Demystified Approved: Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life

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I only came across Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are this year, and, as promised, it has totally changed my life.

We and our writers have discussed in past posts how female sexuality is often misunderstood and/or completely sidelined (see here, here, and here). This book helps to counteract that trend with info about female sexuality that is based on actual research on women and their bodies. Emily talks about concepts like the importance of context for female sexual arousal, the dual-control model of female sexual response, and spontaneous arousal, and there were many times when reading this book that a (happy, relieved) lightbulb went off over my head.

I’ll include a few excerpts below, but whether you are unsure, disappointed, or even thrilled about your sex life alone and/or with a partner, I can guarantee you will benefit from reading this important book. All in all, Emily Nagoski is doing the goddess’s work.

WHY MALE SEXUALITY IS CONSIDERED “NORMAL” SEXUALITY

“Girls learn what’s sexually relevant NOT because their genitals do something so obvious and new that they can’t help learning from it, but rather by paying attention to their environment, especially to the other person there with them in the sexually relevant situation [oftentimes men]…As a result of both their different genitals and their different hormone cycles, girls’ learning about sexually relevant stimuli is likely to begin later in their development, [be] more influenced than boys’ by social and emotional context, and [be] more likely to generate a mismatch between their genital response and their experience of sexual arousal.”

THE MOST SEX POSITIVE CONTEXTS FOR WOMEN

“For many women, the most sex-positive contexts may not be the culturally sanctioned or readily available ones—such as hookups when you’re in college or the same old sex for the 1,287th time when you’ve been married for ten years.”

DISCOVERING THE SEXIEST SEX

“The bad news is that, yes, most of us will find it easier to crave sex, for what that’s worth, when our relationships are unstable—either new or threatened. But the second good news is that there’s a bunch of spectacular research on what people can do to increase their craving and pleasure (eagerness and enjoying) with sex in a stable, happy relationship.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF RECOGNIZING TRAUMA

“We don’t talk about trauma survivorship enough, and we talk even less about co-survivorship, the emotional work of supporting a survivor. In the Western world, relatively few men—the research indicates only about 5 percent—perpetrate the overwhelming majority of assaults, but a lot of men have partners who have survived an assault. And yet we do almost nothing to teach men how to support survivors as intimate partners, or how to take care of themselves as co-survivors.”

Photo by Gabriel Nunes.

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