Objectification of women in the media is growing at an alarming rate. Pause and think for a moment. How many times a day do you walk past a picture of a barely dressed woman? We have been exposed to these images and magazine covers for our entire lives, to the point where we may not even notice them. At least, not consciously.

The documentary Miss Representation looks at how women are featured in advertisements and analyzes the devastating effects these images are having on girls and boys. By objectifying women, we are teaching our sons and daughters these harmful stereotypes and we are seeing it seep into even darker areas: pornography and sexual addiction.

Pornography has a damaging impact on a marriage and family. For some, the temptation and need to view pornographic sites and videos can become addictive. According to Covenant Eyes, “56% of divorce cases involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.”

The discovery of a husband’s addiction can be shattering—not only to the couple’s marriage, but also to how the wife sees herself. In many situations, women are hit with a flood of emotions and compare themselves to their husband’s sexual fantasy, asking, “Am I not good enough?”

If you are the spouse of someone suffering from pornography or sexual addiction, it’s important to remember that you are not at fault. While you are dealing with the repercussions of your spouse’s addiction, it’s essential to find your own support group and create a foundation to rebuild your life.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind:

Don’t isolate yourself. We tend to retreat into ourselves when our world is falling apart, but it is vital that you find a support group, a trusted friend, or a spiritual leader who you can turn to. You need to have someone there for you, helping you through the ups and downs, and being there when you need them.

Practice Self-care. Many people experience doubt and negative self-talk when dealing with a spouse’s betrayal. Be kind and stop beating yourself up. Practice positive affirmations, start a gratitude journal, schedule time for yourself (explore a hobby, take time to read, or visit a museum), or start a new exercise routine.

Get Educated. Take time to understand addiction and why people turn to addictive behaviors. As you learn more about the addictive behavior, over time, the knowledge will help you realize that your spouse’s addiction is not about a lack on your part, and that he can still be in love with you even with this destructive habit in his life.

Pornography and sexual addiction are serious issues and contribute to the objectification of women. We need to become more conscious of the images around us and how they are not only affecting us, but our families, our communities, and our way of life.

About the Author: Dan Gray (LCSW, CSAT) is the Clinical Director and Cofounder at Lifestar Therapy. He has a master’s degree in social work and is a CSAT (Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist). He is also certified as an addictions counselor with the National Association of Forensic Counselors. He has co-authored and edited two books: Confronting Pornography: A Guide to Prevention and Recovery for Individuals, Loved Ones, and Leaders and Discussing Pornography Problems with a Spouse: Confronting and Disclosing Secret Behaviors. Dan is married and the father of four.

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