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Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life Paperback – March 3, 2015
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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“This is the best book I have ever read about sexual desire and why some couples just stop having sex, and what they can do about it. Come As You Are is an absolutely necessary guide for all couples who want to understand the ups and downs in their own sex life. It is a must read!”
—John Gottman, Ph.D., author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
“Emily Nagoski has written one of the most important books about sex any woman (or anybody else) could ever pick up, full of insights that are both fascinating and deeply useful. Synthesizing new research and theory about sexuality with old-school sex-positive information of the sort you didn’t learn in sex ed (unless, perhaps, you are a Unitarian, or Scandinavian, or lucky enough to be in Dr. Nagoski’s class), I guarantee Come As You Are will open minds and change lives.”
— Carol Queen, Ph.D., Founding director, Center for Sex & Culture
“Emily Nagoski is worth her weight in TED Talks, and Come as You Are is a master-class in the science of sex.”
— Ian Kerner, sex therapist and bestselling author of She Comes First
“It’s the science of sex, decoded and demystified. Want to be educated on the latest findings about female genitalia? Of course you do. Empowering and sex-positive at best, this informative read makes for an enticing bedfellow.”
“Lots of books — and articles and experts — claim to have the keys to transform your sex life. This one actually has it. It isn’t as fast as taking a pill, but it will last a whole lot longer. You will find no hot new bedroom moves — it’s that deeper-level soul stuff. You know, the stuff that actually works.”
“Wonderful new language to help us articulate to women (and their lovers) what is going on.”
“Like a punch to the gut. When I read the passage that made me realize—after all these years—that I was not actually broken, I began to cry. . . . I wished [Nagoski] was someone who was actively in my life, someone I could reach out to for grounding every time I momentarily forgot the lessons in her book.”
“Nagoski’s book deserves plaudits for the rare achievement of merging pop science and the sexual self-help genre in prose that’s not insufferably twee. . . . [Come As You Are] offers up hard facts on the science of arousal and desire in a friendly and accessible way.”
—The Guardian (UK)
About the Author
Emily Nagoski is Wellness Education Director and Lecturer at Smith College, where she teaches Women’s Sexuality. She has a PhD in Health Behavior with a doctoral concentration in human sexuality from Indiana University (IU), and a master’s degree (also from IU) in counseling, with a clinical internship at the Kinsey Institute Sexual Health Clinic. She has taught graduate and undergraduate classes in human sexuality, relationships and communication, stress management, and sex education. She is the author of three guides for Ian Kerner’s GoodInBed.com, including the Guide to Female Orgasm, and she writes the popular sex blog, TheDirtyNormal.com.
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So all of Emily's blog posts come to life in this book, and every time I re-read chapters, I feel like the science connects in a deeper way. She covers attachment, sex that advances the plot in relationships, emotions, and mindfulness, just to name some topics. My favorite part of the book was learning about how the brain interprets goals and effort, and how you can use that to your emotional advantage to make life easier. (Also, this applies to road rage!)
I'd also always read that imagination was a big part of creating a better sex life, and this is the first book to have really sparked my curiosity in a way that I'm intrigued about sex. (I've had painful sex and avoided it for years now, while still desperate to find out how to make things work for me.) The way I think about sex and the way I feel about sex have been transformed after reading Come As You Are. Instead of comparing myself to friends' stories about sex, lately, I'm actually interested and find myself musing on how things work for me to feel so confident and excited about sex. I've come a long way from feeling that I have SO far to go to enjoy sex, to feeling jealous and inadequate when friends talked about sex, and thinking that I'm obviously not the goddess they are because I don't have those stories. That transformation alone feels therapy-huge, to have come from such shame and fear and sadness to curiosity and intrigue.
I'm pretty sure Emily is also the first sex educator I've noticed that used empathy to write little notes to the reader about their struggles. I cannot tell you how many times I've re-read those paragraphs on her blog and in this book, because it was exactly what I'd needed and never had anyone else say before. Emily GETS it. And I'm so thankful she realizes the power of what she's teaching, so this book could be possible. I really think every person alive could learn something and feel more at ease in their relationships and with sex, just from reading this book. Her blog is a refreshing on its own, but this book feels like a week at the spa. Thank you, Emily.
It's is actually a bit more scientific than most sexual self-help books out there (great citations!), but it also does a much better job of deconstructing female sexuality than any other book I've read. While older sex manuals didn't go much farther than technique, and newer offerings are starting to scratch the surface of female psychology, this book offers an actionable system to help figure out female desire. I don't think her system is some kind of scientific gospel, but it's going to be much more effective than anything else I've seen in print. Instead of stopping at overdone "female sexual desire is highly dependent on psychological factors, so light a candle and love your curves" bull, it actually breaks desire down further and provides exercises to help you figure out exactly what makes you tick, and how to help yourself- whatever those needs may be. While I'm coming at this from the perspective of a very inhibited woman, Nagoski doesn't neglect women who are quite the opposite. So if you're looking to understand why you want what you want, and how to bring those desires in line with your goals, this is a great book.
The rest of you, go on, nothing to see here.
This books explains scientific concepts about arousal and orgasm in layman's language, and constantly reinforces the concept that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH US, That we all have the same parts, arranged differently. Some women easily orgasm from penetration, and it seems to be a function of where the clit is positioned in relation to the vagina, NOT inhibition or immaturity. Some women will never orgasm from penetration, and that's normal too.
It's all a matter of not just finding your turn-ons (your gas pedal) AND learning what steps on the brakes for you. And if there was one huge take-away from this for me, it was that wetness =/= arousal for women. We can be wet and not aroused. We can be aroused AND wet, or we can be aroused and not wet. Needing lube has NOTHING to do with being unwomanly. Need lube? USE lube. Make lube your best friend (because it is).
Lots of good anecdotal stories to illustrate the points of each chapter. I truly think every sexual person should read this. Repeatedly