BOOKS: What Every Woman Needs on Her Bookshelf

Besides owning Our Bodies, Our Selves the classic all-purpose female guide to everything from sexuality to anatomy to STDS to pregnancy to birth control, here are a few other books I think every woman should keep on her bookshelf.

In Our Control: The Complete Guide to Contraceptive Choices for Women
by Laura Eldridge

I am such an adamant safe sex advocate that I carry my own condoms with me. Two years ago, a gynecologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggested that I consider getting an IUD inserted for birth control. I hadn’t heard much about IUDs and now I have one. Where have I gotten the most information about an IUD?. In Our Control: The Complete Guide to Contraceptive Choices for Women by women’s health writer Laura Eldridge provided me with detailed and enlightening information about the IUD. Eldridge covers the Pill, IUDs, Plan B [the morning after pill], HPV vaccinations and more. Women’s health– particularly women’s sexuality and contraception– is rarely addressed to the extent it should be.

In Our Control doesn’t read like a scientific article but a wise and thoroughly researched expose on all aspects of contraception. Eldridge writes in a practical, often conversational format which should appeal to readers at all interest levels. This fascinating book presents women with the information they need to consider the appropriate contraception for their bodies. Every woman is different and every form of contraception isn’t the right one for every woman. Eldridge delves into the pros and cons, the history, and some future thoughts and goals of the medical community, the Big Pharmas and government agencies.

by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim

Why is talking about menstruation a more taboo topic of discussion than sex, politics, and religion? Writer Elissa Stein and graphic designer Susan Kim have put together a beautiful and fact-filled book that explores menstruation from the early days to today. FLOW examines such fascinating topics as: ancient practices done on women to combat hormonal changes and moods; “hysteria;” PMS; various names for menstruating world-wide [people are really hung up on not saying period or menstruation]; sex during one’s period; advertising; society’s avoidance of the subject; society’s way to make women feel unclean or gross by having their periods [the use of words such as “feminine hygiene” and “feminine protection”]; why women even menstruate and much more. FLOW is irreverent, sarcastic, fun and informative,

Facts I learned from FLOW:

• A woman sheds up to 40 quarts of blood, mucus, and tissue in her lifetime of menstruating.

• PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) labeled a mental disorder by American Psychiatric Association.

• The National Health Service lists over 150 symptoms of PMS including: bloating, feeling irritable and bad tempered, mood swings, backache, insomnia, breast tenderness, food cravings, headaches, panic attacks, muscle aches and appetite changes.

• Most tampons contain bleach and traces of dioxin.

• Worldwide, 100 million women are on the pill and leftover estrogen secreted winds up in nation’s rivers/streams [me: unhealthy and gross!].

• “Those impressive clumps found in one’s flow aren’t actually congealed blood, but bits of uterine tissue from those top two endometrial layers.”

The Female Brain
by Luann Brizendine, M.D.

There IS a difference between male and female brains and the scientific research has been done to back that up. The Female Brain contains a plethora of information.

Facts I Learned from The Female Brain:

• The principal hub of both emotion and memory formation—the hippocampus—is larger in the female brain, as is the brain circuitry for language and observing emotions in others. This means that women are, on average, better at expressing emotions and remembering the details of emotional events.

• If you’re a girl, you’ve been programmed to make sure you keep social harmony.

• In short-term couplings, for example, men are chasers and women are choosers.

• Many sex therapists say that, for women, foreplay is everything that happens in the twenty-four hours proceeding penile insertion. For men, it’s everything that happens three minutes before.

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