The Friday Five: 5 Shades of Sex-Positivity

I've had one crazy busy week and found myself exhausted and completely stumped for a Friday Five topic. Trolling through the latest few days worth of Facebook mumblings I noticed that Fifty Shades of Grey—which I still have no intention of reading—continues to be a trending topic. The world is sex obsessed and always has been but it seems that in this case FSoG is opening the bedroom door on the kinkier flavors. Not only that, it's got people openly talking about sex positively again!

Because today's Friday Five touches on the topic of sex it's probably considered 'adult content' so if you want to continue reading follow the jump, if not please ignore today's Friday Five...

Growing up I was surrounded by various attitudes toward sex but in my home the topic was shadowed by religious expectation. It was a very bad thing that was governed by the laws of the Bible and was not something I was taught about beyond the basic logistics of 'this goes there' and only married people are allowed to do it. In the natural fashion of young adults it made me all the more desirous to know about it and partake of the forbidden. But when I hit legal adulthood I was still completely dumbfounded as to what happens beyond the aforementioned basics.

Being a smart enough kid I realized the only way I was going to know was to a) 'do it' and learn from experience and b) buy some books about sex and sexuality. When the former didn't really work (dear parents, please don't be as cruel and idiotic as mine were, trust me it will hurt your kids more than it will help them!) I turned to the latter and many years later I now have a small library of truly helpful, intelligent and sex-positive books. So that's what I decided to share with you for this week's Friday Five. Five books from my personal library that have been educational, helped change my attitudes about sex, and that I think are the best resources for teaching your children (when age appropriate) about sex in a healthy, positive way.

1. The Guide to Getting It On
by Paul Joannides, Illustrated by Daerick Gross Sr.

This award winning and gigantic book covers everything I could think of wanting to know more about and then some. Beyond that, it is updated every few years! From the day we (the hubs and I) randomly came across it in a book store to the day I broke down and ordered a copy it's been a great resource (even after ten years of marriage). When the time comes in a few years our teens will be told where they can find the book if they have questions they're not comfortable asking us themselves. Because sometimes we all just need to be assured that what we're curious about is normal and healthy.

2. Getting Off: A Woman's Guide to Masturbation
by Jaime Waxman

In my upbringing masterbation was the ultimate no-no. The sin of all sins. It was something that only the most perverse, sexually deviant evil-doers partook in. Worse, our particular church loved to talk about it and the myriad of random ridiculous ways to tell if your children were 'unclean' from nail biting to an aversion to bathing. So you can only imagine how scary the topic was for me as a young adult. Sex with opposite gender person you're married to = okay. Sex with self = social outcast, potential pedophile, serial killer in training. But one of the best sex tips I ever read—especially for women—is to learn what works for you by figuring it out alone where there's no pressure from a partner. Reading this book taught me so much about how masterbation has been a taboo for women in particular and is a great anatomy resource. If you grew up with a similar attitude toward masterbating it's one I think will change your mind.

3. It's So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families
by Robie H. Harris, Illustrated by Michael Emberley
You're looking at this one and wondering why in hell I put it here, aren't you? Well, I promise you it's THE go-to book for a slightly older kid expecting their first younger sibling. When we got pregnant with our toddler our son was 9. Too old for most of the books introducing where babies come from in a generic sense. Which meant it was time to teach him a little bit about sex but not an overwhelming or scary way. It lead to lots of great conversation and questions, and yes, he put together that my pregnancy meant Daddy and I had 'done it'. It was a little hilarious and embarassing for all of us but opened a door for communication about our family's values, love, and just how amazing the human body is. Though we don't plan on having more children it's waiting for the tot so when she starts asking questions in a few years we can share it with her too.

4. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
by Gary D. Chapman
Early on in my marriage I was struggling with how to find a balance between his needs and my needs (both sexually and in general). A good friend of mine loaned me this book and I cannot tell you how many people since then I've had tell me it helped them too! While it's not actually a sex book it helped me put sex into perspective. The way I was raised always made it seem like a disjointed act that was done by people who were in love but not as an act of love (I hope that makes sense). While words were used in a constantly abusive manner in my home and I was constantly craving verbal kindness and reassurances, my husband grew up where being hugged or kissed were rarely done. Therefore he's the kind of guy (I hope he doesn't hate me sharing this) who saw frequent touching, and sex specifically, as his way of expressing love and wanting it shown back to him. Gaining that perspective completely changed how I saw sex after years of struggling with it.

5. Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman's Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine
By Dr. Laurie Steelsmith and Alex Steelsmith

It probably seems like I focused on nothing but negative things about how I was raised in this Friday Five but I have good news... I have one very positive thing I can share. Thanks to my Nana, holistic and alternative medicine have been on the table as options since before I was born. One of the hardest things I've been going through in recent years is what I now believe to be a hormonal imbalance. This book just hit shelves and as I've been reading through my Advanced Reader Copy for the past few weeks I have cried more than once. If you've had any reasons—and medical ones especially—I cannot recommend this book enough. It's been a resource for herbal, holistic, and Eastern medicinal practices to help women have the best sex possible. I've had no help from traditional medicine (I think mostly because it focuses more on men having great sex than women) and so far the few things I've put to use here have made improvements in my non-existent libido. Sorry, TMI but I want any of you readers out there to know this book might help if you're frustrated with something like this too. I haven't even finished this book yet and it's one I plan to be recommending to every woman I know.

So there you have 'em guys. Five books I think top the charts on building a healthy attitude about sex (for all ages) and just plain great resources for learning more about sex itself. Have a happy Friday and a great weekend!

P.S. -- Although the links to the books above are affiliate links for Amazon (so I earn a little money if you buy the book through them) I will have no way of knowing who bought them if you do! So feel free to buy any of these books without being scared I'll know. ;)

Oh, and if you're a Fifty Shades fan, you have to check out my friend's wickedly, awesome custom Fifty Shades jewelry, bookmarks, and wine charms at Dalla Luna Designs. I might not have any interest in the series but even I love these gorgeous bracelets she's done.

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