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May is International Masturbation Month! The month is coming (ha) to a close, but there’s still a few more days to celebrate May’s lesser known designation. There’s still quite a bit of stigma surrounding masturbation, and while some people are experts on their own pleasure, not everyone is comfortable exploring or even knows how to start. Regardless of your level of expertise, here are six books to facilitate your exploration of masturbation, sexuality, and reaching better orgasms overall.

1. Getting Off by Jamye Waxman
women guide to getting off 8fe56Image via Seal Press

A great general guide to—you guessed it—getting off, this illustrated book addresses the stigma attached to masturbation by exploring its history and cultural prominence today. It also offers basic information on anatomy, sex toys, techniques, and other resources to consult as you discover what works for you.

2. Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski
come as you are book 02e8bImage via Simon & Schuster


Using recent scientific research, Emily Nagoski explains how better orgasms come from a better understanding of all the factors that go into women’s sexuality. This means an awareness of just how unique each woman’s sexuality is, as well as the way everyday circumstances can impact how women experience not just orgasms, but desire and arousal as well.

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3. Bang!: Masturbation For People Of All Genders And Abilities by Vic Liu
bang masturbation book 76652Image via Microcosm Publishing


A super inclusive guide to masturbation that covers a wide range of topics from history and anatomy to tools, toys, and techniques—including sections containing tips and testimony for and by trans and disbled folks. Not just informative, Bang! is also beautifully designed and illustrated by multiple artists.

4. Becoming Cliterate by Dr. Laurie Mintz
become cliterate book 07733Image via HarperCollins Publishers


Winner of the 2019 Society for Sex Therapy and Research Consumer Book Award, Becoming Cliterate calls for a revolution in the way we think about sex. Using a multidisciplinary approach to examine a societal perspective of sex, it addresss the pleasure gap between the way men and women experience sex, and advocates for a reorientation that focuses a little less on penetrative sex and a little more on what Dr. Mintz refers to as “cliteracy.” Not only an informative examination of pleasure, it also provides useful explanations for how readers can become cliterate themselves.

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5. Sex Yourself: The Woman’s Guide To Mastering Masturbation And Achieving Powerful Orgasms by Carlyle Jansen
sex yourself 6347bImage via Quarto

The title pretty much says it all for this one! Uniquely qualified, Carlyle Jansen, a sex educator, producer of the Feminist Porn Awards, and founder of Good For Her, a sexuality workshop center in Toronto, wrote a book on how to give yourself better orgasms.

6. The Feminist Porn Book edited by Tristan Taormino, Constance Penley, Celine Parrenas Shimizu, and Mireille Miller-Young
Feminist Porn book ea8bdImage via Feminist Press

A book not so much about masturbation as it is about the industry that plays a big hand in getting us off, this inclusive compilation of essays by people across the porn industry, from actors to scholars, illustrates the importance of feminist pornography. Exploring a number of topics from a variety of perspectives, the Feminist Porn Book will make sure you’re a conscious consumer of the pleasure production industry.

Top photo via Deon Black on Unsplash

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Natalie Frate is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology with a BS in Sociology and Anthropology and SOAS, University of London with an MA in Comparative Literature. She is currently pursuing a degree in Experimental Humanities at NYU and waiting out the pandemic in her hometown, Cleveland, OH. She enjoys reading books, wearing clothes, and eating food with her friends. Follow her on Instagram @natalieroseindigo

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