In this day of instant gratification, ambiguous boundaries, and confusing sexual signals, the love addicted woman may feel even more disconnected and adrift than in previous generations. With social media, dating site hook-ups, and willing co-worker’s, today’s love addicted woman hardly gets time to catch her breath. There is always something new and attractive lurking in her peripheral vision, and past “love” connections die hard. Those connections make for repeated attempts at getting needs met from the same partner, maybe multiple co-addicted lovers, repeating themselves in rapid succession. It is exhausting, and she desperately needs a break from the intensity. No problem, society has a solution for that. Enter, Pornography.
Porn doesn’t make demands, it doesn’t give her STIs, and it certainly doesn’t ask for a commitment. Porn knows she will be back. She can’t help it. After all, her deepest needs, hopes, and dreams of love are still being neglected. She has no idea what these are, but porn does, it gives her an intoxicating substitute that almost makes her feel her needs were met. Well, until tomorrow morning, when the hole just feels bigger and hurts more.
What can she do, though? How can she break out of this never-ending, ever-escalating cycle of loneliness, using, feeling better, and waking up with regret? It’s almost as bad as her one-night stands or the shame of pretending she was with someone besides her husband when they made love. Her heart breaks, calling out louder and louder to have her real needs met, but she only knows how to gather counterfeits and increasingly painful emotional hangovers.
There is hope. There is a way out for her. It may not be easy, and it certainly won’t be quick. But if she can hang in there, a few critical steps may help her give up the porn, the men, and her self-defeating relationship patterns.
As odd as it sounds, her cravings for sex, sexual connection, romance, even “love” the way she is getting it, have nothing to do with sex or romance. They are about unmet emotional intimacy and healthy connection needs. By finding the underlying, core need, then meeting it for herself, wither through emotional healing, or getting the support she needs, the rest starts to resolve itself. That doesn’t mean the carvings or withdrawals from compulsive, even addicted behaviors won’t still happen, they certainly will. Once she can see them for what they are, then seek to meet the true need, even those pulls toward acting out with flirting, sex, pornography, or relationship hopping will begin to subside.
Lacy Bentley is founder and president of the non-profit organization, Women United Recovery Coalition (@WURCTogether). She is also a life coach and public speaker on the harmful effects of pornography addiction, unhealthy relationship dynamics, and overcoming perfectionism. She seeks to empower women to stand up and be counted in the war on the harmful messages all forms of sexualized media sent to the rising generation. Lacy@WURCTogether.org