With Pleasure

August McLaughlin, Jamila Dawson

Chicago Review Press , 2021

Agent: Jill Marr

A companion for anyone experiencing the effects of trauma, featuring true stories of survivors from a broad, inclusive range of backgrounds

With Pleasure: Managing Trauma Triggers for More Vibrant Sex and Relationships is a companion for anyone experiencing the effects of trauma. Through true survivor stories, expert insight, writing prompts, and grounding exercises, it explores pleasure, relationships, and community as worthy and essential antidotes in trying times.
Written by trauma-informed sex therapist Jamila Dawson, LMFT, and sexuality journalist and podcaster August McLaughlin, With Pleasure provides a much-needed alternative to harmful “self-help” ideologies that instruct people to “change their thoughts” or “choose to be happy.”

Instead, Dawson and McLaughlin encourage readers to respect their feelings, understand the complexities of a society and systems that fuel trauma, foster self-compassion, and embrace pleasure.


“For too long, trauma work has been analytical in focusing on body neutrality and decreasing trauma responses. Through With Pleasure, the authors offer us more—a healing path that leads to pleasure and reclaiming our bodies. For everyone who has experienced trauma, thought they were alone, or did not know where to start, this book is a beautiful, powerful, and gentle guide back to yourself.” —Dalychia & Rafaella, Creators of Afrosexology


"At long last, the book that so many of us have been waiting for! Dawson and McLaughlin’s text is a necessary addition to our understanding about the relationship between sexuality and trauma. With Pleasure combines needed information about the biological, psychological, and social context of interpersonal and intrapersonal trauma from a lens of sex-positivity, social justice, and liberation. This text is accessible for a wide audience, including helping professionals, helping its reader focus on needed healing using systemic change and self-connection as core principles. A must-have for the clinician’s library." —Dr. Theodore Burnes, PhD, author of Teaching LGBT Psychology


"Jamila and August have collaborated to create a book experience that is guided by the ideas of collective justice in service to our healing needs. By centering and being guided by a principle of pleasure, they offer us a new way forward that is a disability justice dream: transcending trauma, reminders we are not broken, that we are whole as we show up in this world at any given time, and that we are worthy of care, love, and radical acceptance. With Pleasure offers a variety of ways to engage in a healing practice through archiving our process, writing, documenting, and identifying our ways through a pleasure-centric focus. An important book for seasoned and emergent healers and therapists alike, With Pleasure is paving the way for the future of healing justice." —Bianca I. Laureano, PhD, MA, CSE, CSES award-winning sexologist and sexuality educator, co-foundress of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network and founder of ANTE UP! Professional Development

"August and Jamila have created a much-needed opportunity to talk about healing and trauma with wisdom, relatability, and compassion. This book reads less like self-help and more like a circle of peers learning and growing together. If you’re on a journey of self-reclamation, With Pleasure is a loving step." —Shadeen Francis, LMFT