The best sex education books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about sex education and why they recommend each book.

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Becoming Cliterate

By Laurie Mintz,

Book cover of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters--And How to Get It

Most men think sex is largely about intercourse, and that intercourse is how women get to orgasm. Actually, the organ that triggers orgasm in women is the clitoris, which sits outside the vagina an inch or so above it nestled beneath the top junction of the vaginal lips. Only a small fraction of women can work up to orgasm during intercourse. Most need gentle, direct, extended clitoral caresses, by hand, mouth, or sex toy. This book explains the primacy of the clitoris in women’s pleasure. It should be required reading for all men.


Who am I?

During a career spanning almost 50 years, Michael Castleman has become the world’s most popular sex expert you’ve probably never heard of.  He has answered more sexuality questions than anyone else on the planet.


I wrote...

Sizzling Sex for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Maximize Erotic Pleasure at Any Age

By Michael Castleman,

Book cover of Sizzling Sex for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Maximize Erotic Pleasure at Any Age

What is my book about?

The original message that inspires all my work is “When men make love the way most women prefer, everyone benefits.” This is a sexual self-help book, a genre some deride as simplistic and ineffective. Sex is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It can also drive people crazy. I hope my book reduces confusion and misery and enhances erotic pleasure and satisfaction for lovers of all ages and erotic inclinations.

Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!)

By Sonya Renee Taylor,

Book cover of Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girls

I love this book because it encourages body positivity among girls who represent a vast variety of identities, especially when it comes to size. I appreciate that Taylor honors the possibility that a female-bodied girl may actually feel like their body and sex assigned at birth does not align, sometimes or all of the time, with how they feel about their gender. Not only does this book include “fascinating facts” boxes of practical and medically accurate information—and empathetically assures readers that “you have company” and are not alone—it pays tribute to body diversity and encourages body pride with its inclusive and affirming approach. You will find everything in here from the wonders of puberty and all of its changes, to how we can take care of our awesomeness with nutrition and physical activity. In addition to empowering girls to take responsibility for knowing the incredible power within their bodies as…


Who am I?

Shafia Zaloom is a health educator, parent, consultant, and author whose work centers on human development, community building, ethics, and social justice. Shafia has worked with thousands of children and their families in her role as teacher, coach, administrator, board member, and outdoor educator. She has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and numerous parenting blogs. Shafia’s book, Sex, Teens, and Everything in Between has been reviewed as “the ultimate relationship guide for teens of all orientations and identities.” It is one that “every teen, and every parent and educator - and every other adult who interacts with teens - should read.”


I wrote...

Sex, Teens & Everything in Between: The New and Necessary Conversations Today’s Teenagers Need to Have about Consent, Harassment, Healthy Relationships, Love, and More

By Shafia Zaloom,

Book cover of Sex, Teens & Everything in Between: The New and Necessary Conversations Today’s Teenagers Need to Have about Consent, Harassment, Healthy Relationships, Love, and More

What is my book about?

Sex, Teens, and Everything in Between is written for teenagers, their parents, and other adults who are interested in understanding what teenagers fret about, desire, fear, and hope for when it comes to sexuality and relationships. The book is anchored in real-life teen experiences told by teens themselves about how they are navigating one of the most complicated and profound dimensions of their lives: healthy sex and love.

Each chapter offers guidance and conversation starters for engaging in meaningful dialogue about consent and the implicit and explicit messages young people are bombarded with daily. It features frequently asked questions teens across the country ask, not only about what consent is, but what it looks, sounds, and feels like in practice within relationship dynamics and the social landscapes they navigate.

Mommy Laid An Egg

By Babette Cole,

Book cover of Mommy Laid An Egg: Or, Where Do Babies Come From?

When my daughter was in first grade in Germany, her teacher read this book to her entire class. Sex education is considered a right in Germany since knowing how your body works is essential for your reproductive health. In the U.S. it’s left to us as parents to teach sex ed to our kids—which I’d argue is less than ideal, given the high costs of keeping kids ignorant. (The U.S. has higher rates of teen AIDS, teen pregnancy, and abortion than Germany.) If you don’t know how to broach this subject, this book is a good, age-appropriate, place to start when your young kids first begin asking questions.


Who am I?

I am a writer who lived in Germany for more than six years with my family. That experience opened my eyes to a different way of parenting in a country that had learned hard lessons about too much authoritarian control. It also taught me that much of what we believe is “true” about raising kids is actually cultural—and therefore, can be changed. In addition to my book about raising kids in Germany, Achtung Baby, I’ve written extensively on raising self-reliant kids, including articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Time.com among others.


I wrote...

Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

By Sara Zaske,

Book cover of Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

What is my book about?

When Sara Zaske moved from Oregon to Berlin with her husband and toddler, she knew the transition would be challenging, especially when she became pregnant with her second child. She was surprised to discover that German parents give their children a great deal of freedom--much more than Americans. In Berlin, kids walk to school by themselves, ride the subway alone, cut food with sharp knives, and even play with fire. German parents did not share her fears, and their children were thriving. Was she doing the opposite of what she intended, which was to raise capable children? Why was parenting culture so different in the States?

S.E.X.

By Heather Corinna,

Book cover of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties

This is the textbook I teach from in my high school healthy sexuality and relationship class. Ideally, it would be on the shelf of every teenager and young adult. Corinna tackles all of the real and relevant, as well as trickiest, topics about healthy sex, relationships, and love. It provides comprehensive, medically accurate information on any and everything a teen and young adult needs to know about understanding sex and sexuality within this popular culture, it also addresses the nuances of cultural messaging and the complexities of human relationships. From how to sort out gender and sexual identities to updated information on safe sexuality practices to finding and cultivating meaningful and healthy relationships, to how to set and respect boundaries, communicate desires, and rock consent, this book is an all-in-one resource for empowering young people. The information and guidance it provides encourages the joys and responsibilities of healthy bodies and…


Who am I?

Shafia Zaloom is a health educator, parent, consultant, and author whose work centers on human development, community building, ethics, and social justice. Shafia has worked with thousands of children and their families in her role as teacher, coach, administrator, board member, and outdoor educator. She has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and numerous parenting blogs. Shafia’s book, Sex, Teens, and Everything in Between has been reviewed as “the ultimate relationship guide for teens of all orientations and identities.” It is one that “every teen, and every parent and educator - and every other adult who interacts with teens - should read.”


I wrote...

Sex, Teens & Everything in Between: The New and Necessary Conversations Today’s Teenagers Need to Have about Consent, Harassment, Healthy Relationships, Love, and More

By Shafia Zaloom,

Book cover of Sex, Teens & Everything in Between: The New and Necessary Conversations Today’s Teenagers Need to Have about Consent, Harassment, Healthy Relationships, Love, and More

What is my book about?

Sex, Teens, and Everything in Between is written for teenagers, their parents, and other adults who are interested in understanding what teenagers fret about, desire, fear, and hope for when it comes to sexuality and relationships. The book is anchored in real-life teen experiences told by teens themselves about how they are navigating one of the most complicated and profound dimensions of their lives: healthy sex and love.

Each chapter offers guidance and conversation starters for engaging in meaningful dialogue about consent and the implicit and explicit messages young people are bombarded with daily. It features frequently asked questions teens across the country ask, not only about what consent is, but what it looks, sounds, and feels like in practice within relationship dynamics and the social landscapes they navigate.

Raising the Skirt

By Catherine Blackledge,

Book cover of Raising the Skirt: The Unsung Power of the Vagina

This is a simply astonishing book, one to be read by all women but, perhaps more importantly, by all men. To say it was a revelation to read is a bit of an understatement. It is described as a revolutionary book, providing a new understanding of what it is to be female. It’s gynaecological, historical, cultural, anthropological, and evolutionary in its massive scope. 

As the author says, the vagina is actually a muscular marvel of engineering, sensitive and strong, fluid and flexible. Far from being passive vessels, female genitalia control the most important ‘role’ of all: the survival of the species.

Dr. Blackledge is a scientist, sex educator, and fertility campaigner, and her book has sold over 100,000 copies and been translated into ten languages. Jeanette Winterton says of Raising the Skirt, ‘it is completely fascinating’.

Much more than that, it throws into sharp relief the oppression of women…


Who am I?

Tim Madge is a well-established award-winning published author, historian and former journalist of over 45 years standing. He has written on a wide range of subjects, a cultural history of cocaine being one, resulting in White Mischief. It’s a fascinating story involving a murky mix of politics and race, as well as criminals and Sigmund Freud.


I wrote...

White Mischief: A Cultural History of Cocaine

By Tim Madge,

Book cover of White Mischief: A Cultural History of Cocaine

What is my book about?

Starting with the Incas, who used coca leaves to stimulate the brain, alleviate high altitude sickness, and to stay alert and awake, the innocuous Coca plant was transported to Europe where it was revved up, a thousand times, into the chemical we know, love and hate, as cocaine. The story is beyond parody as the new-found stimulant was heavily pushed by Sigmund Freud, and used early on by Coca-Cola (the name’s a giveaway) who, in effect, stole the drink idea from an Italian entrepreneur.

White Mischief concentrates on cocaine, but inevitably and necessarily ranges across the wider history of drugs and drug-taking, from historical times until the present day. It delves into the relationship between drugs, race, and racism, particularly apposite where the USA is concerned – to this day.

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