Everybody has their pornography, and mine is the real estate ads. I don't know when this happened or why, but I read the real estate ads with the absorption of a pervert.

At the outset, I should make it clear that I love my house. I have no intention of moving, ever. But I still can't wait to get the Sunday paper and start house-shopping.

I gaze lovingly at ads for condos in town and new construction in far suburbs. I look at duplexes and ranchers, Cape Cods and mansions. I look at houses that are way too expensive as well as ones that aren't half as nice as my house. I study the photos of the Featured Properties and wonder if the stone front is only a facade or goes all the way around. Is that front lawn as big as it looks?

It might be cool to live in a Featured Property instead of a normal house, presumably featureless.

And then there's the ad copy, which can't be deciphered without a decoder ring. What is a "Custm/grmt/KIT/isl/Cor"? I translate "custom kitchen with a Corian island" because I'm a professional. But the "grmt" stumps me. A misprint for "granite"? And what about a "new LL rec rm/wine clr?" I understand a new recreation room with a wine cellar, but what's LL?

It's a mystery, delicious and tantalizing, which only enhances the sensuality of the ads. It's real estate, semi-nude.

I flip to the Shore properties and read about the beach houses. It would be nice to have a beach house, wouldn't it? I love the beach. Lots of people have second houses, why shouldn't I? Today there's a SOLD stamp over the photo of a four-bedroom in Loveladies, and the sight fills me with dismay. Now I couldn't buy the Loveladies house even if I wanted to. Which I didn't.

This is what I think about as I scan the ads for homes at the Jersey Shore that I will never buy. It's like daydreaming about how I'd spend Powerball winnings though I never play the lottery, which is another of my fantasies.

I know that none of this makes any sense. When I finally bought my house - my one and only house - I was so glad that I wouldn't have to wait for the Sunday paper anymore to go house-shopping. But that was nine years ago, and I'm still house-shopping.

Why?

And before you answer, I should disclose that I do the same thing with the pet ads. I read all the dog ads, each one, even for bull mastiffs, Rottweiler, Boston terriers and boxers. I check out the new breeds like goldendoodles and maltipoos. I imagine these little furballs as I skim one ad after the other.

Of course, I'm not really in the market for a new dog, much less a bull mastiff. I have four dogs, yet I compare prices of shih-poos, whatever they are.

I love the doggie ad copy, too. Special Little Friends. Cute N' Cuddly. Precious Little Bed Bugs. The one line that always gets me is "Needs Good Home." If a puppy Needs Good Home, I consider buying whatever breed they're selling. I can't take the guilt. I have Good Home, even though I could have Better Home, according to the real estate ads.

If I had Featured Property, I'd buy two puppies.

What is the matter with me? Why do I do this, and am I the only one?

Before you render your diagnosis, you should have all the facts. I don't read the classified ads for jobs or cars. This might lead you to conclude that I'm more satisfied with my job and car than with my house and pets. But that's not true.

I like my job and car just fine, but not more than everything else. In fact, if I were to list my Top 10 Necessities, they would be:

1. Family

2. Dogs

3. House

4. Job

5. Car

6. Starbucks vente iced green-tea latte, breve, no melon, light ice

7. Caesar salad, dressing on the side, no croutons

8. Strawberry preserves

9. Splenda

10. Oxygen

So, clearly, I'm looking at the ads of things I love the most. I guess it's so I can dream about more and more and more of a great thing. Or is it because I'm a woman? Do men read car ads for porn the way women read real estate ads?

Skip to the classifieds, and let me know what it does for you.

Lisa Scottoline is a best-selling author, most recently of "Daddy's Girl." She can be reached at www.scottoline.com.