100 books like The Velvet Rage

By Alan Downs,

Here are 100 books that The Velvet Rage fans have personally recommended if you like The Velvet Rage. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Giovanni's Room

Ali Fitzgerald Author Of Drawn to Berlin: Comics Workshops in Refugee Shelters and Other Stories from a New Europe

From my list on cities and exile.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an American artist and writer who has lived in European cities for the last decade and a half—first Berlin, now Paris—I often look for echoes of dislocation and longing in the books I read. My first published book explores the lives of people who fled other countries to arrive in a city filled with a complex and dark history. 

Ali's book list on cities and exile

Ali Fitzgerald Why did Ali love this book?

James Baldwin is one of my favorite authors, and this book is a short, masterful look at the mechanisms behind queer shame. Two lovers, David and Giovanni, hide in a darkened room in self-imposed exile in Paris until the narrator’s sense of shame breaks their love trance.

David, an American who is engaged to a woman, cannot bear to continue his gay affair and so leaves Giovanni, prompting a confrontation with a changed reality and a tragic reckoning with the guillotine. 

By James Baldwin,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Giovanni's Room as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When David meets the sensual Giovanni in a bohemian bar, he is swept into a passionate love affair. But his girlfriend's return to Paris destroys everything. Unable to admit to the truth, David pretends the liaison never happened - while Giovanni's life descends into tragedy.

United by the theme of love, the writings in the Great Loves series span over two thousand years and vastly different worlds. Readers will be introduced to love's endlessly fascinating possibilities and extremities: romantic love, platonic love, erotic love, gay love, virginal love, adulterous love, parental love, filial love, nostalgic love, unrequited love, illicit love,…


Book cover of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

Sara Nasserzadeh Author Of Love by Design: 6 Ingredients to Build a Lifetime of Love

From my list on how to move from surviving to thriving in your relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, speaker, researcher, and thinking partner with a PhD in Social Psychology and specialization in the fields of human sexuality, intercultural fluency, and relationships. I have over two decades of experience working with individuals, couples, companies, and governments across 40 countries. I truly believe that we can create world peace one relationship at a time, and embrace it as my mission. My third book in English, Love By Design, is the result of two-decade-long research on the status of thriving relationships and its key ingredients. These could be applied to relationships in all spaces, from bedrooms (most intimate) to the boardrooms (most public).

Sara's book list on how to move from surviving to thriving in your relationships

Sara Nasserzadeh Why did Sara love this book?

Esther Perel's exploration of the intricate dance between intimacy and desire resonates with many couples who are in long-term relationships, want it to work so desperately, and yet find themselves stuck. This book builds on the concepts of differentiation and attachment styles while inviting readers to embrace a new paradigm of eroticism within committed relationships.

What resonates deeply is Perel's grounded yet unflinching approach to addressing taboo topics and dismantling societal norms. Through her eloquent prose and compelling case studies, she illuminates the path to unlocking erotic intelligence and reigniting passion in long-term partnerships.

By Esther Perel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York City therapist examines the paradoxical relationship between domesticity and sexual desire and explains what it takes to bring lust home.

One of the world’s most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.

Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful,…


Book cover of The Ethical Slut

Nadya Okamoto Author Of Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement

From my list on challenging perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a social entrepreneur, I'm passionate about gender equality and always challenging myself and my perspectives. From exploring feminine power in The Red Tent to understanding complex societal structures in 100 Years of Solitude to appreciating the blend of science and womanhood in Lessons in Chemistry, to promoting sexual freedom in Ethical Slut, and finally, recognizing intersectional struggles in Hood Feminism, each book deepens my understanding and fuels my passion for change.

Nadya's book list on challenging perspectives

Nadya Okamoto Why did Nadya love this book?

I deeply appreciate Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy's book for its courage in challenging societal norms around relationships.

The book's exploration of ethical non-monogamy pushes me to examine my personal boundaries and expectations. I value its discussion not just on sexuality but on all relationship dynamics.

The book resonates with me intensely, serving as a catalyst for self-discovery and understanding, which is why I hold it in such high regard.

By Janet W. Hardy, Dossie Easton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic guide to love, sex, and intimacy beyond the limits of conventional monogamy has been fully updated to reflect today’s modern attitudes and the latest information on nontraditional relationships. 

“One of the most useful relationship books you could ever read, no matter what your lifestyle choices. It’s chock-full of great information about communication, jealousy, asking for what you want, and maintaining a relationship with integrity.”—Annie Sprinkle, PhD, sexologist and author of Dr. Sprinkle’s Spectacular Sex 

For 20 years The Ethical Slut—widely known as the “Poly Bible”—has dispelled myths and showed curious readers how to maintain a successful polyamorous lifestyle…


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 The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out

Loren A. Olson, M. D. Author Of No More Neckties: A Memoir in Essays

From my list on for mature men who have sex with men.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been gay for half my life; the other half I was confused, questioning, and considered a pathologic deviant by the American Psychiatric Association. I am no longer confused, or considered pathologic or deviant. I’m a father, psychiatrist, and author who grew up in Nebraska. I was a good boy, followed all the rules, and lived the life that was expected of me. I fit in but I never felt like I belonged. I took back control of my life and threw off expectations of what I should be. I want others to believe that they can have a richer life by living the life they were meant to live.

Loren's book list on for mature men who have sex with men

Loren A. Olson, M. D. Why did Loren love this book?

When I explored coming out in my forties, I was lonely and searched for answers. I found nothing. So, I wrote my own book.

Gay people who’ve been in heterosexual marriages, especially those with children, face a predicament: a bad choice and a worse one. The Lie is a story of hope for anyone caught in the dilemma of either living a lie or leaving a family they love. Many consider suicide; many have attempted it.

The Lie is an emotional and honest story of Dameron’s coming out to live the life he was meant to live. He owns up to his past, sheds the shame and guilt, and seeks and finds forgiveness as he begins to live his life honestly.

By William Dameron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A candid memoir of denial, stolen identities, betrayal, faking it, and coming out.

Do you know me?, the email began, sparking tremors of fear that turned into a full quake of panic when William Dameron discovered that his selfie had been stolen by strangers. On social networks and dating sites, his image and identity-a forty-year-old straight white male-had been used to hook countless women into believing in lies of love and romance. Was it all an ironic cosmic joke? Almost a decade prior, William himself had been living a lie that had lasted for more than twenty years. His secret?…


Book cover of Bareback Porn, Porous Masculinities, Queer Futures: The Ethics of Becoming-Pig

Marcus McCann Author Of Park Cruising: What Happens When We Wander Off the Path

From my list on new writing on sex and sexual politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, lawyer, and writer, I've been thinking and writing about state regulation of sexuality for 20 years. Political writing about sex can easily fall into orthodoxy; whether conservative or liberal, each side has its expected talking points. When I began investigating ways of thinking about public displays of sexuality in Park Cruising, I returned to the cache of sex-positive writing of the 1980s and 1990s. Some of it was invigorating, and some stale. So I sought out new writing about sex and sexuality, and I was richly rewarded. These books are just the tip of the iceberg; there's a feast of contemporary writing and thinking. So much to think through and explore!

Marcus' book list on new writing on sex and sexual politics

Marcus McCann Why did Marcus love this book?

For me, this book begins with a pleasing reversal: that the tough-looking guys engaged in casual, rough, or extreme types of sexual expression are in fact displaying tenderness.

The book made me reexamine what I thought I knew about the emotions and relationships at work in gay “pig” subcultures. I found myself underlining passage after passage. In the last third of the book, Florêncio becomes a character in the scene he is describing, a risky move that pays off.

By Joao Florencio,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bareback Porn, Porous Masculinities, Queer Futures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book analyses contemporary gay "pig" masculinities, which have emerged alongside antiretroviral therapies, online porn, and new sexualised patterns of recreational drug use, examining how they trouble modern European understandings of the male body, their ethics, and their political underpinnings.

This is the first book to reflect on an increasingly visible new form of sexualised gay masculinity, and the first monograph to move debates on condomless sex amongst gay men beyond discourses of HIV and/or AIDS. It contributes to existing critical histories of sexuality, pornography and other sex media at a crucial juncture in the history of gay male sex…


Book cover of Best of the Wrong Reasons

Sylvia Barry Author Of Lessons in Timing

From my list on grumpy/sunshine romance with a healthy side of yearning.

Why are we passionate about this?

Sylvia Barry is our invention, a solitary witch who writes queer romance from her lighthouse keep. As a pair of co-authors, one of us grew up with the dry humor of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, and the other grew up with fanfiction and romance tropes. We came together to write quirky, queer romances that are playful and ironic but also deal with deeper themes of self-discovery, trauma healing, and community. Rivals-to-lovers and grumpy/sunshine are our favorite tropes to write, especially in dual (or more!) POV, because the Yearning is always juicy, and we play off each other’s energy as we write our opposing characters.

Sylvia's book list on grumpy/sunshine romance with a healthy side of yearning

Sylvia Barry Why did Sylvia love this book?

If a book could smell like jasmine and taste like clover honey, it would be this. 

We loved losing ourselves in the warm, sticky, bitter-sweet nostalgia of a small Georgia hometown, where you can practically hear the crickets and smell the night-blooming flowers. We had our hearts broken by a story of childhood friends turned lovers, turned dirty little secrets, turned estranged, turned something fragile but precious.

We were left breathless by Sander Santiago’s descriptions of grief, acceptance, and the fully caramelized romance between golden sunshine boy Fin (ballplayer turned med student) and taciturn bad boy Orion (delinquent turned musician).

There’s a whole bit about pain being broken down between guilt and hope that absolutely killed us. Good cry turned warm and fuzzies.

By Sander Santiago,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Franklin-Fin-Ness makes up his mind it tends to stay made. Running, med school, and caring for his healing mother are things Fin never second-guesses. More stubborn than his mind, his heart picked Orion a long time ago. Seeing Orion again proves his heart is still invested, but his temper and fears about their past repeating have Fin wondering if following his heart is worth losing his mind.


Musician and drifter Orion Starr expects ghosts at his mother's funeral in his rural Georgia town. He never expects one to be his former crush, Fin. Especially since he ghosted the guy…


Book cover of Something Fabulous

Sylvia Barry Author Of Lessons in Timing

From my list on grumpy/sunshine romance with a healthy side of yearning.

Why are we passionate about this?

Sylvia Barry is our invention, a solitary witch who writes queer romance from her lighthouse keep. As a pair of co-authors, one of us grew up with the dry humor of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, and the other grew up with fanfiction and romance tropes. We came together to write quirky, queer romances that are playful and ironic but also deal with deeper themes of self-discovery, trauma healing, and community. Rivals-to-lovers and grumpy/sunshine are our favorite tropes to write, especially in dual (or more!) POV, because the Yearning is always juicy, and we play off each other’s energy as we write our opposing characters.

Sylvia's book list on grumpy/sunshine romance with a healthy side of yearning

Sylvia Barry Why did Sylvia love this book?

It’s Oscar Wilde and the cast of Monty Python having an orgy on the set of Bridgerton–what’s not to love? 

Alexis Hall is an auto-buy author for us, and Something Fabulous is one of our favorites. It’s a hysterical romp–sexy and romantic but also deeply irreverent and laugh-out-loud funny. Chock full of shenanigans, relatable and diverse characters, and a fresh reimagining of Regency romance.

We love a grumpy duke. We love a chaotic, wide-eyed ward. We LOVE Sir Horley Comewithers and his questionable cabin in the woods. There’s a scene with a bee that has caused irreparable damage to our lungs and ribs. 

By Alexis Hall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the acclaimed author of Boyfriend Material comes a delightfully witty romance featuring a reserved duke who’s betrothed to one twin and hopelessly enamoured of the other.

Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has twin problems: literally.

It was always his father’s hope that Valentine would marry Miss Arabella Tarleton. But, unfortunately, too many novels at an impressionable age have caused her to grow up…romantic. So romantic that a marriage of convenience will not do and after Valentine’s proposal she flees into the night determined never to set eyes on him again.

Arabella’s twin brother, Mr. Bonaventure “Bonny” Tarleton, has…


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 Best Men

KC Carmichael Author Of Boystown Heartbreakers

From my list on lighthearted gay romance books about men in their thirties.

Why am I passionate about this?

On paper, it would be easy to think I’m the wrong person to recommend these books and write my own, which would fit easily onto this list. But as a lover of love and someone who has always enjoyed the company of men, particularly gay men, this is an area I have passion for - seeing hopeful and authentic love stories written for the masses. 

KC's book list on lighthearted gay romance books about men in their thirties

KC Carmichael Why did KC love this book?

I loved this book from page one because I instantly wanted to be the main character, Max Moody’s, friend. He’s incredibly relatable and has impeccable taste in music.

His love interest, Chasten, was charming and sweet, and the combination of their personalities made them easy to root for. Plus, I laughed out loud and smiled all the way through their love story. 

By Sidney Karger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Bursting with laughs and so much love, Sidney Karger's debut novel delivers a truly refreshing spin on the romantic comedy…A big-hearted, feel-good summer escape."—Anderson Cooper, #1 New York Times bestselling author and journalist

When two best men in a wedding party fall for each other, they realize love isn’t a piece of cake in this hilarious and heartfelt romantic comedy debut by screenwriter Sidney Karger.

Max Moody thought he had everything figured out. He’s trying to live his best life in New York City and has the best friend a gay guy could ask for: Paige. She and Max grew…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay men, shame, and coming out?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gay men, shame, and coming out.

Gay Men 126 books
Shame 15 books
Coming Out 52 books