Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski Book Summary – Review


Say that a genie arrives and proposes you a deal: you will have the money you desire on one condition: your sex life doesn’t improve any more than it is now. Would you be willing to accept the offer straight away? Or would you really have to think about it for a while?

It’s possible that you’re not completely pleased with your current sex life. In this instance, getting to know your sexuality will be quite beneficial. This is when these chapters come into play. They’ll discuss how context may help or hinder sexual pleasure, based on scientific evidence. You’ll discover why people have such a wide range of sexual desires – and why there’s no need to be obsessed with orgasms (or lack of them).

You’ll also learn in this overview

  • why male and female sexual organs aren’t as unlike as you may believe;
  • how seeing a lion may ruin your sexual adventures (unless you’re a lion too); and
  • Why not reading women’s magazines will improve your sex life. 

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Chapter 1 – Every person has their own sexual anatomy, which is made up of comparable but distinct components.


Have you ever pondered the origins of men’s nipples? For women, this physical trait has a clear purpose: to nurture their kids. When it comes to males, though, nipples appear to serve no role. Why do males have them, then?

Because every human being is born with the same basic bodily components, these parts just organize themselves differently from one individual to the next. This is referred to as homology.

Boys, girls, and those in between, for example, have equivalent genital tissue as fetuses. Actually, it’s hard to tell the difference between them until the first six weeks of pregnancy.



The genital substance is comprised of the same delicate tissue that is sensitive to stimulation in all situations. This explains why males have nipples: all people begin with the same fundamental components, and because women require nipples, men get them as well.

However, the distinctions aren’t limited to male and female sexual organs. In truth, every woman has her own set of genitals, which are natural and attractive. Vaginas are often digitally remastered in erotic movies to make the lips, or labia, barely apparent. People may have false expectations of what a vagina should look like as a result of this.

Keep in mind that various vaginal sizes and hues are normal as long as they do not cause pain. The same may be said for the clitoris. This part of the body can be as little as a pea or as large as a tiny pickle.


Chapter 2 – Everyone has a distinct sexual personality that influences their requirements.


Laurie, one of the author’s patients, wasn’t interested in having sex with her husband after childbirth. She did, however, enjoy using a vibrator and began to suspect that something was off with her unwillingness for sex.

Was there anyone there?

Not at all, and here’s why:

The human mind possesses a sexual gas pedal that is triggered by sexual stimulation, as well as sexual brakes that are activated when danger is detected. Any sensory input, such as a scent, a sound, or a thought, might signal your brain that sex is not really a good option. Your brain slams on the sexual brakes, causing you to exclaim, “Not tonight, darling.”

In reality, the most prevalent reason for sexual difficulties is a neurological system with readily activated brakes. In a 2008 study of 226 females, researchers discovered that those who were only aroused in ideal situations or who were anxious about being sluggish to become excited were far more likely to have sexual difficulties.



However, each person’s sexual brakes and accelerators are sensitive in various ways, resulting in a unique sexual character. Camilla, for example, was a patient of the author whose sex drive was extremely low – but not because she was worried about sex or because she felt insecure with her partner. Simply, it wasn’t her sexual brakes that were the problem.

Camilla, on the other hand, would not feel excitement while gazing at her lover, or even in sexual circumstances or dreams.

What is the issue?

Camilla has a sluggish gas pedal. This implies she doesn’t react to sexual stimulation as quickly as most people do; instead, she requires a lot of time and care to feel excited about sex.


Chapter 3 – When it comes to sex, context is everything, particularly if you’re a female.


If this seems familiar, it’s because it is: two individuals meet, fall in love, and spend the next six months in a frenzied frenzy. However, the excitement wears off after a while, and they become less and less enthusiastic. The fires of their desire are a mere flicker at the conclusion of their second year together.

Thus, after a given amount of time dating, are humans expected to cease having sex?

Certainly not. However, the context in which a feeling happens has much to do with whether it feels sensual or just simply irritating. The passage of time is the context in the example above.

What if your lover tickles you when you’re in a sexual mood? An activity like this would likely be pleasant or thrilling. Untimely tickling might make you angry if you were attempting to concentrate on anything or accomplish a difficult activity.

However, the same experience might elicit completely different responses depending on the context. Sexting occurs as a result of these different mental states.



The truth is, anything can be sexy if the atmosphere is appropriate. So, in one experiment, a tiny probe was placed deep into the brain, in the nucleus accumbens.

To activate the nucleus’s upper portion, the investigator inserted a probe into a neutral environment, and the rat responded by investigating its surroundings with curiosity. In response to activation of the lower nucleus, the rat began to display avoidance behaviors.

There was one exception, though, and that was when the rat was in an environment that is deemed extremely pleasant, with good scents and no lighting, regardless of whether the region of the nucleus was activated.

The same is true for people as well. If you’re in a secure, calm, and sensual environment, even getting whipped may be hot.


Chapter 4 – Your sexual encounter will be ruined if you are under stress.


Let’s say you’re at your workplace and you’re racing down the corridor. If you’re with a partner, then you’re looking for the easiest way to get into one another’s trousers. You’re abruptly confronted with the icy, reprimanding gaze of your supervisor as you round the corner.

As a result of this unpleasant meeting, you’re probably not in the mood to go out with your friends anymore.

Stress makes sex unattractive. Even worse is that there’s no way to short-circuit your body’s response to stress. An animal’s options are restricted when it’s being chased by a lion: it may either escape, fight or pretend to be dead.

If the animal selects the last choice and survives, it’ll continue to endure bodily tremors and spasms long after the lion has disappeared from the scene of the crime. As the stress reaction cycle comes to an end, the animal’s body exhibits these signs.

People aren’t typically attacked by lions, but the stress of job and family or relationships can cause your body to react as though it is. The result is that you should never try to have sex when you are anxious since you won’t enjoy it until the stress cycle is through.



However, how can this be achieved?

An excellent technique to relieve stress is to exercise. Sleep, love, resting, and even shouting are other effective ways to reduce tension.

When it comes to sexual trauma, things get a little more difficult. As a matter of fact, such people tend to feel intimidated in sexually heated scenarios. Almost one in five women has been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, according to a World Health Organization survey.

Traumatic events cause a stress reaction comparable to that of a frozen animal pretending to be dead, which means the healing process might take a long time. In the meanwhile, the brain will regard nearly any sexual interaction as dangerous.

In times like this, practicing mindfulness, or approaching the present without judgment, can be beneficial in calming down.


Chapter 5 – If we let it, pop culture may destroy our sexual life.


When it comes to fashion publications and celebrity-obsessed tabloids, you’re not alone. Although pop culture is ubiquitous, it frequently sends us messages that endanger our sexual life.

When it comes to making individuals feel inferior in the bedroom, the media plays a major influence. Women’s bodies, for example, are presented in patently unrealistic ways on a daily basis. With the capacity to digitally remove or enhance everything that doesn’t fit into a very limited notion of beauty, certain model types create a standard that makes regular women feel anger and contempt all of the time.

Incorrect representation of women’s appearance is not the only problem. The media also works hard to persuade women that they should experience and appreciate every sort of orgasm, sexual position, and wicked game that exists in order to be truly happy. According to the stereotypes of the time, women who don’t do these things are labeled as “cold-blooded prudes,” while those who do are labeled as “slutty.”



From elevating simultaneous orgasm to the peak of sexual pleasure to suggesting that it’s abnormal to not desire sex every now and then, the way women’s sexuality is portrayed in the media is completely wrong.

So, how can you get rid of these harmful effects from your sexual life?

Start by letting go of the publications and focusing on your own uniqueness instead. So, in 2012, experts reviewed the previous 20 years of study on how a person’s sexual life is affected by appreciating his or her own physical appearance. People’s self-image has an enormous influence on every aspect of sexual activity, from arousal to desire and even climax, as well as on their willingness to take risks and their pain tolerance during intercourse.

That’s why it’s so important to be nice to yourself, to appreciate your body, and to confront any emotions of self-doubt.


Chapter 6 – The fact that your genitals are reacting does not imply that you’re aroused


Getting your partner’s attention is one of the most gratifying aspects of sex. In the end, it’s wonderful praise to receive from someone. If your spouse is genuinely aroused, though, how can you tell for sure

For women, genital reactions aren’t generally an accurate reflection of how a person is feeling. Several studies have shown that watching pornographic movies increases blood flow to the genitals of both sexes.

The men and women were instructed to spin a dial to indicate how aroused they felt at any particular time while watching the films. Men had a 50 percent correlation between their degree of arousal and the firmness of their erection. However, for women, the connection between vaginal blood flow and arousal was less than ten percent!

Therefore, the easiest method to determine if a lady is turned on is to just ask her. In reality, a woman’s vaginal reaction only signals that a stimulus is sexually relevant, not necessarily attractive.



One of the author’s patients, for example, engaged in sadomasochistic behavior with her spouse. The patient’s boyfriend tied her up and pushed her vagina against a bar before leaving her alone for a time. She became bored and told him she wasn’t interested when he returned.

He was perplexed and inquired as to why she was so drenched if she didn’t enjoy it. Although the stimulation of her genitals was sexually significant, she didn’t seem to appreciate it.

While the link between erections and arousal is stronger in men, it is still only 50% of the time and differs considerably from man to man. Men who encounter a rape, for example, may have an erection yet not be at all excited by the scenario. Therefore, while men may feel embarrassed when they grow erect in such situations, there is nothing wrong with it.


Chapter 7 – It’s perfectly natural not to feel any sexual desire at all, and the concept of a sex drive is fiction.


Do you sometimes get the feeling that your spouse advances a little too rapidly in the bedroom, perhaps grabbing at your genitals when you’d rather simply kiss each other? Or perhaps you’d want to start with a lovely meal and a deep emotional chat before moving on to intercourse.

This is a perfectly natural sensation, and the urge isn’t spontaneous, but rather responsive, especially in women. In reality, according to a number of sex studies, around 30% of women and 5% of males exhibit desire responsiveness. So, unlike other individuals, these people do not develop sexual desire spontaneously; instead, they develop a desire for sex after intimate, emotional things have been developing for a while. As a result, unlike other individuals for whom sexual desire arises spontaneously, these people only want sex after intimate, emotional things have been developing for some time.

For example, Henry and Camilla, two of the author’s patients, found this information to be completely surprising. First, Henry felt uncomfortable approaching Camilla if she wasn’t already in the mood. Their sex relationship was resurrected after they learned they just had varying levels and that he could assist her to get to hers through calm, sensuous foreplay and a common understanding that they chose not to make love.



As a result of all of this, sexual desire isn’t really a drive in the sense that many people think it is; it’s more of an According to one of the most common fallacies about sexuality, it is a biological need for the life of the organism.

Hunger, on the other hand, is a basic animal instinct. A systematized approach to ensure your existence by motivating you to consume. Sex, on the other hand, is a different matter. Anyone who does not engage in sexual activity will not suffer the same fate as those who do engage in sexual activity. Though it might be irritating when you can’t get sex when you want, it’s still something you desire, not something you need.


Chapter 8 – Don’t worry if your orgasm is different from everyone else’s because they are all unique. 


Have you ever gone on vacation and found yourself in a bad mood? It’s natural to become worried in this scenario because if you’re not feeling well over the holidays, how will you feel when you return to work?

Orgasms, on the other hand, can be similar in that individuals often worry about them excessively. When it comes to the reasons women seek sexual therapy, fear of orgasms, or a lack of orgasms, is second only to a lack of desire.

According to studies, 5 to 15% of women experience similar discomfort.

How so?

The majority of orgasm-related difficulties are caused by overactive sexual brakes or a sensitive sex inhibitory system. The trouble is that worrying or being angry about climaxing causes your brain to slam on the brakes even harder, creating a vicious cycle.

However, there are as many different forms of orgasm as there are women on the globe. Many women, for example, can achieve orgasm by masturbating but not during vaginal intercourse. They may feel bad about it since popular culture dictates that orgasms should take place during vaginal intercourse.



Orgasm, on the other hand, has nothing to do with procreation and is solely about pleasure. Since it does not stimulate the clitoris, the most responsive female sexual organ, intercourse frequently fails to induce a vaginal orgasm. Furthermore, the distance between the clitoris and the urethra typically determines a woman’s ability to orgasm during vaginal penetration.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that an orgasm is more than simply a bodily sensation. For instance, no clear link was discovered between the strength of an orgasm and the genital reactions commonly associated with orgasms in research in which women masturbated till orgasm in a lab environment.


Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski Book Review


Each person’s sexuality is physically, physiologically, and culturally distinct. To comprehend yours, you must first love yourself, your body, and embrace all of your wants as natural – even if they go against what fashion magazines suggest.


Examine your vaginal area carefully.

Get a mirror and take a good look at your vagina if you haven’t before. Discover your clitoris and rejoice in it. Make a list of everything you like about what you see and dismiss anything you don’t. Repeat this technique until you’re satisfied with your genitals, then go on to the remainder of your body.

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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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