Compiled by Steve and Janet Ray

By providing these resources I am not endorsing everything in the books. We have found all of them to be helpful in various ways. The non-Catholic books should be used with discretion.

C – Catholic           P – Protestant          S – Secular

Though all books below are recommended as helpful, some of them may not adhere fully to Catholic moral teaching. As with all books, read with discernment.

Steve Ray’s Talks: “Men, Marriage, Sex & Heaven“ and “Grace-ful Parenting: Raising a Catholic Family” for purchase.

Romance and Communication

* Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus (S) by John Gray (Harper Collins Publ., 1993). On audio tape also, click here. This is a good book to understand the differences between men and women and how they can communicate and understand each other.

Mars and Venus in the Bedroom: A Guide to Lasting Romance and Passion (S) by John Gray (New York, NY: HarperPerennial, 1997). On audio tape, click here. A good book to help understand the differences in the sexual nature and response of men and women and how to work together for mutually satisfying intimacy.

101 Nights of Grrreat Romance (S) by Laura Corn (Los Angeles: Park Avenue Publ., 1996). This book is a lot of fun and very practical. Activities for “His Eyes only” and “Her Eyes only.” Fun “dates” to tear out of the book and set up weekly, monthly or as you desire. Great ways for husbands to romance their wives and for wives to romance their husbands.

The Married Guy’s Guide to Great Sex: Building a Passionate, Intimate, and Fun Love Life (P) Cliffard and Joyce Penner (Tyndale House, 2004).  Noted sex therapists Clifford and Joyce Penner describe what makes sex meaningful to a woman, while giving men great counsel on how to build desire, get past sexual problems, and discover what brings both partners incredible pleasure and intimacy. This candid, guilt-free book offers an intriguing new perspective that will help husbands get closer to their wives and get the love they want.(Warning: Though this book has good advice on marriage, it does promote contraceptives. I have added the book for its positive info on love and marriage but warn the potential reader of the offensive nature of the pro-contraceptive teaching.)

52 Ways to Have Fun, Fantastic Sex: A Guidebook for Married Couples (P) Cliffard and Joyce Penner (Tyndale House, 1994). Provides a host of ideas and inventive activities to help couples rekindle passion. A new idea for each week. One reader wrote: “A great source for practical and fun ways to spice up your sex life. This book provides great tips and practical ideas to get you started and get your sex life soaring.

Theology of the Body, Understanding Matrimony, Men & Women

Good News about Sex & Marriage (C) by Christopher West (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 2000). Explaining the richness of John Paul II’s theology of the body and sexuality. Visit the Theology of the Bodywebsite for more help and information.

Covenant of Love (C) by John Cardinal O’Connor (Liguori Press: Ligouri, Missouri, 1999. Cardinal O’Connor presents a simple, yet as elegant collection of pastoral essays on the true meaning and practices of love and marriage.

The Catholic Marriage Manual (C) by Rev. George Kelly (New York, NY: Random House, 1958). (Out of print but you can always find it at or Excellent book on all aspects love, marriage, sex, and family life written by the past Director of the Family Life Bureau of the Archdiocese of New York.

For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men (P) by Shaunti Feldhahn (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2004). Ready for an eye-opener? A mountain of meaningful information for any woman wanting to understand men at the profound level. Very important book to help a wife understand her husband.

The Act of Marriage (P) by Tim LaHaye (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976). Practical and helpful in many ways though not always agreeable to Catholic theology and practice.

The Sexual Manby Dr. Archibald Hart (P) (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1994). Understanding men, sexuality and why they are the way they are. Not always in agreement with Catholic teaching but helpful in many other ways.

Secrets of Eve: Understanding the Mystery of Female Sexuality (P) by Dr. Archibald Hart and his daughter Catherine Hart Webber (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1998). A helpful book for understanding a woman’s sexuality.

Family Planning

The Art of Natural Family Planning (C) by John Kippley (Cincinnati, OH: Couple to Couple League, 1991). Giving freely to your spouse and lover. Visit their website here.

Humanae Vitae (free on the internet) a prophetic papal encyclical about marriage, sex, birth control and human life. Essential foundation for a happy and sexually-fulfilling marital relationship.

Keeping Kids under Control so Romantic Love can Flourish

Discipline that Lasts A Lifetime (C) by Dr. Ray Guarendi (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2003). Chaos in the home works against romance so parents (especially fathers) must work to bring discipline and order into the home.

The New Dare to Discipline (P) by Dr. James Dobson (Tyndale House Publ., 1966). A classic on disciplining and raising children written by the founder of Focus on the Family.

For Marriages in Trouble

Love Must be Tough: New Hope for Families in Crisis (P) by Dr. James Dobson (P) (Multnomah Publishers, 2004). Visit his Focus on the Family website.

Retrouvaille, A Lifeline for Married Couples : Program from Troubled Marriages.

Dealing with Pornography and Sexual Impurity

Winning the Battle for Sexual Purity (C) Audio tape or audio CD set. By Christopher West. Straight talk to men about pornography, lust, sex and purity. Visit his website, click here.

An Affair of the Mind: One Woman’s Courageous Battle to Salvage Her Family from the Devastation of Pornography (P) by Laurie Hall (Wheaton, IL: Tydale House Publ., 1996).

Every Man’s Battle: Every Man’s Guide to Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time (P) by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker (Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press, 2000). Stories of dozens who escaped the trap of sexual impurity and who share how to win the battle in the future. There is hope!

*  Books mentioned in my talk “Men, Marriage, Sex & Heaven”


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Jess

    Hi there, I was hoping you could perhaps let me know which (if any) of these books might be appropriate for reading during engagement and the Pre-Cana process?

    If they’re really not every appropriate until after getting married, that’s fine too.

    Thanks, Jessica

    STEVE RAY HERE: I would think all of these books would be appropriate. It’s not as though people don’t know about sex these days or that there’s any surprises in these books. None of them are graphic so I would suspect any of them would be good for reading for someone who is close to being married.

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