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Pornography: Pornography can ruin your marriage

Pornography can ruin your marriage
Dealing with the scourge of pornography

Pornography can ruin your marriage
Written by Tunde Ajaja
~Punch Nigeria. Sunday, September 18, 2016.

Pornography, being the visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement, is no doubt one sexual activity that has been in existence for a long time. For some, it is something they watch in their leisure, and for some others, it has become an addiction.

As much as it has been condemned by moralists and spiritual leaders, more so that major religions also abhor it, it is however interesting to note that it keeps spreading, and more than ever before, people across all ages; young, old and elderly seem to (increasingly) indulge in it.

According to Covenant Eyes, internet accountability and filtering company, as of 2007, global porn revenues were estimated at $20bn.

A report had shown that the number of pornographic views on one of the popular pornographic websites rose from 63.2 billion video views in 2012 to 78.9 billion views in 2013, and phones accounted for 45 per cent of these views; desktop was 44 per cent and views on tablets rose by 20 per cent to account for its 11 per cent.

Previous reports had also found that men are 543 per cent more likely to watch pornography than females, but one in three women also watches it at least once a week, and most of such persons view it on their mobile devices.
It is believed that most people who watch pornography do so to satisfy their sexual urge, but it is worthy of note that some married persons also watch it.
For married persons who watch it, such is seen as a symbol of sexual dissatisfaction and or matrimonial discontentment, especially if the viewer started it after entering into marriage.

Findings have revealed that watching pornography has numerous side effects, as it can dull the brain, breed masturbation, influence the viewer's perception of the opposite sex as a mere sex object, breed inferiority complex and reduce libido. But beyond these, it has been found to be one of the things that ruin marriages.

According to a sociologist, Dr. Jill Manning, who is a marriage and family therapist and specialist in research and clinical work related to pornography and problematic sexual behaviour, pornography in marriage can lead to infidelity, increased marital distress, risk of separation and divorce, decreased marital intimacy, sexual dissatisfaction, increased appetite for more graphic types of pornography, sexual activity associated with abusive, illegal or unsafe practices and devaluation of marriage.

In the same vein, studies have equally shown that the more pornography a person watches, the more likely it is for the person to engage in extramarital affair, which is one of the causes of divorce.
Previous studies had shown that the inability of the viewer to experience all the 'actions' in the movie could impair their sexual satisfaction in the marriage, thus, seeing their partner as failure in bed.

Meanwhile, a study by some researchers from University of Oklahoma in the United States found that watching pornography in marriage doubles the risk of divorce, and it is the viewer who would more likely file for the divorce or quit the relationship.

In the study, the researchers asked 5,698 married adults from time to time, over a period of seven years, how much of pornography they watched and the impact on their sexual satisfaction. At the end of the study, it was found that pornography affects marriages negatively.
One of the researchers, Dr. Samuel Perry, said, "Our results suggest that viewing pornography, under certain social conditions, may have negative effects on marital stability.

"Beginning pornography use between survey waves nearly doubled one's likelihood of being divorced by the next survey period, from six per cent to 11 per cent, and nearly tripled it for women, from six per cent to 16 per cent.
"Those who were very happy in their marriage were associated with a noteworthy increase - from three per cent to 12 per cent - in the likelihood of getting divorced by the time of the next survey."
Perry and his colleague, Cyrus Schleifer, said this effect was more if the couples were newlyweds or they were religious, but it had no effect on unhappy marriages.

A previous report had shown that people who are happily married are less likely to watch porn, while people who had committed adultery, at least once, are 218 per cent more likely to watch porn and people who had ever patronised commercial sex workers are 270 per cent more likely to watch it.
The researchers said, "We took this to mean that pornography use - perhaps if it's discovered by one's spouse unexpectedly - could rock an otherwise happy marriage to the point of divorce, but it does not seem to make an unhappy marriage any worse than it already is.

"We have no desire to push a 'ban pornography' agenda on the grounds that it can be harmful to marriages, we think information is helpful, and people should be aware of the potential consequences of pornography under certain circumstances."

As much as watching pornography leads to divorce, it also damages sexual performance of the viewer. That is the view of Dr. Mary Anne Layden, who is the director of Education, Centre for Cognitive Therapy, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, United States.

She said, "Pornography viewers tend to have problems with premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Having spent so much time in unnatural sexual experiences with paper, celluloid and cyberspace, they seem to find it difficult to have sex with a real human being.
"Pornography is raising their expectation and demand for types and amounts of sexual experiences; at the same time it is reducing their ability to experience sex."

However, Covenant Eyes, in its analysis of five different studies carried out in 2012 examined the correlation between pornography consumption and commitment to romantic relationships.
With the use of cross-sectional, observational, experimental and behavioural approaches, it was revealed that there is a consistent pattern of results across the five studies: more pornography consumption is associated with a more weakened commitment to one's relationship partner."

Yes, pornography has damaging effects on marital success, but unmarried people are equally not immune from its many hazards. A psychosexual therapist, Angela Gregory, has revealed that pornography is damaging young men's sexual health and could cause erectile dysfunction, thus, making old men of teenagers young men. It could also make them not to be aroused by normal sexual intercourse.
On how watching pornography can double the risk of divorce, a psychologist, Prof. Oni Fagboungbe, said apart from the frustration emanating from unfulfilled expectation by the viewer, it could breed disagreement between them.

He said, "It is true that pornography can lead to divorce. The reason is that learning manifests itself in performance. When you expose yourself to pornography, the next thing is the urge to practicalise what you have learnt, and in the process of practicalising it, unorthodox activities will creep in.
"Before you know it, it could lead to disagreement between couples and they might end up terminating the relationship because the desires of the viewer may not be met.

"When you watch something and you are absorbing it, the next thing is how you want to try that thing. We call it observational learning and it's very powerful, just as children watch their parents do certain things and they want to try them. That urge is always very high.
"The pleasure you derive from watching pornography does not manifest until you practicalise what you have watched and in that process, other effects will come in."

Dealing with the scourge of pornography
Written by Fred-Agbata
~Punch Nigeria. Sunday, August 7, 2016. 

In 2015 alone, people consumed four billion hours of pornographic content and over 50 per cent did so from their smartphones. The porn industry has never had it this good and this is basically because mobile technology has made it so easy to access porn freely and conveniently. Do you know that it is estimated that one third of the entire Internet traffic is pornography related?

In fact, what fuelled the need to write this piece is a recent experience I had. I walked into the office of an elderly acquaintance whom I have a cordial relationship with. Although he said hello, I noticed he was engrossed with his phone. I moved closer and there he was on a porn site. He did not even bother to shift ground. So, I said hello again and hurriedly left the office.

Walking out of his office, I asked myself; if this guy who has given birth to a teenager spends his time consuming porn, what then does he expect from his ward? I bet you that in today’s world, anyone who frequents the Internet without aim and purpose is simply a candidate for porn addiction.

I remember carrying out a private research a few years ago and I discovered that at least 10 pornographic websites were among the top 100 websites that Nigerians visited. You heard me right; forget all the pretence.

We are a society that avoids the issue of sex or sex education like a plague, but because of my knowledge of the Internet, I believe we should start looking for innovative ways to protect our young minds from becoming porn addicts.

My focus in this piece is not exactly on adults, although my personal preference will be for everyone to stay off pornography, but then, I know that is impossible. So, I rather focus on bringing up the issues so that children and young teenagers do not become victims of pornography or become entangled in the vicious and complex world of porn and the kingpins behind them.

According to a 2015 BBC news report, 10 per cent of U.K. 12 and 13 year olds fear they are addicted to porn. Twelve per cent of 12-13 year olds admitted to participating in a sexually explicit video.

I know this is the part many parents will hate to admit, but the possibilities are real as long as you have rewarded your wards with an Internet enabled smart device.

You may say this is not the UK but Nigeria. If you ask anyone who understands the Nigerian ‘peculiar’ technology landscape, he or she will tell you that we usually leapfrog many other countries in adopting new technologies and also how we consume content. What this simply means is that it may start slowly but before you know it, it takes off very quickly like wild fire if not stemmed.

The question is; what are we doing about it or are we just waiting for the worse to happen? This is because, as access and affordability increases, the quest or curiosity to want to consume porn content via mobile increases. Should we just raise our hands helplessly or try to at least fight for the future of our young ones?

Quite frankly, it is a tough one because of how ubiquitous mobile is and coupled with the fact that the porn industry is a multi-billion dollar industry with a huge war chest to be at the forefront of creating content for future technologies. In fact, as I write, some of them have started releasing some porn content that is suitable for virtual reality consumption which again is hinged on the instant success of Pokémon go.

The Internet, for me, is a two-edged sword that has a good and bad side. In my opinion, porn is simply on the other sides of it. I remember I had a chat with Muyiwa Matuluko of, who informed me about the argument that porn drives the adoption of new technologies, particularly in developed economies. I searched online and saw a number of articles to back that up, but then, it brings up all sorts of theories which time will not allow us to go into right now.

In another survey report commissioned by the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research think tank and published on the Daily Mail website, it was discovered that 80 per cent of UK teens say porn is “too easy” to access or stumble upon on the Internet. About 46 per cent of teens said “sexting” is a part of everyday life for teenagers and 70 per cent said porn was seen as normal by their peers at school. Finally, two-thirds of girls and nearly 50 per cent of boys said growing up would be easier if porn was harder to access.

I wonder how many Nigerian parents know about sexting. Ok, from this point I will like to address what I think we should be doing as a people, starting with parents and of course the rest of the society.

What should parents and guardians do?

Get enlightened & stop making assumptions
Quite a number of parents simply assume that all is well and for that reason, have not bothered to really delve in to understand the intricacies of the World Wide Web. It goes beyond WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. You have to be in the world of teenagers if you must understand the type of content they consume.

I came across a story of how a 12 year old girl simply added filters to her mother’s email account because they both used the same free email service and she did not want her mum to know she sees explicit content and adverts every now and then. Her mum never discovered this basic trick and I bet many parents here would not discover either.

Dealing with the scourge of pornography (2)

This is the concluding part of the piece that was published last week in this column and this part is designed to focus on possible solutions to the rising scourge of online pornography. Before proceeding, however, let me state that the feedback has been interesting which confirms my submission that it is indeed a burning topic.

As I already established in the earlier piece, the addiction to online pornography is actually a serious epidemic that not too many people are courageous enough to talk about but if we want to develop outstanding minds ready to face the real world of tomorrow, then we have to start looking for possible solutions even though the situation appears helpless.

I had already shared the first tip on what I believe parents should do to stem this scourge. I will, therefore, go on to state the others without delay.

Make use of filtering tools
The second tip, I will like to share is for parents to make use of filtering tools. Below are some of the filtering tools and apps that parents can try out:

CloudACL: it provides a safe browsing experience that will block unwanted content while surfing the web. It is available as an add-on for your Firefox or Chrome browsers and also has Android and iOS Mobile apps.
K9 Web Protection: This is also a veteran, trusted by parents that are bothered about this situation. K9 is a free Internet filter and parental control software for your Windows or Mac PC.
III. CyberPatrol: As the name implies, it helps parents and guardians to patrol the cyber-space on behalf of their wards. This is a paid service and if you ask me, it is worth it, considering the dangers out there.

X3Watch: It monitors Internet usage, filters content that you see while browsing and allows you to share your progress with people you trust – which might be helpful for those dealing with the addiction.
Covenant Eyes: This provides a good level of protection for the entire family but comes in with a different approach of getting you to be accountable to somebody. So when the child visits any such sites, someone gets an email informing him or her.
Let me state that the challenge with some of these tools is that a smart teenager might be able to bypass them somehow. However, they are still a good starting point.

Turn on safe search
Let me state that one of the ways that I have been able to fight this scourge on a personal level is by turning on safe search. In fact, while developing this piece, I searched for various porn related keywords and what I got was "several" not found results until I remembered that I had safe search turned on and locked down.

If you turn on safe search, it means that the search engines will automatically block out explicit content on all your devices that is connected to that particular email account. This means that my chances of watching pornographic content are highly limited because across my PC and device, I rarely get to see explicit content. I chose this route because I believe that prevention is better than cure.

So, here is how to turn on safe search. If you use Google, look at the top right, you will see "turn on safe search", clicking on it does the trick. You can, however, take it a step further by locking it, such that anyone who uses your PC or phone that has your Gmail address as default will see less adult and explicit content.

I used the word fewer because "Safe search", like everything on the Internet is not 100 per cent safe. If you use Microsoft's bing, then, note that it is also a similar process. Click on the settings button located at the top right and once the page loads, the next thing you will see is the "safe search" feature with three options, namely, Strict, Moderate and Off.

Public enlightenment and advocacy
It is not enough to shout on your wards or preach abstinence. There has to be some sort of increased advocacy plus various digital campaigns that explain the various ills of this scourge. The beautiful thing about such campaigns is that it can be targeted by age. For example, anyone who is between the ages of 8 and 18 years will see such messages intermittently while browsing, so, they are constantly reminded that it is for their own good that they do not become addicted to porn.

The government and school authorities must quickly upgrade our weak ICT studies being taught in the schools to make them relate more to the digital natives of today. Teachers and relevant stakeholders must equip the pupils with the right skills that will help them take charge of their online experiences: what they see, what sites they visit, how they comport themselves, etc.

What I am advocating here should not be left for government alone. It should also involve the private sector, religious organisations, non-governmental organisations, civil societies, etc. We may not understand how bad the scourge of pornography is until the statistics start hitting us hard in the face and, then, it would be much more difficult to contain.

Our young ones must be taught how to make good choices on the Internet and parents should stop shying away from engaging their children in tough topics like this. I recommend we begin to teach our young ones Internet safety education which will include helping the children to understand how the Internet is structured, how one gets exposed to inappropriate content and how they can avoid such It could also involve helping them to understand the antics of predators and how to avoid them.

This is one piece that I will personally ask you to share with others. Many young ones out there might already be struggling with porn addiction and this might help them seek help and for those not struggling with it, one or two tips stated above might help them better protect their children.

Remember, the Internet can either build or destroy. Make the right choice now.

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