Dear Dr. Date,Are …

Dear Dr. Date,
Are there any common signs of pornography addiction? I’m worried about a friend of mine. He’s gone from being pretty outgoing to now being a homebody with a large collection of pornography and to me seems to prefer that to actually asking a real woman on a date or just to talk.
— XxXeyes

Yes, this sounds like trouble to me, too. You identified two probable signs of addiction in your letter. First, the fact that one of his friends, you, is worried about him, is an important sign. You’ve seen a definite change that your friend may not be able to see. Secondly, he’s replaced normal social behavior with a negative form of masturbation. Masturbation is great, don’t get me wrong, but some forms are better than others.
People can become addicted to almost anything so the signs are often the same. Here are some other possible indicators that what your friend is doing is more than a diversion.
ù Falling grades or difficulties at work — a general lack of interest for everything but porn.
ù Lack of control over time spent with porn material
ù Taking porn to work, school or on vacation.
ù Stealing or selling possessions to finance the habit
ù Spending increasing amounts of money on the habit
ù Lying about the addiction
ù Using porn to escape personal problems
ù Deteriorating relationships with friends and family
As a friend, you’re in a rough position, because addicts rarely react well to the subject. They usually become defensive or apologetic or pathetic. I’m as worried about your friend as you are because not only is he losing his social life, but he’s filling his head with terrible notions about women, love and sex. This isn’t the road to recovery, but a reactionary escape.
Keep talking to him and try to identify the problems that led to his current state, such as being seriously hurt in a past relationship or losing his self esteem because of a poor body image. The best solution is if he can make the realization on his own and seek help. Be there for support and try to lead him in this direction.
There are several sources of help for either of you. Sex Addicts Anonymous can by reached at 646-1970 and the number for Sexaholics Anonymous is 898-8047.
Good luck.