porn stars read books about sex

presenting stoya and kayden kross

Photo courtesy of Stoya and Kayden Kross

Stoya and Kayden Kross are some of the industry's largest and best known porn performers, it is true, but they are sex educators, writers, women with thoughts we want to put on plates and then cover in syrup and eat, and mothers (one to a human child, one to two cat children). On top of that, they are entrepreneurs, having just launched the independent platform for individuals who are looking for more curated, aesthetically pleasing (and often humorous) sexual content called They also really like to read. So when we wanted to discuss what was turning us on (intellectually, of course), we knew these amazing gals were the perfect partners. Welcome to a new type of review: Porn stars reading books about sex.  

Today: Stoya reviews Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, PhD.

Hey, all! Today, I am going to talk about Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, PhD. She’s a sex educator and teaches Women’s Sexuality at a fancy college. In the introduction she says that most of the questions she hears really boil down to people wanting to know that they’re normal and that their sexuality is normal. There’s a really solid first chapter on anatomy of genital parts, with very clear illustrations by Erika Moen. (Aside: Erika illustrated the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee Porn 101 posters and, with her partner Matthew Nolan, makes She’s incredibly talented and just an awesome person.)

Emily Nagoski’s dual-control model—a brakes and accelerator metaphor for the various factors that can affect sexual desire—is genius. It uses science to explain why that thing happens where you’d like to have sex and maybe your body is all ready to go but you just can’t stop thinking about whether the stove is turned off or that one piece of mail that needs to be sent.

(By “you” I mean “some people” and “me sometimes.”)

And speaking of bodies being ready to go when brains aren’t, ‘Come As You Are’ also spends a whole chapter talking about arousal non-concordance—the technical term for when genitals respond but minds don’t—and the reasons why that happens.

The book focuses entirely on cis-women (people who were born with vulvas, assigned female at birth, raised as women, and identify as women) but does address Nagoski's reasons—mainly, simplicity while discussing an already complicated topic—for that choice. It also tends to default to discussion of sex as a thing that happens between two people in a long-term monogamous relationship, though she does briefly acknowledge other relationship styles and practices.
Overall though, the science seems pretty solid and Emily does a great job of presenting everything in a way that is easy to read and understand. So I’m glad I read it and would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about how their bodies and brains work together with regards to sex.