The anxiety was obvious: it was the fifth time John was calling in two hours.
"We have to work this out, me and you; come up with some story which will save my marriage," he explained.
I requested him to come to the clinic for a face to face discussion. In his first call, he had requested that I call his wife and lie to her that I had prescribed some movies for him to watch as a treatment for his mental stress.
"But you know that is unethical, John," I had explained. But John would not just listen; he called again and again, trying to suggest one lie after another for me to execute.
The story was that John's wife had discovered links to pornographic materials on John's computer. John had made a habit of staying late watching porn. He would masturbate and be hooked.
"I 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 (Ksh1 trillion) per year. Over 200 million man-hours are spent watching porn.
Pornography excites men more than women. This is because men are visual, and get pleasure by watching erotic acts.
Women, on the other hand, are more relational and get pleasure by watching romance. It's the reason why soap operas are popular with women.
Sexual rights activists promote sexual freedom and believe that everything goes as long as it does not interfere with other people's rights.
They believe that people should be allowed to explore their sexuality including learning new sexual information as a right.
They also believe that people can choose what is good for them and that this makes them realise their full sexual enjoyment. To them, porn is 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 can turn into sexual perverts and addicts.
As such, they promote censorship of materials people watch to weed out porn as a way of saving humanity and promoting moral values.
Whatever your belief may be, if you are hooked to porn there are principles of healthy sexuality that you should adhere to.
First, if you have a sexual partner you should reveal to them fully your sexual desires and practices.
"Eh doctor, that may not apply in our context!" John exclaimed.
Most married people hide some of their sexual practices from their long-term partners, thereby living two lives. It is a common practice.
The question though is, for how long can one hide a habit from a lifelong partner?
It is very traumatising when your partner discovers by mistake. They feel cheated, lose confidence in you and stop trusting you. Marriage can easily break as a result.
PERCEPTION & REALITY
Secondly, there is a difference between what you see in porn and real life.
There is a potential danger that people who watch porn can 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 a porn actor.
Third and very important, protect children from porn. Sexually explicit material is damaging to the young mind of the child and it is a serious crime exposing 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 get exposed to these materials, you will have damaged them forever. "Just tell me how to handle my wife," John begs.
CAUSES OF ADDICTION
The most important principle of treating a person or a relationship facing challenges with porn is not to dismiss them.
Their full sexual history is taken to determine what could have led them into porn 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 to porn, the result is that they may spend less time with their spouses and children, intimacy may die off, and relationship problems become the order of the day.
John and his wife were assessed and it turned out that John had a difficult life growing up as an orphan and was abused severally leading to perverted sexual desires.
He was recruited into therapy. The damage caused to his marital relationship was corrected through counselling.