My FAVORITE books & resources to learn more about intimacy, sex, & communication.
It can be hard to navigate the sex and intimacy literature. There are tons of books out there!
Common Threads I've found: The books about sexual development and sexual pleasure are FULL of nuanced descriptions of communication. They talk about the impact of communication on relationships and sexuality, the types of communication you can have, etc. The books about disability and sexuality mostly gloss over communication. They say it's important (so important!) but mostly end there. There are no books (as far as I know) that do a deep dive into communication disorders and sexuality. I've yet to find the text that directly addresses aphasia. So you really do need a mix of both worlds.
Note: Some of the links are affiliate links with Bookshop.org, a company supporting independent book sellers. I may receive a small commission if you purchase using these links, at no cost to you. Those that Bookshop didn't have, I've linked through sites where they were available.
Second note: Regardless of whether you use my links, please do consider buying from independent book sellers. And using your local library! Libraries are great!
Favorite Book About Sexuality Overall
Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski (new edition March 2, 2021!)
If you read no other book, read this one.
Emily Nagoski describes the research into sexuality, desire, and pleasure. What drives them? How can we be more in control? It's very cis-woman-centric, but the information within is applicable to everyone. The take-home message? You're normal.
Whenever I talk about this book in classes, at least one person tells me, "that book changed my life."
Favorite Book About Child Sexual Development
Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know about Sex (but Were Afraid They'd Ask) by Justin Richardson & Mark Schuster
This book was written by a pediatrician and child psychologist. It talks about sexual development through childhood and how to talk about bodies in a sex-positive, developmentally-appropriate way.
Favorite Picture Book about Sexual Development
The Every Body Book: The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids to Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families by Rachel Simon, Illustrated by Noah Grigni
This picture book is really straight-forward and inclusive. Some picture books focus on the awkwardness of the "sex talk". This one doesn't. It also talks about intersex people and gender thoughtfully. It's very text-heavy, which is typical for these books. But if you're looking for a book to put in typical rotation for an early intervention kid, you may want to look for one with a more narrow topic and fewer words.
Favorite Pre-Teen Book about Puberty and Sex
Wait, What? A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up by Heather Corinna & Isabella Rotman
Hooray! A book that doesn't tiptoe around topics like masturbation, sexuality, or gender identity! It dives in head first, and it does so beautifully. This is definitely a "changing bodies" guide that also talks about sex in a frank and honest way. If you know Scarleteen- the founder is one of the authors.
Favorite Teen Guide to Sexuality
Consent: The New Rules of Sex Education by Jennifer Lang
This is a short book that talks about enthusiastic consent, healthy relationships, communication, and STI/pregnancy prevention. It's short enough and interesting enough to read for fun. It's a little light on the biology (that's not its purpose) and heavier on the consent/relationship aspect of intimacy.
Favorite Book about Sexual Changes due to Neurogenic Disorders
Sex in the Brain: How Seizures, Strokes, Dementia, Tumors, & Trauma Can Change Your Sex Life by Aimee Baird
This one is somewhere between Emily Nagoski and Oliver Sacks - it has some descriptions of sexual neurobiology and and some more lengthy stories of individual patient experiences. It's an interesting read, and probably the closest to "directly relevant to my clientele as a medical speech pathologist" as it gets.
Favorite Book About Relationships for Autistic People
The Autism Spectrum Guide to Sexuality and Relationships by Emma Goodall
This book is a straight-forward guide to the unspoken social expectations wrapped up in dating, relationships, and sex. It's not prescriptive, and it's gender-inclusive. I don't think it's Autism-specific, honestly - lots of people would benefit from this sort of straight talk. It also has a whole section about online dating (which is a little dated now, but it's a start). The writing comes off as frank, factual, and sex-positive.
Favorite Collection of Sex & Disability Stories/Experiences
The Handi Book of Love, Lust, and Disability by Jess Tarpey, Katy Venables, Andrew Gurza
This is a truly beautiful coffee table-type book full of stories, poetry, and art from disabled authors. They also have an audio book and e-book. PLUS, proceeds go towards designing sex toys for and with disabled people.
Favorite Reference Book about Sex and Disability
The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability by Miriam Kaufman, Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette
This one's a little old - 2007 - but there's still nothing quite like it out there. It's a reference guide to sex, disability, intimacy, and dating considerations for people with disabilities. It also discusses invisible disabilities, chronic pain, and illness in a way that's nuanced and thoughtful. It's a bit light on the "communication disorders" discussion, though it does at times mention AAC users.
Favorite "Read Cover to Cover" Book about Sex and Disability
The Quick and Easy Guide to Sex and Disability by A. Andrews
This graphic novel-style book is a thoughtful description of sex and disabilities. It's fun to read and has great illustrations, but don't be fooled - it's packed full of useful information too.
Honestly the whole "Quick and Easy Guide" series is pretty great. They have books about they/them pronouns, consent, and queer and trans identities.
One Thing I'm Still Looking For:
I'm still looking for a really, really good guide to sex, relationships, and Autism for children that doesn't read as ableist or sex-negative. I don't feel like I've found it, but I haven't read all the books either. Do you have a recommendation?