The ugly shadow of pornography and the sex taboo

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Although parents and guardians are aware that their teens watch phonography, they lack the courage to confront it because discussing sex is taboo among many communities. Gardy Chacha explored the harmful effects of this vice.

We all know that it’s wrong, addictive and the pleasure secretly glaring on the screen is insatiable. Pornographic addiction is compulsive bait into a myriad of destructive habits lurking in the aftermath.

“Pornography is any printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity intended to stimulate sexual excitement,” says Catherine Mbau, a psychologist. “Pornography among young people, even though it creates ‘excitement’, is spiteful and affects both male and female.”

Mbau attests to the fact many young people watch pornography and many, including parents, are aware but lack the courage to confront it because discussing sex is still taboo among many communities.

Says Mbau: “Previous studies show that boys indulged more in watching pornography compared to girls. However, the world is changing rapidly and now people are more open minded to try out new things, embracing other forms of sexuality such as bisexuality, homosexuality and even sex change. Many young people have access to the Internet and will do this in privacy or with their age mates.”

While the Internet is culpable in the blame, avenues such as movies and print media easily pass as ways of absorbing into the habit of watching pornography.

“It begins with a romantic movie and then you feel like you need more. Your curiosity peeks and you get something more romantic, which eventually lands you in soft pornography. It won’t stop there because your mind will feel the need for more ‘challenge’, which gets you to the real destination: Hardcore pornography,” says Jackie Gacheru, who is on her first job after graduating from university last year.

Why would young people be engrossed in watching pornography?

“As girls, we watched because apart from being enlightened on the art of sex, we got sexually satisfied,” she added.

Brian Lusili, a university student in Nairobi says that among his male friends, pornography has caught wild fire because it draws a weird taste of pleasure that is based on curiosity about the possible stretches of human sexuality.

Brian, who says that on his move to campus he knew very little about pornography, admits that he is an addict.

“I go to the chapel to pray it off but once I step out, I relapse back into watching more and more.”

As much as he wishes to move away from the habit of watching the explicit videos, Brian knows too well that it will require more than a wish.

He adds: “I think I am so affected because no one talked to me about sexuality. If I could wind back time, I would make sure that I don’t relive that night I saw it for the first in my friend’s room.”

Psychology proves that pornography has negative effects and even though we never notice them, they are surreal and are palpable in many spheres of teenagehood or even young adult life. In a study conducted by American researchers Benedek and Brown titled No excuses: Televised pornography harms children, it’s noted that there are several negative effects of pornography on young people. These included imitation of inappropriate behaviours; unhealthy interference with normal sexual development; emotional side effects such as nightmares and residual feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety and confusion; stimulation of premature sexual activity and the development of misleading and potentially harmful attitudes toward sex.

Little

Daisy Koech, also a university student, says pornography had affected her emotionally, poisoned her mind and interfered with her memory.

“I was almost getting hooked to pornography. Many girls watch it, but it is only that they are more secretive than the guys. Self-gratification while watching the material was ‘sweet’ but afterwards I would feel awful about myself. I felt like I had unclean clutter left in my mind,” she says.

Mbau says watching pornography could habour long-term ramifications.

“They could become addicted to masturbation, which will affect their adult sex life or they could become sexually adventurous, which might expose them to sexually transmitted diseases. In turn, this will hamper their everyday lives. They could also neglect their responsibilities and personal hygiene just like any other addict.”

Mbau adds that the habit affects their social lives the most.

She says: “They are likely to isolate and become irritable when Internet use is disrupted. They can become anxious or even depressed. They will ignore friends, family and lie about spending time on the Internet, meaning their communication will be affected and they could end up as recluses.”

Dr Jennifer Leigh, an American psychologist, teen’s life coach and opinion shaper says teens need connections with others for their brains to grow properly.

“A brain on porn is not an organised brain. It is a highly aroused brain, not a ‘thinking clearly’ brain,” she noted.

Mbau links pornography to an ancient proverb: “Curiosity killed the cat.”

Joseph Mwita, a graduate who got over addiction with pornography echoes the same sentiments.

He says: “Young people are the most affected because they end up with a dissatisfied and disturbed life of addiction.”

Teens and parents

What leads teenagers to pornography?

Mbau says most teens bump into pornographic material accidentally as they look for information for their class assignments or projects on the Internet or after an adult (probably parents, uncles or aunties) carelessly leave their materials lying around. She says the use of electronic gadgets like phones, computers and tablets should be under parents’ or guardians’ control and monitoring.

Chances of a young person accidentally getting introduced to pornography if a parent has explicit material are undoubtedly high, but Mbau admonishes that some teens get hooked by hanging out with the wrong company.

In a publication of American counselling Association titled Teenagers and Pornography Addiction: Treating the Silent Epidemic, John Mark Haney indicates that adolescent curiosity about sexuality is a normal and healthy aspect of human development, which can however turn tragic if not handled well.

Mbau advises that everyone has the power to choose what he or she wants to engage in.

“If addicted, the first step will be admitting the problem then seeking counselling to help in the healing process. Parents and caregivers should also play their part in raising a well-balanced teen,” she says

Source:standardmedia.co.ke

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