Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why Does My Boyfriend Look at Girls Online?

Rachel's boyfriend Carl never talks about it, but there's evidence on the computer that he spends a lot of time looking at other women's bodies. Today she found evidence in the clothes hamper that those images are satisfying more than his curiosity. This kind of discovery is confusing and disturbing to many women. 

Regular visitors know that this blog explores how porn impacts relationships and what we can do about it. Today I'd like to share some insights from another therapist who works in the field of sexual addiction. 

Todd Frye, Ph.D., runs a sexual addictions provider certification program at MidAmerica Nazarene University. In this video he gets to the heart of the matter: porn addiction is an intimacy disorder. I'm excited to share it with you.

Here are a few of the insights he shares:

"Most people who struggle with intimacy struggle with the capacity to acknowledge what's going on inside of them and share that. Intimacy in Latin is intimus, which means innermost. They don't have the capacity to be reflective enough to know what is going on inside them and share it in a way in which someone else can connect with that, relate to that, and respond to that. [Intimacy] also has components of empathy, the capacity to give comfort, protection, and attunement to someone else....

"They don't learn how to take their pain, their sadness, and their joy to someone else and share it with them and experience it with them so that in turn that person can in turn offer a response that is a natural antidote to how they feel, that's validating and creates connection. They tend to isolate more, they tend to withdraw. The way to lower their anxiety is to isolate themselves and pull away.... 

"Just because I isolate myself, the need to connect with people doesn't die, doesn't just go away. So they position themselves to need something that's non-relational to feed this inability to connect or manage their mood. They use sexual addiction as a way of doing that."

Thanks Dr. Frye, for articulating these truths so well!

Image: graur codrin /

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