Joe Saavedra & The Evil Genius

Evil Genius Quote

As a teacher, this is a proud moment for me. One of my SATP students is wasting no time at making waves in the world. Joe Saavedra, LMFT, SATP (student) just landed a writing gig on Rob Weiss’ Sex & Relationship Healing blog! You may know that Rob Weiss is one of the most prominent leaders in the sex addiction treatment field (I will forever be gratefully shocked that he endorsed Life After Lust). So, I am incredibly proud of Joe for playing big with his life and using his expertise and recovery story to impact others.

If that wasn’t enough, you know what Joe went ahead and did in his newly published post called The Question of Identity? He quoted Life After Lust, introducing a character in my book called The Evil Genius. I feel deeply honored by Joe’s generosity in doing this and hope that this exposure will help more people experience healing.

I invite you to read Joe’s article, subscribe to Rob’s blog, and think about what place the Evil Genius has in your life and recovery.

Watch out world! Joe Saavedra is equipped, skilled, and more passionate than me about sexual addiction recovery. He is making an impact and, trust me, this is only the beginning.

 

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!

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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!

Sacramento Recovery Intensive for Sexual Compulsivity & Betrayal Trauma

Phase 1 Intensive August

If you are struggling with sexual compulsivity or suffering from betrayal trauma, I invite you to join us in a couple of weeks for a powerful weekend of hope and healing with Leslie Haws, LMFT, CSAT and myself.

This will be the 3rd Phase 1 intensive I have co-facilitated. It is a life-changing event and I highly recommend it.

We hope to see you there!

Please share this with anyone who would benefit.

Thanks.

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!

BIG Sex Addiction News

Celebrate photo

Great news! In a ground-breaking move, The World Health Organization just classified compulsive sexual behavior as a mental health disorder! I invite you to read my writeup on this news and why it is so significant here:

GROUND-BREAKING NEWS: COMPULSIVE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR DISORDER CLASSIFIED IN THE ICD-11

May this monumental move forward pave the way for the many needing hope and help in their battle with sex addiction.

 

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!

 

Are You Anti-Porn? If So, Join US!

The Anti-Pornography Movement Revised (paid)

I INVITE YOU TO JOIN OUR ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY MOVEMENT GROUP if you’re committed to protecting your world, your home, and your heart from pornography. This is a great group for exchanging resources and encouraging one another in the fight for love, recovery, and human worth.

“May we rouse to the reality of porn’s attack before we wake to the devastation of an addicted generation.” -Life After Lust, p 189

Join us!

The Anti-Pornography Facebook Group

 

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!

Audiobook Release Date & Venues

LAL Release Date

GREAT NEWS! Today I received the official release date of the Life After Lust Audiobook: June 9!

It will be available online in the following 28 venues:

24symbols

Audible, Amazon, Apple (may be later than June 9)

Audiobooks.com

Downpour

eStories

Google Play

Hummingbird

Instaread

Kobo

Libro.FM

Nextory

NOOK Audiobooks

Otto

Playster

Scribd

3Leaf Group

Baker & Taylor

Bibliotheca

EBSCO

Follett

hoopla

Mackin

Odilo

Overdrive

Perma-Bound

Wheelers

The audiobook turned out amazing (click here to listen to an audio clip) . I know it will inspire you, giving you great hope for recovery.

Will you help me get the word out?

Stay tuned.

 

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!

 

Life After Lust Audiobook Finished (Announcement & Audio Clip Preview)

Audiobook Finished! (Available Soon)-2

It’s been 5 months since our successful Life After Lust Audiobook Kickstarter. Finally, after months of work, the audiobook is complete and will be AVAILABLE SOON! In the video below, I explained the details regarding this exciting announcement and shared a 4.5 minute audio clip from the book. A big THANK YOU to everyone who made this project possible. This audiobook will impact many lives.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW TO ANNOUNCEMENT AND HEAR AN AUDIO CLIP OF THE BOOK

The audiobook is now in the processing phase. Soon it will be available on Audible, iTunes, Amazon, in libraries, and in MANY other venues.

SO excited and grateful,
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!

A Day of Recovery & Healing from Sexual Addiction & Betrayal Trauma (Sacramento, June 9)

A day of recovery and healing

If you’re struggling with sexual addiction or betrayal trauma, I invite you to join me in Sacramento on June 9 for A Day of Recovery & Healing. I have the privilege of co-leading this life-changing new event with my colleague Leslie Haws, LMFT, CSAT, for recovering individuals and couples.

The event will be split into two tracks. I will lead the Life After Lust Workshop, combining strategies from my book with exercises aimed at strengthening recovery and clarifying a vision for a hopeful future. Leslie Haws will concurrently present to the partners, sharing information and tools critical for healing from betrayal trauma.

Supercharge your recovery in a confidential setting with 6 hours of meaningful experiences, powerful lessons, and mind-altering information.

The cost of the workshop is $120/Person and $219/Couple.

Workshop is June 9 from 9:00am-4:00pm (with a lunch break).

Will you please help us get the word out about this important event?

To reserve your spot, follow the directions on this simple Day of Recovery & Healing Registration Form. Click here for additional information.

Don’t miss this exciting new event! We hope to 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!