Are you feeling frustrated and angry because your spouse is addicted to pornography? Are you unsure on how to go about in helping your spouse overcome their addiction to pornography? To help understand why your spouse could be interested in pornography and what type of help is available for your spouse, I have interviewed therapist Lova G. Njuguna, MC, NCC, LPC, LISAC, CCBT.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“After 20 years in the hospitality industry, I graduated from the University of Phoenix in 1997 with a master’s degree in counseling. I did my internship at Westcenter, an inpatient and outpatient substance dependence rehabilitation facility. I expected to do most of my work in substance dependence, but as I saw other opportunities to branch out, I did so. I was the treatment liaison to the Pima County Drug Court Program for approximately 2 years starting in 1998. I began working in the treatment of sex offenders who were on probation around the year 2000. Then I expanded to assessment of that population. I was always interested in sex addiction and love addiction and as I moved into a private practice in 2007, was able to work with people who had a more pure presentation of symptoms in those areas. In 2010, I became certified as a CBT therapist from the National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists.”
Why do some spouses love to watch pornography on television or the Internet?
“Some spouses cite their partner’s flagging interest in sex and decreased frequency or decreased novelty in sexual relationships as the reason they turn to pornography. Some men have erectile dysfunction problems and have trouble attaining and maintaining erections with their partners because of the sometimes-indirect stimulation. With pornography and masturbation, they can control the stimulation.”
What type of impact can pornography have on the marriage?
“Frequent viewing of fantasy images sometimes-skew perception of what is normal or loving sexual behaviors. The addict may expect that their partner will be ready, willing, and able to perform the acts they have been viewing, even if they are painful or awkward. The time they spend watching pornography takes away from time they spend with spouses and children. The addict sometimes visualizes the pornographic acts during sex with their partner. The couple finds that they begin to lose the true intimacy in their relationship — the emotional closeness. The spouse senses that their partner is somehow “further away” from them, but don’t know why until the use is revealed, either from their spouse or through accidental discovery.”
How can someone help their spouse give up their interest in pornography?
“The spouse, who we may call the “co-addicted” spouse, might be the person who sets a bottom line with their spouse and encourages them into therapy. Once this is done, the co-addict must resist any inclinations to help their partner “run” their program. They should attend an “anon” version of the addicts program (S-Anon). Sometimes, as proof of sobriety, the addict offers to allow their partner access to their computer, email, and texts. The danger in this is that it places the spouse in the position of policeman. An outside accountability partner is a better choice.”
What type of help is available for a spouse who is addicted to pornography?
“Find a counselor well versed in CBT — Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – – which deals with the connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This type of therapy helps to break the bond of cognitive distortions the addicted spouse may have been using to justify their use. SAA ‘” Sex Addicts Anonymous, 12-Step Support, SA ‘” Sexaholics Anonymous, although I’m not sure they are as porn addict friendly as SAA.”
Thank you Lova for doing the interview. For more information on Lova G. Njuguna or her work you can check out her website on www.pimacounseling.com.
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