When I talk to my clients about sexology and understanding themselves as sexual human beings, I talk about three things – awareness, self-awareness and deep awareness. Each of these levels of personal understanding takes time to develop and requires turning inwards as you get to both know and experience yourself in new ways. These four highly recommended books and workbooks can help you to develop awareness, self-awareness and deeper authentic awareness in your own time, at your own pace if and when it feels relevant. You might like to check out the Vaginismus Series blog.
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Think of awareness as something you have learned, know, think or feel about yourself as a sexual being. It is a general sense of awareness about a subject. Because you can not change what you are not aware of, awareness is the first step to developing that deeper self-awareness. There are many ways you can develop awareness and place a focus or spotlight on sexuality. Reading, workbooks, audio, podcasts, documentaries and conversations are all ways you can develop an awareness of sexuality, sexual health and sexual wellness. Learning from experts, researchers, writers, health professionals, and sex educators will help broaden your understanding of sexology.
Self-awareness is taking the awareness you have developed to a personal level and connecting what you know with who you are as a person and what that means to you. Self-awareness is developed through learning, reflection, experiences and processing, and it is a form of learning. It is really about you as a person and not about anyone else or the general population. This deeper awareness can also be developed by reading and doing workbooks like these great recommendations. It is learning and doing.
Deep awareness is a combination of ongoing awareness, self-awareness, experience and acceptance of yourself. It is the product of honest, open and authentic conversations and reflections with yourself combined with lived experiences. Deep awareness is a form of knowing and truly being in your body and seeing yourself as you are while understanding that sexual health and well-being are fluid, shifting as your body and circumstances change.
Here are four of my recommend self-help educational books for women about female sexuality:
1. Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women Can Cultivate Desire by Lori Brotto PhD
In this accessible, relatable book, acclaimed Psychologist and sex researcher Dr Lori Bortto offer a groundbreaking approach to improving desire, arousal and satisfaction inside and outside the bedroom. Drawing from the latest research, she also provides exercises that readers can do on their own to increase desire and sexual enjoyment, whether the goal is to overcome a sexual difficulty or simply to give their love life a boost.
2. The Better Sex Through Mindfulness Workbook: A Guide to Cultivating Desire by Lori Brotto PhD
Designed primarily for women, with instructions and inquiries for developing mindfulness practice with or without a sexual partner, this guidebook also includes information relevant to men and gender-diverse people. Dr Brotto infuses her workbook with compassion and hope, inspiring gentleness and curiosity on the path toward more fulfilling and pleasurable sex for all.
3. Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski PhD
How to transform your sex life into one filled with confidence and joy. In Emily’s first book about female sexuality, you will learn the science and anatomy of the sexual body, turn-ons and turn-offs and how the brain interprets sexual responses.
Nogoski opens up the conversation about the true story of sex, myths, truths and concepts, all about the clitoris and how to change what you think, feel and believe about yourself and your body as a sexual being.
4. The Come As You Are Workbook by Emily Nagoski PhD
The Come As You Are Workbook is a useful companion to the radical bestseller by sex education Emily Nagoski. It brings together new activities, promotes thought-provoking examples to help you exercise, expands on the knowledge that you will have learned from the book version and furthers your understanding of your own body and sex life.