I have this friend who I think is becoming addicted to those online hook-up sites. We ran into each other recently and I asked him what he’d been up to the weekend prior as I hadn’t seen him or heard from him. He said he’d stayed in all weekend chatting on his computer with guys from all over. He told me one of the sites he was on, so I checked it out. I then did a bit of searching on some other sites and found his profile on four different hookup/meet-for-sex sites. It’s been two weeks and so far as I know, he’s online every night and all weekend long, chatting with these guys either via IMs or on the phone. The thing is, he used to go out with us all the time. Do I say something to him or let this current obsession run its course and hope that eventually he’ll realize life is passing him by right outside his window?
Signed, Cyber Cautious
Dear Cyber Cautious,
Say something to him. Take him out to lunch, if you can pry him away from the computer, and let him know what you are thinking. Tell him what you just wrote to me. Say that you miss him as a friend and you think he’s missing out on life. He might be a little miffed or even upset with you but it’s a chance you should think about taking. He most likely will not take your advice to heart right away. He may even try to back away from you as a friend. But, if you can, try not to let him. The temptation is there to just leave him alone and let him figure this out for himself. And, most likely if you did back away, he would do just that. Most men that have come into my practice with this concern eventually understand the toll it is taking on their lives. They intellectually understand the basic shallowness of online, anonymous sex and make a conscious effort to change their behavior. Because most men eventually realize they want something more out of the connection, like a relationship. I say most men because some men have a very hard time letting this addiction go. Some men never come back from it at all.
Sex can become addictive in nature if it is used as an escape like a drug. As is the case with other drugs like alcohol or crystal meth, men can become addicted to it. Some men can have all the sex in the world and not be addicted just like some men can drink a lot of alcohol and not have it be a problem for them. If sex is being used as a drug, there is a good chance the person using sex will have some issue around addiction.
All this being said, there is nothing wrong with on line sex sites. They provide a relevant place for men to meet each other. Men use them all the time and love them. They are a great alternative to the bar scene. If sex is what you are looking for it definitely cuts out the middle man. Gay men, in particular, feel freer to express themselves sexually and to experience a wide variety of sexual situations. Like Martha says “It’s a good thing”. Just be wary of the potential for problems and know when to say “enough is enough”. I have seen some great relationships that started out of an online hookup. So keep telling your friend this and hopefully, eventually, his eyes will open and he will expand his search to include something more.
Whenever my boyfriend and our close group of friends get together there has to be a porno video on all the TV’s in the house. Don’t get me wrong, I like to watch porn too, but all they do is sit there and make comments about this guy’s ass, or this one’s dick. Since we are all good friends, none of us has any intention of having sex together, so why watch all this porn with your friends without getting aroused? Is this common for gay men? How can I stop them from watching porn morning, noon and night?
Signed, Porn Overload
Dear Porn Overload,
“Why?” would be one of the questions I would be asking as well. Porn has always had a place within the gay male community. Guys love it and rightfully so. Watching a video of two (or three or four or five) men having sex has a voyeuristic quality of being the proverbial fly on the wall while all the action is going on. However, it is customarily used as a prelude to sex. It can be utilized as a mood enhancer or something to get you into the mood. Or if you’re alone (sometimes the best sex there is), it can be a great companion while you’re masturbating, or as a good friend of mine says “having a pull”.
I have never heard of it being used as a background to a social event unless it is a sex party. This use of it as sort of ‘gay elevator music’ is more confusing than it is troubling. I would ask your friends what their purpose for playing all this porn is. You said they have no intentions of having sex with you. Are you so sure? Maybe they secretly hope that all that man on man action will get one of you in the mood and your desire will take over. I would get, ahem, straight to the point and ask them why they have to play all this porn. Let them know that, although you enjoy porn as much as the next guy, you would appreciate it if they didn’t play it all the time. If they are your friends, they will be willing to work on a compromise. If absolutely necessary, maybe they could play it in the bedroom for those interested and leave the living room for more appropriate things like last seasons DVD of Sex and the City.