Book review: Making Out Like a Virgin

I learned of _Making Out Like A Virgin: Sex, Desire and Intimacy After Sexual Trauma_ in an article I read. The book is not a "how to" as I had thought but a collection of seventeen true stories from survivors. I hear a lot of these stories so nothing new for me. But if you are a sexual trauma survivor who wonders about intimacy after abuse, this is a good book to check out.

One of the strengths of _Making Out Like A Virgin_ is the broad range of voices represented within. There are men, women, trans people. Straight people, people in recovery, black, white, differently abled folks. Everyone's in there! Their stories are each a little different which makes for interesting reading.

Speaking of everyone, I seldom mention male survivors. For one, this isn't my experience. Secondly, my research and teaching centers on how abuse affects women and girls. That's what I know best. And yet, it feels important to remind us again that sexual abuse happens to men and boys as well. But, yes, that happens in far fewer numbers. _Making Out Like A Virgin_offers several male survivor stories which should be an inspirational to some men.

Rarely when it comes to the subject of sexual trauma is "joy" a relevant feeling. But there is a lot of joy in these personal stories. There's triumph, good humor, and tenderness which feels joyful at times. It's as if you are being told a story by a generous someone with wisdom and compassion for themselves. That's all pretty awesome in a collection of stories like this.

Something else I appreciated in the stories was the frequent presence of a trusted person. These survivors get how important it is for them to have safe people in their lives. Some of the authors are partnered. Some of them mention a special person who supported them unconditionally. Survivors must have a trusted person in their life. I talk about this in my peer support groups as well in most of my writing, recently here.

The book's editors Catriona McHardy and Cathy Plourde. McHardy was a former Director of Education and Training at Planned Parenthood. She now teaches at a community college and does consulting. Plourde is a playwright. She uses theatre as a vehicle for social justice conversations. Neither identify (that I could find) as a survivor. If _Making Out Like a Virgin_ wasn't a collection of essays, you know I'd be suspicious. But McHardy and Plourde keep their commentary short and leave the insights, thankfully, to the authors.Order at Amazon here or, as I did, via The Regulator here. Same price. Shop local, y'all.

Posted on February 1, 2017 and filed under Book reviews.