Here’s the Health & Wellness guide to some of the most popular books that deal with the age old problems of Sex and Relationships.
The subjects of Sex and Human Relationships has probably produced more books, column inches and viewing hours than practically any other subject. Currently, Amazon lists over 22,000 books that could help you with your Sex Life and 8,500 or more that offer advice on couples’ relationships.
We thought it would be useful to look at how the various experts rated books to save you a lot of unnecessary reading and wasted time! Many have been around for several years or indeed centuries! Until the advent of the Internet, these were the bibles that people went to in search of advice, help or entertainment about sex and relationships.
These are not in any particular order. Some will be familiar to you, some may not, but all have proved to be stalwarts of information on these, at times, tricky or embarrassing subjects.
1. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
by John Gray, Ph.D.
This is the number one selling relationship book of all time. That’s mainly because it was one of the first to highlight the obvious and not so obvious differences between the sexes in a style that was easy to read and easy to understand. It has since spawned numerous spin-offs that, to a certain extent, cover the same ground in different ways. It should be compulsory reading for every newly married couple.
2. The Joy of Sex
by Alex Comfort
When it came out over 40 years ago, it was banned in some countries and, in the US, the more conservative religious groups tried to have it removed from public libraries, where no doubt it was one of the most popular books at the time! It has sold over 10 million copies and its format followed, at the time, in usual concept of treating sex like a recipe book. Tastefully illustrated, it was a ground breaking publication for its time.The Joy of Sex remains the most comprehensive sex manual on the market. From current concerns about health and practicing responsible sex to the risks presented by AIDS and other venereal diseases, Dr. Comfort contends with every aspect of our sexual territory. Above all, this book emphasizes the importance of a happy and relaxed sexuality in our lives.
3. The Five Love Languages
by Gary Chapman
How do you discover your spouse’s – and your own – love language? Chapman’s short questionnaires are one of several ways to find out. How to communicate love with quality time, affirmative words, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Originally published in 1992, this book seems to make the list on all the experts’ top 10 recommendations.
4. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)
by David Reuben
One of the first of a new breed of sex manuals, this predated our number two selection by some three years. It provides honest, compassionate and, at times, funny answers to practically any sexual question you might have. Published in 1969, it had a major impact on sex education in America and was a bestseller in over 50 countries worldwide.
5. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
by John Gottman
Taking a scientific approach to what keeps marriage—and other romances—alive and fresh, Gottman first looks at seven common relationship-wounding practices, then offers small and simple changes “that will transform your union into an emotionally intelligent partnership.”Published in 1999, the book lays out these seven approaches. Called The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, they are a result of Dr. John Gottman’s years of closely observing thousands of marriages. They include: Maintain a love map. Foster fondness and admiration. Turn toward instead of away. Accept influence. Solve solvable conflicts. Cope with conflicts you can’t resolve. Create shared meaning.
6. The Guide to Getting It On
by Paul Joannides
Published in 2009 and regularly updated, it runs to nearly 1,000 pages so is hardly a quick read but, as a result, it does go into some depth about all the subjects you are likely to want to know more about. It has won numerous awards for its sex educational value. Joannides is a psychoanalyst and aimed the book primarily at students. It opens with chapters about losing your virginity before moving on to more advanced material and fancy modern stuff, such as cybersex. The publishers promise a ‘smile on every page.’
7. How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships
by Leil Lowndes
This book works for single people, those in a relationship, and everyone who wants to improve their communications skills. Combining the latest research “with Leil’s trademark wit and warm-hearted observations of human foibles,”How to Talk to Anyone shows you how to:Make an unforgettable entrance and meet the people you want to meet; Sound like an insider in any crowd, no matter how little you have in common; Use body language to captivate audiences of all sizes; Work a party the way a politician works a room and; Always come across confident, credible, and charismatic wherever you are.
8. Sex: How To Do Everything
by Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey
In a totally fresh and appealing take on the subject, SEX is a “completely new kind of sex book.” This is a sex book for people who like having sex, who want to have more, and want to know how to do everything better. “Unlike other sex manuals, which try to solve problems with sex, this is a book for people who love sex and want to expand their horizons,” say the publishers. This book is “as witty and cool as it is instructive.” This fun and energetic romp has over 300 explicit and authentic, but beautiful, “live” shots by renowned fashion and portrait photographer, Rankin,” claim
9. Sacred Marriage
by Gary L Thomas
Even if you’re not a Christian, by all accounts, this book is still worth a read as many experts consider it one of the best books on marriage, whether you are religious or not. Sacred Marriage doesn’t just offer techniques to make a marriage happier. “It contains practical tools, but what married Christians most need is help in becoming holier husbands and wives.”Sacred Marriage offers that help with insights from Scripture, church history, time tested wisdom from Christian classics, and examples from today’s marriages. The publishers add: “Sacred Marriage reveals how marriage trains us to love God and others well, how it exposes sin and makes us more aware of God’s presence, how good marriages foster good prayer, how married sex feeds the spiritual life, and more.”
10. Kissing: The Best Tips, Techniques and Advice
by Taylor D’Aotino
In a recent survey, 90 percent of men and women said that they would not date someone who was a bad kisser, and 80 percent believed they could predict what a long-term relationship would be like based on a first kiss. In Kissing: The Best Tips, Techniques and Advice, relationship expert Taylor D’Aotino reveals everything you need to know to master the art of kissing.” Topics covered include: The number one complaint both women and men have about their partner’s kisses and how to overcome it; Effective ways to practice on your own, so that even a novice kisser can seem more confident and experienced; Judging when to go in for that first kiss by reading your partner’s signals; How to give your partner a kiss that’s romantic and sweet, but sexy, too; Mastering the art of the French Kiss; Techniques for improving your partner’s kisses (with or without their knowledge); Advice on kisses that move beyond the lips.
11. Getting The Love You Want
by Dr. Harville Hendrix, Ph.D.
Originally published in 1988, Getting the Love You Want “has helped millions of couples attain more loving, supportive, and deeply satisfying relationships.” Dr. Hendrix’s updated philosophy in the latest issue also addresses eliminating all negativity from couples’ daily interactions. Divided into three sections, the book covers “The Unconscious Marriage,” which details a marriage in which the remaining desires and behavior of childhood interfere with the current relationship; “The Conscious Marriage,” which shows a marriage that fulfils those childhood needs in a positive manner; and a 10-week “course in relationship therapy, which gives detailed exercises for you and your partner to follow in order to learn how to replace confrontation and criticism … with a healing process of mutual growth and support.”
12. Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray
by Dr. Helen Fisher
This book “Captivates the reader, answers all those puzzling questions that caused your mother (or priest or guidance counselor or gym teacher) to blame God and/or hormones.” The author’s prediction “of a more open and egalitarian order provides a compelling–and hopeful–vision for the future,” say the publishers. Dr.Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History, explains it all in this four-million-year history of the human species. She demystifies much about romance and pairing that we tend to believe is willful or just plain careless. She offers new explanations for why men and women fall in love, marry, and divorce, and discusses the future of sex in a way that will surprise you.
13. Speaking Kind Words: Improve Your Relationship with Heartfelt Words
by Rob Alex Ph.D.
Relationships suffer greatly when partners no longer speak kind and loving words to one another. Saying the same words over and over, day in and day out, can become commonplace, and those once powerful words lose some of their potency. Not only can words hurt, but so can the lack of kind and loving words. “Husband and wife team, Rob and Janelle Alex, share a method to bring back and even add new loving words to your relationship. Following the approach presented in Speaking Kind Words will improve and bring a new outlook to your relationship.”
14. First Comes Love, Then Comes Money: A Couple’s Guide to Financial Communication
by Bethany Palmer and Scott Palmer
According to the authors, the number one cause for divorce is financial infidelity. Now “The Money Couple” reveals the missing ingredient needed before any financial program or plan can work: healthy financial communication. This book tells you how to: Diagnose your level of financial infidelity, Identify your individual Money Personality, Master the Money Huddle and the Money Dump, and Achieve Financial Goals once and for all. The publishers claim the book “Shines a bright and much needed light on the biggest problem most couples face: Money. Packed with easy-to-use tools, this book will help you assess and dramatically improve the health of your financial and intimate relationships.”
15. The Kama Sutra
Well, we had to finish with this, probably the oldest guide still being published on Sex and Human Relationships. First published in the 3rd Century, The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian text widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature written by the Indian scholar Vatsyayana. A portion of the work consists of practical advice on sex. Kama means sensual or sexual pleasure, and sutra are the guidelines of yoga. The word itself means thread in Sanskrit. It isn’t exclusively a sex manual. The first major English translation was printed in 1883. Various, more modern interpretations are now available for those who want a clearer explanation of what the book means.
Talking of historical books of this kind, mention should be made of The Perfumed Garden which was written in sixteenth century Tunisia. As a historical book, The Perfumed Garden provides insight into early modern Arabic sexual practices which we can still learn from and enjoy in the twenty-first century. It was translated into English by Richard F. Burton in 1886, who also translated The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana and The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, which is more commonly known as The Arabian Nights.