Good books about female sexual health and body issues?
August 23, 2006 7:03 AM   Subscribe

What are some good books or other materials for a woman to learn about female sexual health and how to love her body?

She grew up in a country with no sex education and knows very little about STDs, yeast infections etc. She also has negative feelings about her genitals - that they are ugly, smelly, and dirty. All suggestions welcomed, but a direct and straightforward writing style would be especially good.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Our Bodies, Ourselves (the updated version) would be perfect. I also always suggest Taking Charge of your Fertility, which is a little hippy-dippy but very straightforward in helping a woman learn that cervical fluid and other things are not negative, but simply part of her natural cycle.
posted by sugarfish at 7:22 AM on August 23, 2006

I work in a hospital library, and one of the doctors here asked us to get Sex Matters for Women. I flipped through it, and it's well written and easy to understand. I think there's more emphasis on self-exploration and "finding youself" sexually than on anatomy, but that may be more of what she's looking for.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:34 AM on August 23, 2006

Is this about sex or health? (Wish we could get some updates). A woman's body is not inherently sexual.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:54 AM on August 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Seconding "Our Bodies, Ourselves". Very informative. The size of the book may be a bit daunting, but you don't have to read it straight through -- just browse through the sections you're interested in.
posted by j at 7:56 AM on August 23, 2006

The Big Bang. It's described as an "advanced" book, but I found it to have a lot of good basic information about sexual health, taking care of pink parts (including avoiding and treating yeast infections), loving oneself, STDs and even the emotions involved in the whole scenario. Plus, the tone is way better than some serious scary health book.
posted by sa3z at 7:57 AM on August 23, 2006


Loved that book while I was younger - it doesn't talk down to you and has quotes from many, many women.
posted by agregoli at 8:32 AM on August 23, 2006

More on the "how to love her body" (or become more comfortable with it) end is the website All About My Vagina. The whole thing is in first person, and the author is pretty much bluntly trying to describe every possible aspect of her own reproductive system, without being raunchy.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:55 AM on August 23, 2006

I want to add my voice to those saying that you're not going to do better than Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Is this woman in a sexual relationship? If you're looking for a guide to sex, rather than just sexual health, you can't do better than The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex, though I think that's probably more than this woman is looking for at the moment. It might help her realize that there is nothing gross about her genitals, but it might be a little more sexual than she is comfortable with.
posted by Dasein at 10:23 AM on August 23, 2006

I think Woman, An Intimate Geography is a fabulous and encouraging book with some brilliant writing. It's science-y in parts, but on Amazon you can read some pages and see if the level is appropriate for the reader in question.
posted by xo at 10:35 AM on August 23, 2006

Real Gorgeous.

Also, The Naturist Society has some good books and videos on body acceptance.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:47 AM on August 23, 2006

Our Bodies, Ourselves is the gold standard here-- it'll help someone appreciate their body through understanding it.

It is a little daunting, though-- more of a reference book for the female body than something one might sit down and read. If you want something in the latter vein, I highly recommend The Vagina Monologues. It's funny and smart and addresses exactly the issues you mentioned.
posted by chickletworks at 12:30 PM on August 23, 2006

Is this about sex or health? (Wish we could get some updates). A woman's body is not inherently sexual.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:54 AM PST on August 23 [+fave] [!]

Perhaps just being overly pedantic, but of course a woman's body (at least in the general sense) is inherently sexual -- how do you think we all got here? and why will our species continue?

A man's body is similarly inherently sexual, too, of course.
posted by BaxterG4 at 5:30 PM on August 23, 2006

The V Book, "a doctor's guide to complete vulvovaginal health". Heard about it in this salon article about horrible vaginal pain.

But obviously Our Bodies Ourselves, too.

Maybe the Cunt Coloring Book as a companion volume? The amazon reviews call it a "serious sex education book" and it is earnestly intended as such.
posted by xueexueg at 6:43 PM on August 23, 2006

Elizabeth Stewart's The V Book is my favorite. There's always Our Bodies, Ourselves and Natalie Angier's Woman: An Intimate Geography as well as that Christine Northrup book, I forget its title. The Guide To Getting It On! is gender neutral and very positive.
posted by ifjuly at 6:38 PM on August 24, 2006

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