I want to start a new series where I highlight various resources available to women who may struggle with porn, lust, or even sexual trauma. (Because some studies suggest there is a link between sexual trauma and sexual addiction).
It’s sometimes hard for my readers to find resources because, frankly, the issue isn’t yet mainstream enough for there to be a “breakaway” book on the topic. Instead, the resources are self-published, privately published by ministries, or traditionally published and then lost on the back of the shelf.
They never hit the best seller lists and never really make waves because people still don’t want to talk about this.
That is going to change. As sexual abuse scandals continue to break out in the church, as Christian women share stories of sexual trauma, and as more women come forward for help with sexual addictions, we will find a new arena in the publishing field. Much like there was a huge influx of “purity” books in the early 90s, give it a couple more years, and you will find “women and sex” books. I just hope they’re good!
Over the years, I’ve had different authors reach out to me sharing their resources. In some cases, I am provided a copy of a book for free to review, and give my honest review. In other cases, I have purchased the book myself, for myself. In all cases, the links in these posts will be affiliate ones.
This book is one I purchased, and one I have written about a couple times before:
Not Marked, by Mary Demuth
This book is part memoir, part road map, not only of healing from sexual trauma (including a porn addiction), but also how to navigate those effects in marriage.
I met Mary in 2017 at one of her writer’s intensives. (I’m not getting paid to say this: If you are an aspiring author and want an inside scoop on how to write well and get published, even self-published, check out Mary’s work and join her for an intensive).
While she taught at the intensive, she was also asked to speak at a nearby school. The group from the intensive was able to come and listen. There, she shared her story of sexual abuse and about her book Not Marked.
At the time, I didn’t consider myself a victim of sexual trauma. Yes, I had some “small” moments of trauma in my past, but nothing compared to Mary’s story. I was an addict, not a victim.
A few months later, as I looked ahead to marriage, I realized I actually was a victim of sexual trauma, and Mary’s book was the first book I ordered.
Without being graphic, Mary shares her story of abuse and the effects it had on her. She also reveals that she struggled with a pornography addiction, basically because a member of her family produced pornography.
Each chapter tackles a different aspect of her story, how it impacted her life, and also offers hope for healing. At the close of each chapter, her husband, Patrick, shares a few words from his perspective.
At the end of the book, Mary features a gigantic collection of answers to frequently asked questions. She also outlines how to protect your kids from sexual abuse and shares an ancient pathway of healing through the Psalms.
I appreciate books like this, books that are raw and real and don’t sugar coat pain. At no point does Mary offer the platitude of “Jesus fixes everything and it’s great now.”
She’s honest about how the hurts of her past continue to affect her and how God, friends, and her husband have helped her continue on this journey of healing. She tackles issues like true forgiveness and retraining your brain.
This is not a sterile, holier-than-thou, manual on how to get over yourself.
This is a heartfelt story shared for the purpose of giving other people hope and leading them to freedom. There is plenty of Biblical foundation, but it is never preachy. It perfectly reflects Mary’s heart which is to see others grow and find healing in Christ.
As I shared previously, I read this book before my wedding. I highlighted sections that spoke to me, made little notes in the margin, and kept a journal alongside the book. When different parts of Mary’s story brought up something, I would process through it. The night before our wedding, I handed the book and that journal to my husband. It has helped our marriage, I believe, significantly, by giving him a window into a bit of my world.
But I truly believe this book can be cathartic even if you aren’t looking at marriage. It’s not a book about marriage. It’s a book about hope and healing for the sexually wounded. Even if you feel your struggle is “only pornography,” I believe this book can be beneficial to you. It helps breathe hope and healing back into sex itself.
All in all, I highly recommend it, and I am super excited for what is coming next for Mary. I don’t know if I’m allowed to share her next project. Let’s just say, I believe it is going to be powerful and part of that “wave of resources” I mentioned earlier.