best succeed in ENM. Polysecure has filled that big gap for me and many others. 

Yes, this is a book about ethical non-monogamy, but you don’t have to practice ENM to get a lot out of it. First off Fern does an excellent job of breaking down attachment theory and the effects of trauma in an engaging, accessible, and updated way. Learning about your and your partner’s attachment styles and how trauma may be affecting your relationship is a total game-changer. Plus, as someone who has been both monogamous and non-monogamous, I can say that ENM has much to teach anyone about navigating some of the most challenging aspects of relationships, such as jealousy and conflict resolution and repair. Both ENM and conscious monogamy can be greatly deepened with the insights from this book.

By Jessica Fern,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Polysecure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A practical guide to nurturing healthy, loving non-monogamous relationships using attachment theory.

Attachment theory has entered the mainstream, but most discussions focus on how we can cultivate secure monogamous relationships. What if, like many people, you're striving for secure, happy attachments with more than one partner?

Polyamorous psychotherapist Jessica Fern breaks new ground by extending attachment theory into the realm of consensual non-monogamy. Using her nested model of attachment and trauma, she expands our understanding of how emotional experiences can influence our relationships. Then, she sets out six specific strategies to help you move toward secure attachments in your multiple…

Book cover of Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

Jessica Graham Why did I love this book?

Here’s the truth. Because I’m not interested in partnership currently, I haven’t had a chance to fully experience the power of this book in my own life. But, reading it has greatly influenced how I plan to shape partnership in the future. I was able to start the process in my last relationship, by using the simple, yet downright miraculous tool of Imago Dialog, which is outlined in this book. We had a lot of trouble communicating through conflict, and Imago became a foolproof way to get to the other side of once impassable chasms. I love this style of dialog, as well as many of the exercises in this book, so much that I often suggest them to friends and clients.

I once had an initial call with a prospective client and gave him the instructions for Imago. While we didn’t end up working together, he contacted me a few weeks later to say that his marriage had taken a total 180 by simply implementing this communication technique. And that’s just one of the exercises that Hendrix and Hunt offer. I also find it cool that they are a longtime married couple who came to this way of relating through lots of trial and error, which they share openly about. 

By Harville Hendrix, Helen Lakelly Hunt,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Getting the Love You Want as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Getting the Love You Want, Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen Hunt offer the relationship skills that have helped millions of couples replace confrontation and criticism with a process of mutual support that facilitates healing and growth at any stage of a relationship. This extraordinary practical guide describes the revolutionary technique that combines a number of disciplines - including the behavioural sciences, depth psychology, social learning theory, Gestalt therapy, and interpersonal neurosciences, among others - to create a program that transforms conflict into creative tension that deepens connection and renews passion.

In a new forward and chapter, Hendrix and…

Book cover of All About Love: New Visions

Jessica Graham Why did I love this book?

All about Love is such a gift to humans, as was bell hooks. Reading this book is all at once heartbreaking, inspiring, confronting, soothing, illuminating, and a true call to action. The action being love. In the very first chapter, only four pages in, hook states, “Love and abuse cannot co-exist.” That hit me hard in the heart and made me question my entire understanding of love. While the non-dualist in me says that there isn’t any separation on the absolute level, on the relative and human level this quote rings with such profound truth.

I experienced many kinds of abuse at the hands (and in the words) of people who said they loved me, and the idea that maybe that wasn’t love after all, has been incredibly validating and freeing. As a reminder, I am only referencing one short sentence on page 4. This book is a limitless treasure trove of insights on love, which can benefit romantic love immensely. How are we supposed to love our partners well, and be loved well, if we haven’t explored the meaning of love with intention? The next time I’m settling into a romantic partnership, I plan to have a two-person book club starting with this epic piece of writing genius. 

By Bell Hooks,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked All About Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The word "love" is most often defined as a noun, yet...we would all love better if we used it as a verb," writes bell hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About Love. Here, at her most provocative and intensely personal, the renowned scholar, cultural critic, and feminist skewers our view of love as romance. In its place she offers a proactive new ethic for a people and a society bereft with lovelessness. As bell hooks uses her incisive mind and razor-sharp pen to explore the question "What is love?" her answers strike at both the…

Book cover of In Watermelon Sugar

Jessica Graham Why did I love this book?

I was 16, drunk on Dewar’s scotch in my current romantic obsession’s basement apartment, when he tossed this book onto the floor next to me, saying, “Here, read this.” I sat on the carpet and read the whole thing in about 90 minutes, then I started reading it again. I’ve since read it many more times, including aloud to a few lovers. The longest chapter is maybe 3 pages, each one is perfect. I’m including this book because I find it to be one of the most romantic books I’ve ever read. It’s by no means a romance novel, but it transmits the feelings of falling out and into love in a way that sinks into my bones and makes me feel alive with melancholic longing and easy love. In Watermelon Sugar also explores the love of place and time, and reminds the reader of impermanence and the preciousness of the moment at hand. Read this book aloud to someone lovely who is half-naked in your bed, or to yourself while you nurse a broken heart. Ideally, while it’s raining, with some classic jazz playing a few rooms away. 

By Richard Brautigan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked In Watermelon Sugar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A charming and original work... The parable itself is extremely relevant' The Times

iDEATH is a place where the sun shines a different colour every day and where people travel to the length of their dreams. Rejecting the violence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar.
In this book, Richard Brautigan discovers and expresses the mood of the counterculture generation.

'Delicate, fantastic and very funny... A highly individual style, a fertile, active inventiveness... It's cool, joyous, lucid and pleasant to read' Malcolm Bradbury

You might also like...

Legacy of the Witch

By Kirsten Weiss,

Book cover of Legacy of the Witch

Kirsten Weiss Author Of The Mysteries of Tarot: A Work of the Imagination

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

When I joined the Peace Corps in the early nineties, I wasn’t allowed to take much luggage. I decided to bring a Tarot deck, figuring I’d finally have time to learn it while parked in an Estonian forest. That Tarot deck opened up a world of Renaissance mysticism and magic, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Tarot cards and readings feature prominently in many of my cozy mystery novels, not the least of which are the Tea and Tarot mysteries. Now my imaginary Tarot reader from that series, Hyperion Night, has recently written his own Tarot guidebook, The Mysteries of Tarot.

Kirsten's book list on how to read Tarot

What is my book about?

Seeker: As societies grow increasingly fragmented, hopelessness, nihilism, division, and despair are on the rise. But there is another way—a way of mystery and magic, of wholeness and transformation. Do you dare take the first step? Our path is not for the faint-hearted, but for seekers of ancient truths...

Legacy of the Witch is a spellbinding, interactive tale of a woman’s midlife quest to understand the complexities of her own heart. A paranormal women’s fiction murder mystery for anyone who’s wondered if there might be more to their own life than meets the eye…

Legacy of the Witch

By Kirsten Weiss,

What is this book about?

Seeker: As societies grow increasingly fragmented, hopelessness, nihilism, division and despair are on the rise. But there is another way—a way of mystery and magic, of wholeness and transformation. Do you dare take the first step? Our path is not for the faint-hearted, but for seekers of ancient truths.

All April wants is to start over after her husband’s sudden death. She’s conjuring a new path—finally getting her degree and planning her new business in bucolic Pennsylvania Dutch country. Joining an online mystery school seems like harmless fun.

But when a murdered man leaves her a cryptic message, she catches…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in non-monogamy, friendships, and romantic love?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about non-monogamy, friendships, and romantic love.

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