No matter how you feel about sex you cannot deny it’s significance. None of us would be here without it. Whether you are a sex-positive individual with a roaring libido and tons of experience, if you’re curious but ignorant, or somebody just starting out on a sexual journey of discovery, everyone benefits from understanding sex better. It’s inescapable – even if you are not sexually active, or perhaps a-sexual, sex affects every aspect of the human experience. My sincere hope is that all the sex going down in and around people’s’ lives is safe, healthy, pleasurable, and most importantly consensual! The better educated we all are on the subject, the more we make that dream the reality.
I compiled this list of resources because each has taught (and entertained) me during my own journey to becoming the sex-positive, knowledgeable, unashamed-ly erotic woman writing this blog for you now. Each one is fascinating and fun.
#1 Become literate in everything Dan Savage
If I had to thank one human being for how open-minded and unashamed I have come to feel about sex (this wasn’t always the case) I would have to pick Dan Savage. Actually, on second thought, I would have to thank my best friend Iris for getting me to listen/read Dan in the first place.
Dan is a monumental figure in the sex-positive and LGBTQ+ communities thanks to his long-standing and widely syndicated sex-centric advice column, Savage Love. It started in my hometown’s alternative newspaper, The Stranger, and over the last twenty-five years has grown into a cultural phenomenon and touch stone of my generation. It also launched the wildly successful Savage Lovecast, along with many key concepts into our sexual lexicon: GGG, monogamish, the campsite rule, etc. I am proud to say that I have listened to every single episode of the Savage Lovecast and am working my way through reading his entire bibliography.
Dan can sometimes be a little rude and crude, but ultimately he is compassionate and it shows. He rarely judges people and always seems to genuinely want to help them – even telling them hard truths that they need to hear but their friends don’t have the guts to tell them. You might not agree with his politics, or you might not like his cursing, but I promise you won’t get a more detailed and comprehensive idea of what human sexuality is really like anywhere else. You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew and maybe some you wish you hadn’t.
So I realize that if you are the sort of person who reads my blog, then you probably already know about Dan and follow his work. But if you have not, please, stop whatever you are doing and immediately start. Because seriously where have you been? I promise you’ll thank me later.
- Read the Savage Love advice column
- Every week Dan answers letters from regular people looking for advice for issues that range from the mundane to the eccentric. The column covers not only sex, but relationships, sexuality, gender issues, etiquette, kink, and much more.
- Listen to the Savage Love Podcast
- Episodes usually include an entertaining rant from Dan, followed by phones calls seeking advice that range from the ridiculous to the heart-breaking and everything in between. There are also frequently guest experts or authors/researchers prompting interesting discussions on sex, relationships, religion, family, health issues, etc.
- The micro episodes are available for free and the magnum edition (with even more content and no ads) is available with a subscription that is totally affordable.
- Read Dan’s Savage’s books
#2 Watch Laci Green on YouTube
Laci Green is a vlogger who in only a few years has grown from relative obscurity to being one of the most famous (and loved) personalities on YouTube. Watching Laci’s videos is like having a cool and compassionate older sister explain everything you wanted to know about sexuality to you without an ounce of shame or judgement. Her positivity and enthusiasm are infectious, while her videos are all well-researched and chock-a-block full of facts.
- This is Laci’s main channel, which updates every other week. Check out the archives!
- A Naked Notion
- This is the channel Laci hosts in collaboration with Planned Parenthood, covering general sex info/tips
- MTV Braless
- This is the channel Laci hosts in collaboration with MTV, covering “all things pop culture and internet”
#3 Read Sex at Dawn by Cacilda Jethá and Christopher Ryan
Sex at Dawn completely changed the way I think about sex while simultaneously confirming (with science!) many controversial beliefs that I had suspected were true because of personal experience and intuition. This book challenges the standard narrative that monogamous pair-bonding is the evolutionary norm for humans and instead argues that our species has traditionally been both socially and sexually promiscuous. The authors use research about one of our closest genetic relatives, the Bonobos, and their social/sexual behaviors, as well as exhaustive anthropological data from around the world, to support their thesis.
If you find anthropology and/or evolutionary psychology fascinating, or want to learn more about the physical and psychological characteristics of human sexuality, or if you have had a difficult time believing that monogamy is “natural” then I highly recommend Sex at Dawn.
#4 Read the web comic Oh Joy Sex Toy by Erica Moen
It’s a beautifully rendered and deliciously graphic web comic about sex toys, need I say more?
Well if I must say more, I would like to add that OJST is not only about sex toys, they have educational, informative comics about sex acts (cunnilingus, anal sex, etc), interesting guest features and solid relationship advice too. I also love that OJST is full of as much body-positivity as it is sex-positivity, showcasing a variety of races, body-types, disabilities, gender-expressions and sexual orientations.
#5 Watch Stuff Mom Never Told You
Stuff Mom Never Told You is another great video channel about pretty much everything, but it has a strong focus on sexuality, gender issues, feminism, etc. These videos manage to be well researched, full of facts and entertaining. Host Christen Conger is charming and unassuming in a way that makes you instantly comfortable. If you love supporting brilliant women as much as I do, definitely check out this channel.
#6 Visit (online or IRL) a sex positive sex shop
The amazing thing about sex-positive sex shops are not only do they have toys, they have tons of books, classes and other resources too! And these aren’t your no-windows, sketchy, back-alley shops of shame, these are your well-lit, big-windows and even bigger displays (where often they have testers you can check out) shops that aren’t ashamed of anything. You’ll find knowledgeable, friendly staff and answers to all of your questions. Plus there is no need to feel shy since they welcome people of all genders, orientations, kinks and experience levels. Shops like this are popping up all over the place, or have been in your neighborhood for decades without you even noticing, So check out one of the awesome establishments below or do some googling to find one near you.
- Babeland (Seattle, New York, Los Angeles)
- Shebop (Portland)
- Smitten Kitten (Minneapolis/St.Paul)
- Good Vibrations (San Fransisco, Berkeley and Boston)
#7 Read the Ethical Slut
I know I keep talking about The Ethical Slut and seriously I wish everyone would read it. I absolutely love this book. I have already mentioned it and quoted it multiple times in my blog, because when it comes to building healthy relationships I think it has tremendous value. While the book focuses on navigating the issues of non-traditional relationships (polyamory, non-monogamy, ethical sluthood, etc) all the exercises and advice are just as applicable to more traditional monogamous couples. There are chapters on communication, opening relationships, identifying desire, handling jealousy, owning emotions, and even how to fight fairly and break up kindly. Everyone and anyone could benefit from reading this book.
#8 Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood has tons of straightforward information, facts and statistics on everything from healthy relationship practices, to contraception, to sexuality/gender. Visit one of their clinics to receive STD screening, pregnancy tests, emergency contraceptive, pelvic exams, and many other health services. Depending on your state there are programs to provide free or subsidized health care, especially for women or low-income people, whether or not you have health insurance. And if you can, please donate, because for many people out there Planned Parenthood is the only place they can go to receive the affordable healthcare they need.
There you have it, dive head-first into all these resources and you’ll be a bona-fide sex-pert in no time.
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