In the after effects of being married to a sex addict, i searched out support groups for those in relationships like mine. i found S-ANON (Hope and Help for Family and Friends of Sexaholics) as well as amazing people through blogs, and the Togetherness Project and Camb Scabs. Now i have so many relationships with all of these beautiful supportive women in various stages of "Recovery" (recovering from the affects of living with a sex addict and the codependency and shame that develops).
With these women, i have been able to share my story. And i have heard their stories. Stories of pain and betrayal and hope and recovery. The more i have heard, the more i realize how many people are struggling with addiction or struggling through a relationship with someone who is addicted.
Many conversations have happened now with friends outside of my recovery groups asking questions about what i have learned. The two questions i hear the most are:
"Wait, porn addiction is the same thing as sex addiction?"
"Do you really think looking at porn is cheating?"
My answers are yes and YES!!
We all know how prevalent pornography is. Those in the industry (and those consuming it) would like to make society believe that looking is normal and that it isn't cheating on your partner to watch.
Let me speak as the voice of a group of women who KNOW from experience (many of us having experienced both) that porn and cheating hurt the same. It is betrayal and it is infidelity whether it is a video, sexting, a strip club or an actual body.
Someone asked me once to explain HOW porn is cheating. i couldn't ever figure out how to explain it more than "it hurts the same." Then i found this article on the blog for Fight the New Drug. Please read it. It isn't very long and it explains so simply and so perfectly WHY pornography is cheating. (And then, if you want to learn about porn addiction being the same thing as a sex addiction, check out their incredible facts page).
My favorite paragraph from the post says:
"...When someone is viewing porn a hormone is released in their brain called oxytocin. Oxytocin is known to increase feelings of attachment, connection, and trust. Studies show that couples in a healthy and well-adjusted relationship exhibit much higher levels of oxytocin than those in a distressed relationship. Because the hormone is naturally released during sex, watching porn triggers the release of oxytocin as well, effectively bonding the person to that experience. Over time, the bond becomes stronger and stronger until it seems unbreakable.
So call us crazy, but when you are sexually bonding to something other than your partner, we would consider that cheating."
i am grateful to people like Fight the New Drug, who aren't afraid to get the facts out there.