Sensory evocations: The Coco de Mer reading list

 As lovers of all things sensory, we happen to be avid readers at Coco de Mer. In the world of psychology, Bach-y-Rita et al refer to “seeing with the brain”, which feels particularly apt for the world in which we surround ourselves. 

For sapiosexuals, tapping into the power of the mind creates a wonderful arousal. A sharpened intellect and intellectual synergy can be an incredibly effective act of foreplay. 

The act of reading is a sensory experience. Words are read, and evoke pictures in the mind. The pictures evoke memories. The memories evoke colours, scents, tastes, textures and touches that the mind has experienced in the past. Words on the page bring new images to mind, using sensory knowledge already known to the reader. 

You feel the story with your senses.

The power of imagination is such a direct source for pleasure and joy, it’s no wonder we love to flick through page after page, entering different worlds of both reality and escapism. Curiosity, intrigue, suspense… The myriad of feelings a book can bring is a wonder.

Here are a few of our favourites to whet your literary appetite.


more orgasms please


More Orgasms Please: Why Female Pleasure Matters, The Hotbed Collective  

An orgasm will help you sleep and keep you looking younger, it doesn't cost money and isn't a scarce resource. So why is it that, like the pay gap, there is an ‘orgasm gap' between women and men?

The Hotbed Collective began life as a podcast with a mission ‘to make life better one orgasm at a time'. Their debut book, More Orgasms Please is an open, honest and at moments hilarious dive into all aspects of sex for women. It covers feminist porn, body image, menopause and much more.

 A frank, funny and empowering celebration of female pleasure. 


Erotic Stories


Erotic Stories Edited by Rowan Pelling 

Dip your toe into the enticing world of erotic fiction with this sample of stories by some of the most renowned authors such as Boccaccio, Chekhov and Hanif Kureishi. Organised into a collection of 24 short stories and extracts which are divided into 7 thematic sections, flicking to your favourite arousing tales is easy.




The Bricks That Built The Houses


Kae Tempest - The Bricks that Built the Houses

A real and no frills representation of sex-work and drugs, coupled with domestic moments and a vision into each characters’ parents and how our families make us who we are.

Kae Tempest is an artist in an array of ways; spoken word performer, poet, recording artist, novelist and playwright. They were named a Next Generation Poet by the Poetry Book Society and Mercury Prize nominated, Tempest’s creative talent really knows no end, and their musical background is evident through their rhythmic prose and the melodic format of this debut novel. Each chapter is named after a song from Tempest’s first album and this gender-bent adaptation of the record is a great expansion on their vision of London.  


The Edible Woman Margaret Atwood


The Edible Woman - Margaret Atwood

A great example of how women’s self worth is reflected in their diet - Atwood’s first novel doesn’t seem that far from the overconsumption women receive today.

The Edible Woman is such a funny novel that has you gripped throughout, dealing with emotional cannibalism, men and women, and the desire to be consumed. 



The Woman Destroyed


The Woman Destroyed - Simone de Beauvoir

Bored of reading stories about strong women who always make the “right” choice? The Woman Destroyed portrays the dependence women had on men in 1967, although far off from where we are now, each of the three stories in this collection is relatable in the women’s strive for something more.

This collection of three stories shares an exquisite and passionate study of a woman trapped by circumstances, trying to rebuild her life.

In the first story, ‘The Age of Discretion’, a successful scholar fast approaching middle age faces a double shock – her son’s abandonment of the career she has chosen for him and the harsh critical rejection of her latest academic work. ‘The Monologue’ is an extraordinary New Year’s Eve outpouring of invective from a woman consumed with bitterness and loneliness after her son and her husband have left home. Finally, in ‘The Woman Destroyed’, Simone de Beauvoir tells the story of Monique, trying desperately to resurrect her life after her husband confesses to an affair with a younger woman.

Compassionate, lucid, full of wit and knowing, Simone de Beauvoir’s rare insight into the inequalities and complexities of women’s lives is unsurpassable.


What We're Told Not To Talk About Nimko Ali


What We're Told Not To Talk About (But We're Going To Anyway), Nimco Ali

An important, taboo-breaking book that gives voice to the experiences of women from all walks of life, whose stories might not ordinarily be heard. Alongside Nimco's story of living with FGM, rebuilding her relationship with her own body and being a woman her own way, these are the true stories of real women who are sharing the experiences they've always been told should be secret and shameful.

The book is a call to arms for all women to reclaim the narrative around their bodies and to refuse to bow to the taboos which keep us silent. There is no such thing as oversharing.


Somebody Give This Heart A Pen


Somebody Give This Heart a Pen - Sophia Thakur

Sophia Thakur is an acclaimed performance poet. whose aura and work both evoke a fusion of elegance, sensuality and empowerment - an inspiring combination. This powerful collection of poems is intricate, intimate and incredibly evocative, exploring issues of identity, difference, faith, relationships, fear, loss and joy. These poems resonate with the core, they encourage readers to look within an experience and explore the tendencies of the heart.

Asked about the book, she hopes the poems will help readers "grow through what they go through". Raw, honest and emotionally naked, yet equally lyrical and poised, this collection is a magical encapsulation of modern life and its ranging issues of identity and belonging. With a strong narrative voice, emotional empathy and a warm wit, this is poetry that will resonate with all young people, whatever their background, and whatever their dreams. The perfect introduction to the language, and beauty, of poetry. 


Seven Days In June Tia Williams


Seven Days in June - Tia Williams

Another great example of showing how we’re raised makes us who we are, the characters’ choices affecting the children in their lives - so real and emotional and that’s before the heart pounding love story…

With keen observations of creative life in America today, a hearty romance, as well as the joys and complications of being a mother and a daughter, Seven Days in June is a hilarious, passionate, and tantalising story of two writers discovering their second chance at love.



So Lucky Dawn O'Porter


So Lucky - Dawn O’ Porter

“I hate how the male gaze is still more powerful than a woman’s self-worth.”

Beth shows that women really can have it all. Ruby lives life by her own rules. And then there’s Lauren, living the dream. But behind the scenes, Beth hasn’t had sex in a year. Ruby feels like she’s failing. Lauren’s happiness is fake news. And it just takes one shocking event to make the truth come tumbling out…

Hilarious, sexy and full of female guilt, So Lucky is a light read showing us that what we see online isn’t the full story.


Carol Ann Duffy Collected Poems


Carol Ann Duffy - Collected Poems

If you are looking to dip your toe into the world of poetry, let it begin with an empowered platform, a sprinkle of humour and an accessibility that reinforces the richness of poetry and all its charm.  

Endlessly varied, wonderfully inventive, and emotionally powerful, with the breadth of poems covering every scenario, every emotion, and an array of relationships, with a feminist charge at the heart. The collection reaffirms Duffy’s belief that 'poetry is the music of being human'.

Rose Tremain (Guardian) referred to Carol Ann Duffy as  'the most humane and accessible poet of our time' and this collection reinforces that on every page. Collected Poems has Rapture, The World’s Wife and The Feminine Gospels all in one place, amongst her other masterpieces.