A Handpicked Collection of Must-Read Books about Desire

A Handpicked Collection of Must-Read Books about Desire

As an integral part of the human experience, sexuality has been a subject of fascination, curiosity, and sometimes controversy throughout history. Authors have crafted literary masterpieces that explore the intricacies of desire, love, intimacy, and the diversity of human relationships. From daring narratives that push the boundaries of traditional norms to enlightening guides that promote understanding and communication, these carefully selected books are bound to captivate readers from all walks of life. From classic works that have withstood the test of time to contemporary explorations that reflect the modern landscape, these works are meant to give you thought-provoking insights and can be understood as a celebration of the many facets of human intimacy.


Must-read books about sex

I carefully selected this reading list of books about sex from my bookshelf, where you can find each individual book and their book ratings.


1. Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

Esther Perel, a renowned New York City therapist examines the fascinating connection between domesticity and sexual desire. As one of the world’s leading voices on erotic intelligence, Perel offers a bold and thought-provoking perspective on intimacy and sex. In this book, I found myself exploring the paradoxical union of everyday life and passion, gaining insights into what it takes to reignite lust within a committed relationship. Drawing from her extensive experience as a couples therapist, Perel skillfully delves into the complexities of sustaining desire in long-term partnerships. Through captivating case studies and engaging discussions, she reveals the potential for more exciting, playful, and even poetic expressions of sexuality within the context of enduring love. This book is truly a revelation and has transformed the way I perceive and cherish my own relationships. “Mating in Captivity” is a wise and witty read that encourages personal growth and understanding. Esther Perel’s insights have left a lasting impact on me, inspiring me to cultivate a deeper sense of passion and connection with my partner. If you’re seeking a powerful exploration of desire and intimacy, this book is an absolute must-read that will leave you enlightened and empowered in matters of the heart.

Find Mating in Captivity on Amazon, Waterstones, Bol.com, or Audible.


2. Love, InshAllah by Nura Maznavi and Ayesha Mattu

In this remarkable book, I discovered the true essence of Muslim womanhood as it sheds conventional layers and unveils unique strengths and vulnerabilities within. The Washington Post’s praise confirmed that these narratives authentically portray love and romance in the lives of Muslim women. Each compelling story struck an alluring balance, captivating me with heartwarming and tantalizing elements. I found glimpses of vulnerability that resonated deeply, making the tales profoundly relatable regardless of my background. With every turn of the page, I celebrated the rawest emotions of the human heart, always moved by the profound relatability of these captivating tales.

Find Love, InshAllah on Amazon, Waterstones, Bol.com, or Audible.


3. Susan Sontag: The Complete Rolling Stone Interview

In the brilliant 1978 conversation with Jonathan Cott, captured in “Susan Sontag: The Complete Rolling Stone Interview,” the iconic author delves into the intricate relationship between love and sex, and the unrealistic expectations society places on them. Sontag astutely observes that we demand everything from love. We expect it to be both chaotic and stabilizing – to act as the binding force within families and the backbone of societal order. However, she finds the connection between love and sex enigmatic. Modern ideology often assumes that love and sex are inseparable, but Sontag believes that this presumption might actually harm the essence of each individual aspect. For human beings, the fact that love and sex don’t always coincide poses a significant challenge. Yet, the allure of love remains captivating. Sontag intriguingly compares the desire to be in love with the thrill of riding a roller coaster, even if it leads to heartbreak. The mystery of love lies in its entanglement with cultural expectations and societal values, which have profoundly shaped our understanding of it. Sontag is particularly intrigued by people who passionately fall in love and engage in intense affairs, only to discover that these feelings are short-lived. Some individuals may describe a whirlwind of emotions, but when asked about the duration, they reveal that the passion lasted merely a week before dissipating. In essence, Susan Sontag’s contemplation on love and sex exposes the complexities and contradictions inherent in our cultural perceptions of these profound human experiences. It challenges us to question the assumptions and constraints we impose on love and the expectations we attach to it in a world that often conflates it with sex.

Find The Complete Rolling Stone Interview on Amazon, Waterstones, Bol.com, or Audible.


4. How to think more about sex – Alain de Botton

In “How to Think More About Sex,” Alain de Botton explores the complexities of human sexuality, urging us to reconsider our perspectives. He contends that we often misunderstand sex, leading to feelings of inadequacy and confusion. In the modern world, our expectations rarely align with reality, making us feel anything but normal. De Botton argues that twenty-first-century sex requires finding a delicate balance between love and desire, adventure, and commitment. Addressing topics like lust, fetishism, adultery, and pornography, he candidly examines the dilemmas of contemporary sexuality. By offering insights and solace, the book encourages us to contemplate our sexual experiences more deeply and thoughtfully.

Find How to think more about sex on Amazon, Waterstones, Bol.com, or Audible.


5. Girlvert by Oriana Small (Ashley Blue)

In “Girlvert,” the self-proclaimed Oriana Small, also known as Ashley Blue, masterfully unveils the intricacies of her tumultuous decade within and beyond the adult film industry. This mesmerizing memoir chronicles her journey through sex, drugs, and a unique perspective on living life ecstatically. With unapologetic honesty, Small takes us from moments of acclaim to the depths of agony, shining a stark light on the surrealities that define a life lived beyond conventional understanding. A veritable artist at heart, Small’s storytelling skillfully captures the essence of her experiences, exposing the raw and unfiltered realities of her time in the adult film world. Through her lens, readers gain unprecedented insight into the challenges, triumphs, and complexities of navigating an industry fraught with judgment and misconceptions. “Girlvert” stands as a significant and essential piece of literature, offering an intimate and enlightening portrayal of a girl’s lived experience in the porn industry. By sharing her journey with vulnerability and authenticity, Oriana Small sparks crucial conversations about consent, empowerment, and the human side of an often misunderstood profession. Small’s courage to share her truth boldly challenges society to confront its biases and confront the realities of those involved in the adult entertainment world. For anyone seeking to broaden their perspective and gain a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding the porn industry, “Girlvert” is a must-read. Oriana Small’s candid and illuminating narrative will leave an indelible mark on readers, urging them to approach the lives of others with compassion and empathy.

Find Girlvert on Amazon, Waterstones, Bol.com, or Audible.


6. An ABC of love by Inge & Sten Hegeler

I found this book an enchanting voyage through the intricate tapestry of love. Organized alphabetically, it explores different aspects of love, from gentle affection to intense connections that make our hearts race. In this book, love becomes a personal journey, exploring both the cherished moments and the challenges that shape our relationships. The authors share personal stories and insights, guiding readers through the highs and challenges of relationships. With every page, it feels like a heartfelt conversation, inviting you to reflect on your own experiences. Through anecdotes and insights, the authors celebrate the raw, imperfect, yet incredibly beautiful essence of love in all its forms.

Find An ABC of love on Amazon, Waterstones, Bol.com, or Audible.




Thanks for reading! This publication may contain affiliate links, which make my work possible. Please let me know your thoughts on the featured books in the comment section below. Critical thinking is encouraged.


For more book recommendations check out my bookshelf. The books above have been composed based on the following reading lists:







150 150 Lisanne Swart
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