Jennifer Gunsaullus, PhD, wrote From Madness to Mindfulness: Reinventing Sex for Women due to a strong desire to correct the seeming madness women in America are faced with continuously in connection to sex and their gender. Even as a child she remembers being taught about puberty and menstruation in a way that led her to become ill. As an adult she notes she still feels that sense of humiliation and that her goal is to confront this discomfort in order to help women ultimately embrace their passion and sexuality. She does not that some women may be comfortable owning their own body and being, but a vast majority of women don’t feel that sense of confidence. Madness to Mindfulness is meant to help you sit with and work through your discomfort to find your way to acceptance and owning your own sexuality.
One of the most powerful elements being examined throughout the book is the idea of shame. Many women feel a sense of shame that keeps them from feeling worthy. This impact to self worth impacts confidence and is further impacted by the multiple contradictory situations women face. Even when other women try to help, often someone is given advice that urges not hurting others feelings, but also trying to be honest. As she breaks down the elements of society that impact women, Gunsaullus discusses how a madness grows out of all of the messaging women receive throughout their lives. This ties back to topics of virginity, slut shaming, the idea of what is sexy, and so many more which appear both in the media, but can also be present in home and family dynamics. The book is filled with examinations of society and what women experience as they go through life. The impact that all of this has had on women can be worked through and undone if you take the time to take in everything Gunsaullus has to say.
Throughout the book there are portions that allow you to write through your feelings and the topics you’ve just read. This ability to reflect is vital to a book designed to help you make changes in how you perceive yourself. Outside of the focus just on your individual person, From Madness to Mindfulness also includes sections that examine relationships and how better understanding yourself can lead to better connections with others. One point I really enjoyed in this section was taking responsibility for your behaviors and how that will help with overall communication. This is an element of relationships that I don’t think is always discussed and I thinks noting that you are also responsible for examining your triggers and needs and knowing how you will react in certain situations. This book is something that you should sit with as you read it and allow yourself to process everything being presented by Gunsaullus. Her knowledge is easy to connect with and for those hoping to better understand themselves it is a must read.