Every two minutes a U.S. resident is sexually assaulted. One out of every six women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Ages 12–34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault. Ninety percent of all rape victims are female. Approximately 70 percent of rape and sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.

—Statistics supplied by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

 

Making Out Like a Virgin
Sex, Desire & Intimacy After Sexual Trauma

Edited by Catriona McHardy and Cathy Plourde
Portlyn Media, An imprint of Animal Mineral Press 2016, Paperback, $16.99

 

There are many helpful resources available to victims of sexual trauma, but there is little information about how to move beyond the act of survival. Animal Mineral Press—a new publishing company focusing on books promoting healthy aspects of sex, sexuality and relationships—hopes to change that with the release of its premiere title, Making Out Like a Virgin: Sex, Desire & Intimacy After Sexual Trauma.

Editors Catronia McHardy and Cathy Plourde provide an inspiring, moving collection of personal essays that detail how writers from six countries have moved beyond merely surviving sexual trauma to unapologetically discovering sexually and emotionally thriving lives. These survivors don’t recount their individual traumas. Instead, they reveal how they reclaimed their bodies and their sexual desire. By telling their stories, they share their strength and the successes found in between the seismic shifts and intimate moments, hopefully inspiring others while furthering their own healing. Making Out Like a Virgin reflects the idea of a rich and full life after trauma—something that for some can be difficult to imagine. Reclaiming life after trauma means relearning to think about sexuality in ways that are affirming and safe.

McHardy and Plourde looked for contributors who explore their sexuality as exciting and lustful, with desire and intimacy that is open and mutual. The narratives are an invitation for survivors who have been wounded to try again—to love your body, and to say it is possible to get back to a joyful sensual self. The anthology features 17 contributors: female, male, and transgender, ranging from their mid-20s to late 60s. They come from Dubai, Cairo, Dublin, Toronto, Melbourne, and across the United States.

Expect no “ten secrets” or “best tips” because there aren’t any. There are, though, common threads that unite the contributors as people who have retrieved and embraced feelings for lustful sex, desire, and intimacy. Each challenges the notion that survivors of sexual violence are no longer “supposed” to be sexual beings. They refuse to be shamed or pitied; reject being treated as damaged goods. Instead, they define what is expected and acceptable for survivors after trauma on their own terms.

Simultaneously published as a paperback, audio and eBook, Making Out Like a Virgin is for anyone who has been affected by sexual violence: survivors, their loved ones, health practitioners, educators, and social scientists. The book breaks through walls of silence and myth so readers can see and hear from those who have found a way through.