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Making Out Like a Virgin


Title: Making Out Like a Virgin: Sex, Desire & Intimacy After Sexual
Editors: Catriona McHardy and Cathy Plourde
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 5 h 1 m
Published by Animal Mineral Press
Genres: Sexuality

The prevalence of sexual violence and abuse in our society is staggering. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, every 2 minutes an American is sexually assaulted and 1 out of every 6 women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. This type of violence is inflicted on people of any age, gender, or sexual orientation.

Becoming more aware of the debilitating impact sexual trauma can have on its victims is a starting point for understanding how to cope with the aftermath of sexual violence. However, Making Out Like a Virgin goes a step further by sharing the personal stories of victims who have moved beyond the trauma to reclaim their sexuality as a positive, fulfilling part of their lives.

The seventeen people who share their stories in this anthology are made up of women, men, and transgender individuals from 6 countries, ranging in age from their mid-twenties to their late sixties. For some, it is the first time they have written about their experiences. Others are seasoned advocates against sexual abuse because of what happened to them.

These stories offer hope of recovery and healing while discussing a very dark subject. Narrator Tavia Gilbert voices each story with a sense of respect and compassion, bringing these survivors’ memories vividly to life. Her vocal style allows listeners to more comfortably approach a topic that is decidedly uncomfortable to hear. Below are brief clips from four contributors to this anthology.

In spite of the subject matter, the overall message of this book is extremely positive. It is one of encouragement to overcome the trauma of sexual violence, of the possibility of success in removing the debilitating effects of that trauma, and the expectation of joy in life as past victims focus on their new, future selves.

While this may not be the kind of book you can’t wait to listen to,  it is definitely one you should hear. The stories are powerful and leave a lasting impression on just how devastating sexual trauma can be to individual lives. If you have been a victim of sexual violence or abuse, these stories will, at the very least, let you know that you are not alone and things can get better. If you have been fortunate enough to not experience sexual violence in your life, you will have a better perspective on a topic with which everyone should be familiar.