Are You Addicted to Grindr?

Are You Addicted to Grindr?

November 9th, 2011 @

For the past couple of years the Grindr phenomenon has taken the gay community by storm. Prior to Grindr, meeting gay, bi or curious men was done in the usual ways, such as pubs and clubs, or via some of the more popular dating web sites. However, meeting guys in those ways required one to be in a certain place at a certain time (even just being in the same location as your computer and having it switched on).

Before Grindr, connecting with guys online usually meant being at home (or at work when the boss wasn’t looking). As a result, when you were out, you were not connected and would normally not access those sites. The physical necessity of having an online computer meant that there was down time – time when you were forced to abstain from trying to hookup with other guys online.

What Grindr did for gay connections was to make it available any time, any place. As a result of this, and the advancement in mobile technology in general, it is now possible to stay connected 24/7 no matter where you are.

With this ‘always on’ capability, we can no longer rely on the unavailability of technology to turn it off, rather it is now completely dependent on our own abilities to manage our own usage of these kinds of apps.

Given the pattern relating to the need for regular sex that some gay, bi or curious men find themselves in, Grindr can become a tool to help them find what they are seeking. While some may use Grindr for finding mates or traditional dates, it can become the apparently perfect solution for the the unfulfilled sexual drive – by providing access to other, local men who are seeking the same outcome. (And, while I refer primarily to Grindr, these comments would probably apply to any of the mobile dating applications that provide a similar service.)

So, do you have an addiction to Grindr?

Firstly, let’s understand what we are talking about. The term ‘addiction’ is something that is often used very freely in our society to define a broad range of behaviours.

There are an almost infinite number of different ways that addiction has been defined, but one of the most generic and simplest is Wikipedia’s definition of it as “a continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences associated with it”.

From this definition it is clear that the term ‘addiction’ could be applied to any number of different challenges. Alcohol and drug addictions are commonly understood issues in our society. Other addictions that counsellors might regularly encounter include sex addictions, porn addictions, gambling addictions, gaming addictions, TV addictions, etc.

So while someone may be addicted to something like porn or gaming, it does not suggest that the behaviour or the activity itself is problematic or an ‘issue’. Issues and problems relating to addiction generally only apply when the behaviour is ongoing and continues despite impacting negatively on other areas of one’s life or the life of those around you.

So what is the difference between simply using Grindr and being addicted to Grindr?

Perhaps you can ask yourself these questions:

1.       Do you use Grindr on a regular basis? Perhaps every day?

2.       Do you notice any anxiety within yourself if you aren’t able to use Grindr as often as you’d like?

3.       Are there parts of your life that are being negatively impacted because you are using Grindr?

4.       Are any of the relationships in your life being affected?

5.       Do you often intend to do some other activity and then somehow find yourself opening Grindr instead?

6.       Are you regularly getting less sleep than you should because of Grindr?

7.       When you use Grindr do you often find yourself spending far more time than you had intended?

8.       Has Grindr become the primary way for you to communicate online with other men?

9.       Do you often tell yourself you’re going to stop or you’re going to limit your time on Grindr, but then it doesn’t actually happen?

I’m not going to tell you that because you’ve answered these questions with a ‘yes’ that you definitely have a Grindr addiction. To do so would simply add to the ‘judgements’ that you’ve possibly already heaped on yourself. However, if some of these questions do apply to you, then perhaps there is something there for you to explore.

Often someone with an addiction will focus all of their efforts on trying to stop. They will set themselves goals, such as “I’m not going to do it for 7 days”. Sometimes there is even a reward at the end: “if I abstain for 2 weeks I’ll reward myself with a …”. Often they will question why they do it, and what is it caused by. The addiction, and stopping it, can be something that begins to consume their life and their thoughts, and can have a significant impact on how they feel.

From my experience in working with clients, persistent behaviours such as porn  or Grindr addictions, often suggest an absence of something else in their life. While it is important not to completely ignore the addictive behaviour, often the journey towards a better balance in life is through actually focusing on other aspects of one’s life … sometimes relationships, sometimes family of origin issues, sometimes other feelings deep within that are desperate to be explored and heard.

Sometimes addictive behaviours are a way for men to cover up, or hide away, something else in their lives that they don’t feel they are ready to deal with. For some men, they may not be aware of what these other issues are, or even that they exist.

Grindr addictions can occur in cycles. There can be a time where one uses Grindr very often, almost not being able to stop. And, then there are other times when the feeling is not as strong, or life is interesting and busy enough that one doesn’t even think about Grindr, or perhaps because there isn’t an opportunity. Because of the cycle of addiction men may sometimes commit to seeking help for their addiction, but then when they are feeling less addicted, they tell themselves they are on the right track and don’t follow through. And then the cycle begins again.

My professional experience and training suggests to me that it is extremely hard for someone to find a ‘solution’ to their addiction, or to let go of their addiction, on their own. Most often it is necessary to engage some help. Because of the nature of Grindr addictions it can be really hard for many men to seek help from those close to them. They may not want anyone else to know.

By seeking help from a professional who has the experience to help you and is also bound by a confidentiality framework, it is possible to find a way forward in a safe and supportive way. It is important to realise that the journey to healing addictions has many ‘ups and downs’. Having a professional who is able to expertly guide you and remain a constant for you during this journey, is invaluable.

So, whether you have a Grindr addiction or not, if you feel that Grindr is having a negative impact on your life, try to seek some support and help from a qualified professional.

It’s good to talk.

Footnote:While this commentary explores some of the challenges with having a Grindr addiction, it is not trying to suggest that there is anything wrong with Grindr, or that Grindr holds any responsibility for these kinds of situations. Grindr is simply the innocent vehicle. In fact, I feel that Grindr has an important place in helping gay, bi and curious men and young men to connect to each other in a primarily straight world.


Category : Blog &Compulsive Behaviours &Grindr &Porn &Sex &Sexuality &Uncategorized

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