Between the sheets: top 10 most provocative books out this month

The best books on sex, sexuality, and gender (re)released this August.

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The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys (8/13/2013, Cleis Press)
by Violet Blue

Publisher's Description: Violet Blue leads readers through the maze of sex toys on the market, explaining the many options available, including different materials, care and cleaning, and how to see through exaggerated marketing claims. Along the way Violet offers tips on creative usage and ideas for introducing sex toys to a relationship: how to ask your boyfriend to use the blindfold in your bedside drawer or how to surprise your wife with a saucy gift without getting your face slapped (unless that was the point). But why stop with the basics? Care to enact a threesome fantasy with two people? Set up the sexiest lighting for a webcam show? Dream of owning a steel cage dining table for captivating dinner parties?

The Business of Sex (8/15/2013, Zubaan Books)
Edited by Laxmi Murthy

Publisher's Description: Moving beyond the traditional feminist focus on slavery and trafficking, HIV/AIDS, and other health issues, the contributors to this volume engage fully with the political and theoretical implications of sex work. Dismissing old antagonisms, they argue that feminism—thanks to its role in revolutionizing perspectives on sexuality and labor—is a natural ally for the sex workers’ rights movement. In the process, these innovative scholars provocatively critique the dominant moral paradigm of heterosexual monogamy, which has created a pervasive “victim” discourse and limited our understanding of sex work’s complex realities. Drawing on first-hand stories of sex workers and prostitutes, this volume gives voice to newly articulated movements such as “whore feminism” and “queer feminism”—feminisms that have the potential to move discussions about sex work onto new and fruitful terrain.

The Art of Sleeping Alone: Why One French Woman Suddenly Gave Up Sex (8/13/2013, Scribner)
by Sophie Fontanel

Publisher's Description: At the age of twenty-seven, after many years of having (and, for the most part, enjoying) an active sex life, beloved French author, journalist, editor, and fashion blogger Sophie Fontanel decided she wanted to take a break. Despite having it all—a glamorous job, plenty of dates and boyfriends, stylish clothes, and endless parties to attend—she still wasn’t happy, and found herself wanting more. She chose to give up her sex life, and in so doing shocked all of her friends and colleagues. What she discovers about herself is truly liberating and raises a number of questions about the expectations of the society in which we live. As she experiences being the only non-coupled one at dinner parties, weekend getaways, and summer vacations, she muses inspiringly on what it means to find happiness and fulfillment alone.

The Little Black Book of Sex Positions (8/6/2013, Skyhorse Publishing)
by Dan Baritchi

Publisher's Description: A handy little pocket guide that details hundreds of sexy moves. The positions offered here are the next best thing to having an experienced partner right by your side . . . or behind, or face-to-face. If your rolls in the hay have become a bit ho-hum, or if you just want to expand your spicy repertoire, this hot little how-to will having you flexing muscles you never knew you had with sexy positions you’ve always wanted to try like the YMCA, Forbidden Fruit, Pirate’s Bounty, Rodeo, Deep Impact, and much more.

The Poetics of Eros in Ancient Greece (8/18/2013, Princeton University Press)
by Claude Calame

Publisher's Description: The Poetics of Eros in Ancient Greece offers the first comprehensive inquiry into the deity of sexual love, a power that permeated daily Greek life. Avoiding Foucault's philosophical paradigm of dominance/submission, Claude Calame uses an anthropological and linguistic approach to re-create indigenous categories of erotic love. He maintains that Eros, the joyful companion of Aphrodite, was a divine figure around which poets constructed a physiology of desire that functioned in specific ways within a network of social relations. Calame begins by showing how poetry and iconography gave a rich variety of expression to the concept of Eros, then delivers a history of the deity's roles within social and political institutions, and concludes with a discussion of an Eros-centered metaphysics.

Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture (8/19/2013, Wiley, John & Sons)
by Marilyn B. Skinner

Publisher's Description: Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture is the first comprehensive survey of ancient Greek and Roman Sexuality. Drawing on literary artistic and archaeological evidence as well as on scholarly sources, it covers a wide range of subjects including Greek pederasty and the symposium, ancient prostitution, women in Latin love elegy, and the public regulation or sexual behavior. Different class and gender perspectives are taken into account as far as they can be recovered.

Down and Dirty: 69 Super Sexy Short-Shorts (8/13/2013, Cleis Press)
by Alison Tyler (Editor)

Publisher's Description: On a mission to provide something scintillating for every erotic desire, Ms. Tyler has included stories about sexy spankings, bondage, menages, fetishes, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and much much more. Down and Dirty, showcases salacious sex writers including Thomas S. Roche, M. Christian, Sage Vivant, N. T. Morley, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Jamie Joy Gatto, and many more.

Dark Secret Love: A Story of Submission (8/13/2013, Cleis Press)
by Alison Tyler

Publisher's Description: A modern-day Story of O, a 9 1/2 Weeks-style journey fueled by lust, longing and the search for true love. Inspired by her BDSM lifestyle and based on her private diaries, Tyler draws on her twenty-five years' experience penning sultry stories to create a scorchingly hot work of autobiographical fiction, a meta-novel with reality at the core. Take a deep breath and get your safe word handy. Alison Tyler will push your boundaries to their limits—and have you begging for more.

Making Sense of Sex: Attitudes towards Sexuality in Early Jewish and Christian Literature (8/15/2013)
by William Loader

Publisher's Description: This book is about listening to what writers were saying about sex in early Judaism and Christianity — ancient words surprisingly relevant for today. It functions as both a summary and a conclusion to William Loader's five previous books on sexuality in a form accessible to those who may not have a background knowledge of early Judaism and Christianity. In examining thoroughly all the relevant writings and related evidence of the Greco-Roman period, Loader dialogues with scholarship related to each writing in order to make his conclusions as objective as possible.

Baby Got Back: Anal Erotica (8/2013, Cleis Press)
Edited by Rachel Krammer Bussel

Publisher's Description: Whether you love anal sex or have never tried it, Baby Got Back, edited by award-winning author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, offers a peek at what happens when men and women check their inhibitions at the door. You'll find bend over boyfriends, butt plugs, "A Taste of Jamaica" and "Body Heat." In "Rectified," when Lela gets bored with every sex position out there, Brad arrives to teach her about one she learns is everything she'd hoped for and more. In "Delivery," Lynn takes a break from a Vegas bachelorette party so Wesley can show her a very good time. Whether exploring a new side of backdoor pleasure or affirming their passion for this sometimes taboo activity, the characters in this book savor every moment. 

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