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How to beat porn addiction

Friday May 29 2020
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The greater effect of pornography is on emotional connection. Pornography makes the mind perceive sex as a physical act. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOACHIM OSUR

It was their first time at the Sexology Clinic. Agnes was 28, while Andrew, her husband, had just turned 30. They were in their second year of marriage but facing trouble in their life.

"This is a safe space so just say it, whatever it is that is bothering you," I assured them.

"Pornography is the big elephant in our house; I was caught red-handed and I have no defense," Andrew says. This threw Agnes into a fit. She could not hold her emotions.

She cried uncontrollably for close to 10 minutes as both Andrew and I watched. Sometimes it helps to just cry your heart out when things are unbearable, so I did not interfere.

Agnes then suddenly asked to leave the room and she walked out, banging the door behind her. I was left with Andrew who narrated what had been going on.

Incidentally, the couple had had a troubled sexual life. The marriage was relatively young but they only had sex once or twice a month, and they both felt that it was not satisfying.

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It was Agnes who initiated sex. She often complained about Andrew's disinterest; he always gave the excuse that he was tired and stressed due to work demands.

SEEKING HELP

The straw that broke the camel's back, however, arrived sooner than Andrew had imagined. He had developed a tendency of staying late in the night on his laptop.

Frustrated and wondering why intimacy was rare and unsatisfactory in their marriage, Agnes got interested in the purported late night duties and started hiding and peeping at Andrew's laptop.

She was devastated by what she saw. Andrew mused himself watching pornography. On the third night he even masturbated. Agnes hit the roof. She interrupted him in the process, got emotional, and cried uncontrollably for two days.

Andrew did not know how to handle the situation and pleaded with her to come to the Sexology Clinic for them to seek help.

Pornography is a big issue. One popular porn site reports that 80,000 new people visit the site and 220,000 clicks to watch porn every minute.

Most customers are between the ages of 25 and 35. Most start watching in their teenage years; 70 per cent of the customers are men.

LOSS OF INTIMACY

But pornography goes beyond watching videos. It boils down to anything erotic that causes sexual excitement. It could be in books, magazines, recorded sound, sculpture, photos, drawings, animation, video games, and many more.

The bottom line is non-partner sexual stimulation which sometimes ends up in masturbation. Studies have shown that pornography makes you perceive your sexual partner as unattractive.

The other sex suddenly becomes sexually unappealing to you. You start perceiving their bodies as repugnant.

But the greater effect of pornography is on emotional connection. Pornography makes the mind perceive sex as a physical act.

It disconnects sex from emotion. Hence, sex becomes a physical pleasure experience than an act that cements intimacy.

COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN

In most relationships where one partner is into porn, communication begins to fail. People do not pay attention to the emotional needs of each other.

Your partner becomes a bother. Most of these relationships become dysfunctional and splits are common.

In one study, it was found that a couple watching pornography together may not suffer some of the severe consequences.

They may start having sex more frequently, although the emotional connection may be missing. This observation has resulted in a recommendation that as part of withdrawing from porn addiction, the addict can watch porn with the spouse or sex partner before fully switching over to partner sex.

"Oh really? Can you tell Agnes that when she next comes to the clinic?" Andrew chipped in, interrupting my monologue.

THERAPY

Treatment of porn addiction and the repair of the damaged relationship, however, calls for intense therapy. It is not easy just to abandon porn.

As they went through therapy it became clear that Andrew got hooked to porn and masturbating at the age of 16.

When he got married, he found it hard to stop. Watching porn was more exciting to him than being with Agnes.

He felt guilty and sorry for his actions but was helpless and unable to stop. Though disappointed, Agnes was committed to supporting Andrew.

The couple was diligent in attending therapy sessions and practicing what we agreed on.

It took six months before Andrew comfortably felt that he had the mental stamina to fight the porn temptation. Meanwhile, their intimacy grew.

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