Continuing our series of posts highlighting books suggested for our Manual for Civilization library at The Interval, today we have a specialized list selected by Violet Blue. As a library designed to help sustain or rebuild civilization, one of the first categories that came to mind were sexuality and reproduction. A civilization cannot have a future without either.
We asked Violet Blue to curate a set of books on sexuality as she is an award-winning sex author & blogger. It also turns out that in her past she was a book reviewer for Good Vibrations selecting books related to sexuality for their library, much of which is now contained at San Francisco’s Center for Sex and Culture.
The 16 books on sexuality that Violet Blue recommended are below with her comments on each selection. They will become part of the 3,500-volume collection. We will also soon be publishing a list of books on birth and reproduction suggested by midwife and nurse practitioner Ami Burnham.
The Manual will serve as the library for The Interval at Long Now, our new public space opening this Spring. Recently we’ve shared Brian Eno and Stewart Brand’s Manual suggestions, and we have more lists to come including those from Neil Gaiman, Kevin Kelly, Neal Stephenson, and Megan and Rick Prelinger. Our Interval donors and Long Now members can also recommend books and vote on those already suggested. Please help us raise the remaining funds required to fill our shelves with these thoughtfully chosen books.
Violet suggested reference books, science books and erotica; volumes on gender, how to talk to kids about sex, and even robots. Titles below marked with ** were suggested for inclusion by fellow sexuality expert Susie Bright. Here’s the list:
- The Guide to Getting it On (7th edition) by Paul Joannides
This book is so accurate and complete about everything surrounding sexual contact, there’s no need for individual books on specific acts, health concerns or even sexual mishaps. Warm, welcoming, fun, smart, explicit and illustrated, it leaves no question about adult sexuality unanswered and expertly weaves together sex information from our greatest sex researchers and contemporary sex educators alike.
- What Makes A Baby by Cory Silverberg, Fiona Smyth
If there’s one book for helping kids understand sexuality and gender, this book (appropriate for all ages) is wonderfully accessible, complete and makes the “big talk” into a lovely narrative about family.
- My (New) Gender Workbook by Kate Bornstein
This smart, humorous workbook is essential for understanding gender as it relates to our sexual identities, our sexual roles, and the way we identify and our understand sexual orientation – as well as the experiences of others (including our loved ones).
- Erotic Fantasies, A Study of the Sexual Imagination by Phyllis and Eberhard Kronhausen**
At the heart of human sexuality, we find the richness, complexity and necessity of human sexual fantasies. Standing on the shoulders of the Kinsey Report, this book is both at once an explicit compendium of fantasies, an informative exploration of what fantasies are, and a guide to why they’re inextricably woven into the fabric of our sexual selves.
- Erotica Universalis by Gilles Neret
Beautiful, striking, lurid, romantic, informative, and above all – unbridled insight into the erotic imagination, obsessions, traditions and sexual desires of a human civilization are between the covers of this erotic art bestiary. A tasteful collection of erotic art and imagery through the ages.
- The Collected Erotica: An Illustrated Celebration of Human Sexuality Through the Ages by Charlotte Hill and William Wallace
This astonishingly comprehensive book presents over 2000 years of Eastern and Western sexual art and literature. Images from private collections, libraries and galleries are combined with a huge array of erotic short stores by writers that include Boccaccio, Oscar Wilde, Jean Cocteau, Erica Jong, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Pauline Reage and more.
- X: The Erotic Treasury by Susie Bright
Erotica of the 21st century is unlike anything that precedes; not only in narrative and style, but in a whole new range of sexual expression, sex acts, female sexual agency, male sexual expression, and intellectually complex, emotionally sophisticated scenarios. And inspiration is important when you’re re-keying civilization.
- Everything You Know About Sex is Wrong by Russ Kick
This nonfiction anthology brings together some of the greatest minds that have lived sexual lives loudly (and sometimes proudly) outside contemporary mainstream culture in essays that explore society’s sexual misconceptions.
- Art of Sexual Ecstasy by Margot Anand
The most full, deep, and practical book on spirituality and sexuality of our era details the passion and implementation of Tantric sexuality.
- Love and Sex With Robots by David Levy
Human sexuality and technology have been intertwined much longer than the Internet era has been around, and so a book so thoroughly encompassing people’s sexual and emotional attraction and attachment to robots, artificial intelligence and tech-related objects is mind-opening.
- Fetish Sex: A Complete Guide by Violet Blue
The edges of human sexuality are the least understood. I hesitated about suggesting my own book, but so far no other book explores the actual practices of those who sexualize and have sexual relationships with the bizarre, in a nonjudgmental, all-gender and all-orientation approach. A definitive guide to the sexual practices, styles, and fantasies that live far outside the norm.
- Healing Sex by Staci Hanes
A complete, essential and sex-positive guide for people of all genders and orientations that have experienced and survived sexual trauma, violence or assault – and their partners.
- Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
A nonfiction exploration of sexuality and science – not only human sexuality and all its strange foibles and unbelievable variables, but also sex in science and commerce.
- The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie A. Brill and Rachel Pepper
While aimed at parents with gender-variant kids, and providing a much-needed guide for coping with positive, negative and awkward scenarios, this book is essential reading for everyone in our gender-variant, compassion-challenged world.
- The Erotic Mind by Jack Morin**
A psychological exploration of peak sexual experience, and why they happen to us in complicated ways such as during grief or when faced with conflict.
- Sensuous Magic (2nd edition) by Patrick Califia
No other book comes close to this incredible guide to BDSM practices and relationships. This tome is a complete reference and advice guide, demystifying – and providing erotic illumination to – power exchange, pleasure and sensation, erotic punishment, bondage, sex in S/M scenes, communication, negotiation, and consent.
Long Now would like to thank Violet Blue for these considered selections.
To add your own recommendations of books to include in the Manual for Civilization and vote on which suggested titles should find a place on The Interval’s shelves, just make a donation to support the project. All donors, at any level, can suggest and vote on books. You can be a part of giving long-term thinkers a beautiful place to gather, full of amazing books.