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Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  247 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The first encouraging, sex-positive guide for all women survivors of sexual assault — heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, coupled, and single — who want to reclaim their sex lives. While most books on the topic broach sexuality only to reassure women that it is all right to say “no” to unwanted sex, Healing Sex encourages women to learn how to say “yes” — to their own desires ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published November 28th 2007 by Cleis Press
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 ·  247 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'd recommend this book to anybody, not just the survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Repeated images of gruesome rapes and murders locked within our culture's collective memory does damage. ...more
Mar 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Here is the review that I wrote for the Feminist Review blog.

I’ve wanted to read this book since it was first published in 1999 as The Survivor’s Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse, so I was pleased to review this updated second edition.

I had forgotten that the focus is on survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and the new subtitle obscures that detail. However, I think this book could be helpful for any woman recovering from any sexual abuse, no matter what
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
this is a great, VERY accessible guide for survivor's of sexual abuse, especially child abuse. i found it both insightful and incredibly down-to-earth. Staci Haines helps survivors take control of their sexual lives again, and move forwards on the path of healing. the book is written mainly for women, but even as an ally i gained a lot from it. ...more
Sep 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
Trigger warning: This book deals with childhood sexual abuse, incest, and contains a number of traumatic accounts.

The multiple accounts of childhood sexual abuse could have been limited to the introduction, since they substantially took away from the otherwise excellent advice on somatic sexual healing. This book is also very outdated in its terminology. One entertaining but outdated bit of advice included ripping out the pages of old phone books to express anger. This advice speaks to the era
This book takes a physical, body-based approach to healing trauma from sexual abuse or assault. It's about identifying emotions and feelings in your body and discovering how they were caused by or relate to your abuse. The idea is that when you can connect your present physical andT emotional feelings to memories of past trauma, you can begin to understand the present day feelings and work through them, heal them. The book has excellent sections on dissociation, handling triggers, and figuring o ...more
Nahid Soltanzadeh
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reading this book was a 7month long journey. And I know I'll be working with what I learned from this book for much longer than that.
I'm forever grateful for the moment when I saw it on my friend's bookshelf, took a deep breath, and asked "can I borrow this?"
My healing started there.

If you've experienced any kind of sexual trauma, not just childhood abuse, this book has so much wisdom and practices and paths to healing for you.

P.s: the book assumes you're a woman. And that man and woman are th
this is a good one: gentle, embodied, and in line with a lot of my existing approaches to healing trauma and being in relationships around and with trauma. i wish there was more out there for when you have no actual memories of abuse or specific triggers. i read this one really slow & tried not to take it too linearly or like i had to do every exercise for it to "count". there is always a way we integrate anything we take in! also, note that this book always refers to survivors as "she". ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
The best thing about this book is it has near the beginning a few pages of "here's the minimum of self-care that you should have in place in order to tackle this work". It's a nice baseline for everyone, really, and it's a nice warning, frankly! ...more
Michael-David Sasson
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sex, trauma
I read this to get a better sense of possibilities for joy and healing among younger people in my extended and chosen family.

Okay, I set my expectations too low. Everybody should get a copy when they turn 20 until after we win and nobody has any difficult history or even mild discomfort with engaging sexuality and intimacy in their personal life.
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book has a lot of sound advice about healing from sexual trauma.

My main takeaways are:
trust your instincts,
take time to discover who you are,
be aware of your physical body and how trauma is stored within it,
don't be afraid to ask for what you need,
most of all, you're worth it

There are many quotes from different clients the author has worked with over the years spread through out the book. At first it was nice to read. After a while they were interfering with the content for me. Overall
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be excellent. This book is ideal for someone much further along in therapy.

Most of the books out there for childhood sexual abuse survivors cover emotional issues that many experience and need to deal with first. The topic of sex is a difficult one and something that those books barely devote 1 page to, if that. Unfortunately many survivors associate sex with something negative and painful as a result of the abuse they survived. This book provides hope that sex can be posit
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book after it was recommended to me because I am a massage therapist who works with trauma survivors. The book is obviously written for the survivors themselves, and as such there were "self-help" techniques that I don't anticipate using in my practice, but which seem like they would be helpful. That being said, it's still a resource I turn to years later, and I think it's very well written. ...more
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very helpful and insightful book. Could be better-written, but that's easy to forgive with a book like this. Helped me resolve a lot of confusion, and normalized what was happening with me which also helped me gain confidence. Very grateful I found this book. ...more
Sep 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I found Staci Haines writing about trauma to be very hopeful and inspiring. Reading this book helped center me and focus on the important act of healing. I found it was easy to relate to as a guy.
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended
Great sex-positive book for survivors of sexual abuse or assault. A reminder that you're not "broken" and that you can experience your sexuality as a positive, healthy, enjoyable part of who you are! ...more
Dec 28, 2021 added it
“Lasting intimacy is build over time it involves both conflict and ease as you come to know and be known in all of your most vulnerable and imperfect aspects. Intimacy is ongoing process of risking and revealing as you share yourself with one another. The experience could be creative.”

What I love about this book is that it’s not only for people who experienced sexual trauma. I believe this book beneficial to everyone who would like to connect with their own sexuality and learn how to communicate
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a sex positive book for people of many groups and not solely women. I think some readers may not be interested in all of the sections of the book(i.e. BDSM), but I love that people can choose to read the parts that apply to them. There aren’t very many books about sex after trauma, so this book fills a gap in information. I appreciated this life affirming and encouraging book about reclaiming one’s sexuality and having a healthy sex life again or for the first time after trauma.
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
An enlightening read. I was unaware of how the trauma of sexual abuse radically impacted people’s lives. Beyond the sexual intercourse, it affects their self esteem and ability to have normal and functioning relationships and lives. The book deals with issues of dealing with emotions, triggers and actually healing.

The aspect of finding “your” body was the most fascinating for me. The activities at the end of each chapter were interesting too.
Sep 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually write reviews but this is for people trying to decide if this Book will really help them. It really REALLY will. I was skeptical but found that it not only described things I knew were connected to my trauma, but things I hadn't even realized were coming from that place. This isn't a cure-all to be sure, but it's a great step on your road to recovery. ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
One of my most recommended books in my therapy practice. Really helpful and practical somatic experiencing-based guide to sex after trauma, focusing on childhood sexual abuse, but relevant to all sexual trauma.
Dec 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: trauma-recovery
I felt especially connected to the last few chapters. Tons of healing and centering available in this one.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm not a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but I am a survivor of an adult abusive relationship, and currently in my first relationship since the abusive relationship ended several years ago. My partner read this first and recommended it, and I'm glad she did. Overall it was hit-and-miss helpful for me, some topics more applicable than others. I really appreciated the chapter on working through triggers; for that alone I felt the book was worth it. As an aside, I listened to this on audiobook ...more
Amy Smith
I highly recommend this book for anyone who has experienced sexual trauma or wants to better understand the challenges that their friends, family members, and significant others may have experienced as a result of abuse. An eye-opening guide on a difficult and complex topic.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: intimacy
Very good book. I learned a lot. And not just about sex. I was able to see more about dissociation than ever before and I see components of how healing can take place. Highly recommend the book.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really powerful for me. Cried a lot while reading. Read passages aloud to my lover. All helpful. Recommended.
May 05, 2014 marked it as to-read
Recommended by Robin Mandell at Scarleteen
Kelly Pattison
rated it it was amazing
Apr 27, 2015
Amanda Machado
rated it it was amazing
Jun 28, 2021
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Staci Haines is a national leader in the field of Somatics, specializing in social leadership. Staci has worked extensively with organizational leaders, including corporate executives, non-profits, and social entrepreneurs.

She is a senior teacher at Strozzi Institute and the Co-Director of Methodology, having studied and worked with SI since 1995.

She is the founder of generative somatics, a nonpr

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