Go beyond surviving to reclaim your sexual self. If you have experienced sexual abuse, assault, harassment, or rape, you may feel disconnected from your sexual self&;even if you&;ve overcome the initial trauma of your experience. You are a survivor; but surviving is just the beginning. This book explores what comes next. Written by a psychologist and grounded in cutting-edge research, Reclaiming Pleasure picks up where other sexual trauma recovery books leave off. It offers practical tools to help you cultivate a sense of safety, security and trust in order to reclaim the vitality, pleasure and great sex you deserve. The book will also serve as your compass on a journey toward the rediscovery of desire, letting you explore what you want from others and for yourself. This groundbreaking book will help Surviving is merely the first step in the process of recovery from sexual trauma. With this sex-positive and empowering guide, you are invited to take your recovery to the next level. You&;ll feel emboldened by the desire for better sex, healthier relationships, and a more connected, pleasurable life.
If you have difficulties around sex and intimacy, this is a great place to start understanding and increasing compassion for the impact of trauma on that part of your life. It does a great job of putting words to the effects of trauma, it has great prompts for helping you understand your own experiences, and it gives great action items for experimenting with new ways of being. It is also chock full of recommendations for other books and resources.
To start off I feel like it’s necessary to put a disclaimer that if you are not in the right frame of mind or headspace, or further into your healing process this might not be the book/guide for you at the moment. I say that because obviously with the nature of this book it is dealing with very triggering and traumatic subject matter, but also because you aren’t just dealing with your own event(s) but also several of the author’s patients’ stories of sexual assault and trauma; from these snippets of their stories you are then led into journaling prompts to help you sort out your feelings for their event and tie in how you can deal with feelings that were brought up concerning your trauma. So I feel like it should be known before diving in that you should really check in with yourself and see where you are at mentally and emotionally before jumping into this guide.
Regarding the interactive portions of the book/guide, I felt like the journal prompts and other resources were useful, if a bit repetitive, and felt that they could really help navigate the complicated feelings that arise after reading the patient’s story in connection to your own trauma.
Something that I was turned off by were portions of the book/workbook that I felt really talked down to the reader and potentially negate or invalidate your feelings with the level of high positivity and “you can do this” motivational passages. But overall I feel like this was useful and with the way the guide is laid out it would be easy to skip over the things that don’t work for you and zero in on the areas that you do like, which for me were the interactive journaling and supplemental material.
Above all, be gentle with yourself. Know that you do not have to rush your healing process because others are telling you where you should be mentally, emotionally, or physically go at your own pace.
ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Thank you to NetGalley and New Harbinger Publications Inc. for an advanced electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
This nonfiction book is meant to act as a sex-positive guide to help those who read it heal from any sexual trauma they have endured and not just move forward but thrive. It claims to pick up where other guides leave off to carry the reader further. It also recommends using a journal alongside it to log reflections and other thoughts as prompted.
Admittedly, I did not complete this book. However, that does not speak to the quality of the book, but rather, my mindset in being able to process it. I requested this book because I thought it could be good for me, but I am just not in that mental space. This would be great for someone who is willing to put in the work to heal, slowly, without skipping any of the suggested steps or reflections.
Reclaiming Pleasure is an essential read for survivors and for allies, those who desire to understand the complex journey to recovery from sexual trauma. Dr. Holly writes with a voice that not only conveys expertise, but most importantly, a deep sense of care. It is as if she is sitting right across from you having tea and sharing her heart, holding space for you, the reader, to crawl into and feel the warmth and safety. The book is organized impeccably, guiding the reader through logical, progressive steps toward recovery from shattered sovereignty in one's own body into audacious thriving--not only in self-perception but also in the associated behaviors that reflect it. This, the writer eloquently delivers with topical discussions of essential concepts, suggested reader reflections in each chapter, and practical exercises that help the survivor to embody and practice self-mastery on the way to thriving. Additionally, Dr. Holly has included a host of follow-up resources in the book's appendix.
I am an AASECT Certified Sexuality Counselor, primarily working with gay and queer people, and I am already recommending this book widely to many who work with me. I believe that so many aspects of our collective, cultural sexual norms have been built upon violations that are coming to light in our current times. Whether you are a survivor, an ally, or a concerned individual who wishes to expand awareness and compassion, this book is a resourceful gem and a valuable addition to your resources on sexual health.
If you have survived sexual trauma and are looking for a path forward, this is it. Dr. Holly Richmond takes work that I used to think could only happen "on the couch" in therapy and brings it straight to you, wherever you are, especially wherever makes YOU, the survivor, feel comfortable and safe. She blends clinical expertise with real lived experiences in this lifesaving volume, which is really more of a journey than a book. I have used this book as a resource with my clients and have witnessed healing happen because of it... more than healing, coming back to life. If you are a clinician, this is a must-read. If you are a survivor, I hope you find some healing, peace, and even excitement in these pages.
All in all, this book feels like a warm embrace and feeling fully understood.
It took me a bit longer to read through it - mostly, because I wanted to do all the exercises of each chapter first before moving on to the next chapter. And I can definitely say that I had not only many aha moments but also was able to give myself room to reflect and let go of some beliefs.
A definite recommend for anyone that is looking to understand themselves better, their reactions when it comes to their sex life, and to those that want to live a freer life and reclaim their pleasure - for real.
This seemingly short book on healing sexual trauma is actually an incredibly dense and detailed roadmap which covers every neighborhood of the healing journey. As Dr Richmond writes, ‘sexual assault is an injustice.” It is a crime in which one is robbed of their body, their autonomy and their humanity. When one’s sexual experience is “misinformed” by a relationship in which one has to hide one’s desire and one’s vitality in order to survive, trust in the self and in others becomes a huge challenge. Dr Richmond highlights all the ways in which the experience of self and others can become distorted when all one’s energy is powered by shame’s desire to hide who you really are and what you really want. This guide takes one through the need to forgive oneself, and explore the many ways one has remained hidden. Then she relentlessly offers many ways to facilitate emergence of self, connection with others and recovery of all that got distorted along the way. No matter what stage of the recovery process you are dealing with, this book has a whole lot to offer. Aviva Gitlin Psy.D