An adolescent group-facilitator recently asked me which books I would recommend parents give to their teens. I decided to copy and paste the email I sent as well as add other books that I recommend for adults. Everyone can benefit from Bibliotherapy. All the books on the list are good reads for adults and some are good for young adolescents as well.
COPY: Here are some excellent books I would recommend parents buy for their teens. There is a popular assumption that if parents speak to their teens about sex, their teens will think that they are given permission to have sex. All research supports that's this assumption is wrong! In fact, teens with a healthy sex education start to have sex at a later and healthier age in life.
The best would be if the parent reads or even skims through the book before. Like this, if the child has a question they can ask mom/dad and begin a very healthy dialogue. Parents should not be afraid to say, "I don't understand this, I'm not sure if I agree with this, this is interesting to me etc." These statements can be said in a nonjudgmental way to open a dialogue and conversation. It's excellent when kids begin to hear their caregiver’s opinion about sex and sexual values. It makes the parents more human and a safe person to approach. It also indicates to children that sex values and sex choices have a thought process. Teaching teens to think about what they like and dislike about sex and pleasure is the most important skill you can teach your child!
Currently, your adolescent likely has no idea that he or she can choose what he/she enjoys, what he/she is willing or not willing to do. When teens begin to maneuver the world of sex and sexuality they are under the assumption that if they want to be sexual beings they had better be okay with everything. What a mistake and how sad that is!
For Adults and Adolescents:
Healing Sex by Staci Haines: This book is an advanced book. It's good for girls/boys who have been abused and are all ready in the process of healing, and closer to beginning a relationship or are all ready in a relationship.
Male Sexuality: Why Women Don’t understand it and Men Don’t Either by Michael Bader: This is an excellent book, very matter of fact with a lot of information. He also shares a lot of examples which I very much like. It's for boys (girls can read it as well) who are advanced in their thinking process. Don't give it to very young boys; I don't think they'd appreciate it.
Joannides, P. (2011). Guide to Getting it on! A Book About the Wonders of Sex: Every boy and girl should own this book. It's kind of a sex dictionary. It's over 1000 pages, with reading and pictures. It includes the history about various different topics as well as the basics about lingerie, meeting a boy/girl, the body, sex, sex positions - everything! It's not made to read cover to cover. It's more of a reference book. Again, It includes everything and anything someone should know about sex, intimacy, sexuality, and safety.
Dodson, B. (1974). Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving: This book is about female orgasm and masturbation. It's very informative but also very intense. I'd say a parent should use their judgment and all adults would on some level appreciate the information Dodson shares.
Sex without Guilt in the 21st Century by Albert Ellis: Written by Albert Ellis, the father of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. This book covers all areas of sexuality. The focus is on anxiety, shame, and guilt related to sex. Normalizing sexual preferences and challenging the societal “musts” “have to’s”.
Amen, D.G. (2008). Sex on the Brain: 12 Lessons to Enhance Your Love Life: You can definitely gather some great information from this book. I found it to be a little dry to read.
Bader, M.J. (2002). Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies: This is an excellent book if you want to understand more about your sexual fantasies and sexual desires.
Bass, E. (2008). The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: This book has some great resources and exercises for survivors of abuse. Some of the exercises are intense, I would suggest doing this work together with your individual therapist or counselor.
Fisher, H. (2005). Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love: I found this book to be very informative but a little dry to read.
McCarthy, B.W. (2009). Discovering Your Couples Sexual Style: Sharing Desire, Pleasure, and Satisfaction: This is a very fun book and highly recommended for all couples. There are some great exercises in here as well.
Morin, J. (1995). The Erotic Mind: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence: This book surely topped my favorite sex/relationship books list. Morin, is very informative and an excellent writer. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Perel, E. (2007). Mating in Captivity: This is an excellent book for understanding relationships and marriage. It is an easy read and packed with information.
Middelton-Moz, J. (1990). Shame and Guilt: Masters of Disguise: I like to include this book when I recommend books on sexuality because shame and guilt is very strongly connected, to our behaviors, how we behave with others, with ourselves, and how we behave in the world of intimacy and sexuality.
No worries my friends, I will keep updating this list.