I think that we can all agree that friends aren’t the most trusted sources when it comes to love, dating, and relationship advice. Remember that time Dave told you to just be patient and something good will fall into your lap? Then you spent your entire life waiting and died an empty man with nothing but a pile of sticky street cats in your lap. While this hypothetical scenario hasn’t happened to you –and most likely never will- there are reasons why that’s so. Instead of heeding the armchair advice of friends that are no more successful at love than you are, you consult the sage advice of experts.
Apart from maybe WWII, no other subject has been so vigorously written about than has human attraction. That being the case there are a fair number of non-fiction books pertaining to love that are pure garbage. I’ve read through the muck to find the best books about love, dating, and relationships that’ll help you improve your social relationships. In no exact order, here they are.
The State Of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity – Esther Perel
Blaming the cheater is automatic. Vows were exchanged and oaths to never stray were sworn. So when the doting husband is found out to have been sneaking off for after-work escapades with a co-worker, he’s labeled a monster. The rationale for the blame seems straightforward, but not to Esther Perel.
Perel is a psychotherapist that uses experiences from her profession and pertinent literature to unearth why people cheat. Through her discourse readers are provided a more well rounded understanding of what brings cheaters to stray and asks if they’re always deserving of the blame. Perel is a widely celebrated author in all things love-related. The State of Affairs is her most recent book and has received nearly 4,000 reviews on Goodreads, giving her book an average rating of 4.33 stars. There are only a handful of other books that have been rated so highly on the website. She also has a couple TED talks that are worth checking out.
Sex At Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins Of Modern Sexuality – Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha
How natural is marriage, what can we learn from bonobos, and why do some women yell out in ecstasy when they have sex? These questions along with various myths are debunked and challenged in this eye-opening piece of non-fiction. The husband-wife power couple dig through our past to figure out how sexuality has changed over the years. The question that pops up throughout the book is: is contemporary sexuality normal? In short, the authors always circle back to the point that humans have lived in fierce egalitarian societies for much of our existence and are accustomed to sharing everything; including sex partners. Society has pushed us away from these natural urges and now we’re trying to cope, but failing.
The Mathematics Of Love: Patterns, Proofs, And The Search For The Ultimate Equation – Hannah Fry
Unlike the other authors that appear on this list, Hannah Fry isn’t a psychotherapist, psychologist, or anthropologist. Her findings are informed by hard science. In truly nerdy fashion Dr. Fry uses mathematical models to figure out how to get ahead of the competition and find a mate. The golden ration, regression analysis, and the Gale-Shapley algorithm have all been romanticized as they help explain how to appear attractive to potential suitors. If you’re into data and short reads (128 pages) this “nerd’s guide to love” is a perfect read for you. Like the previous author, Dr. Hanna Fry also has graced the TED stage.
Why We Love: The Nature And Chemistry Of Romantic Love – Helen Fisher
Author Doctor Helen Fisher is a human behavior researcher at the Rutgers University and leading love guru. Fisher has consulted various online dating companies and has written extensively on human attraction. Why We Love is a primer for what’s going on in the brain while we’re in love. She provides the scientific reasoning for the oft-repeated pop lyrics, “your love is like a drug.”
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love – Amir Levine
Have you found it difficult to let a relationship go even when you know it’s unhealthy for you? Attached applies attachment theory to romantic relationships to figure out how and why certain types of relationships are created. The neuroscientist, Amir Levine, breaks down romantic relationships into three different categories: anxious, avoidant, and secure.
This book helps readers determine which attachment style they adhere to. Once you’re aware of how you act within a romantic relationship you’ll be equipped with the tools to change unhealthy attachment. Your new dating coach, Emyli recommends that every client read this in order to enrich their dating experiences and romantic relationships.
She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide To Pleasuring A Woman – Ian Kerner
Women’s equality is on the rise. But this newfound sense of liberation isn’t limited to the workplace. The pay-gap has lessened but the orgasm gap is still as vast as ever. In a survey published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior that received answers from 52,000 Americans, researchers from Chapman University found that 95% of heterosexual men usually-or-always orgasm compared to just 65% of women.
Is it just more difficult for women to orgasm than men? Not according to the study. 86% of lesbians marked that they usually-to-always orgasm. The issue is that men both don’t pay enough attention to women’s needs or know how to pleasure them. She Comes First makes men appreciate the awesomeness of the female orgasm. It also provides a specific roadmap to pleasuring a woman. The book doesn’t focus on vaginal penetration, but instead gives much needed attention to oral sex. Read it, take notes, and apply what you’ve learned. Not only will you be able to make a women croon, but you’ll keep her coming back for more. Just use your newfound powers wisely.
How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie
The book that was initially released in 1936 still remains pertinent today. It has sold over 15 million copies worldwide and is a must-read for business leaders, socially awkward teenagers, and those in search of love. Despite the sinister title, Carnagie’s teachings are not at all evil.
He doesn’t teach readers malevolent Jedi mind tricks to force any stranger to become your friend. Rather, he expounds fundamental techniques that any person can use that will help generate positive feelings between you and another person. Who would have thought that not criticizing, listening in earnest, and thoughtfully responding to another person could help you build a meaningful relationship. It doesn’t matter that this world-renown book wasn’t written with love-seekers in mind. Its practices can be applied to anyone looking to create more meaningful social relationships.
Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari
That’s right, the dude from Parks & Recs penned a non-fiction book about romance in the modern age. A lot has changed since our parents began dating. Accompanied by Professor of Sociology at NYU, Eric Klinenberg and Aziz Ansari chronicle how dating has changed since the early 20th century. The pair designed a research project that took to interviewing thousands of people from across the globe in the attempt to get a grasp on dating in the modern world. If online dating and trends like ghosting have got you a bit flummoxed, this book will help you shine some light on the murky landscape of contemporary dating.
The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, And The Science Of Attraction – Larry Young
From the outside, love can look like many things. Perhaps it’s deciding to put your career on hold because your significant other just got a job in another country. Maybe love is going to a gymnastics event not because you love the sport, but because you just like spending time with that girl you met on Hinge. This is what love looks like on the outside.
But inside your brain a different type of fireworks are being set off. By juxtaposing real life stories and brain chemistry, Larry Young is able to give us a side-by-side comparison of how love manifests itself internally and externally. It’s controversial, raunchy, and enlightening. It’s even compelling enough to warrant not swiping for a second in order to give it a read.
Mating In Captivity: Reconciling The Erotic And The Domestic – Esther Perel
Whether you believe that monogamous relationships are natural or not, many of us still abide by this socially acceptable sexual norm. Perel makes her second appearance on this list because she helps readers maintain a sexual spark in monogamous relationships. The chief reason marriages come to a close is because one partner decides to enter into an extramarital affair. Drawing from case studies, discussions, and studies Perel presents monogamous partners with ways in which they can maintain a sexual desire even when Mating In Captivity.
Getting intimate with the folds of the best books about love will do your dating life some good. But at some point you’re going to have to get out there and do a little field research for yourself. If you are still craving sage words from a dating and early-relationship maven, book a 1-on-1 Skype session with Emyli.