100 books like Same-Sex Affairs

By Peter Boag,

Here are 100 books that Same-Sex Affairs fans have personally recommended if you like Same-Sex Affairs. 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 The Invention of Heterosexuality

Jeff Stookey Author Of Acquaintance

From my list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known all my life that I am gay. At age 50 I decided to try my hand at writing. After an image of two men kissing in a 1920s vehicle landed in my head, I began writing my Medicine for the Blues trilogy (Acquaintance is book one). But knowing nothing about LGBT history, I began a deep dive into gay and lesbian history, into the history of Portland and Oregon, into the era of the 1920s, the KKK, Prohibition, Freud, eugenics, and more. During 20 years of writing the trilogy, I’ve read dozens of books that roiled through my imagination and the information spilled out in the story.

Jeff's book list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century

Jeff Stookey Why did Jeff love this book?

I love the subversive title of this book. If there is no “heterosexuality” then there is no “homosexuality.” A challenging read, because of the subtle and complex reasoning Katz uses to untangle early erotic/procreative/love relationship concepts that were very differently structured from our own homo/hetero dichotomy. He uses history to show the slow development of the concept of heterosexuality, and that it is not “an essential, eternal, normal.” Katz draws on Michel Foucault regarding ancient Greece, on the Puritans, the Victorians, on Krafft-Ebing, Freud, and Alfred Kinsey, showing how language reveals the changing ways of conceptualizing and valuing differing modes of sexual expression. The critiques of Freud are a revelation.

By Jonathan Ned Katz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Heterosexuality," assumed to denote a universal sexual and cultural norm, has been largely exempt from critical scrutiny. In this boldly original work, Jonathan Ned Katz challenges the common notion that the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality has been a timeless one. Building on the history of medical terminology, he reveals that as late as 1923 the term "heterosexuality" referred to a "morbid sexual passion" and that its current usage emerged to legitimate men and women having sex for pleasure. Drawing on the works of Sigmund Freud, James Baldwin, Betty Friedan, and Michel Foucault, "The Invention of Heterosexuality" considers the effects…


Book cover of Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life, 1918-1945

Jeff Stookey Author Of Acquaintance

From my list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known all my life that I am gay. At age 50 I decided to try my hand at writing. After an image of two men kissing in a 1920s vehicle landed in my head, I began writing my Medicine for the Blues trilogy (Acquaintance is book one). But knowing nothing about LGBT history, I began a deep dive into gay and lesbian history, into the history of Portland and Oregon, into the era of the 1920s, the KKK, Prohibition, Freud, eugenics, and more. During 20 years of writing the trilogy, I’ve read dozens of books that roiled through my imagination and the information spilled out in the story.

Jeff's book list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century

Jeff Stookey Why did Jeff love this book?

A valuable first-person account in real time describing what it was like to be gay in early 20th century USA. Jeb is well-read in the homosexuality literature of his era, from Havelock Ellis to Walt Whitman. One sympathizes with Jeb’s shame and misery in a time when being homosexual was socially unacceptable and illegal. Yet his self-pity and social ineptitude can be exasperating. In time he makes some gay friends, but he is often ambivalent toward them. Eventually he does develop some confidence and self-assertiveness. Most admirable is his love of culture (books, art, movies, stage plays, concerts) and his affection for nature (weather, plants, scenery, etc.) which he describes so exquisitely. By sloth and lack of dedication, Jeb never achieved his ambitions as a writer, but he did leave us these diaries that so well describe his singular life.

By Ina Russell (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It occurred to me today with something of a shock how horrible it would be for this diary of mine to be pawed over and read unsympathetically after I am dead, by those incapable of understanding... And then the thought of the one thing even more dreadful and terrible than that - for my diary never to be read by the one person who would or could understand. For I do want it to be read - there is no use concealing the fact - by somebody who is like me, who would understand.
Jeb Alexander was a gay man…


Book cover of The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935)

Jeff Stookey Author Of Acquaintance

From my list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known all my life that I am gay. At age 50 I decided to try my hand at writing. After an image of two men kissing in a 1920s vehicle landed in my head, I began writing my Medicine for the Blues trilogy (Acquaintance is book one). But knowing nothing about LGBT history, I began a deep dive into gay and lesbian history, into the history of Portland and Oregon, into the era of the 1920s, the KKK, Prohibition, Freud, eugenics, and more. During 20 years of writing the trilogy, I’ve read dozens of books that roiled through my imagination and the information spilled out in the story.

Jeff's book list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century

Jeff Stookey Why did Jeff love this book?

This book taught me that the gay rights movement started long before Stonewall. Published in 1974, this little book opens by reporting on a Hungarian Dr. Benkert, who “devised” the term “homosexuality” in 1869 and argued for acceptance, making the 1969 Stonewall riots a 100th anniversary. In under 90 pages, the book gives a concise history of the movement against the 1871 German law that included Paragraph 175, which criminalized male homosexual acts. The authors go on to outline less robust movements in other European countries and the USA. Later chapters cover scientific inquiries, political connections with Nazism and Bolshevism, and short bios of significant movement figures.

By John Lauritsen, David Thorstad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Revised Edition of the seminal work on the history of the Gay movement; included discussion of science, the role of women, differences in individual countries, Socialism, and Oscar Wilde. Also includes notes on five pioneers, including Walt Whitman, Sir Richard Burton, and Edward Carpenter.


Book cover of Bertram Cope's Year

Jeff Stookey Author Of Acquaintance

From my list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known all my life that I am gay. At age 50 I decided to try my hand at writing. After an image of two men kissing in a 1920s vehicle landed in my head, I began writing my Medicine for the Blues trilogy (Acquaintance is book one). But knowing nothing about LGBT history, I began a deep dive into gay and lesbian history, into the history of Portland and Oregon, into the era of the 1920s, the KKK, Prohibition, Freud, eugenics, and more. During 20 years of writing the trilogy, I’ve read dozens of books that roiled through my imagination and the information spilled out in the story.

Jeff's book list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century

Jeff Stookey Why did Jeff love this book?

While trying to learn about gay life in the 1920s, I was delighted to find this novel, “privately” published in 1919. One soon learns that Bertram Cope, who comes to teach at an undergraduate college as he works on an advanced degree, has a relationship with another young male with whom he plans to cohabit—interesting that two men could openly set up housekeeping together, even back then. Meanwhile an older matron, an aging homosexual man, and various young women hope to attract Cope’s attention. Though seen by some as a trivial social satire, Fuller’s light touch and subtle wit mask an undertone of eroticism and homosexual associations. His anonymous, authorial, third-person narrative voice is humorous and incisive, revealing his penetrating observations of social niceties and the layers of his characters’ maneuverings. Clever and understated, the book implies much that is never declared.

By Henry Blake Fuller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Entertaining . . . eminently readable, distinguished by beautifully evoked period atmosphere and sly humor.”—The New York Times

America’s first gay novel, published in 1919.


Book cover of Urban Aboriginals: A Celebration of Leathersexuality

Nicholas McInerny Author Of How to Have a Perfect Marriage: A BBC Radio 4 Comedy Drama

From my list on being emotionally monogamous and sexually promiscuous.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am someone who has lived a number of different lives. Although I loved being a father and husband I knew I wasn’t being authentic. At 45 that all changed utterly when I finally came out as gay – and accepted myself for perhaps the very first time in my life. However, even before coming out I was a professional writer – it was my only way to make sense of the world. But I also knew that although a successful writer I wasn’t a truthful one – and the most beautiful thing in life is discovering your own truth, isn’t it? Join me here in a safe space to experience yours.

Nicholas' book list on being emotionally monogamous and sexually promiscuous

Nicholas McInerny Why did Nicholas love this book?

Part manifesto, part archive of a fascinating and alluring sub-culture, Geoff Mains's book explores the possibilities of extreme encounters through pain/pleasure, BDSM, and role play in the leather community.

It’s not sensationalist although it examines ideas around sensation. It celebrates performance whilst honoring intimacy. It’s a book that would offer a reader of every sexuality an insight into some of their own fantasies and how to access them safely, and meaningfully.

I read it like I would read an exhaustive and tempting menu – picking out items I might like to taste myself and learning a great deal in the process. 

By Geoff Mains,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A subculture of gay men participate in a radical form of sexuality and community known as leather. Through intimate forms of encounter, using such tools as pain-pleasure, bondage, and role-play, leather can bring a shift of conciousness and a new vision of the self. This innovative book pioneered in sensitively exploring and celebrating leathersexuality. As relevant today as when it was written 20 years ago, Urban Aboriginals is an intimate view of the gay male leather community. Within its pages, author Geoff Mains explores the spritual, sexual, emotional, cultural and physiological aspects that make this "scene" one of the most…


Book cover of Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940

Why am I passionate about this?

I started my career teaching high school. I attended amazing professional development institutes, where scholars showed me how the stories I’d learned and then taught to my own students were so oversimplified that they had become factually incorrect. I was hooked. I kept wondering what else I’d gotten wrong. I earned a Ph.D. in modern US History with specialties in women’s and gender history and war and society, and now I’m an Associate Professor of History at Iowa State University and the Coordinator of ISU’s Social Studies Education Program. I focus on historical complexity and human motivations because they are the key to understanding change.

Amy's book list on books about twenteith-century U.S. History that make you rethink something you thought you already knew

Amy J. Rutenberg Why did Amy love this book?

If you’ve ever wondered about where the terms “coming out,” “tea room,” or “fairy” came from, this book has the answers. But more importantly, this book showed me the extent to which my preconceived notions about the relationship between gender and sexuality were simply wrong.

Chauncey’s careful and readable reconstruction of gay communities in early twentieth-century New York illustrates very clearly that ideas of masculinity and deviance and the meanings attached to sex between men are socially constructed and change over time.

His story also showed me how much history can hide in plain sight and how there are still so many stories left to tell.

By George Chauncey,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Gay New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning, field-defining history of gay life in New York City in the early to mid-20th century

Gay New York brilliantly shatters the myth that before the 1960s gay life existed only in the closet, where gay men were isolated, invisible, and self-hating. Drawing on a rich trove of diaries, legal records, and other unpublished documents, George Chauncey constructs a fascinating portrait of a vibrant, cohesive gay world that is not supposed to have existed. Called "monumental" (Washington Post), "unassailable" (Boston Globe), "brilliant" (The Nation), and "a first-rate book of history" (The New York Times), Gay New Yorkforever changed how…


Book cover of Numbers

Rasheed Newson Author Of My Government Means to Kill Me

From my list on LGBTQ+ books that are sexy and subversive.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up attending Catholic school in conservative Indiana. Sex—especially if it was of the homosexual varietywas the ultimate taboo. I can’t overstate how damaging it is to believe that one of your natural urges is proof of your depravity. Books that depict queer sexual relations, be they fleeting or romantic, gave me my first glimpse of a wider world where my sexual identity could be expressed. These books liberated me. Even now, I find that sexy and subversive novels help me understand parts of myself that can still be difficult to discuss in polite company. We all need our boundaries pushed. 

Rasheed's book list on LGBTQ+ books that are sexy and subversive

Rasheed Newson Why did Rasheed love this book?

I was a freshman in college and still closeted about my homosexuality when I found Numbers in an LGBTQ+ bookstore. The description on the dust jacket got my blood racing: in an effort to reclaim his youth, a handsome gay man strikes out to see how many sexual conquests he can rack up during a ten-day stay in L.A. I bought the book and read it in my dorm room when my roommate wasn’t around.

I got more than I bargained for. Along with descriptions of sexual encounters, the novel opened my eyes to the ramifications of internalized homophobia and explored the value of sex among an oppressed people who are persecuted for their carnal desires. This novel written in 1967 spoke to me across the decades. It still can.

By John Rechy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An aging male hustler wages an obsessive battle against the passing of his youth in this darkly compelling follow-up to the cult hit City of Night.
 
Johnny Rio, a handsome narcissist no longer a pretty boy, travels to Los Angeles, the site of past sexual conquest and remembered youthful radiance, in a frenzied attempt to recreate his younger self.
 
Like a retired boxer—an undefeated champion—who refuses to accept the possible ravages of time, Johnny is led by some unfathomable force to return to combat once again. Combat, for him, takes place in the dark balconies and dismal bathrooms of LA’s…


Book cover of I Think Our Son Is Gay 01

Emmarie Bee Author Of A Twist of Fate

From my list on LGBTQ+ manga/graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved cartoons and anime. I’m also bisexual and non-binary. Growing up, gay representation was hard to come by, so when we did get it, we were always super excited, whether it was good or not so good. Luckily, I’ve gotten to watch the world change and grow more accepting, but sometimes it’s still difficult to find good rep when you don’t know where to look. I try to fill my books with good representation so that my readers can feel seen in a way I didn’t, and I want to spread the word about some great LGBT manga that I love and made an impact on me.

Emmarie's book list on LGBTQ+ manga/graphic novels

Emmarie Bee Why did Emmarie love this book?

I’m always a sucker for something sweet, wholesome, and low-to-no stakes when it comes to my gay manga.

It’s a sweet and wholesome story about a mom who realizes her eldest son is gay, but gives him the space, respect, and privacy to come out in his own time. She also makes a point to defend her son’s sexuality without outing him to others. It made me crack up because I remember being that eldest son - thinking I was slick at hiding my sexuality, when I really wasn’t.

I also love how the mom gives her son the space he needs and respects his privacy. A super mom, for sure!

By Okura,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Think Our Son Is Gay 01 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A doting mother and her two beloved sons, one of whom she thinks is probably gay, go about their daily lives in this hilarious and heartwarming LGBTQIA+-friendly family comedy!

Despite belonging to a family of four, the Aoyama residence is typically home to three, with Dad away for work. Mom Tomoko and her two darling sons, Hiroki and Yuri, go about their everyday lives with little to disturb their gentle routines.

But as Hiroki begins his first year of high school, Tomoko can’t help but wonder if her eldest has fallen for another boy. Though Tomoko is content to cheer…


Book cover of At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life

Bella DePaulo Author Of Single at Heart: The Power, Freedom, and Heart-Filling Joy of Single Life

From my list on joyfull single people at heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

For too long, single life has been characterized as a lesser life. As a 70-year-old who has been happily single my whole life, I want that to end. As I said in my book, “In the enlightened world that I envision, every child will understand, as a matter of course, that living single is a life path that can be just as joyful and fulfilling as any other—and for some people, the best path of all. Every adult will forsake forever the temptation to pity or patronize single people and will instead appreciate the profound rewards of single life." 

Bella's book list on joyfull single people at heart

Bella DePaulo Why did Bella love this book?

The stars of this book are “solitaries,” people who choose to live alone or spend substantial stretches of time alone. Upending the demeaning caricatures of people who spend a lot of time alone, Johson shows that some of the most renowned artists and authors have been solitaries.

They have rich inner lives and contribute meaningfully to society. Even unknown solitaries are artists–they design their own lives. Solitaries value friendship and do not see romantic relationships as sitting atop a relationship hierarchy. Free of a conventional focus on The One, they are more open to more different people and the world.

By Fenton Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At the Center of All Beauty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fenton Johnson's lyrical prose and searching sensibility explore what it means to choose solitude and to celebrate the notion that solitude is a legitimate and dignified calling. He delves into the lives and works of nearly a dozen iconic solitaries he considers his kindred spirits, from Thoreau at Walden Pond and Emily Dickenson in Amherst, to the fiercely self-protective Zora Neale Hurston. The bright wakes these figures have left behind illuminate Fenton Johnson's journey from his childhood in rural Kentucky to his solitary travels in America, France, and India. Woven into his musings about better-known solitaries are stories of friends…


Book cover of What Belongs to You

Shastri Akella Author Of The Sea Elephants

From my list on international queer heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first wrote The Sea Elephants, my protagonist (Shagun) and I were both asexual. My writing professor read the novel and said it’s dying to be a gay love story. Eventually, when I came out and rewrote the book from my newfound identity of queerness, I searched for queer stories that, like mine, were set outside the US or had non-American leads. And I realized that this is a significant gap that needs to be bridged. I felt a tremendous sense of solidarity with the books I did find. They made me feel less alone. Later, as an assistant professor of English, I’ve taught all of these books.

Shastri's book list on international queer heroes

Shastri Akella Why did Shastri love this book?

There are very few books that capture the particular suffering of loving someone and not being loved back.

Greenwell’s powerful debut novel is one of them. Set in the capital city of Bulgaria, the novel begins with an encounter that the narrator, an American teacher working abroad, has with Mitko, a sex worker. It is written in prose whose beauty, beat by beat, is as achingly beautiful as the unrequited love the narrator has for Mitko. This is one to savor slowly.

My copy is heavily underlined. Garth, a trained opera singer, reads like a dream. Accompany your reading with his readings from the work (they’re on YouTube). 

By Garth Greenwell,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked What Belongs to You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Startlingly erotic and immensely powerful, Garth Greenwell's What Belongs to You tells an unforgettable story about the ways our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we are and determine how we love.

Winner of the Debut of the Year Award at the British Book Awards.
Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize.

'A searching and compassionate meditation on the slipperiness of desire . . . as beautiful and vivid as poetry' - Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life

On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia's National Palace…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay men, the Pacific Northwest, and migrant workers?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gay men, the Pacific Northwest, and migrant workers.

Gay Men Explore 119 books about gay men
The Pacific Northwest Explore 37 books about the Pacific Northwest
Migrant Workers Explore 13 books about migrant workers