100 books like Beyond Sexuality

By Tim Dean,

Here are 100 books that Beyond Sexuality fans have personally recommended if you like Beyond Sexuality. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Epistemology of the Closet

Merrill Cole Author Of The Other Orpheus: A Poetics of Modern Homosexuality

From my list on queer theory to gain an understanding of the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been pondering philosophical questions and trying to understand my queer sexuality since childhood. While checking out The Portable Nietzsche in my high school library, the librarian warned me the philosopher was “a bad man.” Then I had to read the book, which not only taught me to become critical of all forms of authority, but also, perhaps paradoxically, empowered me to embrace my queerness. As a college and graduate student, I studied many of the American academic movements based in Continental philosophy grouped under the rubric, “theory.” When queer theory emerged in the early 1990s’, I found a place for myself. I'm convinced that we should never stop putting our identities under critique.

Merrill's book list on queer theory to gain an understanding of the field

Merrill Cole Why did Merrill love this book?

A foundational text of queer theory and queer literary reading practices, Epistemology of the Closet is absolutely irreplaceable.

Originally also an intervention in the AIDS crisis and in late-twentieth-century homophobia, the updated version places the original argument in historical context. The book elaborates on an influential practice later termed “closet reading,” wherein the reader analyzes homoerotic meaning that for various reasons, including censorship, legal repercussions, and social norms, the author couldn’t or wouldn’t state directly.

Sedgwick offers sharp and illuminating interpretations of such writers as Friedrich Nietzsche and Oscar Wilde. The sweep of the book extends from law, public policy, and Continental philosophy to literary study.

By Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Epistemology of the Closet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since the late 1980s, queer studies and theory have become vital to the intellectual and political life of the United States. This has been due, in no small degree, to the influence of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's critically acclaimed "Epistemology of the Closet". Working from classic texts of European and American writers - including Melville, James, Nietzsche, Proust, and Wilde -Sedgwick analyzes a turn-of-the-century historical moment in which sexual orientation became as important a demarcation of personhood as gender had been for centuries. In her preface to this updated edition Sedgwick places the book both personally and historically, looking specifically at…


Book cover of Profit and Pleasure: Sexual Identities in Late Capitalism

Merrill Cole Author Of The Other Orpheus: A Poetics of Modern Homosexuality

From my list on queer theory to gain an understanding of the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been pondering philosophical questions and trying to understand my queer sexuality since childhood. While checking out The Portable Nietzsche in my high school library, the librarian warned me the philosopher was “a bad man.” Then I had to read the book, which not only taught me to become critical of all forms of authority, but also, perhaps paradoxically, empowered me to embrace my queerness. As a college and graduate student, I studied many of the American academic movements based in Continental philosophy grouped under the rubric, “theory.” When queer theory emerged in the early 1990s’, I found a place for myself. I'm convinced that we should never stop putting our identities under critique.

Merrill's book list on queer theory to gain an understanding of the field

Merrill Cole Why did Merrill love this book?

Profit and Pleasure is the most provocative Marxist intervention in queer theory.

Hennessy charges that queer theory’s focus on representation, identity, and subjectivity works to render the structures of capitalism invisible. Postindustrial capitalism produces “gender-flexible” and sexually diverse subjects to meet the demands of today’s globalized commodity system.

Queer theory, instead of addressing this development, has aided in our commodification by repressing the connections between the multiplication of identities and economic exploitation, connections that capitalism works to conceal. Queer theory needs to extend beyond the cultural purview of identity politics to address contemporary capitalism directly.

By Rosemary Hennessy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Drawing on an international range of examples, from Che Guevarra to "The Crying Game," Profit and Pleasure leads the discussion of sexuality to a consideration of material reality and the substance of men and women's everyday lives.


Book cover of Aberrations in Black: Toward A Queer Of Color Critique

Merrill Cole Author Of The Other Orpheus: A Poetics of Modern Homosexuality

From my list on queer theory to gain an understanding of the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been pondering philosophical questions and trying to understand my queer sexuality since childhood. While checking out The Portable Nietzsche in my high school library, the librarian warned me the philosopher was “a bad man.” Then I had to read the book, which not only taught me to become critical of all forms of authority, but also, perhaps paradoxically, empowered me to embrace my queerness. As a college and graduate student, I studied many of the American academic movements based in Continental philosophy grouped under the rubric, “theory.” When queer theory emerged in the early 1990s’, I found a place for myself. I'm convinced that we should never stop putting our identities under critique.

Merrill's book list on queer theory to gain an understanding of the field

Merrill Cole Why did Merrill love this book?

Aberrations in Black is not the only important early queer of color intervention in queer theory, but I find it the most rewarding.

Showing how signal works in the African-American literary tradition pose important challenges to social norms and to the sociological discourse of their times, Ferguson advances an intersectional critique that forefronts race and also attends to gender, sexuality, and class.

The book’s brilliant close readings, such as the reading Toni Morrison’s Sula in the context of The Moynihan Report particularly stand out. The book is a corrective to the apparent colorblindness of much of early queer theory.

By Roderick A. Ferguson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aberrations in Black as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hard-hitting look at the regulation of sexual difference and its role in circumscribing African American culture

The sociology of race relations in America typically describes an intersection of poverty, race, and economic discrimination. But what is missing from the picture-sexual difference-can be as instructive as what is present. In this ambitious work, Roderick A. Ferguson reveals how the discourses of sexuality are used to articulate theories of racial difference in the field of sociology. He shows how canonical sociology-Gunnar Myrdal, Ernest Burgess, Robert Park, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and William Julius Wilson-has measured African Americans's unsuitability for a liberal capitalist…


Book cover of Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era

Merrill Cole Author Of The Other Orpheus: A Poetics of Modern Homosexuality

From my list on queer theory to gain an understanding of the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been pondering philosophical questions and trying to understand my queer sexuality since childhood. While checking out The Portable Nietzsche in my high school library, the librarian warned me the philosopher was “a bad man.” Then I had to read the book, which not only taught me to become critical of all forms of authority, but also, perhaps paradoxically, empowered me to embrace my queerness. As a college and graduate student, I studied many of the American academic movements based in Continental philosophy grouped under the rubric, “theory.” When queer theory emerged in the early 1990s’, I found a place for myself. I'm convinced that we should never stop putting our identities under critique.

Merrill's book list on queer theory to gain an understanding of the field

Merrill Cole Why did Merrill love this book?

Paul B. Preciado’s Testo Junkie, originally published in Spanish in 2008 and republished in English translation in 2013, is lusty, hyperbolic, and explosive.

It’s part postqueer, trans-feminist manifesto, part record of a cis-female’s illicit experimentation with testosterone, and part explicit fucking. A much more enjoyable book than Judith Butler’s groundbreaking Gender Trouble and Bodies that Matter, and it has the advantage of updating Butler’s Foucault-based theory with the twenty-first-century concerns.

Preciado argues that today’s “pharmacopornographic” regime utilizes drugs and erotic imagery—hormone shots and money shots—to control our subjectivity and gender, instating a system of knowledge and power in which the body “no longer inhabits disciplinary spaces but is inhabited by them.”

By Beatriz Preciado,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This visionary book on gender and sexuality weaves together high theory and intimate memoir, with "spectacular" results—"and the gendered body will never be the same again" (Jack Halberstam). 

What constitutes a "real" man or woman in the twenty-first century? Since birth control pills, erectile dysfunction remedies, and factory-made testosterone and estrogen were developed, biology is definitely no longer destiny.

In this penetrating analysis of gender, Paul B. Preciado shows the ways in which the synthesis of hormones since the 1950s has fundamentally changed how gender and sexual identity are formulated, and how the pharmaceutical and pornography industries are in the…


Book cover of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality

Brett Kahr Author Of Who's Been Sleeping in Your Head: The Secret World of Sexual Fantasies

From my list on the secret underbelly of sexual psychology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have worked in the mental health profession for over forty years. Currently, I serve as Senior Fellow at the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology in London, and as Visiting Professor of Psychoanalysis and Mental Health at Regent’s University London, as well as Honorary Director of Research at the Freud Museum London. I also hold posts as Chair of the Scholars Committee of the British Psychoanalytic Council and as Honorary Fellow of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, and I have authored eighteen books and have served as series editor for some eighty-five further titles.  

Brett's book list on the secret underbelly of sexual psychology

Brett Kahr Why did Brett love this book?

I have had a huge crush on Herr Professor Sigmund Freud since my undergraduate days. Back in the nineteenth century, most physicians locked up “lunatics” in local insane asylums with no endeavour to treat mental illness at all, but Freud challenged that negligent approach by having created the discipline of “talking therapy”, engaging in a very warm-hearted and sympathetic manner with his many analysands. 

His classic monograph of 1905 on sexuality has taught me so very much throughout my career and has helped me to speak to my patients with frankness and curiosity about the challenges of their sexual histories and sexual preoccupations. In my estimation, Freud deserves credit not only as the founder of modern psychotherapy but also as the creator of contemporary sexology as well.

By Sigmund Freud, Ulrike Kistner (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Available for the first time in English, the 1905 edition of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality presents Sigmund Freud's thought in a form new to all but a few ardent students of his work.

This is a Freud absent the Oedipal complex, which came to dominate his ideas and subsequent editions of these essays. In its stead is an autoerotic theory of sexual development, a sexuality transcending binary categorization. This is psychoanalysis freed from ideas that have often brought it into conflict with the ethical and political convictions of modern readers, practitioners, and theorists.

The non-Oedipal psychoanalysis Freud…


Book cover of What is Sex?

Ilan Kapoor Author Of Global Libidinal Economy

From my list on psychoanalysis and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scholar of global politics, and I am drawn to psychoanalysis because it studies the unseen in politics, or rather, those things that are often in plain sight but remain unacknowledged. For example, why is it that, especially in this information economy, we are well aware of the inequality and environmental destruction that our current capitalist system is based on, but we still continue to invest in it (through shopping, taking out loans, using credit cards, etc.)? Psychoanalysis says that it's because we are unconsciously seduced by capitalism—we love shopping despite knowing about the socioeconomic and environmental dangers of doing it. I’m fascinated by that process of disavowal.

Ilan's book list on psychoanalysis and politics

Ilan Kapoor Why did Ilan love this book?

This is one of the most intriguing books published in recent times, in my view, providing a lucid and beautifully written psychoanalytic account of both the strangeness and emancipatory potential of sexuality.

Sex for Zupančič is not about genital sexuality. Instead, it has an amorphous and undefinable quality to it; and this lack of meaning implies we can never get enough of it—e.g., the reason porn watchers get hooked on porn is because even the “full” view of sexual activity doesn’t quite satisfy, so one looks for more “fullness” (which one never finds) and watches more porn. And this elusiveness is what sex is about.

I love that Zupančič draws out the political potential of this viewpoint, seeing the excess and indefinability of sex as “trouble”/“troubling,” opening up ways for the subject to break out of the everyday status quo. 

By Alenka Zupancic,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What is Sex? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why sexuality is at the point of a “short circuit” between ontology and epistemology.

Consider sublimation—conventionally understood as a substitute satisfaction for missing sexual satisfaction. But what if, as Lacan claims, we can get exactly the same satisfaction that we get from sex from talking (or writing, painting, praying, or other activities)? The point is not to explain the satisfaction from talking by pointing to its sexual origin, but that the satisfaction from talking is itself sexual. The satisfaction from talking contains a key to sexual satisfaction (and not the other way around)—even a key to sexuality itself and its…


Book cover of The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating

Andrew S. Trees Author Of Decoding Love: Why It Takes Twelve Frogs to Find a Prince, and Other Revelations from the Science of Attraction

From my list on to help you have better relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in New York City for a number of years, and my female friends would constantly buy dating advice books and then complain about how bad these books were. One night at dinner, I suggested that there must be some legitimate scientifically-based advice that would actually be helpful, and I was laughed out of the room. Decoding Love was born in that moment. What I found overturned almost all of my preconceptions about dating and relationships. I hope it will overturn some of your preconceptions as well.

Andrew's book list on to help you have better relationships

Andrew S. Trees Why did Andrew love this book?

Although we like to think that we are idiosyncratic individuals pursuing our perfect match, the truth is that evolution has hardwired into us many preferences and dislikes. This book is a really good introduction to the often surprising role evolution plays in shaping desire. Buss has undertaken a massive study of thousands of people and dozens of cultures to present a unified theory of human mating behavior. While I don't think we need to simply give in to evolution, it is an enormous help to have a sense of what role evolution plays.

By David M. Buss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Evolution of Desire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If we all want love, why is there so much conflict in our most cherished relationships? To answer this question we must look into our evolutionary past, argues prominent psychologist David M. Buss. Based one of the largest studies of human mating ever undertaken, encompassing more than 10,000 people of all ages from thirty-seven cultures worldwide, The Evolution of Desire is the first work to present a unified theory of human mating behaviour. Drawing on a wide range of examples of mating behaviour,from lovebugs to elephant seals, from the Yanomamoe tribe of Venezuela to online dating apps,Buss reveals what women…


Book cover of The Sexual Relationship: An Object Relations View of Sex and the Family

Brett Kahr Author Of Who's Been Sleeping in Your Head: The Secret World of Sexual Fantasies

From my list on the secret underbelly of sexual psychology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have worked in the mental health profession for over forty years. Currently, I serve as Senior Fellow at the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology in London, and as Visiting Professor of Psychoanalysis and Mental Health at Regent’s University London, as well as Honorary Director of Research at the Freud Museum London. I also hold posts as Chair of the Scholars Committee of the British Psychoanalytic Council and as Honorary Fellow of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, and I have authored eighteen books and have served as series editor for some eighty-five further titles.  

Brett's book list on the secret underbelly of sexual psychology

Brett Kahr Why did Brett love this book?

I regard myself as a big fan of Dr. David Scharff, founder of the International Psychotherapy Institute, based in Bethesda, Maryland, who has become one of the planet’s most esteemed psychoanalysts.

Scharff, along with his spouse, Dr. Jill Scharff, has pioneered the field of couple psychotherapy in the United States of America. Based on his clinical insights, he has produced a lucid, groundbreaking book about the childhood and adolescent origins of the sexual complications of adulthood, which has provided me with much wisdom about the ways in which marital sexual difficulties can be traced back to earlier experiences from the prepubertal and pubertal periods of life. Although intended predominantly for fellow mental health clinicians, Scharff’s book will appeal to a very wide readership indeed. 

By David E. Scharff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sexual Relationship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dr. David Scharff explores the role of sexuality in human relationships by combining his extensive experience in individual, marital, family, and sex therapy with theoretical contributions from object relations theory and child development.


Book cover of Woman's Mysteries: Ancient & Modern

Pamela Braswell Author Of Rising from Rape: A Memoir of Survival and Justice

From my list on overcoming rape and building higher self esteem.

Why am I passionate about this?

My experience is derived from actual experience and my fight to survive. I found it within me to keep my wits about me and think, think, think about my surroundings and my assailant's movements and vulnerabilities. I waited for the one and only moment I would have to escape. Once free, I sought help and I told my story again and again until I found justice.

Pamela's book list on overcoming rape and building higher self esteem

Pamela Braswell Why did Pamela love this book?

It introduced me to the status of women in ancient times when society worshipped the moon, a feminine deity. Women led religious rituals and they were regarded as the givers of life. By contrast, by the time of King David, man worshipped the Sun, a male deity, and women's status was lowered to become regarded as mere bearers of life.

By M. Esther Harding,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Woman's Mysteries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is a classic study of the feminine principle in myths, dreams, and religious symbolism. In presenting the archetypal foundations of feminine psychology, the author shows how the ancient religious initiations of the moon goddess symbolized the development of the emotions. Understanding the psychological meaning of these initiations, she believes, can help to heal the troubled relations between men and women today.


Book cover of Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Sex: Releasing the Passion Within

Ruth Buezis Author Of Awaken Love: The Truth About Sex that will Transform Your Marriage

From my list on to help Christians create an amazing sex life.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I decided to work on my sex life, I devoured both Christian and secular books looking for answers. I not only wanted to understand God’s design for sex, but I also needed help learning to create the amazing sex life that God wanted for me. Since that time, I have taught Awaken Love classes to thousands of Christian women and heard their stories. I continue to look for resources that are empowering for wives, within God’s boundaries, in line with women’s experiences, practical and thought-provoking.

Ruth's book list on to help Christians create an amazing sex life

Ruth Buezis Why did Ruth love this book?

Taking a more holistic approach, Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Sex explores the world of women who experience sex in the most connecting, pleasurable ways. Moving beyond mechanics, it helped me understand the importance of unlocking inhibitions, being present, and discovering my own eroticism in order to experience a deep connection with my husband. God has more for us to experience if we are open to it. 

By Sandra Scantling, Sue Browder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Looks at the phenomenon of `supersex` women who can experience sex at an intense level. Based on research with hundreds of women the author shows how these feelings can be experienced by everyone.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in psychoanalysis, presidential biography, and Sigmund Freud?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about psychoanalysis, presidential biography, and Sigmund Freud.

Psychoanalysis Explore 93 books about psychoanalysis
Presidential Biography Explore 19 books about presidential biography
Sigmund Freud Explore 51 books about Sigmund Freud