Female Fantasy Addiction: The New Infidelity

Female Fantasy Addiction_ The New Infidelity

This week I have the privilege of sharing a guest post written by women’s addiction recovery coach and best-selling author Lacy Bentley. You may remember, I interviewed Lacy on Female Sex, Porn, & Love Addiction in March. I was honored to write the Foreword to her new book Overcoming Love Addiction as well. We met in person for the first time last month when we both saw Dr Donald Hilton speak on The Sex Industry and Public Health: It’s Impact on Exploitation, Healthy Sexuality, Empathy and Addiction in Salt Lake City.

Lacy Forest Hilton

I have much respect for Lacy and am grateful for the work she is doing in the world helping women heal from addiction. I hope you enjoy her article on female fantasy addiction and share it with others who would benefit.

Female Fantasy Addiction:

The New Infidelity

By Lacy Bentley

I know, I know, we can’t control every thought that comes into our minds. Temptation is all around, and oh so tantalizing. For some of us, that tantalization comes in the form of a sexy picture of our favorite screen actor, or his role in the latest Rom-Com. For some, it is a scene in a romantic novel, with or without sex. For others, it is the friendly banter or touch of a nice guy at work or church. After the initial thought or emotion (aren’t they pretty much simultaneous?) we actually have a fraction of a second to take charge. But, why worry about it? Why not explore this inner fantasy world a little, and celebrate our inner sexuality? And, if not, how do we lengthen out that fraction on a moment to engage in decision making about the temptation?

American culture vacillates rapidly between free love and prudish terror. The pendulum swing leaves us disoriented and unsure of what healthy sexuality really is. Let’s start there. Sex isn’t a bad thing, and sexual arousal is healthy. In fact, the random noticing of an attractive individual just means your radar is still intact. The hope is that your radar is not always going off, and that you are not distracted from the very real life and relationships right in front of you. This is the “why” part of “Why worry about it?”

So often, women become distracted from what needs to be done by lots of things. Let’s look at a few of these every-day potentials for stray thoughts:

  • Other things that need to be done
  • Looming deadlines
  • Social media, text messages, or email alerts
  • A kid’s needs
  • Fatigue
  • Worry
  • Stress
  • Conversations with that really sweet, cute guy at work…

And off our powerfully creative brains go, making up wonderful neuro-cocktails for our fantasizing pleasure.

So, what’s the harm of spending a few minutes (ahem, hours…) in our made-up world? No kids crying, no snotty noses, no deadlines, no burned cookies, just us and Mr. Fabulous. He knows just what to say, how to say it, and he mops the floor! Okay, maybe that’s just my fantasy. But seriously, it’s not like you’re doing anything, right? It’s just a daydream. Nobody even knows, and certainly no one is getting hurt, right?

Not so fast…This kind of fantasy, even if it doesn’t take a turn into full-blown mental porn, impacts every relationship we have. The longer and more drawn out the distraction from reality, the greater the impact.

  • Hubby can feel the distance. The further into the fantasy we go, the less and less satisfying the flawed, real man in front of us becomes. Soon, we find ourselves comparing, upset, and thinking about how Mr. Fabulous would handle the kids or play with our hair, or do the dishes without expecting sex. 
  • The kids feel it. They know when you are annoyed at having to break out of the fantasy world to cook dinner or take them to practice. They start to feel more and more like a burden and less like the valuable souls we have a responsibility to. They also notice when you are not really paying attention to the conversation or activity you are supposed to be engaged in.
  • Your girlfriends and sisters feel it. Lust, sexual energy, comparison, it all seeps out of our skin in waves that others may not be able to identify but can certainly feel. For many women, the fantasy spills over into flirting with a waiter or valet. It is manifest in the movies we watch, the conversations we have, and the book on our nightstand. It distances us from the real people trying to connect with us. They may not mind it, as they are very possibly in the same space. Then again, the disconnect and lack of conversational involvement will eventually become apparent. Real relationship connection cannot survive this disconnect. Those around us looking for real friendships won’t stick around long before heading in another direction all together.
  • Your target feels it. He may not know what it is, or he might, but he senses something. If he is a man of integrity, he may be unaware of what he’s sensing, and just keep boundaries in place, even distance himself subconsciously. If he is also a man in addiction or fantasy, this energy can easily become detrimental to committed relationships and family dynamics for you both. When we are warned not to play with fire lest we get burned, this is the very inferno we need to avoid. Indulgence in fantasy will make that task increasingly difficult. 
  • Those around you can often sense unchecked emotion. Again, they might not know what it is, but they feel something is off. This could lead to issues at work, assumptions, and rumors. Even if there is no conscious awareness, disconnection and distraction are off-putting. Plus, we can’t always control how those side glances are interpreted. 

So, as tempting as it is to dive into this inner world, and explore what it might hold, the risk is high, and the impact is out of our control. Not to mention, coming back to reality after the distraction is hard! 

One last reason why indulging this inner world will not end well: even in our minds, an affair is an affair. Think about it. Are you neutral, or celebratory of your intimate partner spending this much time thinking about conversations, romantic dinners, and even sex with a pretty co-worker? Just because his porn is on the internet, and yours is all in your head, does that excuse it? One woman lamented to me how her husband had recently relapsed into soft-core porn. The following day, she made a comment about an underaged actor taking his shirt off in a then-highly-popular teen romance. Excuse me? Can you imagine the backlash if a 40-year-old man made that comment about a 17-year-old actress? What if he had a seductive photo of her on his phone screen saver? How is that not okay, I asked her, but she can have this young man, who, remember, is still a minor, for her phone’s screen saver?

Women get away with way more than men do, and don’t see the double standard. That does not change the fact that fantasizing about intimacy, even if it is “just” romantic fantasy, is an emotional affair. Your emotions are involved, you’re quite possibly aroused on some romantic or sexual level, and most likely comparing your partner to your fantasy. That will not keep a relationship healthy and deeply rooted for long. Fantasy destroys natural love, the outgrowth of commitment, and life-long companionship. All of this fades as the unchecked sexual desires of an entire generation run rampant, first in the mind and heart, then the streets of promiscuity, sexual indiscretion, and life-altering STIs. Fantasy feeds eventual behaviors. As women, we are powerful creators. We need to be responsible with what we create.

There is hope, and you can navigate this well.

I talked previously about that fraction of a second where choice exists. Jumping into that space takes practice, and I’m not going to lie: it’s not easy to even want to! It does get easier though, the more space and time you get from the distractions. I also want to make one clarification here. Thinking about what style of curtain, what color of paint, or which new car you are getting is not the same thing as fantasy—unless it keeps you from living your real life. That is planning, goal setting, even healthy creation. Visualizations are powerful. That’s why we use them to help us grow into the successful women we want to be. This is all the more reason to be careful how that energy is spent. We do become what we spend time creating in our minds. Create intentionally.

Here are a few recovery hacks I’ve used, then longer term solutions I hope you’ll consider.

  • Keep a tally on the back of your hand, or inside of your wrist of how often you think about a certain person. I know this was written from a heterosexual standpoint, but that in no way means targets for women can’t be other women.
  • Report your tally to a responsible friend each day, and what you intend to do as you work intentionally to cut back on fantasy (hopefully to zero!)
  • Intentionally increase the spirituality in your life. This can be through meditation, the types of books and music you listen to, and the movies you watch. 
  • Fill your idle time with something uplifting, like a quote or verse of scripture to think about each day.
  • Intentionally strengthen the social, romantic, financial and sexual connection with your intimate partner.
  • Use a proverbial bucket of ice water by calling it what it is: fantasy. It’s not real, it’s not actual relationship or connection, and it is keeping you from the real people in your life. If you or the individual in your head are in committed relationships, romantic or sexual fantasy about this person is also an emotional affair. Call yourself out and choose honest responsibility.
  • Use real ice, or a trinket in the palm of your hand to keep you in the present moment.

Let’s talk longer term solutions now. If your only issue is fantasy, excellent. Get yourself a mentor or coach to help you break the habit. If it is more nefarious, and involves other behaviors that trouble you, you’re going to want professional help from someone who gets what you’re dealing with. A therapist is needed if you have serious historical abuse or trauma. Otherwise you might like a coach or paid mentor. The important part is that you get someone on your team who knows how to help you in the ways you need, and who’s personality you enjoy. You need to agree on fundamentals, like:

  1. Is God important to recovery?
  2. Are the behaviors I want to work on also important to this therapist/coach/recovery mentor?
  3. Do I feel a connection with this therapist/coach/recovery mentor?
  4. Do they encourage me to build a foundation of support in my day-to-day life?
  5. Am I willing to pay for the support I need? (Trust me, no one thinks they can afford recovery. If you really want it, you’ll figure this out, then you’ll move mountains to work with the person you know is right for you. Cost is an excuse when you underestimate the need).

Ultimately, this is your decision. Do you want the life-long, deep, honest, full connection available to those willing to learn to maintain it, or not? Then, are you ready to do what it takes to get it, no counterfeits, no self-sabotage, and no excuses? If you answered yes to both questions, you’re probably ready to find your match in recovery support. Who comes to mind? Look at a few options, then decide. In the meantime, I’d love to send you a copy of my women’s recovery guidebook, now an International Best-Seller, “Overcoming Love Addiction.” It’s free, just shoot me an email at Lacy@HerRecoveryRoadmap.com. You can just sign up using the red box at the bottom of the page on my website, www.herrecoveryroadmap.com.

Yours in Recovery,

Lacy Alajna Bentley

View More: http://marielongphotography.pass.us/brieanne-and-lacy

ABOUT LACY: Lacy is a women’s addiction recovery coach, best selling author, and mom of four teenage boys. She is also a former pornography and Hentai (pornographic anime) user, who used these sources to help her define what “desirable” and “real” womanhood looked like from the age of 13. Now, she knows better, and wants to help other women heal, while empowering parents to have the tough but necessary conversations with their daughters. For a free PDF copy of her book, email her at Lacy@HerRecoveryRoadmap.com, or sign up on her website by filling out the red box at the bottom: www.HerRecoveryRoadmap.com. Lacy also runs women’s online mentorship and recovery groups, and you can contact her about those through the email above.

 

Posted by Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutubeBlogTwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!

Advertisements

Finding Peace: A Life-Changing New Retreat

Finding Peace_A Life-Changing New Retreat

For those wanting to deepen their healing from trauma, addiction, or pain, I want to share a life-changing new event with you. So you’ll more fully understand its value, let me first introduce you to Troy Love and his book.

Troy Love is one of my once-in-a-life-time friends. He is an experienced and gifted therapist in Yuma, Arizona. Troy is constantly creating quality content, with a passionate drive to improve the lives of others. Last year he came out with his first book called Finding Peace: A Workbook on Healing from Loss, Rejection, Neglect, Abandonment, Betrayal, and Abuse. If you haven’t read it yet. I urge you to. I had the privilege of endorsing the book, sharing that “Finding Peace is an essential workbook for anyone ready to heal from life’s hurts.  Using creative storytelling, skilled therapist, Troy L. Love, shares a powerful attachment-based process of deep wound work.  Finding Peace is a gift to all who are suffering and I am certain that it will be a catalyst of change for many.” 

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 10.09.52 AM

Now that you know who Troy is, let me tell you about his latest creation. He has designed a powerful new resource called The Finding Peace Retreat. Trust me, this is an unprecedented event you won’t want to miss. Here’s a short description:

The Finding Peace Retreat is a 3-day, intensive, experiential training based on the Amazon Best-Selling Book, Finding Peace.  The weekend creates a place of healing for individuals with past wounds of loss, rejection, neglect, abandonment, betrayal, and abuse who are looking for greater joy, happier relationships, and deeper fulfillment in their lives.

 Whether you’re just becoming aware of how these wounds have impacted your life or are exhausted with the constant cycle of trying to do your best and still feeling like a failure, the Finding Peace Retreat will give you the skills to heal from the past, change the internal negative messages that drive feelings of shame, and develop mindful, compassionate habits leading to greater contentment and peace. Discover your truth! Connect with your inner light that ignites your power, connection, and purpose.”

The retreat will take place on October 18 – 21 of this year. It will be held in Payson, Arizona (90 minutes from the Phoenix International Airport).

A 3-day retreat like this could run thousands of dollars. Troy is offering this event at a fraction of what he could charge (especially since the cost includes meals, lodging, and training materials). If you’re wanting to take your growth to the next level, I hope you’ll consider investing in yourself in this way.

Click here for more information and to register for this life-changing event. There are 21 spaces left!

I am grateful for Troy and his relentless efforts to uplift the world with his gifts. He is a true light to all of us. When you attend the retreat, you’ll know for yourself.

Whether you can make the retreat or not this year, I urge you to check out Troy’s other resources (his website, book, Reader’s Group, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube channel, and blog) and share this post with others who would benefit.

Spending 3 days with this skilled and compassionate master teacher is a great investment in personal healing and growth. You are SO worth it. Who knows? I may just see you there.

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutubeBlogTwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!

A Day of Change: Leading Men Into Life After Lust

 

LAL Workshop Testimony

The 17 men I met up with this weekend were in for the surprise of their lives. To be honest, I don’t know what they expected but what I was prepared to share was not how to avoid porn or how to stop lying to those they loved. This first Life After Lust Workshop was aimed at giving them what I thought they needed, not necessarily what I assumed they wanted. My aim was to heighten awareness on how to change, connecting them with their strongest resource for recovery: their very selves.

The content prepared was potent and powerful, aimed at challenging their beliefs, teaching them tools, and calling them up to create a new life. The day that ensued was life-changing. That’s what one man shared with me when it came to a close.

In 5.75 hours we adventured through the Mindset, Mastery, and Mission sections of my book, doing 12 exercises (from visualizations, to writing, to experiences), listening to 9 tracks from the new Life After Lust audiobook, and watching 8 videos (including VLOG and inspirational/educational videos).

This was one of the most meaningful days of my life. Living in a season of my deepest inner work to date, I felt at ease, leading the men deeper into themselves and into their awareness that real change was possible. I’m so proud of those men for the bold steps they took that day. I savored the moment, now I savor the memory, wondering when I’ll get to share this valuable content again.

I will never fully know what ripple effects resulted from that day. What I know for sure is that big, beautiful seeds were planted. One participant contacted me a couple days after the event sharing how he started running after months of passivity and was infused with the new mindset that he is responsible for the reality he creates.

He shared, “Your seminar is already causing me to think about my future, who I want to be, and being able to take care of myself. The biggest thing for me was owning my choices, owning my mistakes, and realizing that I have the ability and the power to choose something different for myself. And that if I wanted something good, it’s going to take some work. That is a big mental shift that I needed. I’m actually trying to live a little bit differently. I already feel different. I feel stronger and more capable, at least on the inside. Also, the workshop helped me summon the courage to work through my bitterness from a past relationship and move on. So, thank you! Your stuff is helping me out already so I just want to let you know that.”

Hearing how he was impacted infuses me with satisfaction and joy. It is a very real validation that the healing path I am on is packed with ever-explanding affects on others. The higher I grow, the further I can go with anyone willing to follow.

I wonder where this workshop will want to go next. It will soon be in Sacramento again. And I have a feeling in the near future I’ll have a female workshop. I’m already dreaming up ideas for that.

The course I’ve created here can impact the world. For now, I’ll get back to writing, waiting for the next invitation. Who knows? Maybe my next workshop will be with you.

Future create LAL Quote

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutubeBlogTwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!

The Potential to Change: Join Us In Just 3 Days

The potential to change

Fourteen years ago, I drove to Sacramento for a recovery event that changed the course of my life. This Saturday, I am leading a recovery event in Sacramento that could change the course of many other men’s lives. In just three days I will share stories and strategies from my book Life After Lust that have strengthened myself and many others in recovery. This event will bring hope to those caught in addiction, those long in recovery, and those just wanting to connect with themselves and grow.

I am SO excited!

I love how life gives us opportunities like this to turn our pain into purpose. As I creatively and strategically prepare for this event, I am both grateful for this opportunity and excited to plant powerful seeds that I trust will sprout into amazing fruit that will impact the world. Who knows, maybe some of these men will catch a glimpse of the hope of recovery, master what they learn, and someday lead others into healing and a changed life. It may sound unbelievable but I’ve seen such miracles. I’ve lived such miracles. If you want to see what potential is packaged in a handful of hours, join us this Saturday in Sacramento. I look forward to meeting you there, in just 3 days.

Click here to sign up (If you can’t make it this time, sign up here for announcements of future events)

**** PS: The Life After Lust Audiobook will make it debut at this event and be available in some venues this Saturday as well!

 

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutubeBlogTwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!

 

My New Job in Sacramento (No, I’m Not Leaving Fresno)

my New job in sacramento

I am in a season of several changes. One of the most significant changes I am actively pursuing is the transition into being a more full-time writer. I heard this amazing Rumi quote today that describes my journey through this process: “What you seek is seeking you.” This resonates deeply with me because as I’ve sought out my vision while standing for my value, the universe has conspired to open up unprecedented opportunities in alignment my inner commitments.

So, this week I was hired as the Program Development Director of LifeSTAR Sacramento, where I will be creating new workshops and getting the word out about recovery resources in our state capitol. I will continue leading my LifeSTAR groups and seeing a handful of clients in Fresno. And both of these jobs allow me to pursue what I see as my greatest contribution to the world – my writing.

In my new role I’ve had the opportunity to co-create some great resources I would love for you to check out and share with others:

This new opportunity is a win/win/win/win. I get to continue helping people recover, while using my gifts in both Sacramento & Fresno, and also freeing up more time to create. Some creative projects on the table right now are:

  • The Life After Lust Audiobook (ALMOST FINISHED!)
  • Writing a chapter for a major publishing company (more on this later)
  • Taking part in a team project that will share Life After Lust and other recovery programs globally (more on this later)
  • Writing my memoir

In this season, I am diving deeper into myself while learning how to be true to myself. I am filling my mind with inspiring ideas (like this, this, this, and this). I am following my vision and settling for nothing less. Here’s to making waves in Sacramento and beyond.

Think about it: What vision is seeking you?

May none of us abandon our biggest dreams.

 

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutubeBlogTwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

Recovery = Mastery (Exclusive Life After Lust Audiobook Clip & Event Announcements)

Life After Lust Announcements & Audiobook Clip

In this VLOG episode I shared an exclusive clip from the Mastery section in my upcoming Life After Lust audiobook. I hope you find this clip encouraging and empowering. Also, I shared two new events that I am co-leading in Sacramento, for couples and individuals seeking deeper recovery (see flyers below).

Click here for event details:

A Day of Healing and Recovery – June 9, 2018 (Life After Lust Workshop)

Phase 1 Intensive – April 27 & 28, 2018

Please share these events with anyone who would benefit. I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for future VLOG episodes.

Wishing all of you depth and hope in your recovery journey.

Forest

 

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutubeBlogTwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!

 

 

My Bittersweet Goodbyes

My Last LifeSTAR Blog Post_ Forest Benedict's Bittersweet Goodbye

Today is a day of bittersweet tears. I am letting go of old dreams and grabbing hold of new ones. I invite you to read my new blog post called My Last LifeSTAR Blog Post: Forest Benedict’s Bittersweet Goodbye to learn more about some significant changes in my writing and career journey. May we all follow the paths that lead to the most meaning.

THANK YOU all for your continued support!
Forest
Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutubeBlogTwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagramPinterestGoogle+StumbleUpon, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!
 

A New Vision (A Call to Visionaries)

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 3.05.01 PM

I’m in the midst of a mid-life crisis.

Let’s call it an awakening.

A vision is haunting me.

A dream thumps loudly at my door.

For years I’ve pursued a career as a therapist, finding fulfillment in helping others find their way. A year ago I took the risk of writing my first book. I never imagined what reach my written words would have.

Mere months ago this new vision caught me….that I am a writer with many books to be birthed. All paths are converging on this important truth. Writing has brought me where I am today and is brining me where I want to go. My focus has changed from squeezing writing into my life to building my life around my writing. Practically, this looks like downsizing my client load and upscaling opportunities to write. This is my path to the most meaning. Honoring my vision is an unflinching act of alignment. Sure, there are risks on this road. But nothing is more risky than abandoning my most purposeful path. My time here is limited. I am acutely aware of my mortality.

May we all know the worth of our most precious visions.

Life’s too short not to live out the life of our dreams.

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutube, BlogTwitter, Facebook, LinkedInInstagramPinterest, Google+StumbleUpon, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!

 

 

Recovery is a Lifestyle Change (Video)

Recovery is a lifestyle change. Share if you agree.

 

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, is the author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutubeBlogTwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagramPinterestGoogle+StumbleUpon, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!

 

 

Life After Lust Audiobook Announcement & Request for Reward Ideas

LAL Audio

Friends,

I have EXCITING NEWS!

The Life After Lust Audiobook Kickstarter project will begin in about a week! Check out my VLOG Announcement to learn more about the details of this fun project.

Also, I HAVE A REQUEST…I have put together some great rewards for those wishing to contribute to this cause but I really would love to know what rewards you would be interested in. Again, check out the video for further explanation and to learn about some of the awesome rewards that are already planned.

I look forward to sharing this experience with all of you. I also look forward to hearing stories of lives touched and changed as a result of listening to the hopeful message of Life After Lust.

Gratefully,
Forest

PS: To follow this story, I invite you to follow this blog and sign up on the Life After Lust Newsletter

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, is the author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutube, BlogTwitter, Facebook, LinkedInInstagramPinterest, Google+StumbleUpon, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!