Falling in line with our social media focus this month of "Sex Addiction: The Silent Assassin", we will be reviewing Marnie Ferree's "No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Addiction". This book review was written by one of our counselors, Christine Baker, who works in our Birmingham and Tuscaloosa offices. She has a special interest in working with women struggling with sex and love addiction. If you would like to learn more about her, read her staff bio here.
This book is a comprehensive look at female sex and love addiction. It beautifully melds together the author’s, Marnie Ferree's, personal testimony of her own struggle with sexual addiction and teaching on how sex and love addiction presents in women. This book examines the problem of sex and love addiction in women by looking at the messages that society gives women about sex and relationships, a definition of sex addiction and how it presents in women, a look at the consequences of sex addiction, and a description of the diagnostic criteria. No Stones then goes on to look at the root of sex addiction by looking at family of origin issues, abuse, abandonment, and the coping skills that develop based on these things. Lastly, Marnie describes the solution. She talks about the importance of surrender, sobriety, disclosure, and community as tools in recovery. She also talks about how to heal from the wounds of your childhood and how to move forward into healthier relationships.
What did you find helpful about this book?
As a clinician, I found the description of the sexual addiction cycle most helpful. She talks about how we come into the world wounded through our family of origin, abuse, and/or abandonment. These things cause us to have very negative and shameful beliefs about ourselves (i.e. “I am not worthy of love”, “The only way I can feel love is through sex”). When the client discovers their own form of acting out (i.e. excessive masturbation, pornography, affair partners, one-night stands, etc.), they find that it is a short-term fix for the pain than they are experiencing. It helps soothes the shame they experience by feeling wanted by their partner. However, the problem is once that sexual experience is over; the shame comes back stronger than ever. This causes the addict to be right back in their pain and on the lookout for their next opportunity to act out. This helped me understand that sex addiction is not about sex – it is about pain and fear of intimacy.
What do clients find most helpful about this book?
I have found that clients have really enjoyed the personal aspect of this book. So many women who struggle with sex and love addiction feel like they are the only ones. This is so not the case as recent studies have shown that 1 out of every 3 people visiting pornographic websites are women (XXXchurch.com) and 20% of Christian women report having an addiction to pornography (Second Glance Ministries). When my clients read this book and hear Marnie’s story, they feel like they are reading their own thoughts. It helps my clients realize that this is a real problem that they are dealing with, it has real consequences, and it also has a real solution that “will work if you work it” (Sexaholics Anonymous).
- · “Sexual addiction really isn’t about sex at all, which is something I had intuitively always known. It is an intimacy disorder – a desperate search for love, touch, affirmation, affection, and approval. Obviously, sex addiction is false intimacy and a false solution for legitimate needs, but it’s driven by pain and loneliness, not by physical gratification.”
- · “Abuse trauma dictates the form of acting out. Abandonment trauma provides the fuel for the addiction… It’s a key factor that keeps us doing what we’ve decided we don’t want to do. Addiction, after all, is an intimacy disorder, remember? It’s not about sex; it’s about a desperate search for love and connection. It’s about not being abandoned.”
- · “Healthy fellowship equals freedom from lust. Being in a safe community is the antidote for addictive behaviors… The very thing that will help heal us is one of our greatest fears. Being intimate means being known and if we’re truly known, we risk rejection and abandonment. It’s the old struggle.”
- · “It’s impossible to recover from an intimacy disorder without practicing intimacy.”
If you are interested in purchasing this book, click here.