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Dear Karma Cleanser:
I have a question about sexual addiction. My friend, Stuart, is in his mid-30s and is gay. He was in a serious relationship for five years; it ended last year. Since then, Stuart has started spending a lot of time online, picking up guys through chat rooms and using his webcam. We have the kind of friendship where he tells me everything (and I'm no saint myself), and I'll be honest in saying that his stories are usually damn entertaining. But I'm starting to get worried that Stuart is a sex addict.

Tell me that I'm just an overly sensitive straight girl who doesn't understand how gay guys operate. Or, tell me how I can save my own good karma here by keeping my close friend from falling into a pattern of unhealthy behavior.-- Not a Prude, but Worried

You're an overly sensitive straight girl who doesn't understand how gay guys operate. But that doesn't mean you're wrong. Sounds like Stuart is caught in the all-too-common trap that snares a lot of gays in their mid-30s: the allure of fast and anonymous sex delivered straight (ahem) to your door. Guys are guys, after all, and the hornball factor multiplies when more than one penis is involved. Before you convict your friend of sexual compulsion, though, do some research for yourself online. Is the sex genuinely getting in the way of Stuart's day-to-day life or keeping him from developing meaningful relationships? Have a heart-to-heart with Stuart about his cyber-slutiness and see what he says about it.



Dear Karma Cleanser:
A very close associate of mine has just had an amazing thing happen to her. Her artistic career is finally taking off after many years of struggle. She's gotten calls from galleries in New York and may be on the verge of getting national fame for her paintings. Every time we hang out, she gushes to me about all the wonderful things going on in her life. I want to be happy for her, but in the back of my mind, I just keep repeating the words, "Bitch! Bitch! Bitch!"

I feel like a terrible person for feeling this way. My attempts to get recognition for my talent have led me nowhere, while this friend has had a breakthrough after minimal effort. Help!-- Painted into a Corner

In the words of our dear pal James, "Always wish folks the best." Even though it's tough for you to take pleasure in your friend's success, resist your urge to shove her easel down her throat every time she opens her big mouth. If nothing else, snatch up one of her pieces now while it's still cheap and sell the thing later at six times the price.

Been bad? karma@creativeloafing.com.

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