GAAAhhhhhhhhhh! She's alive!
And look at this one (below) of three robots and their comic resemblance to their human inventors. I totally want the stern-looking Asian middle-aged man robot in the center so he could stare contemptuously at me all day with his downturned mouth and eyebrows knitted in consternation. "Shouldn't you be getting to that reading list you promised over a month ago?" he'd finally say. And, damn it, he'd be right.
For you, stern Asian robot man who I imagine harshly judging me*, Thy Will Be Done. Here goes.
Books I can personally vouch for:
Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships: I wrote a whole big post on this because it kind of made my brain explode. It's about non-monogamy, sperm competition, the societal components of sexual jealousy, penis shapes and all kinds of brain-sparking topics. It's not meant to be hardcore science, but a jumping off point to rethinking all kinds of relationship/sexual things.
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex: I am madly in love with Mary Roach because she is so funny and smart and well, here... I just opened to a random page in which she is touring a sex toy factory and describing the crew of middle-aged Latina women working the assembly line. "Now we have paused to watch a team of women, wearing latex gloves, whose job is to rub a light film of red paint into the testicles and glans of large fleshtone dildos, to pinken them, 'to give them the realism.'....The women are laughing and chatting as they work. Their movements are inadvertently erotic; the hand-staining of a dildo tip could be the efficient caress of a sex worker." See what I mean? (Even better is Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers but that is about dead bodies, not sex, which may well be a dealbreaker for you.)
Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray or Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Helen Fisher: Deliciously passionate writing on the science and anthropology of sexual attraction, crushes, the body language of flirting, brain chemistry and reasons we act like such fucktards when we're "in love." (Is the term "fucktards" offensive? If you are a fucktard, I mean no offense.)
Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody, penner of "Juno." So funny, completely dirty, very fascinating look into her experimental stripper phase. Some parts are so graphic--like the particularly vile (to me) fetish of one repeat customer at her seedy San Francisco peep show booth--that I can't stand even repeating it. Oh, don't worry, you'll know when you get to him.
The Art of Love: Ancient Roman poet Ovid offers instructions on conducting oneself before, during and after a love affair. So fascinating to see that the games and subterfuge of passion are pretty much unchanged (except for archaic bits such how to whiten your skin with the ground-up horn of a lusty stag. As we now know in modern times, non-lusty stag horn works just as well.) Here's Ovid on taking your time in love: If you will listen to me you will not be too hasty in attaining the culmination of your happiness. Learn by skillful maneuvering to reach your climax by degrees. When you are safely ensconced in the sanctuary of bliss, let no timid fear arrest your hand. You will be richly rewarded by the love-light trembling in her eyes, even as the rays of the sun fitfully dance upon the waves. Then will follow gentle murmurs, moans and sighs, laden with ecstasy that will sting and lash desire.
A Natural History Of Love: Diane Ackerman writes with a florid (in a good way) style on how the historical and anthropological ideas of love have developed and changed over time.
Anything by Dan Savage. Start with Savage Love: Straight Answers from America's Most Popular Sex Columnist (from 1998!) and move your way forward.
And...I grow weary. Asian robot man, you can glare at me all you want, it's just not gonna happen.
Next post: books other readers have recommended, including their favorite smut and sociological treatises. If you have something to add, do send it along or add it as a comment.
*My sudden need for Robot Judgement probably indicates all sorts of psychological things wrong with me, but I'm gonna handle it like I do all such issues. I shall ignore it.