Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Come Together by Emily Nagoski


Best-selling and award-winning author and educator Dr. Emily Nagoski did not initially plan to write about health and human sexuality. In a 2019 interview with Renee, she explained that she sought out volunteer work as an undergrad and stumbled into a position as a Peer Health Educator. Her job was to go into residence halls and talk about all things health and sexual health, including condoms, contraception and consent. Over time, she added in sexual assault prevention education and sexual assault crisis response. Nagoski found passion in this work, and went on to earn her Ph.D. in Health Behavior, with a focus on human sexuality. She took on a position at Smith College as Director of Wellness Education and began teaching a women’s sexuality course. She ran a popular blog for a while, called The Dirty Normal, where she learned a lot about what people don’t know about sexuality. 

Fast forward to 2015: after about five years of research and writing, Nagoski published Come As You Are, which explores the science of women’s sexual sexuality and wellbeing. The book focuses on the basics of sex education and thoroughly demystifies all preconceived notions most of us have about sexuality. (It’s high up on Yasi’s recommendations .)

Her newest book, Come Together: The Science (and Art!) of Creating Lasting Sexual Connections came out in January 2024 and expands on Come As You Are. In this book, Dr. Nagoski delves into the science that supports healthy sex in long term relationships. Just like in CAYA, you can expect accessible language and great examples to support Nagoski’s science-backed claims about human sexuality. 


Come Together is split into two parts: Pleasure is the Measure and Good Things Come. Nagoski spends the first part describing how couples can sustain a strong sexual connection over the long term. Contrary to what mainstream media would have us believe, meaningful sexual connections aren’t only about the physical! I learned so much about the mental and emotional intelligence that we as individuals, as well as people in partnerships, have to be attuned to. There are exercises and reflection questions to help delve into these very complex and nuanced areas. The second part focuses on applying the tools from part one to actual issues that can (and do) arise in long term relationships. Throughout the book, Dr. Nagoski provides so much information, tools, and support that make for a learning experience that is actually applicable to real life. 

I always appreciate a science-focused book with accessible language for all readers, especially the less science-y ones like myself. Come Together is a great blend of the technical nitty gritty balanced with less academic, more conversational explanations that help to cement understanding. From the inviting introduction to the tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) sections provided at the end of every chapter, it is possible to easily engage with the text.

Another plus for me were the examples provided. Dr. Nagoski shares from her own life experience, plus detailed examples from composite clients of varied cultures, beliefs, and sexual orientations. We love inclusivity!

My biggest takeaway from Come Together is that there is language for what I’m feeling!  Some of my emotions and thoughts, even the things I sometimes cannot put my finger on, can be scientifically explained and are all part of human sexual experience. Learning that, more than anything, is so fulfilling and only makes me wish I knew these things about myself in my younger adult years.

Final Thoughts

Come Together is for anyone who hasn’t actively sought to learn more about human sexuality and perhaps (without realizing) just relies on flawed and commonly-held views of sex. It is also for those who are in or are considering entering long-term sexual partnerships. This book makes me want to get on a rooftop and scream: “Look to science! And trust lived experiences!” 

In a nutshell, you’ve got to read this book. Fair warning: you’ll feel obligated to read with pencils, highlighters and sticky notes on hand!

P.S.- I was so excited (but not surprised) to see that Steph Auteri is mentioned in Come Together’s acknowledgement section! If this review wasn’t enough to get you to pick up this book, this fact should be, as Steph is our resident sex ed expert and founder of Guerilla Sex Ed.

Nina Garcia is a reader, reviewer, and devoted coffee drinker from Texas. When she’s not reading or watching Netflix, she is working on writing projects, including a middle grade novel. Favorite genres: anti-racist and intersectional feminist non-fiction, science fiction, horror, and contemporary with elements of fantasy.

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