“Vote for Love” by Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Stay Strong Fresno

With elections on everyone’s minds, this is a season when every vote matters. While we focus on polls and politics, another local election looms. Recent news just revealed Hustler’s hopes to put up shop in our city. If they come, we will cast votes with our cash on our community’s stance on pornography. As this porn industry giant petitions for our votes, I wonder how many will grant their stamp of approval, disguised as dollars.

Supposedly, the majority of their merchandise will not be porn related. In one article, Larry Flynt framed this as a “retail operation”, with a fraction of “adult” content. To me, this is exponentially more deceptive; a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Even if a customer exits the store with G-rated merchandise, they unknowingly cast their vote for the success of the porn industry.

I can’t do that.

For many years I have refused to pay the porn industry from my own pocket. To many, gassing up at a station that peddles porn may not register as wrong. But I have avoided this for years, regardless of price. In the same vein, I have often avoided buying from a local big-name bookstore because their explicit books are visible to eyes of all ages. For me, it comes down to the simple belief that I vote with every transaction; supporting a porn selling business means supporting the porn industry. I refuse to give them my stamp of approval.

approve hands

To some, this may appear as an overreaction to seemingly small situations. You might ask, does this guy have a problem with the porn industry?

Yes I do.

As a sexual addiction therapist, I continuously see the devastation caused by porn addiction. I sit with stunned spouses. I empathize with addicts caught in self-destructive cycles. I help resuscitate relationships ruined by pornographic obsessions and I see relationships wounded beyond repair, aiding in their burial.

As a presenter on the harmful effects of porn on children, I meet young people drowning in porn addiction. The more I research, the more I see a younger generation that’s predominantly unprotected from porn. I see our youth unknowingly auctioning off present and future intimacy as they immerse themselves in the internet. Porn changes their malleable brains, affecting everything from their studying to their later-life sexual performance. As a parent, I do my best to protect my children from this destructive drug.

As a sexual addict in recovery, I have a behind-the-scenes perspective. I’ve felt the compulsivity, shame, and disconnection often packaged up with porn addiction. I do not blame the porn industry for my past addiction. I chose to soothe my pain in that way and I eventually chose to seek help. But, sadly, I have seen the underground world of demeaning acts charading as sex.

Lastly, as a citizen who cares about the disenfranchised and defenseless, I believe the pleasures of porn are not worth those wounded by it. The porn industry would want to deny its ties to sex-trafficking, a trade that many caring citizens are heroically fighting locally. The porn industry is riddled with drug abuse, physical and psychological harm, and disease. In the porn industry, both sexuality and humanity are commodities.

These characteristics grate against my most essential beliefs in love, freedom, and human worth. I cannot silently stand by while these cruelties exist. I adamantly oppose those who profit from such atrocities. And, if I’m honest with myself, I once contributed to this industry through my addiction – an uncomfortable reality I must wrestle with.

Yes, I have a problem with the porn industry.

Maybe you do too. Maybe you’ll avoid compensating porn’s cause, telling businesses why you’ve withdrawn your support. Maybe you’ll prepare picket signs, plan to talk to city leaders, write against Hustler’s plans yourself, SHARE this article with others, or use your influence in other ways. Standing together as a community, I believe we can barricade Hustler’s passage into our city. On a global scale, a collective stance can stifle the course of the industry’s onslaught in our world.

Whatever form of peaceful opposition we’re planning, let’s consider another aspect of the opportunity before us. As we work to raise our community’s standard, we can raise our personal standards as well [TWEET THIS]. If we are caught by porn addiction, we can seek recovery. If our children are unprotected against porn, we can begin much-needed conversations and make necessary changes. We can take an active stance in the big battles behind our own doors. As we push porn out of all aspects of our lives, we can vote against the industry publicly without privately subsidizing its campaign.

Make no mistake, this is not a grievance against the goodness of sex. I love sex. I am fully on board with the cause of having better, more passionate, more exciting, and more connected sex lives. But I believe this can be only be achieved within a spirit of love. I have an anti-porn stance because porn is anti-love. As my friends at Fight the New Drug put it, “porn kills love”.

fist hearts

If you too believe in love, I invite you to express that through an active stance against the porn industry. Our stance spans our streets, our homes, and our hearts.

Will you vote for love? Your vote matters.

Let’s show Hustler that the Anti-Porn & Pro-Love Movement is Alive in Fresno [TWEET THIS].

Please share this article along with the encouragement to “#StayStrongFresno”.

(Click here to join The Anti-Porn Movement)

-Written by Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, LMFT, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

This entry was posted in Addiction, Anti-Porn Movement, Change, Children, Inspiration, Parents, Partner of Sexual Addict, Recovery, Sexual Addiction, Shame, Teens and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to “Vote for Love” by Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

  1. Pingback: Vote for Love, Not Porn (Can you help?) | Write Forest Write

  2. Great job Forest!


  3. Pingback: From Conviction to Courage to Change | Write Forest Write

  4. Pingback: Forest’s “Vote for Love” Article Coming to The Fresno Bee This Saturday! | LifeSTAR Central Valley Blog

  5. Pingback: Forest’s “Vote for Love” Article Coming to The Fresno Bee This Saturday! | Write Forest Write

  6. Pingback: “Vote for Love, Not Porn” in Today’s Fresno Bee | LifeSTAR Central Valley Blog

  7. Pingback: 8 Ways to Stand Against DARKER “Shades of Grey” by Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP | LifeSTAR Central Valley Blog

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