This was the fifth time John was calling in a span of two hours; it was clear he was anxious. “We have to work this out, me and you, and come up with some story which will save my marriage,” he explained.
I asked him to come to the clinic for a face-to-face discussion. During the calls, he had asked that I call his wife and tell her that I had prescribed some movies for him to watch as treatment for his mental stress, which was a lie.
“You know that is unethical, John,” I had explained.
John would not listen. “I have been caught and I see no way out other than creating a story to calm her down,” he explained on arrival at the clinic.
John’s wife had discovered links to pornographic websites in John’s computer. “But I also feel quite guilty after watching it, especially once I get sexual release,” he explained.
The topic of pornography is a difficult one. Currently, it is estimated that the porn industry mints more than $10 billion per year. Over 200 million man hours are spent watching porn.
Pornography excites mostly men. This is because men are visually aroused, getting pleasure by watching sexual acts. Women, on the other hand, are more relational, getting pleasure by watching romance in the context of relationships.
This is why soap operas are quite popular with women, just as much as pornography is popular with men.
Sexual rights activists promote sexual freedom and believe that anything goes, as long as it does not interfere with other people’s rights.
They believe that people should be allowed to explore their sexuality, and that people have right to choose what is good for their full sexual enjoyment. For them, porn is therefore quite permissible.
Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that pornography corrupts the mind and leads to moral decadence, that good people can get poisoned by what they watch, and turn into sexual perverts and addicts.
They promote censorship to weed out porn as a way of saving humanity and promoting moral values.
Whatever your beliefs, if you are hooked on porn, there are principles of healthy sexuality that you should adhere to. First, if you have a sexual partner, reveal your sexual desires and practices to them.
PORN AND REAL LIFE
“Eh doctor, that may not apply in our context,” John exclaimed. I know most married people hide some of their sexual practices from their long-term partners.
The question is, for how long can one hide regular practices from people they hope to live with forever? It is very traumatising when your partner discovers a sexual practice such as porn by mistake.
They feel cheated, lose confidence in you and stop trusting you. The marriage can easily break as a result.
Secondly, there is a difference between porn and real life. People who watch porn may end up trying it in real life, sometimes with partners who may not even know what they are up to.
If you choose to watch porn, do not carry what you watch to your marital bed. Your partner is not one of the porn actors you have watched online.
CAUSES OF ADDICTION
Third and very important, protect children from porn. Sexually explicit material is damaging to children, and it is a serious crime to expose children to porn.
It is very easy for children to bump into such materials if one or both partners are watching them in the house. If your children got exposed to the materials, you will have damaged them forever.
“All that is fine, doctor, but just tell me how to handle my wife,” said John. The most important principle when treating a person or a relationship facing challenges with porn is that the individual or people involved should not be dismissed.
Their full sexual history is taken to determine what could have led to the addiction, as well as the damage the porn has caused.
Deranged childhood development, sexual abuse, relationship problems and many other reasons could be the cause of porn addiction. Once one is hooked on porn, they may spend less time with their spouses and children, intimacy may die off, and relationship problems abound.
It turned out that John had a difficult life growing up as an orphan and was abused severally, leading to perverted sexual desires. He went into therapy.
The damage caused to his marital relationship was corrected through counselling. It was additional proof that porn addiction does not just happen; there is usually a hidden health problem behind it.