Counsellors battle ‘plague of pornography’, psychologists Seema Hingorrany & Yolande Pereira, paediatrician, Samir Dalwai (2015)
Nergish Sunavala,TNN | Sep 13, 2015
Other city counsellors and therapists have also seen a marked uptick in porn viewing. "Every second patient that walks in practically has a porn obsession," said clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrany. "In the last year, I've seen a 30% jump." Developmental paediatrician, Samir Dalwai, has seen a similar trend among children. "One of the big causes of academic deterioration today is pornography," he said. In one instance, a seven-year-old boy's behavioural and academic problems, including hitting other children, were traced to porn. "The father was watching porn and hadn't deleted the sites from the browser thinking the kid is too small," recalled Dalwai.
One of the worst cases Hingorrany has ever treated was an engineering student, who was watching porn 14 hours a day. "He'd failed his exams, bruised himself by masturbating excessively and was suffering from depression and hallucinations," recalled Hingorrany. Several experts, though, say that not everyone gets addicted. In fact, sexologist Prakash Kothari doesn't see any harm in using porn as an aphrodisiac if it's in moderation. He said some people are turned off by overexposure. "It's like gulab jamun. If you have it every day, the fun is lost."
The number of women watching porn is also on the rise. Hingorrany said that for every 10 male addicts, she has three female patients. In one case mentioned during the seminar, porn addiction was mistakenly diagnosed as post-partum depression until the patient came clean. Another side-effect of excessive porn use can be impotence or erectile dysfunction. Family therapist Yolande Pereira, who conducted part of the seminar, said, "Ninety per cent of men and women, who come to us with erectile dysfunction or low libido, after visiting sexologists and urologists without improvement, have a long history of viewing pornography."
Hingorrany estimated that five out of 10 porn addicts suffer from low libido because of their unhealthy lifestyle, overexposure to sexual images and innate anxieties. "I had a boy who came and told me that he watched excessive porn and when he went to perform with a girl, he couldn't do it and panicked," recalled Hingorrany, "I explained that he had desensitized himself by watching too much of it."
Some of those attending the seminar such as psychotherapist and counsellor Nilufer Mistry, who works at Massena Hospital, are specialists in addiction and were attending to further hone their skills. When asked if she agreed with taking a hard-line stance on porn, she said, "I believe anything in limitation is healthy, but porn is very addictive."
Others were church volunteers hoping the seminar would give them the tools to tackle rampant porn watching.
Noreen Machado from St Theresa's parish in Bandra, who is the coordinator of a family cell, hoped it would help her assist parents whose children are struggling with such issues.
In the future, Snehalaya hopes to start a support group for porn addicts, once more safety and privacy measures are in place. They are treading carefully because abroad such groups have been known to attract stalkers and perverts, who join to prey on vulnerable addicts and their spouses.