Sex-Positive Alternative Lifestyle Books

Center for Healthy Sex acknowledges and supports the full diversity of sexual preferences and practices, provided they are consensual and do not include lies, crimes, children or regrets. Preview sex-positive books recommended for “alternative lifestyles” here.


Consensual Sadomasochism

Consensual Sadomasochism: How to Talk About It and How to Do It Safely
by William A. Henkin and Sybil Holiday

Easy to read, easy to follow, and easy to understand, in this book the authors define and demystify the unique language of consensual sadomasochism, examine the psychological power of erotic dominance and submission, provide a carefully considered guide for safe SM play, and explain how SM can be an activity of intense intimacy and sophisticated erotic theater, as well as one of simple sexual pleasure. Combining their extensive professional credentials with deep personal experience, the result is an original introduction to a widely misunderstood realm of human sexuality.

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Health Care Without Shame

Health Care Without Shame: A Handbook for the Sexually Diverse and Their Caregivers
by Charles Moser

This book is a really outstanding source for doctors, counselors, therapists, as well as patients/clients who have experienced difficulties communicating their sexual problems to their health care provider. Moser’s unique education (Phd in sexology as well as a MD), vast research experience, and knowledge in sexual minorities make him the most qualified individual in the field to write this book. The text is short and sweet, to the point, informative, and draws upon Moser’s experience as a physician specializing in sexual medicine. – Amazon review

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Opening Up

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships
by Tristan Taormino

Relationship expert and bestselling author Tristan Taormino offers a bold new strategy for creating loving, lasting relationships. Drawing on in-depth interviews with over a hundred women and men, Opening Up explores the real-life benefits and challenges of all styles of open relationships — from partnered non-monogamy to solo polyamory. With her refreshingly down-to-earth style and sharp wit, Taormino offers solutions for making an open relationship work, including tips on dealing with jealousy, negotiating boundaries, finding community, parenting and time management. Opening Up will change the way you think about intimacy.

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Sensuous Magic

Sensuous Magic: A Guide for Adventurous Lovers
by Pat Califia

Renowned erotic pioneer Pat Califia provides this honest, unpretentious peek behind the mask of dominant/submissive sexuality, an adventurous adult world of pleasure often obscured by ignorance and fear. With her trademark wit and insight, Califia demystifies the scene for the novice, explaining the terms and techniques behind many misunderstood sexual practices. The adventurous (or just curious) lover won’t want to miss this volume.

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The Erotic Mind

The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Passion and Fulfillment
by Jack Morin

Challenging accepted theories about what makes for terrific sex, The Erotic Mind is a breakthrough exploration of the least understood dimensions of human sexuality—the psychology of desire, arousal, and fulfillment. Nationally known sex therapist Dr. Jack Morin offers a bold new perspective that celebrates the joys of Eros without denying its risks. Based on an in-depth analysis of over 1,000 provocative stories of peak sexual experiences, The Erotic Mind offers clear, accessible guidance on how anyone can utilize his or her own peak encounters and fantasies as powerful tools of self-discovery. The Erotic Mind explains the many paradoxes of erotic life, such as: why we’re most excited when we must overcome obstacles; how anxiety, guilt, and anger—generally thought to have a negative impact on sexual arousal—often turn out to be aphrodisiacs; how we use unresolved issues from our early lives to intensify passion; and why the best sex is dynamic and unpredictable, rather than static and safe.

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The Ethical Slut

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures
by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy

For anyone who has ever dreamed of love, sex, and companionship beyond the limits of traditional monogamy, this groundbreaking guide navigates the infinite possibilities that open relationships can offer. Experienced ethical sluts Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy dispel myths and cover all the skills necessary to maintain a successful and responsible polyamorous lifestyle–from self-reflection and honest communication to practicing safe sex and raising a family. Individuals and their partners will learn how to discuss and honor boundaries, resolve conflicts, and to define relationships on their own terms.

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When Someone You Love is Kinky

When Someone You Love is Kinky
by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt

When Someone You Love Is Kinky will help “non-kinky” folks understand and communicate with their kinky friends, partners, and relatives. Included are guidelines for dealing with the emotional turmoil of the coming-out process; brief and non-threatening descriptions of the commonest kinks (and ideas about why people enjoy them); suggestions for how to talk to your kinky friend or relative in ways that promote good communication; explanation of how kinky people keep themselves safe while exploring diverse sexualities; a glossary of commonly used terminology from the kink communities; a resource guide to help the reader find further information and support.

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