In our first post in the Ten Things I Hate About your Addiction series we looked at the issues of anger and hatred that are so often hallmarks of the addiction. This week we’ll be looking at the obvious next steps from these two poisonous traits… cruelty and violence.
In Beyond Betrayal, I discuss the topic of intimacy aversion. Arguably every sex addict is struggling with some form of this issue – sex addiction being, at its root, an intimacy disorder.
As mentioned in the book, addicts tend to have a whole range of techniques for keeping their spouse from coming too close. The book discusses the fact that some SAs do this intimacy sabotaging subconsciously. Some, however, are quite intentional, and their techniques quite cruel. Some of the techniques mentioned were:
- Sabotaging of special days (birthday, anniversaries, Christmas, Valentines)
- Senseless Arguing
- Withholding love and affection
- Withholding praise
- Withholding sex
How the above is done is even more important than what is done. When the above tactics are used in conjunction with insults, degrading remarks or dehumanizing treatment, we’ve entered into the realm of cruelty and probably emotional abuse.
When I speak on the relationship between porn and domestic violence I tell women there are five major types of domestic violence:
Those who work with partners of sex addicts are aware that some of our partners are facing violence in more than one of these areas — and possibly all of them.
When we consider how sex addiction leads to the objectification of women, it’s not at all surprising that the addiction and violence go hand in hand. Moreover, Dr. Struthers’ discoveries about porn use and “the dark side of oxytocin,” give us a further explanation of why we partners (and children) of sex addicts are more likely to experience violence. I posted this clip in the first article in this series, but it’s so good, I thought I’d include it again for anyone who missed it.
Porn and Sexual Violence
Most of the research on the SA/violence correlation to date has been on the relationship between porn and sexual violence. According to “A Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population” which was published last year in the Journal of Communication:
“…the accumulated data leave little doubt that, on the average, individuals who consume pornography more frequently are more likely to hold attitudes conducive to sexual aggression and engage in actual acts of sexual aggression than individuals who do not consume pornography or who consume pornography less frequently.”
Considering how porn normalizes degradation and physical violence against women (Dr. Michael Flood of the University of New South Wales call it “rape training”), this is not surprising. And what are our internet porn users seeing?
- 88% of scenes show physical aggression
- 48% of scenes include verbal aggression
- 94% of cases of gagging, choking and slapping are directed at females
95% of aggression is met with neutral or positive response This is particularly frightening when you realize that "what we see is what we do." Dr. Struthers explains more in this clip.
Moreover, Dr. Flood states that porn use is now considered the number one risk factor in “shaping tastes and attitudes toward sexual aggression.”
Changing His Mind
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Philippians 4:8
The story doesn’t end there however. In the same video above, Dr. Struthers describes that how the brain that is trained to enjoy evil, can also be trained, in time, to prefer virtue. While it’s interesting to know the neuroscience behind that… the bible let us in on the secrets to being transformed long ago. The good news is… He’s done, and does, the hard work.
To see the full video interview with Dr. Struthers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWXqSFuIXSc
Next week we'll continue this series with a look at apathy and withdrawl. Moreover, after this series, I’d like to do a “Ask the Experts” post. In preparation for this, I’d like you to send in your toughest questions for the sex addiction therapists and partner trauma specialists and I will route them to experts on the C-SASI (Christian Sex Addiction Specialists International) board. This post will also be used as a blog post on the C-SASI site.