Sex addiction is a serious condition that one has to live with for their whole life and learn to manage. Ruth Njagi shares her sex addiction story.
"I was raped at the age of five but I did not tell anyone [and] I forgot all that. It all began after I joined high school, for some reason, I loved reading romance novels.
After high school, I started watching pornography films, curious about the other side of life.
I came to Nairobi to join college and this is when I got to know about internet porn. I would watch for some time and then stop.
Even though at that particular time I was a staunch born-again Christian, I watched pornography and masturbated at the same time.
At church, I was told sex before marriage is wrong, but that fell on deaf ears. I knew I had my own struggles to deal with. I had two personalities.
In 2008, I realised I had a problem.
So for how long did she watch porn?
"Sometimes, I would actually plan it, especially if I was sad. I would say 'this weekend I am going to watch [the movies] to feel better'.
Ruth says often we fail to understand that a particular habit we have fallen into has turned into an addiction. She was unable to stop herself but managed to keep it private.
I did not want my roommate to know about it. She knew nothing about it. However, to some point, it became so uncomfortable that I decided to talk to my roommate, who was also a born-again Christian. It was the hardest thing to do.
I asked her, By the way, what are you struggling with as a Christian?" She said pride. To me, that was a good sin and I felt that mine was so terrible.
I wondered how I would tell her my story, but baulked at just the thought of mentioning the word pornography. I decided to give her my journal to read and hid in one of the bedrooms. I thought she would hate me. But luckily she did not even mention the word pornography.
That was not the end of her journey. It took eight more years.
Did she have sex all that time?
"Since I was a porn addict, I would masturbate and thereafter I would not have the urge to have sex. For more pleasure, I would look for more disgusting videos to keep me high. I had watched so much pornography that sometimes it would now take me so long to feel the picture and satisfy my sexual urge.
There was a time I watched pornography for a whole weekend. It was like applying a soothing balm to a wound. I could not stay away.
The problem was not that I wanted to watch porn, but I had some emotional wounds.
What was the biggest problem that Ruth faced in her journey?
After I opened up to my room-mate, I started testing the waters to see who would understand me and not hate me. I was afraid of prying questions.
I went for counselling in 2011 and for the first time I talked about my being sexually abused. My counsellor told me that I was very bitter, especially with my mother. I had never told anyone about the rape, not even my mother. I was bitter with my mother because she was not around to protect me. I started by forgiving my mother and the two teen boys who raped me.
I was now fighting with myself. I started dealing with the addiction, with all the shame, not wanting to face the world.
In 2014, something interesting happened. I became helpless and was sometimes too tired to even get out of bed. I thought of backsliding and I even stopped going to church.
At the same time, I met some US missionaries who taught me about discipleship. I had to start following the Bible, I had to share my problem. I was beyond repair, that is why I did not have a man in my life.
I was reading the Bible, and watching pornography at the same time. Pornography ruins your mind completely.
I would cry whenever I saw a man and a woman hugging, then I would go to the internet, watch pornography,masturbate and sleep.
Forgiving myself was the hardest thing to do. I became afraid of pornography and whenever I was in a place where there was internet, I would scream out in fear. I would pray to God for help and then in 2016 I stopped watching pornography.
It was the moment I learnt that people were praying for me. I now knew people had started loving me. I prayed to God to never go back there.
Has she watched porn since then?
"In January. I am still fighting it, but there has been so much improvement from the time I opened up to people.
What people do in their own private time is their business. Watching porn becomes a problem when it starts interfering with an individual's life. It's easy to fall into porn addiction because of its accessibility on the internet. All one needs is a cell phone.
Ruth Njagi has written a book to help people understand more about her journey. Love Unlimited will be launched on July 4, the same day she will be opening her organisation, Second Chance Consults, to help people struggling with addictions.
To reach Ruth visit her website SecondChanceConsults.org.
Celebrities who have spoken out about addiction to sex, pornography and masturbation include former Citizen presenter Johnson Mwakazi and golfer Tiger Woods. Woods admitted to being addicted to sex and porn. His addictions destroyed his marriage and his career.
It's time society started having conversations about the addiction to pornography and masturbation to help victims to recover.
Most people become addicts due to peer pressure, while the easy availability of pornography through the internet exacerbates the problem.