Christina Braver: Hearts, Smarts & Other Sexy Parts

During my research and planning for a book, I often read non-fiction and other books for additional resources and information in order to write from a position of familiarity, if not knowledge. I’m not a doctor or any kind of expert, but I want to present an authentic representation of subjects when I can. Below are some of the resources I’ve used to inform my writing. Many were available at the library. Check ‘em out!

Sex & Sexual Health

Some of these books lean toward heterosexual relationships as this is what I primarily write. I want to recognize that this content could be applied across the sex and sexuality spectrum.

  • Kerner, Ian, She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman, Harper Collins Publishers, 2004.
    • Sex instructions, oral sex, female orgasm, step-by-step techniques.
  • Kerner, Ian, Passionista: The Empowered Woman’s Guide to Pleasuring a Man, William Morrow Paperbacks, 2008.
    • Sex instructions, oral sex, male orgasm, step-by-step techniques
  • Kerner, Ian, So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex, Grand Central Publishing, 2021.
  • Paget, Lou, How to Give Her Absolute Pleasure, Broadway Books, 2000.
    • Techniques for manual and oral stimulation, penetration, and orgasm. Testimonials and real tips. Diagrams, toys, and resources.
  • Nagoski, Emily, Come As You Are: Revised and Updated: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life, Simon & Schuster; Updated edition, 2021.
    • Empowering women to love their bodies and enjoy sex and sexuality
  • Kimmel, Michael, Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, Harper Perennial, 2018.
  • Orenstein, Peggy, Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, Harper Paperbacks, 2017.
    • Must read for parents of girls.
  • Orenstein, Peggy, Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity, Harper, 2020.
    • Must read for parents of boys.
  • Baldwin, Amy, and April Lampert, Shameless Sex: Choose Your Own Pleasure Path to Unlock the Sex Life You’ve Been Waiting For, BenBella Books, 2023.
  • Winks, Cathy, and Anne Semans, Good Vibrations Guide to Sex: The Most Complete Sex Manual Ever Written, Cleis Press, 2002.
  • Moon, Allison, Getting It: A Guide to Hot, Healthy Hookups and Shame-Free Sex, Ten Speed Press, 2020.
  • Dodson, Betty, Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving, Harmony, 1996.
    • Betty Dodson was arguably one of the most recognized experts in sex and sexuality for decades. Any of her books would likely be worth your time.
  • Lehmiller, Justin J., Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life, De Capo Lifelong Books, 2018.
  • Morin, Jack, The Erotic Mind, Harper Collins, 2012.
  • Roberts, Matthais, Beyond Shame: Creating A Healthy Sex Life on Your Own Terms, Fortress Press, 2020.
  • Easton, Dossie, and Janet W. Hardy, The New Bottoming Book, Greenery Press, 2011.
  • Easton, Dossie, and Janet W. Hardy, The New Topping Book, Greenery Press, 2011.
  • Ansari, Aziz, and Eric Klinenberg, Modern Romance, Penguin Books, 2015.
PODCASTS & blogs
  • Sex With Emily – Dr. Emily Morse’s treasure trove of information and product suggestions. If you’ve got a question, it’s been talked about here.
  • Shameless Sex – Amy and April talk about it all and share from their own life experience. They are super sex positive and BONUS they reference a ton of people whose books I’ve listed above.
  • Girls Get Off – Newer site out of Australia. US/UK content is still being unlocked. Our Australia and NZ friends already have access to some great stuff. I also like their Facebook Group for some real talk from real people – Girls Get Off Uncensored.

Sex Later in Life
  • Blank, Joani (Editor), Still Doing It: Women & Men Over 60 Write About Their Sexuality, Down There Press, 2000.
    • Enlightening with contributor stories from many diverse backgrounds and experiences, all over the age of 60.
  • Price, Joan, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty, Seal Press, 2005.
    • Warm, witty, and honest book about the challenges and delights of older-life sexuality. Input from interviews and real-life accounts.


I read many other books about this topic but found these to be the most relevant for my writing.

Women’s Health
  • McGregor, Alyson J., Sex Matters: How male-centric medicine endangers women’s health and what we can do about it, Quercus, 2020.
    • Informative and well worth a read empowering woman to take better control of their health.

The Tech Industry

I worked in tech for 20 years, but these books were eye opening.

  • Chang, Emily, Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley, Penguin, 2019.
    • A look behind the curtain in today’s male-dominated tech world and shocking true stories
  • Garcia Martinez, Antonio, Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley, Harper Paperbacks, 2018.

Food & Cooking

Mr. B is obsessed (in a good way) with Michael Pollan’s books and has had some influence.

  • Pollan, Michael, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2002.
  • Pollan, Michael, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Penguin, 2007.
  • Pollan, Michael, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, Penguin Books, 2014.
  • Thompson, Wright, Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last, Penguin Press, 2020.
    • History of one of Bourbon’s best and most famous brands.
  • Bourdain, Anthony, Kitchen Confidential, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2013.
    • Famed chef, gone too soon. Great insight into the realities of a professional kitchen.

  • Azerrad, Michael, Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991, Back Bay Books, 2002.
    • A look at some great bands from my youth. How they got their start, and the sacrifices of too many bandmates living out of a van in order to play and progress the music they loved.
  • Cain, Susan, Bitterweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole, Random House Audio, 2022.
  • Reeves, Richard V., Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What To Do About It, Brookings Institution Press, 2022.
  • Stone, Geoffrey R., Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and the Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century, Liveright, 2017.

  • Brody, J., Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need, Ten Speed Press, 2018.
  • Browne, R. & D. King, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print, Harper Collins, 2004.
  • Evans, D., Thinking Like a Romance Writer: The Sensual Writer’s Sourcebook of Words and Phrases, Satin Publishing, 2013.
  • Hayes, G., Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels, 2016.
  • Yardley, C., Rock Your Plot: A Simple System for Plotting Your Novel, 2012.
  • – all kinds of thesauruses and tools. I have three of their books.
  • – great site to find the right word you are looking for.