Our pop culture gives terrible relationship advice. That makes it very hard to figure out what we want for ourselves. Sex From Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship Rules is a book of smart relationship advice from real people. This book's 10 chapters sum up what dozens of diverse folks have learned the hard way over time, and is full of life advice from people making open relationships work to people who’ve decided they’re never going to have kids.
With contributions from Bitch Media cofounder Andi Zeisler, Betty Dodson, Tracy Clark-Flory, Aya de Leon, Michelle Tea, Wendy-O Matik, Tristan Taormino, Tomas Moniz, Stu Rasmussen, and Erika Moen, this is an essential, fun, insightful resource for anyone in any type of relationship. Sex from Scratch was published in August 2014 by Microcosm Publishing. Sex from Scratch sold out its first print run and is now headed into its second edition—due out in 2018!
The last chapter of the book deals with break-ups and knowing when to split. I turned the advice from that chapter into a helpful comic: The Break-Up Action Plan.
Reviews of Sex from Scratch:
• Listen to Oregon Public Broadcasting's discussion of Navigating Non-Monogamy, which features me and interviewee Erika Moen talking about the ins-and-outs of open relationships.
• I also talked about Sex from Scratch and open relationship skills with the Multiamory podcast. Listen in!
Review from Kia Groom at Quaint magazine:
And at it’s core, this is what Sex from Scratch does best: it deliberately flies in the face of standard self-help texts, offering perspectives from experienced, intelligent individuals who give the reader license to buck the mainstream narrative: is it okay to be childless? Mirk says yes, of course! Is it okay not to get married? Yes! Is it okay to choose to get married as a feminist, despite the institution’s history? Yes! Multiple partners? Go for it! Sexless monogamy? Whatever works for you! If this sounds wishy-washy, think again: Sex from Scratch puts the onus on the reader to do the work and establish their own relationship rules–think of it as a workbook for emotional, sexual, and romantic fulfillment. Who could ask for more?
Review by Eleanor Bader at TruthOut:
Her contention that monogamy is right for some but not all is refreshing, as is her personal honesty. There are no one-size-fits-all remedies here, and no sure-fire recipes for snagging – or for that matter finding – the companions of our dreams. This makes the book realistic, smart and helpful. Its wisdom will be of great benefit to teenagers and young adults who are trying to figure out dating, sexual attraction and, well, sexuality itself. Of course, conservatives and the religious right will go ballistic if schools hand out copies, but if educators really want an informed student body, they will confront the backlash and make Sex from Scratch an integral part of the sex ed curriculum.
Review by Glenn Fleishman at BoingBoing:
Sex from Scratch is a map of the territory and a set of potential paths to take for people who find themselves figuring out what they want from relationships with another or multiple other people when they don’t subscribe to the strictures of religion or vague societal values of what’s “right.” Many people feel lost when it comes to what they want, how to communicate it, and how to know when they’ve arrived at their destination. Sarah’s book will help.
Featured on Bustle's 13 Contemporary Feminist Books to Build a Fantastically Empowering Reading List:
Whether you need tips for dividing household chores in fair and feminist ways, for building trusting and honest non-monogamous relationships, for finding the words to tell your family you never want to be a mother, or for discussing gender identity with partners, you’ll find thoughtful suggestions in these pages.