Women's Sexual Health
Better, more complete medical information on women’s sexual health is increasingly available. The recently-published books in this section on pelvic pain disorders, from vulvodynia to vestibulitis to interstitial cystitis, are an example of the growing amount of research and medical information being made available to the public.
Women’s desire for and enjoyment of sex is being increasingly acknowledged – and it is clear that sexuality doesn’t disappear at forty or fifty or sixty or seventy or?? The diversity of women’s sexualities is celebrated in a number of these books: there is a wealth of material on lesbian and bisexual and solo sexuality.
Positive Sexuality Resources is a list of recommended readings on many facets of sexuality and human sexual behavior, with an emphasis on sexuality as a positive force in life.
Joy of Making Love is a new resource for adult sexuality education, with 500+ recommended books, CDs and videos on intimate relationships, eroticism and desire, erotic poetry, erotic art, sexual technique, the science of sex, sacred sex and much more.
"These are the Self-Help books on Women's Sexual Health that I recommend most frequently for my clients who are experiencing low desire, pelvic pain syndromes, orgasmic difficulties, or who simply want to deepen their ability to experience rich and satisfying sexual relationships."
David Yarian, Ph.D.
More Recommended Self-Help Books on Women's Sexual Health
This revised and expanded edition of Becoming Orgasmic provides a program designed to help anyone overcome the myriad of obstacles to complete sexual satisfaction. This is a personal and sensitively written Self-Help book designed to make you feel good about your sexuality and yourself. 1987, Fireside
The Elusive Orgasm provides a full overview of women's sexual pleasure, covering sexual triggers, stages of arousal, the power of mind, and how women differ from men. Dr. Vivienne Cass reveals all the causes of women's orgasm difficulties — and how to remedy them, including step-by-step plans to help you and your partner. An extraordinarily thorough, all-inclusive exploration of every possible reason why women have orgasm challenges, The Elusive Orgasm gives you the tools to discover the source of your own orgasm difficulties, along with straightforward remedies. 2007, Da Capo Press
Dr. Joy Davidson believes that desire is more than what you feel on the way to the bedroom - it's the very spark that ignites your life. Embracing your sexuality and erotic spirit is an art form - and learning to express yourself without getting stalled in self-defeating relationships is a practical, learnable skill. This Self-Help book is your guide. 2004, Fair Winds Press (2nd edition)
Sisters Jennifer (a urologist) and Laura (a sex therapist) Berman point out that nearly half of all women in the US experience sexual problems at some point during their lifetime. In this helpful book they offer frank but personal discussion about the female sexual response. They describe their clinical patient assessment process, provide an updated anatomy lesson and offer practical suggestions for enhancing sexual pleasure. 2001, Henry Holt
This Self-Help book offers a practical program developed by an acclaimed sex therapist. It includes a detailed description of female sexual response, step-by-step exercises to gradually awaken dormant sexuality, clear explanations about sex and sexual response, and insights into the essential role of the emotions in sexual gratification. 2000, Signet
The authors begin with a description of women’s sexual experiences and move on to cover a wide range of sexual topics including how to enhance your sex life, biological/pharmaceutical remedies, restorative and cosmetic surgery, sex toys, masturbation, and meditative practices. This Self-Help book helps women map their erotic journey through the life cycle from adolescence through older age. 2003, iUniverse
This Self-Help book is a clear, informative and friendly companion, explaining the latest anatomical and physiological research on the G-spot (not a spot inside the vagina at all, but the urethral sponge in front of it). The book gives a practical guide to tips, techniques, and toys for stimulating the G-spot. Throughout, the author is careful to emphasize that while some women love G-spot pressure, others don’t get a lot out of it or actually find it uncomfortable. The focus is on finding out what you personally enjoy rather than setting yourself a new performance goal. 1998, Down There Press
Organized into three parts—understanding sexual pain, possible diagnoses, and redefining sexuality—Healing Sexual Pain includes medical checklists, illustrations, vignettes based on interviews with women and their healthcare professionals, treatment options, and guidance for moving forward after healing. Coady and Fish speak honestly and directly to sexual pain sufferers’ experiences, helping them address the problem of chronic pain, understand and prevent misdiagnoses, define medical terms and conditions, and regain sexual joy. Comprehensive, multi-dimensional, and deeply insightful, Healing Sexual Pain offers women the tools to successfully take on the many challenges of sexual pain and move toward a healthy, happy future. 2011, Seal Press
Based on a landmark sex survey, researcher and sex therapist Ogden found "the language of spiritual experience comes closest to expressing the fullness of our sexual response, for it is the language of connection and ecstasy." This Self-Help book guides the reader on a path to her sexual "center" where healing, ecstasy and transformation occur. 2006, Trumpter
This book was a Pick of the Month Self-Help Book! Read David's full Book Review.
Dr. Rako, a psychiatrist, suggests that gradually developing testosterone deficiency is a treatable condition that ignorance, fear, ideological resistance and sexual politics have prevented a medical community from dealing with. She advocates the prudent use of supplemental testosterone for women who need it and offers a thorough discussion of the uses, benefits and risks of testosterone therapy. 1999, Three Rivers Press
Whether you’re celebrating your thousandth female orgasm, searching for your first, or cheering on your girlfriend or wife, this book is filled with everything you want to know about the big O. Solot and Miller have spoken to thousands of men and women and surveyed thousands more about their experiences with female orgasm. Here they share all that they’ve learned--plus give you a sneak peek behind bedroom doors as women and men share their favorite moves, mistakes to avoid, and best “oh, yeah!” moments. 2007 Da Capo Press
IC is a chronic inflammatory condition of the urinary bladder that can have a devastating impact on quality of life. The disease may be debilitating and lead to feelings of helplessness and despair. Often misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection or cystitis, patients are often incorrectly treated. This Self-Help guide is designed to help the IC patient understand the process of proper diagnosis and empower readers to make sure they are getting the most appropriate treatment for their condition. 2000, New Harbinger
Semans and Winks approach sex and motherhood from four angles: basic components of women's sexuality, sex and pregnancy (just before, during, and just after), sex as a parent, and raising sexually healthy children. The work is greatly enhanced by copious quotations from several hundred moms who shared experiences and tips via surveys the authors posted online. Married, single, heterosexual, and lesbian moms are all included, and often overlooked issues such as circumcision, disability, or having an intersexed child receive coverage. 2001, Three Rivers Press
For women who seek heightened spiritual consciousness with their extended and multiple orgasms, Chia and Abrams prescribe a series of meditations and exercises from the Chinese Taoist tradition. The authors' inclusive language speaks to all women, regardless of age, sexual orientation, relationship status, orgasm tendencies or level of experience with meditation. The good, basic information on general sexual health and wellness emphasizes holistic approaches to maintenance and treatment, and the primer on the fundamentals of chi (energy) provides a solid overview of the theoretical basis for the methods developed to cultivate and use this energy. 2006, Rodale Press
Addressing common female conditions which cause physical pain, emotional anguish and a sense of failure and sexual inadequacy, this Self-Help book includes extensive explanations, real life stories of patients and partners and treatment options. This book has been a source of hope for many women. 2005, Katz-Tabi Publication
Low libido is the most common sexual disorder in American women, affecting an estimated 22-43% of the population. Goldstein, a gynecologist, and Brandon, a clinical psychologist, say the problem is more complex than most therapists realize. “The collection of factors that influences a woman’s sex drive is as unique as the woman herself.” The authors advocate a holistic approach that address four spheres of a woman’s life: physical health, emotional resilience, intellectual fulfillment and spiritual contentment. This Self-Help book is a practical, open-ended discussion about women’s sexual desire. 2009, Rodale Books
Drawing on three decades of experience as a sex therapist and sex researcher, Dr. Gina Ogden shows you how to open up to the energies that spark desire; create heart-to-heart communication with your partner; transcend guilt, shame, and "good-girls-don't" messages; help heal the sexual wounds of abuse, addiction, affairs, and low self-esteem; so that you enjoy sexual pleasure throughout your life span—from new love, to parenthood, and into your golden years. 2008, Trumpeter
Pleasing color sketches and simple diagrams adorn the pages of Satisfaction by famed Sex and the City actor Kim Cattrall. Simple concepts--open communication, trust, love, and a consistent interest in pleasing one another--are the ingredients for an enriching and fulfilling sex life that can bring two people ever closer, according to the text. The facts speak for themselves: when pressed, women will confess in droves that they are sexually frustrated. It's tricky to communicate one's carnal desires to one's lover, yet both parties must be open to this type of ongoing discussion for the formula to work. 2003, Warner Books
Dr. Northrup believes that it’s time for you to step forward and learn to enjoy the best years of your life! Even though studies show that menopause doesn’t decrease libido, ease of reaching orgasm, or sexual satisfaction, the majority of menopausal women aren’t experiencing the pleasure and sexual satisfaction that is their birthright. It is a long-held misconception that menopause signals “the beginning of the end,” and nothing could be further from the truth. In this fascinating book, Dr. Northrup candidly guides you toward experiencing life after 50 as the most pleasurable time of your life! 2008, Hay House
For more than twenty years Betty Dodson has been dedicated to taking the shame out of masturbation, showing it to be a healthy form of sexual expression. With warmth and intelligence and informative line drawings, Dodson explains how anyone can learn to fully enjoy the pleasures of self-love, pointing out that masturbation is still the safest sex. 1996, Crown
A comprehensive guide to all matters sexual for women, with chapters on the physiology of the reproductive system, the emotional complexities of sexuality and sexual relationships, body image, STDs, sexual trauma, painful sex, illness and disability, dealing with sexual problems including low desire, low arousal and orgasm difficulties. This is a wonderful one-volume Self-Help resource. 2011, Guilford Press
Sex-positive and daring, this book will support any woman's pursuit of pleasure and confidence. Haines discusses common negative reactions among survivors such as withdrawal and dissociation and suggests ways to move on. Her chapters on "sexual response and anatomy" and "masturbation and self-healing" may come as a welcome revelation to women who have repressed their sexual feelings. 1999, Cleis Press
This interactive Self-Help workbook offers medical research including information on alternative medicine in a comprehensive guide to the causes, symptoms and treatments of menopause. Women are guided to assess their healthcare alternatives and develop a personalized plan for navigating through this challenging period. 1997, New Harbinger
This is the first Self-Help book to look at IC from a holistic perspective claiming that IC is not just a bladder disease. Included are a multitude of practical, safe, helpful tips for IC patients to use to help themselves heal. This book is empowering and inspirational for IC sufferers. 1998, IC Hope Limited
This doctor’s Self-Help guide provides solid information in accessible language regarding vulvovaginal anatomy and functions, changes through the lifecycle, routine self-care, pelvic exams, bothersome symptoms and sexual disorders. According to the authors, “your private parts shouldn’t be private to you.” 2002, Bantam
This Self-Help book is a very good source of general information about vulvodynia and the accompanying emotional distress. The book helps readers identify triggers, modify their diets to reduce symptoms, find knowledgeable medical help, learn how to reduce debilitating pain and renew their enjoyment of healthy sexual relations and normal daily activities. 2002, New Harbinger
In a question and answer format the authors cycle through the premenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal years separating effects on mind and body in order to provide differentiated responses. This Self-Help book looks carefully at what estrogen replacement therapy can and cannot do and includes advice on other midlife medical issues. 1997, Yale University Press
Two physicians and one psychologist skillfully tackle a touchy topic and present a complete overview of pain-causing conditions suffered by women, from skin disorders and hormonal changes to inflammation of the lining of the bladder, sexually transmitted diseases, and yeast infections. The authors give helpful, straightforward advice that?s often easy to follow. This guide is a valuable resource for the more than 20 million American women who experience painful sex. 2011, Da Capo Lifelong Books
According to Dr. Northrup, menopause often marks the beginning of a woman’s most sexually passionate, creatively inspired and professionally productive phase of life. Dr. Northrup specializes in using a mind-body approach to women’s health and believes with the right diet, attitude and supplements, women can actually look forward to a resurgence of energy and a revolutionary opportunity for personal growth. There is a thorough section on menopausal hormone changes. She addresses the hormone replacement therapy controversy and encourages women to avoid synthetic hormones and instead consider “bioidentical” hormones such as estradiol, estrone and estriol. 2006, Bantam
This gentle guide uses clinical examples and women's personal accounts to chart a course to sexual enrichment. The book is illustrated, with excellent sections on anatomy and communication. 1997, New Harbinger
Based on in-depth interviews with a hundred women and a survey which polled over twenty-six hundred women, Dr. Ellison describes patterns which she was able to determine that help lead women to positive sexual growth. Ellison covers the factors that influence sexual development such as body awareness, sexual attitudes and values and early lessons about love, sexuality and sexual boundaries. This Self-Help book offers women encouragement and practical guidance for achieving sexual self-acceptance. 2000, New Harbinger
This important Self-Help book investigates how women come by, and live out, their sexual sense of themselves from childhood to old age. It offers useful suggestions for developing skills for sexual self-definition at every age and stage of development. Exercises include letter-writing and drawing to confront feelings, psycho-drama and body sculpting to exorcise demons, guided fantasy to activate disowned body parts, and self-affirmations to help women re-occupy their bodies. 2003, The Guilford Press
Wonderful sex does more than melt both body and soul; it brings power, energy, and deep satisfaction to all aspects of our lives. In this unique book, women who consider themselves highly sexually responsive talk in intimate detail about what gives them the greatest pleasure. They redefine sex—based on how women really experience sexual pleasure—confirming what every woman knows instinctively, while creating a new language that every woman will understand. This thought-provoking, wise, and unprecedented Self-Help book transforms how we view sex by giving us new ways to think about sexual pleasure. 2007, Trumpeter
Francina examines the role yoga can play in promoting physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being in the face of dramatic hormonal changes, the potential for and onset of osteoporosis, and even the experience (and possible avoidance) of cancer and heart disease. This Self-Help book offers a compact but well-rounded practice that even a new-comer can easily begin exploring. 2003, HCI