Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life Info

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***A NEW YORK TIMES BESTELLER***

An essential
exploration of why and how women’s sexuality works—based on
groundbreaking research and brain science—that will radically
transform your sex life into one filled with confidence and
joy.

Researchers have spent the last decade trying to develop a
“pink pill” for women to function like Viagra does for men.
So where is it? Well, for reasons this book makes crystal clear, that
pill will never be the answer—but as a result of the research
that’s gone into it, scientists in the last few years have learned
more about how women’s sexuality works than we ever thought
possible, and Come as You Are explains it all.

The first
lesson in this essential, transformative book by Dr. Emily Nagoski is
that every woman has her own unique sexuality, like a fingerprint, and
that women vary more than men in our anatomy, our sexual response
mechanisms, and the way our bodies respond to the sexual world. So we
never need to judge ourselves based on others’ experiences.
Because women vary, and that’s normal.

Second lesson: sex
happens in a context. And all the complications of everyday life
influence the context surrounding a woman’s arousal, desire, and
orgasm.

Cutting-edge research across multiple disciplines tells
us that the most important factor for women in creating and sustaining a
fulfilling sex life, is not what you do in bed or how you do it, but
how you feel about it. Which means that stress, mood, trust, and
body image are not peripheral factors in a woman’s sexual
wellbeing; they are central to it. Once you understand these factors,
and how to influence them, you can create for yourself better sex and
more profound pleasure than you ever thought possible.

And Emily
Nagoski can prove it.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life:

5

March 4, 2015

The BEST Sex Book I've Ever Read. The BEST Life Book I've Ever Read.
Come As You Are is absolutely the best sex book I've ever read. I used to buy so many trying to figure out how desire and arousal worked and while I learned good things, this was the book that felt like a warm hug that explained everything and how I could make this work for me. What I did not expect was to learn so much about my brain, and how *exactly* that was connected to sex, and why feeling joyful and content in life in general applies to sex specifically. I'd heard that sex and life were intertwined; the whole "it's all connected" but it never made sense until reading Emily Nagoski detailing HOW and WHY.

So all of Emily's blog posts come to life in this book, and every time I re-read chapters, I feel like the science connects in a deeper way. She covers attachment, sex that advances the plot in relationships, emotions, and mindfulness, just to name some topics. My favorite part of the book was learning about how the brain interprets goals and effort, and how you can use that to your emotional advantage to make life easier. (Also, this applies to road rage!)

I'd also always read that imagination was a big part of creating a better sex life, and this is the first book to have really sparked my curiosity in a way that I'm intrigued about sex. (I've had painful sex and avoided it for years now, while still desperate to find out how to make things work for me.) The way I think about sex and the way I feel about sex have been transformed after reading Come As You Are. Instead of comparing myself to friends' stories about sex, lately, I'm actually interested and find myself musing on how things work for me to feel so confident and excited about sex. I've come a long way from feeling that I have SO far to go to enjoy sex, to feeling jealous and inadequate when friends talked about sex, and thinking that I'm obviously not the goddess they are because I don't have those stories. That transformation alone feels therapy-huge, to have come from such shame and fear and sadness to curiosity and intrigue.

I'm pretty sure Emily is also the first sex educator I've noticed that used empathy to write little notes to the reader about their struggles. I cannot tell you how many times I've re-read those paragraphs on her blog and in this book, because it was exactly what I'd needed and never had anyone else say before. Emily GETS it. And I'm so thankful she realizes the power of what she's teaching, so this book could be possible. I really think every person alive could learn something and feel more at ease in their relationships and with sex, just from reading this book. Her blog is a refreshing on its own, but this book feels like a week at the spa. Thank you, Emily.
2

Oct 23, 2015

All right so this is not the book I thought it was when I got it, and I apologise for a rating that would surely be higher if I were part of the target audience. I was hoping it was a survey of the latest scientific research into arousal disorders and sexuality; in fact, it's a very selective presentation of those pieces of research that are considered helpful in ‘promoting women's sexual well-being, autonomy and pleasure’. Studies, however revealing, which do not promote such things are All right so this is not the book I thought it was when I got it, and I apologise for a rating that would surely be higher if I were part of the target audience. I was hoping it was a survey of the latest scientific research into arousal disorders and sexuality; in fact, it's a very selective presentation of those pieces of research that are considered helpful in ‘promoting women's sexual well-being, autonomy and pleasure’. Studies, however revealing, which do not promote such things are ignored. In other words, the book is primarily therapy, not science. Perhaps not surprising given that the author is a sex therapist, but I hadn't realised that – I thought she was a researcher.

I've been very intentional about the empirical details I've included or excluded. I asked myself, “Does this fact help women have better sex lives, or is it just a totally fascinating and important empirical puzzle?”

And I cut the puzzles.

This means that, although there is some useful information here, it is interspersed with a lot of rather irritating, vaguely encouraging bullshit about ‘living with confidence and joy inside your body’, reassurances that you are ‘all normal, all beautiful’, and exhortations to ‘listen with your heart, not with your fear’. Naturally as a British passport-holder I cannot read this stuff without feeling my toes clench and my testicles retract into my body, and the narrative tone doesn't help either. Nagoski writes in the earnest, chatty way of someone trying to write a book for people who don't read books, with lots of forcedly colloquial comments like, ‘Wait: what?’ and, ‘For realsie real.’

OK, fine, I am clearly not the target audience, I get that, but for me it gets incredibly grating when every hint of scientific information is hedged around with encouragements and stupid metaphors and open condescension: before a section on the hedonic centres of the mesolimbic cortex (which Nagoski calls ‘your emotional One Ring’), she warns, ‘It gets pretty nerdy here […] Ready? Okay’, and afterwards pats us on the head by asking, ‘Did you make it? Phew! That was the hard part. Nice job.’ Gee thanks, Dr Nagoski!

Aristophanes, in Plato's Symposium—and for those of you who very understandably just fell asleep, replace that with the song “The Origin of Love” from John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Itch—offers this parable about why humans love…

Really? What I found so infuriating about all this is the implied gendering of her tone – it's somehow pitched at a certain idea of women, as though they have no interest in hard science and need their research presented in the form of a Cosmo quiz. It's really outrageous; I don't know if I should be taking it as some reflection on the state of US science education, but the total horror of any scientific terminology, combined with the girlfriends-chatting-over-a-Manhattan tone, just left a really bad taste in the mouth. (Men come off no better – Nagoski writes that she has to ‘translate the science of women's sexual well-being into Manly Fix-It Dude-Speak’ to talk to her clients' partners….)

The reason this is so frustrating is that the actual research presented is pretty important and, in some cases, not so well known. The two presiding ideas in the book, I think, are the concept of responsive v. spontaneous desire, and the dual control model of sexual arousal. The terms ‘responsive desire’ and ‘spontaneous desire’ have been floating around for over a decade now – I think the key paper was Basson et al. 2003 (although Nagoski says they were coined by Ellen Laan and Stephanie Both, which may be true; Laan is one of the authors of that paper). The basic idea is that while some people can get turned on while walking down the street or doing the dishes, for others it's something that only happens in response to situations that have already been made explicitly erotic. Arousal first, desire second.

The disparity between these different kinds of desire is, of course, behind a lot of relationship stresses, whence Nagoski's clinical interest. For her what's important here is to point out that responsive desire is perfectly OK and is not the same as ‘low desire’.

A woman can be perfectly normal and healthy and never experience spontaneous sexual desire. Instead, she may experience ‘responsive’ desire, in which her desire emerges only in a highly erotic context.

She writes ‘a woman’ – and there may well be a sex divide. Nagoski estimates (on somewhat shaky data, because research into this is limited) that five percent of men and thirty percent of women have responsive desire, compared with seventy-five percent of men and five percent of women whose desire is ‘spontaneous’. (This leaves most women and twenty percent of men whose desire style changes based on the context – a rather large amount which does slightly throw the whole model into question. Asexuality is not addressed.) Nagoski is understandably worried about the idea that sexual desire which differs from the male norm is pathologised as ‘broken’ or defective in some way, something to be ‘fixed’ by taking a so-far-mythical pill; she wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times back in February on this subject.

It's all good stuff and it's certainly a vocabulary that more people should have at their disposal. However, it should be noted that other models of sexual desire are available. It's also worth saying that all we are really doing here is playing semantics. Thinking about responsive desire as a thing might help people to feel better about themselves and not to feel broken – which is good, and they're not – but it doesn't really say anything about what's actually going on. What affects whether desire is spontaneous or responsive? Hormones? Neurology? Upbringing? Culture?

(This semantics issue is something the whole book suffers from – same goes for her long and heartfelt rant about why we do not have a sex ‘drive’ but rather an ‘incentive motivation system’. For the life of me after reading that section several times, I couldn't work out what the difference was supposed to be.)

Even more than responsive desire, Nagoski is excited about something called the Dual Control Model of Arousal. This is the idea developed by two researchers at the Kinsey Institute in 2006 (the paper's here) and essentially what it does is to consider libido in terms of those psychosomatic processes that promote sexual arousal, and in terms of those that restrain it. The paper posits a Sexual Excitation System (SES) on the one hand, and a Sexual Inhibition System (SIS) on the other; Nagoski calls them the accelerators and the brakes. The SES is that part of you that constantly scans your thoughts and the world around you for sexually-relevant data; the SIS is – not inhibitions in the layman's sense, but a necessary consideration of negative consequences of any sexual activity, whether medical, social, psychological or whatever.

Conceptualising things in this way turns out to add quite a lot of nuance to how we think about arousal. People with arousal problems differ fundamentally in where the issue lies: some have a low SES (i.e. not many things actually turn them on in principle), while others have a very rich SES but just a highly sensitive inhibition system which stops them reacting as fully as they otherwise might, unless conditions are ideal. Similarly, sexual risk-taking like unprotected sex, cheating and so on, is sometimes correlated with low SIS and sometimes with abnormally high SES.

Nagoski very sensibly suggests that a prerequisite to overcoming arousal problems is understanding one's own SES and SIS – getting familiar with what exactly it is that turns you on and turns you off, and creating contexts where the former are maximised and the latter minimised. There are lots of interesting studies that bear on these ideas in various ways. It was found, for example, that wearing socks made it easier for women to orgasm while masturbating in a brain imaging machine. This is not because there are more sock fetishists than previously appreciated, but simply because it's distracting if you have cold feet, and depending on your personal SIS little distractions of this kind can add up fast (especially, one presumes, when trying to get off inside a brain imaging machine).

It's clear that Nagoski wants to back up her ideas by using interviews with her clients, to demonstrate how helpful these concepts can be. And some interviews like this would indeed have been great – books like Brett Kahr's Sex and the Psyche show how well clinical transcripts can work in books of this kind. But, pleading confidentiality issues, Nagoski instead invents fictional couples who she says are composites of the many people she has treated in real life, and the book is interspersed with transcripts of how these fictional people were fictionally treated. Reading these made-up conversations with made-up couples, who nod and gasp appropriately at all her revelations, is an exercise in pure frustration.

There were times when I wanted to throw this book across the room, and it's only thanks to the good fortune that I was reading it on my iPad that I was forced to press on. Nevertheless, there are small parts of it that I'd like to cut out and circulate to everyone I know, so it is an odd mix. Parts of the book, I mean, not my iPad. Nagoski is after all basically coming from the right place and talking about the right things, and she's not afraid of making some big claims for her field either.

Do I think that living with confidence and joy and respecting everyone's sexual autonomy could play a role in preventing cancer, solving the climate crisis, or building world peace? Yes, actually.

No way I can one-star a book saying something as close to my heart as that. And I guess if what you want is something therapeutic rather than just informative, then this will fit the bill pretty well. Still, despite all the interesting material to be uncovered in here, it is hard to shake off the vague feeling that you're getting a lecture on sexual dysfunction from a children's television presenter.

(Oct 2015) ...more
5

Jun 22, 2018

Ok when I saw the tile of this book it thought probably what everyone else though about this book. (Ok the introduction and chapter 8 and appendix one might be, but the rest is science over myth), If it did not come so highly recommended from a respected friend of mine from uni. I probably would not every given it the first look. Read is as some "light reading" doing her PhD in Psychology. So of course she decided to experiment on her friend to get a male perspective on the book. So let me get Ok when I saw the tile of this book it thought probably what everyone else though about this book. (Ok the introduction and chapter 8 and appendix one might be, but the rest is science over myth), If it did not come so highly recommended from a respected friend of mine from uni. I probably would not every given it the first look. Read is as some "light reading" doing her PhD in Psychology. So of course she decided to experiment on her friend to get a male perspective on the book. So let me get this out of the way first. No!! This is not a collection of sex stories. There are actual case studies. They are not written to be provocative but to understand the feeling or the accelerators and the breaks.

Thought Emily does quote a number of scientific theories and is by her own admission a "nerd" (no judgement I have been a proud geek for years), you do not have to be to understand the book, it is written in an easy to read way. I found there is a lot of truth to this book, and even though it is written primarily for women in mind I think both me men and women can lean a lot from it and will see traits of both in the case studies.

I also think there are some very important messages in this book the main one being the first like and echoed through out the book "you are OK. You are normal. You are not broken". Usually when ever we do not fit the mold or something does not live up out our expectations one of those three thought does through our heads. the other messages that she tries to show us are the messages we are bombarded with through out our lives the "that is wrong", "you should look like this", or "that is not normal". I quite like the idea of celebrating differences then persecuting people for them.

This is a great book with a lot of insightful theories, and science against myth and breaking down some pretty big wall. theories of sex ans psychology have been linked since Sigmund Freud, as some theories have moved on others we still have so much to learn about in others. A great book that should be read by everyone, and commented on what you agree with or disagree with. ...more
5

January 2, 2018

Arousal non concordance and other important topics
This book is gentle and supportive, and aimed at women who are dealing with emotional blockers in intimate/sexual relationships, and at their partners. (If you are confident and happy in your sexuality and looking for "new ideas", or dealing with complex medical issues, then you can probably skip this book.) Nagoski encourages a kind, mindful, nonjudgmental approach to exploring sex. Her writing is repetitive, but I feel that the repetition serves a purpose: she is targeting women who feel beaten down or lost, who need to hear over and over again that they are ok, they are not "broken," and they deserve to be happy and feel good. Nagoski introduces topics that range from casually interesting, to extremely vital to the health/safety of our society (ie. Arousal non concordance). I just wish there were more advice about practical action steps to change the things we want to change. Hopefully there will be a sequel.
5

April 3, 2018

I want to hand this book out like Gospel tracts on street corners
I want to hand this book out like Gospel tracts on street corners. Have you heard the good news? You're normal. Also, you're probably not built like a dude, so don't be surprised that your don't function like one. Take this. Read this. Make your partner read it. Leave it lying around so someone can steal it and find out they're okay too. I bought it in audio and in paper because I need them both. I'm on my third read. Seriously, read this book.
0

May 05, 2015

It’s hard not to love a book with a pseudo-vagina on the front; it’s even harder not to love that same book for smashing all the preconceived ideas we have about female (and by comparison, male) sexuality. Like, for example, did you know that the hymen as an indication of virginity is entirely a social construction and there is no scientific evidence backing it? Using actual, real science, Dr. Emily Nagoski – a speak-the-truth-and-only-the-truth sex educator/professor – breaks down all the It’s hard not to love a book with a pseudo-vagina on the front; it’s even harder not to love that same book for smashing all the preconceived ideas we have about female (and by comparison, male) sexuality. Like, for example, did you know that the hymen as an indication of virginity is entirely a social construction and there is no scientific evidence backing it? Using actual, real science, Dr. Emily Nagoski – a speak-the-truth-and-only-the-truth sex educator/professor – breaks down all the things we think we know about sex and desire and drive and, in the process, makes you feel like not are you normal, but we’re ALL normal. As she says over and over and over, “We’re all made up of the same basic parts, just organized differently.” In other words, there is no normal. This is a game changer of a human sexuality book – not just for women, who have always been told that men’s sexuality is the default (HINT: it’s not) – but for men who love women and don’t understand why the things that work for them, don’t work for women. Just….just go buy this. Buy this and read it and try not to be that weird person pushing a sex book on every single lady person you know. Because these are all lessons we need to learn. Better for us, better for everyone. — Rachel Manwill


from The Best Books We Read in April: http://bookriot.com/2015/05/01/riot-r... ...more
5

December 17, 2015

For All Women, and Those Who Love Women
You should only read this book if 1) you're a woman, or 2) you ever want to understand how to please a woman sexually.

The rest of you, go on, nothing to see here.

This books explains scientific concepts about arousal and orgasm in layman's language, and constantly reinforces the concept that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH US, That we all have the same parts, arranged differently. Some women easily orgasm from penetration, and it seems to be a function of where the clit is positioned in relation to the vagina, NOT inhibition or immaturity. Some women will never orgasm from penetration, and that's normal too.

It's all a matter of not just finding your turn-ons (your gas pedal) AND learning what steps on the brakes for you. And if there was one huge take-away from this for me, it was that wetness =/= arousal for women. We can be wet and not aroused. We can be aroused AND wet, or we can be aroused and not wet. Needing lube has NOTHING to do with being unwomanly. Need lube? USE lube. Make lube your best friend (because it is).

Lots of good anecdotal stories to illustrate the points of each chapter. I truly think every sexual person should read this. Repeatedly
5

April 10, 2018

Great Read for Myself as a Woman and a Counseling Clinician! This book does NOT disappoint!
Come As You Are has been the greatest book on sexuality that I have ever picked up! I am a clinical counseling graduate student and have found a fascination in human sexuality. This book is AMAZING!! Not only does it fulfil my “student” needs in regards to being able to learn from a clinical perspective, but it also fulfils my womanly/wifely needs too! Arousal and desire and the science behind those have been in interest of mine within my educational background. But it is rare for me to gain insight for my own personal needs! I didn’t expect to enjoy this book on a personal level and will FOREVER encourage my counseling clients to read this book as well if they are struggling with their sex lives.
Dr. Emily Nagoski is such a joy to read. Not only does she write using science and facts, but she gives such detail and simplistic terms that anyone can understand! Emily, a blog writer, covers so many great topics in this book that really detail the “Why’s” behind sexual arousal and desire. She covers many topics including emotions, mindfulness, attachment, and the science behind how the brain works! Her joyful writing style really makes this an easy read and is just so entertaining!
On a personal level, I really transformed my own feelings towards sexuality. Instead of being so clinical about my own feelings and emotions, I’m becoming more interested in finding what I enjoy about sex. Obviously, my husband isn’t complaining either 😊
Whether or not you have intimacy concerns or any type of sexual dysfunction, I truly believe that everyone can learn something about their own relationships and sexuality. This book is truly amazing and so enjoyable! I highly encourage you to read this one!
3

Nov 03, 2015

The information in this book is solid gold. A copy should be put in the hands of every person, ideally before they've had sexual contact with another person. But. BUT. The metaphors. Dear Lord, the metaphors. We have sexuality as an accelerator and brakes, sexuality as an overgrown garden, sexuality as a hot water heater, complex feelings as a sleeping hedgehog, sexual interest as a customers seeking a diner, sexual expectations as a touchy monitor tapping her fingernails, our brains as a flock The information in this book is solid gold. A copy should be put in the hands of every person, ideally before they've had sexual contact with another person. But. BUT. The metaphors. Dear Lord, the metaphors. We have sexuality as an accelerator and brakes, sexuality as an overgrown garden, sexuality as a hot water heater, complex feelings as a sleeping hedgehog, sexual interest as a customers seeking a diner, sexual expectations as a touchy monitor tapping her fingernails, our brains as a flock of birds, and SO MANY OTHERS I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER.

I understand and applaud what Nagoski is doing in terms of wanting to convey big complicated cognitive functions in more relatable prose. But it touches a nerve for me when writers anthropomorphize female sexuality. I find it infantilizing. I'm a big girl, just tell me what my brain is doing, I can read about chemicals and neurons and whatnot. I don't need to imagine my brain as a lion and my pelvis as a caveman or whatever other nonsense.

So 5 stars for the content, 4 stars for the chatty conversational writing style (which did not annoy me but will probably polarize some readers) and 1 star for the overworked metaphors. ...more
5

December 11, 2018

THE book on women's sexuality that every man should read
For the men out there who love women, here's a book that takes a lot of the mystery out of women's sexuality (We really wouldn't want to take ALL the mystery away, would we?). Emily Nagoski is a self-described "sex nerd" with the credentials, experience and writing chops to back up that claim. Guys, you're going to love this read.

Written specifically for women, "Come as You Are" offers a world of advice for women trying to navigate this sex-negative world we live in. But trust me, guys, you'll find more than enough information in there to improve your very own sexuality, too. And you can probably imagine that improving your own outlook on sex just might help the woman you love improve hers, too. Sex is a team sport, right?

Emily is spot on with her science, her psychology and her outlook. And she's funny as hell to boot. This is not just a good read; it's a good, fun, highly-educational read that should help all of us -- women and men -- get a lot more satisfaction out of our various love lives.
5

Jul 17, 2014

Come As You Are is absolutely the best book I've ever read, not just on sex, but on life and well being in general. Why read another book on sex? Because Emily describes how your brain and your life work together to create desire, and how to experience more pleasure, more joy, and more confidence with your relationships AND with sex.

But this isn't the usual sex book with lavish promises of ecstasy by learning detailed techniques of where to put this and how to put it there. Emily gives you Come As You Are is absolutely the best book I've ever read, not just on sex, but on life and well being in general. Why read another book on sex? Because Emily describes how your brain and your life work together to create desire, and how to experience more pleasure, more joy, and more confidence with your relationships AND with sex.

But this isn't the usual sex book with lavish promises of ecstasy by learning detailed techniques of where to put this and how to put it there. Emily gives you science that feels like a warm, soothing hug for all of the insecurities you've ever felt about your body, your sex, and your relationships, and then she describes how to apply science to your life so that you end up with the pleasure, joy and confidence.

To be honest, after finishing a draft of this book, I felt more peace and well being than I'd felt in about ten years, which is about when I started worrying about my body and sex. And it's because Emily is describing how your brain interprets stress and how your body responds because of that, how to actually manage stress without just trying to relax, and how you can create a life that your body will respond all kinds of YES to. Then add in science about how your brain works with goals, and what kind of goal you have around your sex life, and then you can appreciate how to work with the reality of your life and not just the fantasy of what you want your love life to be.

I've read Emily's blog for a couple years now, but the way she puts everything together and elaborates on all the science makes everything click in a way that feels reassuring and full of potential. I'm now reading parts of the draft again, and understanding even better how all of the elements work together to build joy and confidence and pleasure. It's truly beautiful.

Come As You Are is the most practical book I've ever read about sex, and with this book and Sheri Winston's Anatomy of Arousal, I would never have needed any other book on sex. And I bought hundreds. I'm also not the most sciencey person, and luckily, Emily explains really complicated concepts in an easy to apply way.

I really think this book could change our culture's whole idea of sexuality in a way that creates more pleasure for everyone. ...more
5

May 05, 2015

Books like this are why I LOVE non-fiction.

This should be required reading on female sexuality, both for those with vaginas and those who are interested in or love someone with a vagina. I mention the parts here because they ARE a big component of the book. This is a guide to how everyone has the same parts, rearranged differently, and it's our perception of that and relationship with that mentality that changes our feelings, perceptions, and experiences of sex itself.

Nagoski writes in an Books like this are why I LOVE non-fiction.

This should be required reading on female sexuality, both for those with vaginas and those who are interested in or love someone with a vagina. I mention the parts here because they ARE a big component of the book. This is a guide to how everyone has the same parts, rearranged differently, and it's our perception of that and relationship with that mentality that changes our feelings, perceptions, and experiences of sex itself.

Nagoski writes in an empowering, encouraging, fun, and yes, FUNNY, manner. I would hand this to every single woman I know.

For me, the biggest take away, the moment which took this from really good to outstanding, was her discussion on body image, on body weight, and how it is our culture plus some that screws us up so bad. In short, it's the patriarchy that smashes female desire, love, and interest in sex and in their own sexual beings and experiences. We accept male-as-default forgetting that also means women lose out over and over and over again.

Buy this one. Read it. Then pass it along. Seriously. It's THAT good. ...more
3

Jul 06, 2016

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life is a nonfiction, self-help book written by sex educator, researcher, and author Emily Nagoski. It educates about a variety of issues that impact women's sexuality, and while some of it got quite repetitive in my opinion and I didn't quite take away as much new information as I expected to, I'm glad I read it. My favorite part discussed how the model of sexual response is based entirely on how men work, and if women Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life is a nonfiction, self-help book written by sex educator, researcher, and author Emily Nagoski. It educates about a variety of issues that impact women's sexuality, and while some of it got quite repetitive in my opinion and I didn't quite take away as much new information as I expected to, I'm glad I read it. My favorite part discussed how the model of sexual response is based entirely on how men work, and if women fail to be like men, they are often not considered sexually normal. Any woman can tell you this isn't breaking news but I thought having a whole section themed with "you are normal, it's the world around you that's broken" was incredibly validating. I will forever and a day support women who choose the science field, and I have a high appreciation for Ms. Nagoski's reasons for writing this book in the first place. Check it out!

My favorite quote:
"When people ask me, "Am I normal?" They're asking, "Do I belong?" The answer is yes. You belong in your body. You belong in the world. You've belonged since the day you were born, this is your home. You don't have to earn it by conforming to some externally imposed sexual standard."

7/6/16: I'm actually super excited about this book. No shame ladies - learning is good! ...more
5

February 17, 2018

Clear, inspiring, informative, practical, a gift to humankind
Never written an Amazon review before. Writing one now... Oh! If I could give this book 150 stars instead of 5! It is a gift. A present. To everyone and anyone, whatever one's current or life-long or momentary pleasure, sexuality, sensuality, gender, or agenda may be. Liberating, breathtaking, conscientious, groundbreaking, informative (to say the least), written from the soul, wholeheartedly; it lifted me up, it made me cry. Every single one of the people I have bought this for has got back to me with 'This book is amazing. Amazing. It's changed my life". And yup, it changed mine.
5

Sep 27, 2015

Updating review: I wrote this review almost five years ago. I'm cringing at using "lady parts". I still stick to my five star review, it helped me open up a lot sexually. I still recommend it to everyone, whether you identify as man or woman.

Original review:
I picked up this book because I was interested in the science and emotion connecting woman’s sexuality without sounding like a text-book or a Cosmo article. This book doesn’t just talk about your lady parts, it celebrates them, a notion I’m Updating review: I wrote this review almost five years ago. I'm cringing at using "lady parts". I still stick to my five star review, it helped me open up a lot sexually. I still recommend it to everyone, whether you identify as man or woman.

Original review:
I picked up this book because I was interested in the science and emotion connecting woman’s sexuality without sounding like a text-book or a Cosmo article. This book doesn’t just talk about your lady parts, it celebrates them, a notion I’m not familiar with. I felt for the first time I got a glimpse of how I am as a woman and how my sexuality is connected to every part of life. I think every woman should read this book- if it will help a fellow reader understand their body better, it’s worth reading. Even if you don’t have sex, are a virgin, hate sex or have an amazing sex life, don’t let the title throw you off. It’s a book to celebrate the female body, and the emotions and sexuality involved.

I’ll admit I didn’t even want to add this book to “currently reading” list on Goodreads because I was embarrassed. There’s nothing embarrassing about being a 30-something year old healthy woman who enjoys sex but I just thought talking about sex was something shameful. If I had this book years ago, I can’t imagine the stress it would have saved me. Regardless if the topic of sex makes you blush or not, please read this book. ...more
3

Jan 11, 2019

For some women I have no doubt this would be a life-changing book. I definitely learned some cool stuff, things I am pissed that I did not know (because, patriarchy). But I guess I'm lucky enough that I don't really need the 'self-help' of this book to help with my sex life, and this aspect is really the meat of the book. Also, Nagoski acknowledges that the book is for and about cisgender women, so that omission didn't bother me (there isn't enough science about trans women or enby people), but For some women I have no doubt this would be a life-changing book. I definitely learned some cool stuff, things I am pissed that I did not know (because, patriarchy). But I guess I'm lucky enough that I don't really need the 'self-help' of this book to help with my sex life, and this aspect is really the meat of the book. Also, Nagoski acknowledges that the book is for and about cisgender women, so that omission didn't bother me (there isn't enough science about trans women or enby people), but I did still feel like it was suited for straight women in long term monogamous relationships, which Nagoski doesn't give a disclaimer for like she does the focus on cis women. The examples of lesbians didn't really feel like they were specific to those experiences and bi women don't come up at all. Single and poly women wouldn't get a lot out of this that would speak specifically to those experiences either, I don't think. Plus, the metaphors used to explain absolutely everything got to me after a while. ...more
2

Mar 06, 2015

2 stars - Meh. Just ok.

I love the concept behind this book and it started off very interesting and introduced several facts of which I was not previously aware. Unfortunately, it then became a long repetitive read with the bulk majority of the information being mostly common sense, and started to feel like a self-help book vs a nonfiction book on a fascinating topic. I found myself doing a lot of skimming on the back half wondering if there would be another interesting chapter coming up (like 2 stars - Meh. Just ok.

I love the concept behind this book and it started off very interesting and introduced several facts of which I was not previously aware. Unfortunately, it then became a long repetitive read with the bulk majority of the information being mostly common sense, and started to feel like a self-help book vs a nonfiction book on a fascinating topic. I found myself doing a lot of skimming on the back half wondering if there would be another interesting chapter coming up (like the start of the book), but the back 75% was rather dull for me. Worth a read if you feel clueless in this area.
-------------------------------------------
Favorite Quote: Women have cultural permission to criticize ourselves, but we are punished if we praise ourselves, if we dare to say that we like ourselves the way we are.

First Sentence: To be a sex educator is to be asked questions.
...more
5

Mar 14, 2015

This is a book that everyone would read!

While it is framed as a book for women, there are so few times when it is women specific that I really wish it was just framed as a book for people.

The most important topics covered in this book are:

How the media misinforms people as to what is normal for people's sex life (hint: everything is normal).

Nonconcordence - where peoples bodies and desires act in opposite ways, and why this can happen.

Responsive desire- Where rather than becoming aroused This is a book that everyone would read!

While it is framed as a book for women, there are so few times when it is women specific that I really wish it was just framed as a book for people.

The most important topics covered in this book are:

How the media misinforms people as to what is normal for people's sex life (hint: everything is normal).

Nonconcordence - where peoples bodies and desires act in opposite ways, and why this can happen.

Responsive desire- Where rather than becoming aroused seemingly out of the blue (known as spontaneous desire) about half of all people (and most women) only become aroused when they are given something sexy to react to.

The sexual brake system we have, where one part of our brain may go 'this is sexy, time to do the sexy thing' another part goes 'but what about the kids, people might see us, i have so much to do...'. Someone with strong brakes may need more work to turn them off and feel ready for sexy times than someone with weaker brakes.

Sex is not a drive!

...more
5

May 04, 2019

5/5 stars

A wonderful introduction to human sexuality - female specifically - and what it means to be human. Also a great introduction to sexual ethics, anatomy and feminist philosophy.
1

April 15, 2019

I really wanted to like this book
I can't even believe an author this intelligent thinks her readers are this stupid. It is supposed to be a scientific book on female sexual health. However, it reads like an extended blog post. She uses colloquial language throughout the entire thing, which was like nails on a chalkboard to me. She actually used the phrase "for realsy reals". Well, for realsy reals, if you want me to take you seriously, and not want to punch you, you'll talk to me like an adult and not a pre-teen. She also loves the phrase "feels" instead of "emotions". Really? The other super annoying thing about this book is that she constantly says "In the Next Chapter You'll Find Out!" It's supposed to be a scientific book, not clickbait.

All of this is a real shame, because she has a lot of very good information and teaches about sex in a way that is approachable. Unfortunately, she sails right on past "approachable" and goes straight to "condescending" and "infantile". I feel like she really could have made a book that should be on every female bedside if she just had a decent editor.

I had heard wonderful reviews about this book by the webcomic "Oh Joy Sex Toy" by Erika Moen - but honestly, you'll get a better experience just reading that comic which is delightful, smart, and informative (and free).

Another point - I listened to the audio version of this book and the reader was entirely too perky. I think if you want to read it, you're much better off getting the hard copy since there are quizzes and illustrations.
5

Apr 11, 2015

This book is so fantastic. I want to hand it out on the street. I want to buy a copy for every bridal shower I ever go to (for the bride AND groom). I want to buy two copies to save and give to my daughters one day. It's just great.

Emily Nagoski. Can we be friends please? She's such a wise, understanding, encouraging, inspiring scientist!

Her main ideas are that women's sexuality is not men's-sexuality-lite, that women approach sex (attraction, desire, arousal) differently and that's normal, This book is so fantastic. I want to hand it out on the street. I want to buy a copy for every bridal shower I ever go to (for the bride AND groom). I want to buy two copies to save and give to my daughters one day. It's just great.

Emily Nagoski. Can we be friends please? She's such a wise, understanding, encouraging, inspiring scientist!

Her main ideas are that women's sexuality is not men's-sexuality-lite, that women approach sex (attraction, desire, arousal) differently and that's normal, and also that women often approach things differently from other women - and that's normal! It's all about accepting yourself where you are and recognizing the ways that culture & media have told us lies about our bodies and sexuality. It's about being a whole person who is forgiving and patient and kind to herself in all areas of life - including sexuality.

I keep writing and then deleting this review so I'm just going to end it here w a quote.

"When people ask me "Am I normal?" They're asking, "Do I belong?" The answer is yes. You belong in your body. You belong in the world. You've belonged since the day you were born, this is your home. You don't have to earn by conforming to some externally imposed standard. ...You are normal. Beautiful. And as long as you're not experiencing pain, you're healthy. So when you notice yourself feeling dissatisfied with your sexuality, when you notice shame or frustration or grief, allow yourself to direct those feelings away from yourself and instead focus those emotions toward the culture that told you the wrong story." ...more
5

Mar 24, 2015

Everyone with a vagina or interested in interacting with a vagina needs to read this book!
5

November 10, 2018

A Book For All Women
Thank you so much, Emily. You have healed my broken heart!

This amazing scientific book (which did go over my head a little bit at times) showed me that I'm perfectly normal and wonderful just as I am. I understood myself for the first time. I'm not broken; I'm not "not enough". I just have sensitive brakes.

This book empowers women. There is so much in the media - magazines, TV, porn, romantic fiction, that gives false messages on women's sexuality. Everyone is buying into these lies (based on ignorance and thinking women are the same as men). It's making women believe they are messed up sexually, and making men less than loving and patient toward their partners. The book goes into almost every dynamic of issues (which are actually caused more by stress, low self-esteem and a misunderstanding of our brakes and accelerators than anything else) - you need to read it to understand.

I feel like Emily is a strong sister who has taken my hand and raised it up to the sky and shouted to the world that "She is enough".
2

Oct 03, 2015

This book reminds me why I hate reading self help books.
I listened an interview with the writer in a podcast and read couple of chapters and enjoyed it. However the remaining of the book is pretty disappointing. Writer thinks she is funny and she is not. And the style is mostly for teenagers. There are some useful information but it feels too redundant since she keeps repeating the same things over and over again. Some arguments are pretty fallacious.
I laughed out loud when she made an analogy This book reminds me why I hate reading self help books.
I listened an interview with the writer in a podcast and read couple of chapters and enjoyed it. However the remaining of the book is pretty disappointing. Writer thinks she is funny and she is not. And the style is mostly for teenagers. There are some useful information but it feels too redundant since she keeps repeating the same things over and over again. Some arguments are pretty fallacious.
I laughed out loud when she made an analogy on losing weight - removing your brain makes you lose 4 pounds of fat, or amputation would make your BMI go down. My laugh was not because she is funny but because of the ridiculous analogies she made.
And "Don't yuck others yum"?! Seriously sounds like a book for kindergarten kids. ...more
5

Dec 28, 2015

I just want to buy this book for every woman I know. No, every PERSON I know. Nagoski gives the explanation of female sexuality that I think most of us didn't get in health class or anywhere else really.

The subtitle is click-bait-y. I do think this book has the power to improve the sex lives of those who read it, but not because it's some kind of kinky how-to book. It can do this because it's a great explanation of how women's bodies work and how history and culture have done us a great I just want to buy this book for every woman I know. No, every PERSON I know. Nagoski gives the explanation of female sexuality that I think most of us didn't get in health class or anywhere else really.

The subtitle is click-bait-y. I do think this book has the power to improve the sex lives of those who read it, but not because it's some kind of kinky how-to book. It can do this because it's a great explanation of how women's bodies work and how history and culture have done us a great disservice through the myths they disseminate. Important for women and the people who love them.

Read it. Do it. You won't be sorry.
...more

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