These 5 sexy books changed my life, and being a narcissist, I assume they will change yours, too. Read on if you’re interested in: being a slut in the 90s, consensual adultery, sucking at feminism, being a literal whore, or all of the above. By Karley Sciortino.
1. Sex and the City, by Candace Bushnell (1997)
OK so some people still don’t realize that the show Sex and the City was based on a sex column written by Candace Bushnell (pictured above, and in the post’s main image—so hot). If you’re one of these people, you should be ashamed of yourself! The column, of the same name, was written in the mid 90s for the Observer, and was literally the best thing ever. The first couple seasons of the show actually follow the column pretty closely, except the column is a bit darker—it tells the harsh, unfiltered truth of dating, working and fucking in New York in the 90s, and creates a really amazing portrait of the city during that time for a certain type of New Yorker (rich people, socialites and the intellectual class, basically). This book, published in 1997, is a collection of all the columns, and I’ve read it like literally ten times.
2. Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay (2014)
Damn, such a good title. Pissed I didn’t think of it myself (although Slutever is a pretty baller name too TBH). Bad Feminist is a series of super funny and insightful essays by Roxanne Gay. It’s not exactly about sex, explicitly, but a large portion of it is about sexuality, as well as gender, race, Gay’s experience as a woman of color, and her commentary on the state of feminism today—and how we all feel like a bad feminist sometimes. Here’s a short excerpt that I love (and relate to):
“Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”
3. Thy Neighbor’s Wife, by Gay Talese (1981)
Token male author in the list! Lol JK, I love this book. And I love Gay Talese—he’s so chic, I wish he was my husband. Thy Neighbor’s Wife looks at sexuality in America after World War II through the 1970s, talking about free love, liberated pre-AIDS sexual morality, and the story of how Talese was literally banging his neighbor’s wife for months at a clothing-optional resort lol.
4. Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, by Carol Queen (1997)
This book was recommended to me by the legendary porn star and sex educator Nina Hartley, citing it as one of the most enlightening books on sexuality that she’s ever read—so that’s a pretty heavy recommendation. Real Live Nude Girl (1997) was written by Dr. Carol Queen, a sociologist, sexologist and self-described whore. One of my fave chapters is a letter from Queen to her mom, telling her that she’s a sex worker—it’s hilarious. Queen also writes about the erotic bliss of being spanked, performing in a red-light district peep show, sex clubs, lobbying for the pro-pornography platform, and lots of other pro-sex stuff :)
5. The Happy Hooker, by Xaviera Hollander (1971)
This book makes the perfect gift for the slut in your friend group. The Happy Hooker was written in 1971 by the amazing writer and sex worker Xaviera Hollander. The book is Hollander’s memoir, and talks in amazing and hysterical detail about everything from her first sexual experiences, to becoming one of New York’s highest paid prostitutes, to eventually becoming the madam of New York’s most upscale brothel… until she was eventually deported from the USA on the grounds of “moral turpitude” (tragic). Hollander also wrote a famous advice column for Penthouse magazine called Call Me Madam, which ran for 30 years. The Happy Hooker is considered a landmark of sex-positive writing.