I can’t imagine approaching an attractive stranger in the same way that I can’t imagine using an actual paper map. Map? What’s a map? I’ve got a cell phone – I’ve got GPS. Get out of here with your map. Go listen to something on vinyl or write a poem on your typewriter, you old person. In the age of excessive convenience, we don’t have to try very hard to… well, we just don’t have to try very hard. We can do all of our shopping online, have our groceries delivered, and browse through potential life partners while sitting on the toilet.
Over the course of the past few years, dating technology has absolutely boomed. With Tinder alone reaching well over 50 million users, the ways in which dating apps have shaped the modern day standards of sex and romance are quite significant. Nowadays, sex is quite literally at our fingertips. Finding a like-minded individual to Netflix and chill with is just as easy as checking the weather. Swipe, swipe, swipe, drop a line, chat a bit, exchange numbers (if things progress that quickly), and POOF! A one-night stand arrives at your doorstep with a cheap bottle of whisky and a pocket full of condoms. Convenience is the name of the game, and this game seems to involve a great deal of reward and very little risk. After all, if things don’t work out, there are plenty of other fish in the sea.
Sex at Our Fingertips
But has our rapidly shifting perspective on sex done any damage to our society as a whole? Something that was once perceived as relatively meaningful (or at least something that once required at least a little bit of effort), is now just as casual and convenient as jeans and a plain white tee. As it so turns out, the increase of dating apps has lead to some serious sex-related issues – especially for those who are predisposed to addictive disorders. And even more so for those who have struggled with a sex or love addiction in the past. For those who may exhibit certain behaviors likened to sex addiction, applications like Tinder, Grindr, and Okay Cupid can easily take addictive behaviors to a whole new level.
What is Sexual Addiction?
In very general terms, sex addiction is a process of addiction characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and/or behaviors. Because it is unrealistic to expect an individual to completely abstain from sex, it can be a difficult disorder to recover from. It can also be a difficult disorder to diagnose, seeing as sexual patterns and preferences vary greatly from person to person. However, the defining feature across the board is the accumulation of negative personal consequences associated with the behavior. For individuals suffering from sex or love addiction, the consequences of their obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors will often drive a wedge between family and friends, disrupt their work life, and compromise their sense of self-identity. It is not uncommon for extreme feelings of shame and guilt to be aroused, sometimes leading to depression and prolonged periods of isolation from others. Just as the case with other addictive disorders, sex addiction is progressive, and will only continue to worsen over time if left untreated.
Instant Gratification – The Name of The Game
When it comes to addiction of any kind, instant gratification makes all the difference. The average alcoholic will not wait 3 years for a bottle of wine to reach its peak age before uncorking it and guzzling it down. The average alcoholic will drink as much as he can as quickly as he can, relying on the instantaneous oblivion that envelops him after the first glass to quickly wipe away his otherwise inescapable emotional turmoil. The average gambling addict will not wait for the lotto to hit 30 million before playing; he will play, and play, and play in spite of the odds, desperate to attain the psychological high that got him hooked in the first place. More and more, we are seeing sex addiction fueled in large part by technological progression. Dating apps provide easy (often relatively instant) access to sexual encounters. While sex addiction would still be prevalent without dating apps, those who are struggling to maintain healthy sexual boundaries are now being tempted by pervasive and exceedingly user-friendly hook-up platforms. Instant gratification, more sexual partners, and reduced risk of severe interpersonal consequences. For those teetering on the edge of a serious sexual addiction, this may seem too good to be true.
Not only do dating apps temp those who are struggling to avoid damaging sexual behaviors, but they work to propel individuals farther and farther into their existing disorders, leaving them broken, ashamed, and hopeless.
Recovery from Sexual Addiction
But there is hope for recovery, even with the recent societal influx of apps geared towards excessive sexual convenience. When choosing a treatment center, however, it is important to remember that treatment for sex addiction differs from widely accepted methods of drug and alcohol addiction recovery. When looking into treatment centers, be sure to choose one that specializes in sex and love addiction. We at Next Chapter have ample experience in this specific realm. We work closely with men who struggle with addictive disorders in which maintaining total abstinence is not a viable option. Our licensed and highly experienced therapists boast ample proficiency in the realm of sex addiction, and understand the extraneous difficulties posed by current social media and dating culture. If you believe you may be struggling with a sexual addiction that is being exacerbated by Tinder and the likes, please feel free to contact us today for more information.