“Life After Lust”
Interview with Forest Benedict by Lisa Shanklin
Recently a new book came out titled “Life After Lust” by Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP. His passion and dedication for helping others is seen in the life work that he has chosen. I was grateful for the opportunity I had to talk with him about his book, why he wrote it and how it can help all of us. One of his goals in writing the book was to help other parents who might be struggling themselves. He says if parents are hooked on porn, it hinders their attachment to their children, and to help prevent our children from becoming addicted, connection is needed.
Educate and Empower Kids recognizes the need for connection between parents and children. It is our mission to provide resources to parents and educators to encourage deep connection with their kids through media education, meaningful family communication and intentional parenting. We believe this must be done by teaching digital citizenship, media literacy, and healthy sexuality education—including education about the dangers of online pornography. And Forest is a great example of a father who is teaching not only his children, but so many others about the danger of pornography, the heartbreak that can come from its use and how to deal with it, because it is a part of our world.
In his work as a therapist for Lifestar, he leads several groups for those with addiction, for the spouses of those addicted and for teenagers that are addicted to pornography. He knows how hard it can be for children to tell their parents about their struggles and for parents to handle things in a helpful way. He says when we find out that our children are looking at pornography, we need to normalize the attraction to it. Children are curious and we need to be open for our children to talk to us. We can teach about how our brains work and what we can do to be healthy.
When we are connected to our parents and feel safe and secure, we are less likely to develop addictions. Forest grew up in a house with an alcoholic father and when he found pornography at age 12, he continued to seek it out until age 24 when he attended an “Every Man’s Battle” workshop. He went through the intensive weekend and has stayed away from pornography use and masturbation since then. He feels blessed to have gone through that experience just two weeks before he met his wife because she did not have to go through the betrayal trauma that many women experience when they find out about their spouse’s porn use, sometimes years later.
“For this generation to stand a chance, we must begin bold conversations about this uncomfortable topic.” We applaud Forest’s courageous efforts to help families start conversations.
To have conversations with our children, we need to be intentional and Forest recommends we pay attention to these four areas:
- Pay attention to their access
- Pay attention to their habits
- Pay attention to their interests
- Pay attention to their emotions
We highly recommend the book, “Life After Lust” http://lifeafterlust.com as an inspiring tool for all parents and for any man or woman who might be struggling with pornography use.
To help parents start the conversation, we’ve developed a program called 30 Days of Sex Talks and How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography, which is also available in Spanish. Also, check out our Resources page on our site for free lesson plans and much more to help you on this journey.
Lisa Shanklin joined Educate and Empower Kids as the Communications Director in January 2017. She has a degree in Recreation Management and Youth Leadership from Brigham Young University. While raising her five children, she has been an active volunteer with many organizations including the Boy Scouts of America and the local PTAs in both Baltimore, MD and Atlanta, GA. She served as the President and Executive Director of Women for Decency in 2016 and continues to work with many coalitions for the well-being of our children and families. She resides in Johns Creek, Georgia with her two youngest children.