Welcome to Emily's Adnexa!
Let's talk book recommendations and if there's a "Come As You Are" for men.
Welcome to the first installment of Emily’s Adnexa. Let’s dig in.
The first question I'll answer is actually a group of questions, all about book recommendations, along the lines of "I love CAYA, but what book would you recommend for..." kids, tween, teens, folks with disabilities, and so on - and especially for MEN.
Fortunately, the last few years have seen an explosion of great, sex positive, gender inclusive, intersectionally feminist, pleasure-forward books about sex. Only a few of the books on this list aren't from the last five years! Two of the books have not yet been published!
We are living in a great age for sex ed books, my friends.
Keep this email and refer to it whenever you need it. Whenever possible, links go to my local bookseller, Book Moon Books. I do not get any renumeration beyond the privilege of having such a great shop in my area.
For young kids: What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth
For folks with disabilities: The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability by Miriam Kaufman, Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette
For trans folks: Trans Sex: Clinical Approaches to Trans Sexualities and Erotic Embodiments by Lucie Fielding (this book is targeted toward clinicians working with trans folks, but it's SO GOOD I recommend it for everyone.)
On Menopause: What Fresh Hell Is This by Heather Corinna
For women with trauma histories or reproductive cancers: Better Sex through Mindfulness by Lori Brotto
For people want sex to be EXTRAORDINARY: Magnificent Sex by Peggy Kleinplatz and Dana Menard
For people seeking their first orgasm or who have difficulty with orgasms: Becoming Orgasmic by Julia Heiman and Joseph LoPiccolo
Painful sex: Sex Without Pain: A Self-Treatment Guide to the Sex Life You Deserve by Heather Jeffcoat
For social justice: Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Brown
For science: Why Sex Matters by Bobbi Low
Look, this is a big one.
I get asked a lot, "Does ‘Come As You Are’ apply to men?" "Is there a ‘Come As You Are’ for men?" "Are you going to write a ‘Come As You Are’ for men?"
And I finally have an answer:
My typical answer has been yes sure definitely men can learn from CAYA, because so much of human sexuality is the same regardless of gender or genitals. And also I feel like I'm the wrong person to write a book specifically for men. And that's the 101 basic entry level way of thinking about that question.
There's a deeper answer.
CAYA centers women and femmes because for all of the history of science as we know it, research has centered men. Our understanding of everything from heart attacks to autism to covid itself - the false negative rate of the covid antibody test is 70% women - is based on how we understand men. And for centuries women have been reading work based on men and doing the work of extrapolating that information to their own experience. So in my tiny little corner of the world, I choose to center women and femmes. And I recognize that men are just as capable as anyone of reading research that does not center themselves and doing the work of extrapolating that information to their own experience. To believe anything less would be to belittle men's intellectual and emotional capacity.
And in fact, to take it one level further, I believe that that very experience of extrapolating to their own experience is itself a learning opportunity for men. In that way, the best possible book for men is CAYA, precisely because it centers women and femmes. It's better than any book that centers them, because it requires them to consider femininity as the center and masculinity as slightly to one side of center. And that's an important experience for (especially cisgender heterosexual) men to have!
So there you have it.
The best book for men is... Come As You Are.
Send me more questions! I love questions. I may answer them here or they may become material for a podcast. I will never reveal your name.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you next time.