Sex and Relationship Healing is pleased to partner with Lacy Bentley, host of our Tuesday Women’s Sex/Love Addiction drop-in discussion group and our Thursday Women’s Porn Addiction drop-in discussion group, for our Summer of Love (Addiction). This wonderful series examining women, love addiction, fantasy, pornography, and healing is drawn from Lacy’s book, Addicted to Love. This first post, pulled from Chapter 1, introduces readers to Lacy and her early struggles with fantasy and pornography.
You may be wondering who I think I am to talk about female fantasy and emotional distraction like an expert.
Sure, I research this stuff, and love gathering data. As with most passionate research buffs, however, I do also have skin in the game. My skin is my own story of fantasy and distraction from a young age. In fact, my preschool teacher commented on it for my first report card. “Lacy is a delight to have in class. She does get distracted often and is always in her own world.”
It didn’t get better. Every grade school teacher reported the same thing in my permanent records, which used to come home, hand-written and photocopied every school year. Some teachers and students were nicer than others. I earned my “Spacey Lacy” nickname fairly by first grade.
Before first grade was kind of a blur. I had a sweet little best friend that year who had somewhat the same issue I did with daydreaming. We used to sit or stand anywhere we could get privacy and talk about our daydreams. I felt like I had found my soul mate. She thought about the same stuff I did! And we fed each other’s fantasy with new ideas. What our “real” families were like, where we lived. We designed dresses together, and dream bedrooms with all the toys we saw our friends have. We dreamed together about our teacher liking us and being so proud we were able to finish our classwork on time. …
By third grade, I was being mercilessly teased by “Rusty Buckets Jerk-Face Dusty” for wearing dirty clothes or not having underwear on. (How could he tell?) I was sure he had X-ray vision, so I started wearing my brother’s or sister’s underwear if I didn’t have any clean. No one helped me when I cried about his teasing, and no compassion was available at home. My mother did teach me to do my own laundry, though, and that helped – when I remembered. I was so thankful to have my fantasy world to escape into whenever I needed. No one teased me there, and I had pretty clothes. My mom wasn’t depressed my dad didn’t move away to have a better family without me, and my step-dad kept his hands to himself. He was just a nice dad who loved me as much as he loved my little sister. You know, enough to not hurt me anymore, with belts, words, or anything else. …
At thirteen, I babysat for a couple who had enough pornography accessible to satiate just about anyone. I was told the movies were off-limits, so I didn’t go near them. Then I found a magazine the size of a TV guide as I was house cleaning for them. There were a few pictures, which grossed me out, and many more stories of sexual encounters. I became so enthralled, many weekends I’d watch the kids for free so I could read for hours after putting them to bed. I was in heaven. These stories were all I needed to enter my fantasy world now. They were so much more intoxicating.
I continued acting in through high school. No more babysitting, but that was fine. There was more than enough in my head to last a lifetime. However, I’d watch sexy teen anime – we called it “Bubble gum” back then. That escalated into more overtly sexualized genres, and I always imagined I was the cute girl everyone wanted. The boys would all be in love with me, and I would watch the romance unfold…safely.
Until recently, I had been puzzled that these fantasies were never about real relationships, but always make-believe. Now I see that for what it was: an escape from reality, a place where I was in control and safe, and it took care of the rest of my loneliness. The pain of my father having a new family, one he loved, didn’t exist, because I had these boys. I didn’t need him, and it didn’t hurt that he didn’t want me.
Lacy’s story will continue in next week’s post, looking at her eating disorder, fantasy role play, real-world relationships, and the beginnings of recovery. In future weeks, Lacy will discuss love addiction, pornography, and more – all from her highly regarded book, Addicted to Love.