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The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
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The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  247 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Considered a classic in its field, this comprehensive guide will help survivors of sexual abuse improve their relationships and discover the joys of sexual intimacy. Wendy Maltz takes survivors step-by-step through the recovery process using groundbreaking exercises and techniques. Based on the author's clinical work, interviews, and workshops, this guide is filled with fi ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 20th 2001 by William Morrow & Company (first published June 19th 1991)
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Christina
Aug 22, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it
I have found very few books for survivors of rape & sexual abuse that talk about sex specificaly with much detail. So frustrating since (almost) every survivor wants to talk about sex & healing! I love some of the exercises and suggestions in this book. The only complaint I have is it's sometimes a bit too text booky & it feels like "wait, i couldn't actually say that to my partner. i don't talk like that at all!"
Carlie
Jun 02, 2012 Carlie rated it it was amazing
This book has changed my life. I was definitely reading it at the right time, a time when I was ready to face what happened to me and find healing. There are so many ripples in my life now that I didn't realize were related to the waves of abuse that happened over 20 years ago. I let go of a lot of burdens while reading this. Highly recommend it.
Jaclyn Goss
Nov 16, 2008 Jaclyn Goss rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Victims of sexual assualt
A very well written book about sexual healing Do not read if you do not have a lot of time on your hands! It gave me to access blocked memories, which I hadn't remembered. So when I say time, I mean emotional time. Definately a book you will revisit, and one you should buy rather then check out or borrow, due to it's nature to emotionally shock you. Plan on reading this slowely, I bought it four years ago, and I still haven't finished it. Healing takes time.
Chapter on learning possitive touch is
...more
Brandon
Oct 06, 2008 Brandon rated it it was amazing
A great resource for those that are in a relationship, but may still suffer from past sexual trauma. This can be read by those not in a relationship, but the focus really is on healing a relationship. I recommend this highly.
Lia
Jun 14, 2008 Lia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: survivors of any kind of sexual abuse
Shelves: healing, sexuality, abuse
There aren't very many helpful books about wounded sexuality in this world. This book is the most helpful I have ever found. Maltz has done her research and writes in a validating and encouraging tone.
Robin
Jul 14, 2012 Robin rated it liked it
Shelves: therapy, 2012
Caused a lot of AHA moments that explained behaviour of mine. Wish it delved deeper into certain topics as well as more instructions for non-dating singles.
Jen
Nov 26, 2010 Jen rated it liked it
If I was just rating on how helpful it was, I might give it five stars, but I can't say that I loved it. Hardest book in the world to read!
Shannonsady
Nov 14, 2008 Shannonsady rated it it was amazing
Full of good information for friends and family of survivors as well as abuse survivors.
Alessandra
Oct 19, 2014 Alessandra rated it liked it
Shelves: healing
I decided to pick this book up when I was ready to confront what had happen to me... I had reached a really low point, was more depressed than I wanted to admit and didn't think I was worthy of anything. This book helped me tremendously. It helped me realize that I really needed to become aware and learn to love myself. It taught me awareness and techniques that have been working to help me better cope with intimacy. For awhile, even the idea of a man touching me scared me. I pushed men so far a ...more
Hester Rathbone
Oct 08, 2012 Hester Rathbone rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-office
I read this book for work, obviously, but I honestly loved every minute of it. As odd as it is to say, the basis of it isn't so much sexual relations (although that's certainly part of it), it's getting people to learn to pay attention to their own needs and levels of comfort or discomfort, as well as practicing communicating those needs to the people in their lives - a skill which we all struggle with from time to time. I think that this book is so well written that even people who have never e ...more
Miklos
Oct 21, 2014 Miklos rated it really liked it
3.95
Wendy Maltz and Sexual Healing Journey are on the list of required readings for those working with sexual trauma and for those who have experienced sexual trauma. This book is very readable, comprehensive, and is for individuals and couples.
The problem lies more in the details than anything else. Maltzs position on pornography is sex negative ("erotica is okay, pornography is not", Her book "The Porn Trap", etc.) and her inclusion of terms like sex or pornography addiction are controversial
...more
Caroline
Oct 22, 2014 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: counseling
Such a great, valuable read. From beginning to end, Maltz (thoroughly) covers the topic of reclaiming your healthy sexuality following sexual abuse. While this book is certainly most useful for survivors of sexual abuse, their partners, and the clinicians who work with them, her discussion of healthy sexuality should be a must-discuss in every sex-ed classroom. Too frequently when we talk about sex and sexuality, we only focus on the mechanics and negative consequences of unhealthy sexuality. He ...more
Michaela
Nov 09, 2014 Michaela rated it it was amazing
This should be a bible for people who have been through some sexual trauma. I was sexually abused as a child by my grandfather, rapes by my boyfriend at age 17, and later raped by friend at age 25, and this book covered almost every confusion, thoughts, emotions and behaviors I've ever had (and have). Very helpful tips on how to re-learn healthy sexual life.
Maggie Millar
Oct 19, 2014 Maggie Millar rated it it was amazing
Sometimes part of healing is learning that we are not alone and the things we feel are normal things for us (as survivors) to feel.
I wasn't going to add this book to my reading list because I wasn't sure I wanted my friends to know that I've read this. I soon realized how hypocritical that was of me. I'm a survivor and I am not ashamed. That is what this beautifully written book helped me realize.
I would recommend it to anyone and everyone who has either been sexually abused or anyone who is c
...more
Angelee B
Jun 29, 2016 Angelee B rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beautiful
For anyone that has been sexually abused, whether as a child/teenager/adult, please read this. It is so worth getting.
Stephanie
Dec 03, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource and guide for sexual abuse survivors who are struggling with intimacy with their partners when the mind and body tells them otherwise..Step by step precedures on how to ground and establish safety with partners...I recommended it to clients who had done therapy work on PTSD and were ready to take the next step on establishing healthy boundaries with their partners...A classic.
Jamie Hill
May 03, 2014 Jamie Hill rated it it was amazing
An excellent resource for people who experience any degree of childhood sexual abuse. I would highly recommend reading this only while under the supervision of a licensed therapist due to the emotional turmoil one might experience but the contents of this book are extremely helpful and aid in healing and sexual reconnection.
Karen
Sep 24, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it
I have noticed that about half of my clients have experienced sexual abuse. I am reading this to get a better help them. This book has a limited scope (a.k.a. heteronormative and mononarmative), but I like the compassionate tone in which it is written.

Healthy Ideas about Sex:
1) Sex is a natural biological (impulse).
2) Sex is a powerful healing energy.
3) Sex is part of life itself.
4) Sex is conscious and responsible.
5) Sex is an expression of love.
6) Sexual experiences are mutually desired.

Chang
...more
Christine Jackson
Oct 20, 2012 Christine Jackson rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-discovery
A really helpful and empathetic view of how to recover and move forward from sexual abuse.
Reita Jackson
Jun 04, 2015 Reita Jackson rated it it was amazing
This remains perhaps the best book on sexual healing for survivors of sexual abuse ever written. Written by a therapist who had, at the time of writing the book, seen hundreds of clients with damaged sexuality, this book addresses the topic few other authors tackle. It is best saved for the latter stages of healing, after the initial ground work and safety issues have been addressed. Sexual Healing Journey will likely have triggers, and is best used in conjunction with a skilled therapist. This ...more
Susan
Jan 17, 2016 Susan rated it it was ok
I had trouble getting into this one and did not finish it. Not due to the 'heaviness' of the subject matter or my emotional responses to it. Rather, it was more the tone of the author. She comes across as fairly priggish and judgmental and often condescending. It often seemed as if any thought someone might have outside of vanilla heterosexual couplings we 'wrong' and must be avoided. Her repeated admonishments about eschewing masturbation and porn were also really unhelpful and judgmental (yes ...more
Brooke
Feb 07, 2016 Brooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for survivors dealing with sexual issues

I was never comfortable with sex and quite honestly could never have sex and be happy. Then I read this book and understood why I feel this way and ways for me to get past my issues. Just the explanations given on why sexual abuse has affected survivors is invaluable.
Thea
Mar 23, 2016 Thea added it
It was pretty well balanced and wasn't overly homophobic, nor did it condemn BDSM and things like that, but it is a little outdated.
Nicole Perry
Jun 08, 2015 Nicole Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
One of the things I appreciated most about this was the step by step instructions on reclaiming sex after sexual abuse. It's also a topic that I think gets overlooked when we work with people who have experienced trauma. I'm a big believer in healthy sex as an important part of life and this book provides a powerful way forward.

At times it's difficult to read, but take it in pieces, take care of yourself while you read, and it's well worth it. Helpful for partners as well.
Lumax
This book was really useful
Crystal
Crystal marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2016
BookDB
BookDB marked it as to-read
Sep 20, 2016
Natalie Young
Natalie Young marked it as to-read
Sep 20, 2016
Shelby Leigh
Shelby Leigh marked it as to-read
Sep 19, 2016
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siloma marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2016
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Wendy Maltz LCSW, DST is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and sex therapist. Her books include The Porn Trap, The Sexual Healing Journey, Private Thoughts, Passionate Hearts, Intimate Kisses, and Incest & Sexuality. Wendy’s highly acclaimed videos are Relearning Touch and Partners in Healing. In 2014 she received the prestigious Carnes Award from the Society for the Advancement o ...more
More about Wendy Maltz...

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“She was interviewing one of my favorite television actors, Don Johnson of Miami Vice. As he reclined on a couch in his lovely home, Don told Barbara about the joys and difficulties in his life. He talked of past struggles with drug and alcohol abuse and work addiction. Then he spoke of his relationships with women—how exciting and attractive he found them. I could see his energy rise and his breath quicken as he spoke. An air of intoxication seemed to fill the room. Don said his problem was he liked women too much and found it hard to be with one special partner over a long period. He would develop a deep friendship and intimacy, but then his eyes would wander. I thought to myself, this man has been sexually abused! His problems sounded identical to those of adult survivors I counsel in my practice. But then I reconsidered: Maybe I’ve been working too hard. Perhaps I’m imagining a sexual abuse history that isn’t really there. Then it happened. Barbara leaned forward and, with a smile, asked, “Don, is it true that you had your first sexual relationship when you were quite young, about twelve years old, with your seventeen-year-old baby-sitter?” My jaw dropped. Don grinned back at Barbara. He cocked his head to the side; a twinkle came into his blue eyes. “Yeah,” he said, “and I still get excited just thinking about her today.” Barbara showed no alarm. The next day I wrote Barbara Walters a letter, hoping to enlighten her about the sexual abuse of boys. Had Don been a twelve-year-old girl and the baby-sitter a seventeen-year-old boy, we wouldn’t hesitate to call what had happened rape. It would make no difference how cooperative or seemingly “willing” the victim had been. The sexual contact was exploitive and premature, and would have been whether the twelve-year-old was a boy or a girl. This past experience and perhaps others like it may very well be at the root of the troubles Don Johnson has had with long-term intimacy. Don wasn’t “lucky to get a piece of it early,” as some people might think. He was sexually abused and hadn’t yet realized it.   Acknowledging past sexual abuse is an important step in sexual healing. It helps us make a connection between our present sexual issues and their original source. Some survivors have little difficulty with this step: They already see themselves as survivors and their sexual issues as having stemmed directly from sexual abuse. A woman who is raped sees an obvious connection if she suddenly goes from having a pleasurable sex life to being terrified of sex. For many survivors, however, acknowledging sexual abuse is a difficult step. We may recall events, but through lack of understanding about sexual abuse may never have labeled those experiences as sexual abuse. We may have dismissed experiences we had as insignificant. We may have little or no memory of past abuse. And we may have difficulty fully acknowledging to ourselves and to others that we were victims. It took me years to realize and admit that I had been raped on a date, even though I knew what had happened and how I felt about it. I needed to understand this was in fact rape and that I had been a victim. I needed to remember more and to stop blaming myself before I was able to acknowledge my experience as sexual abuse.” 1 likes
“Pornography can be harmful to sexual healing in many ways. It conveys the idea of unlimited sexual access to women, children, and men. Pornography exploits the people who act in it as well as the public who buys it. It uses sexual stimulation to make money, reinforcing the commodity view of sex. Pornography evokes strong emotions, such as fear and shame, and encourages sexual arousal to abusive ideas and images. Pornography often depicts sex from the perspective of someone who has unsafe, impulsive, compulsive, and extreme sexual interests. It frequently perpetuates destructive and false impressions about sex. People are reduced to objects that are used for stimulation and that can be controlled by other people. Staged scenes in porn can make sexual violence and humiliation appear pleasurable, increasing our tolerance of coercion in sexual relationships. The sex in porn is typically devoid of genuine affection, respect, responsibility, and connection. And without these pillars of healthy sex, it tends to reinforce a type of sex that can never fully satisfy.” 0 likes
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