When you hear pornography, everyone’s mind will rush to boys’ rooms, hostels and their computers. But much as porn addiction is common among young people, including females, it turns out it is a big problem for married couples as well. Brian Mutebi finds out how porn addiction has rubbed into marriages, what could be causing the vice and how you can help your partner get out of it. Who knows, this could be the one thing eating up your sex life!
Marriage issues are supposed to be sacred, and never shared in public. What goes on in the confines of a marital home is only known to the parties involved a man and his wife. It’s never bliss, but there are flaws that may be more agonising than others.
Anne and Andrew (real names concealed to protect their identity) married four years ago, when Anne was 25 and Andrew 31. Like most newly-weds, they enjoyed many blissful and intimate moments. But this never lasted long, it was for only three months, Anne remembers.
“Andrew was no longer interested in being with me as his wife and I couldn’t figure out why. Everything else in our marriage was fine. I thought maybe the sex was boring, so I endeavoured to be creative but that did not help. I also worried that probably the cycle I was told about, when getting intimate in marriage is no longer top priority, but at three months, ours had come too soon.”
Anne becomes curious
“One incident after about a year in marriage awakened me. I had been away on a working trip and when I returned, Andrew did not touch me. That reaction from a newly-married man who has not seen his wife for three months was shocking.
“I trusted Andrew. I knew he could not cheat on me but I could not help thinking he had other women on the side. He would claim there was nothing wrong only that his work made him busy and tired. I was tormented from the inside.”
Anne then got on a mission to find out what had happened to her husband. It took her a while of probing, before she discovered something that broke her heart.
“I checked his laptop and on retrieving his search history, I found every pornographic site. My heart sunk, and without hesitation, I knew this was the problem. I had been told pornography makes its victims less interested in natural sex. I was happy I had identified the problem, but felt betrayed. I felt less of a woman, and I kept asking myself what was it that my husband could not get from me that made him resort to porn. I was heartbroken!”
What is pornography?
According to www.care.org.uk, pornography is the explicit representation of sexual activity in print or on film to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings. Pornography cuts across all age groups and social strata. It seems to carry with it the power to hold its victims captive, knowing no boundaries.
A law may be in place to control the distribution of pornographic material, but we are in the era where access is so easy, making it hard for addicts to fight their craving. Jonathan a heart to heart reader and porn addict recently wrote in: “…I am so fed up of this habit but I have failed to stop it. It is an addiction. I can spend the whole day at it and sleep late in the night looking at nude pictures of women…”
In most cases, most people believe porn addicts are teenage boys, those at university and fairly young people. The thought of an addict being a married man or woman is unimaginable, and yet in reality, many women are suffering like Anne.
At the 5th Annual Men’s Convention at Gayaza in October, Pastor Fred Wantaate of Makerere Full Gospel Church, said addiction to pornography is common in marital homes.
“As a pastor and counsellor, I have seen this happen over and over,” he said.
So what causes pornography in marriage?
As a schoolboy, Andrew’s peers always had porn magazines and videos just for fun. “I was in boarding school and it was fun reading about sex.” “Boys hid magazines at the bottom of their metallic suitcases and the teachers who checked could not find it. Several copies would circulate in the dormitory, and we referred to those magazines as ‘encyclopedia’. Before a boy would ‘meet’ his girlfriend, he would let almost everyone know because it was prestigious to do so. “Get me that encyclopedia so I can get vocabularies,” they would say. Little did Andrew know he would carry the habit on 10 years later, into his marriage.
Rukia Bagala, 27, married for 10 months.
“I think I was in Senior Two when I was introduced to pronography. At that time, it did not seem to be like pornography or anything bad. I come from a very strict Muslim family where I was not exposed to sex, but the girls at school used to talk about sex and demean those of us who were ignorant about it. They said we, who were ignorant about sex, would be dumped by our boyfriends if we did not learn good sex. So I decided to teach myself. I started by reading magazines and surfing the Internet, now I think I am addicted because whenever I have Internet connection on my phone I visit at least one (pornographic) site.”
Another woman, a 42-year-old banker in Mukono, says she started the habit reluctantly. “Honestly, it is not something I look forward to doing but reluctantly I find myself surfing porn. You know how women want to be tick learning this tactic and the other and what you can do for your man. So yes I surf (porn). I do not know whether that is being addicted,” she states.
Alice Nambuya, an independent counsellor based in Kayunga, says the craving for aenture and the feeling that one is not good enough is what may be fuelling pornography among married couples. “Husbands or wives want to learn new styles, hoping to satisfy their spouses, plus the lack of sexual satisfaction,” Nambuya says .
Ibrahim Okech, a resident of Namungoona, says easy accessibility to pornographic material is another cause, citing the recent circulation of singer Desire Luzinda’s nude pictures on social media. “I never asked anyone for these pictures but I just found her pictures on my Whatsapp,” he says.
Pr Wantaate says the effects pornography causes on a marriage are grave, noting that a partner may carry in his or her mind images from videos or magazines into their martial bed. “Such a spouse may be with his or her spouse physically when actually they are in love with the pornographic images, which damages the levels of intimacy. Or an addicted partner may all together prefer to read or watch his or her pornographic materials than be with the spouse. And because of unfulfilled sexual needs, committing adultery or separation come in,” he says.
The pastor adds that pornography becomes expensive as one may spend a lot of money and time buying and reading pornographic material at the expense of what is actually beneficial to their lives or families. “It becomes an idol and idols give birth to uncontrollable passions. The most dangerous idols are not those built behind houses but those in our hearts,” says Wantaate.
Anne notes that pornography has a way of killing self-esteem. “If your partner begins to avoid you, as a woman, you begin to think about many things. You begin to feel less of a woman. If one is not strong, she may end up sleeping with other men.”
Nambuya says the effects of pornography on a marriage are not determined by gender but both husband and wife are affected. She says once a partner finds out their spouse is addicted to pornography, it causes the offended partner to feel guilty and disrespected, wondering why their partner left them for pornography.
Nambuya explains the falsity that comes with pornography. “There are things in pornographic videos, for example, that are not humanly possible. Those scenes are acted by people on drugs or addicts themselves or people possessed in some way. So it is wrong for people to measure their sexual life according to porn. It is unreal, it is deceptive.”
The commonest reason fanning pornography is the desire to learn about sex, and yet Nambuya says addiction to pornography is beyond learning. “It is like a child who is learning to crawl. They crave to crawl and then they learn to. Once they have, they desire to walk and run.”
How Anne salvaged her marriage
“I was kind and sensitive, because I did not want to embarrass him or sound judgmental. What I wanted was to heal my marriage, not tear it apart. It is good that during that difficult period, which lasted almost a year, we never cut communication. We would talk about everything, and that’s how I brought up the discussion on pornography. The timing and mood had to be right.”
Sounding sweet and nice, she confronted her husband: “Honey, the other day I discovered from your laptop that you search pornographic material.”
She knew for a fact that he was not going to ask what she was looking for on his laptop, because after all, they have an open policy at home.
“Nothing is secret in our house. There is no problem with me opening his laptop or him scrolling through my phonebook. But even if he was to react, I would still calm him down and explain to him that all I wanted was to heal our marriage.”
Andrew admitted to being addicted to pornography, and said he was struggling with it but he feared revealing it to his wife.
“What broke me down was him saying whenever he watched porn he lost interest in getting intimate. We agreed to delete all search history on the computer and he committed himself never to search porn again.”
As one who has been through this, Anne aises couples that whenever they are dealing with delicate issues such as this, they should purpose to heal their marriage rather than condemn one another. She says what the victim may need is support from someone who loves them.
Wantaate, on the other hand, aises couples to burn and destroy all pornographic materials in their possession, while Nambuya says couples should spend more time together, pray together and after such traumatic experiences, seek help from a counsellor.
PORN ADDICTION: HOW CAN ONE OVERCOME IT?
Terungwa James Johnson: It was magical rather… to me. I didn’t force myself to stop at once, I started by deleting the stuff. I, however was hurt and regretted and often got them back, then I would delete when I felt guilty again. Then when I started school, I forgot about it totally… Thanks to God.
Aida Mel-b: First step is to accept you have a problem, if you don’t then it just gets worse.
Hamza Abbas: If one is sexually active, why would they need to see porn videos which are done by people who are powerless, just to get the desire to have someone.
1. Total commitment to God.
2. Swallowing pride and accepting it’s wrongsinful.
4. Seeking frequent counselling and rehabilitation.
5. Forsaking old bad habits.
George Bongz-mabonga: Occupy yourself with other activities.
Mukiibi George William: Give your love to someone instead of loving yourself. Spend more time with your lover instead of porn material. Many pretend they can live alone yet they can’t control their emotions. NEVER BE ALONE.
Otim Won’Ogen: Get a partner who satisfies your desires.
Matovu Badru: If you keep seeing different images and you realise they are all the same human beings, then you will stop expecting to see anymore difference, so use that time to do something that builds your mind than looking at the same things.
Anthony Nahamya: This habit is very common, however much people make fun of it. Realising the problem is the first step to solving it, it’s also good to be willing to stop. You need to monitor the times you usually engage in the habit, and replace the same with other activities like exercises, or reading, set your devices to safe search, so that every attempt reminds you to stop.
Meihaho John: Put in mind its negative effects, avoid possessing porn material, because every time you feel like watching it, you know you are about to commit a sin.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor