I have a friend who likes to read erotic literature. Is it healthy?
I have a friend who likes to read erotic literature. They are very open about it with me. I don't mind at all that they read it or that the stories incorporate very dark sexual fantasies but what troubles me is the sheer amount of it they read and if she understands it is fantasy.
She spends the majority of her spare time reading it instead of doing studying, going out with friends, talking with friends etc. Also she spends a lot of money on buying these stories making her short of cash.
Aside from the lack of social interaction, is it healthy to be exposed to these sex stories? Can it have any undesirable effects? How would someone raise these concerns with her?
While these stories feature dark themes I am unsure if my friend makes the distinction that this is purely fantasy and them carrying out any of the darker sexual ideas has a real possibility of causing harm, physically and/or emotionally. How would one make sure she treats this as fantasy?
Also is there any possibility their focus on erotic literature could be caused by some greater issue? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your question. Erotic literature is now widely available and is becoming more popular and acceptable.
In one sense, there is nothing wrong with your friend accessing this type of material as it can be a healthy, normal way to explore sexuality.
However, as with everything, it's only okay in moderation. If your friend is now reading this stuff so often that it's affecting her ability to work, study, and spend time with friends, it may have gotten to the stage where it is a problem.
Sometimes the best way to deal with concerns such as yours is to just be open and direct. Tell her that you're concerned about how her obsession with erotic fiction is pulling her out of other important areas of life. Tell her how this affects you personally—sometimes people just lose touch with how their behaviour affects others. Keep in mind though that you can't force her to change and she is free to make her own choices about how she spends her time.
Without knowing more about your friend, it's hard to say why she is like this with erotic fiction. Maybe it simply provides her with an escape and a chance for her to let her mind run free. Or maybe there is something troubling her that leads her to read stories with these dark sexual themes. It's hard to say.
As long as she can recognise these stories for what they are—fiction—it's unlikely that they will cause her any harm. If she is losing sight of what is real and what is not, and is starting to want to act out on some of these darker sex scenes with a real life partner, it may cause her issues. In the meantime, it's nothing to be overly worried about.
But you are obviously worried about your friend so I think it's important that you let her know you care and are there to help her if she needs it. Good luck.