Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Review and Release Tuesday: Getting Off: One Woman's Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction by Erica Garza

Standalone to date

"A fiercely courageous account of one woman's unflinching, raw, and ultimately hopeful journey through sex and porn addiction.

For almost two decades, Erica Garza was consumed by a singular, secret, shame-fueled pursuit that threw her life into chaos: orgasm. Back-braced, isolated, and teased in adolescence, and ambivalent about her Catholic upbringing, Garza found a secret solace in masturbation and porn--first by way of the limited softcore viewing offered by late-night cable, and, later, with the booming proliferation of online porn.

In this wrenching, vivid account, Garza explores her sexual fixations and relives the series of disastrous relationships and one-night stands that haunt her as she runs from one side of the world to the other in a futile attempt to break free of her habits―from East Los Angeles to Hawaii and Southeast Asia, through the brothels of Bangkok and the yoga studios of Bali to disappointing stabs at twelve-steps, therapy, and rehab back home.

Garza's terror at digging so deeply into her history to understand her anxieties is palpable, as is her exhilaration when she begins to believe she might just be free of them. And yet there is no false hope or prepackaged sense of redemption. Even her relationship to the man she will ultimately marry is credibly rocky as it finds its legs with several false starts, making her increasing sense of self-acceptance and peace by journey's end feel utterly earned.

In exploring the cultural taboos surrounding sex and porn from a female perspective, Garza offers a brave and necessary voice to our evolving conversations about addiction and the impact that Internet culture has had on young women."

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an ARC review copy.  All opinions expressed are my own.

To preface, I've never reviewed anything like this before.  Normally, I review relatively clean books and I've never reviewed anything that directly confronts sex and porn like this book does.  When a representative from Simon & Schuster approached me for a potential review, however, I felt that it was an important topic to take on.  I'd also like to mention, that if you are someone who suffers from this same addiction, a trigger warning is in order.  I would also suggest 18+.

1.  The content (the journey itself).  The first portion of the blurb is beyond true.  This book offers a good long look through a window into the house of sex addiction and it's probably a house not many have seen unless they've become trapped into the house themselves.  Quite honestly, I found myself crying at one point because what the author has chosen to reveal is heartbreaking.  Personally, I don't know too much about addiction of any kind so the feelings the author expresses are all new to me.  She walks you through her shame and guilt and feelings of worthlessness which is so hard to read.  I think Garza did a fantastic job of illuminating her personal struggle through these feelings and her journey of coming to understand herself and accept herself.

2.  The cultural implications.  One aspect I'd like to mention before I get to far into this review are the cultural implications of a woman addressing her own sex addiction.  As Garza states in the book (and backs up with evidence), sex addiction is often seen as a man's problem and one that isn't really taken too seriously (at least, not as seriously as drug or alcohol addiction) and it isn't as nearly widely publicized for many reasons.  Our culture today is still struggling to break free of the idea that only a man's pleasure counts during sex and sex is predominantly a man's world.  This novel addresses this in several scenes which I found to be particularly relevant.

3.  The big picture.  The only large issue I had with the book was, in fact, the big picture.  The blurb promises a book that will link the struggles of one woman to the larger issue of sex addiction itself and how the Internet plays into this.  While Garza does refer to several studies and mentions these big picture ideas once or twice, I found the supposed connection flimsy and inadequate.  Her personal narrative is compelling, but her connection with the rest of the puzzle wasn't enough for me.

The Final Verdict:
Though this is different from anything else I've read, I'm glad to have experienced it.  The narration is poignant and very near flawless though the focus seemed to be only on a single puzzle piece.
4 stars


  1. I would have been very intrigued as well though this isn’t the type of book I’d activately seek out. Too bad it didn’t come together and create some answers. Still, the narrative sounds intense.

    1. Yeah, I was really hoping there would be more big picture stuff but I figured it out well enough on my own with the implications set forth by the narrative. It was still disappointing, though! Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!

  2. I think I would have been put off by the title, but from your review I have learned that this is far from the potentially tacky book I expected. A greater subject connection to society would be appreciated, however this sounds like a brave book to have written and one which is emotional to read.

    Stephanie Jane @ Literary Flits

    1. That was my first impression as well but I took a chance on it and it was more enlightening than I expected it to be (although it could have been better). I think all authors struggle with how much of their writing they want to be apparently personal and Garza really went all out which I give her credit for. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!


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