There are hundreds of millions of people online on dating apps everyday worldwide. In the heterosexual community, half of those 670 million users want to find a long-lasting romantic partner, and 40% of them actually do.
In the homosexual community, things are very different. Millions of men around the world log on to gay dating apps—such as Grindr or Scruff–mostly to find casual sex encounters.
The main reason behind this is a search for relief from anxiety and depression. A temporary one, though.
A vicious cycle
Most gay men log on to Grindr when they feel sad, anxious or lonely. The opportunity to have sex immediately and nearby, can distract them from those painful emotions. Every time unbearable feelings arise, they click on the app and find someone to have a hookup with.
When they’re done, and they’re back home, another unpleasant feeling arises: guilt. They feel guilty about using the app just to have meaningless sex with some stranger… and to avoid feeling that way, they open the app again.
There, a vicious cycle begins. And it can go on forever, if they don’t do anything to break it.
What it does to the brain
This wrong usage of dating apps can be treated as a real addiction. In fact, it is an addiction. The action of clicking on Grindr combined with the reward of an orgasm, makes a man want to do it over and over again. This causes pleasure areas of the brain to activate, creating patterns that are terrifyingly similar to those found in the brains of those addicted to heroin and cocaine.
What using Grindr may also cause is a lack of interest in commitment. A wrong use of gay dating apps may keep gay men from finding lasting relationships.
Let’s take John as an example.
Ever since John was little, their parents made him feel like being gay was wrong. Today, John doesn’t go out that much. He has very few friends, who are not even that reliable. Deep down, John would love to meet a man to love him and respect him. But he couldn’t stand the feeling rejection from someone who’s there in front of him. What John does, instead, is log on to Grindr to find acceptance from those who are online for the same reason. He finds a man, hooks up with him, and without even knowing what his name is, he mutters a “bye” and heads back home.
Grindr shields gay men from the pain of in-person turndowns.
After some time of using the app, John’s self-esteem is all about sexual ability. He doesn’t feel confident in any other way.
The sad thing is, I know many people like John.
What to do about it
The first step is always awareness. When you’re aware that you have a problem you’ve done half the work. Loneliness is the root cause of all addictions. Knowing this makes you realize that your problem might be just that: you’re emotionally lonely. You can be lonely even if you live in a house full of people.
If your usage of Grindr gets out of hand, you may find that therapy is a great solution for your problem.
If you feel bold, you can delete all dating apps from your phone and commit to finding people in real life to date or simply to have a nice talk with.
I’m not saying that you cannot use dating apps. You can, if you’re conscious about how you use them.
You can have control over your use of dating apps.
I’ve never used them and I’m lucky to have met the best man in the world. But I know people who use dating apps to have sex, still wanting to find a husband. I’d like to say this:
Stop making everything about sex.
As I said in a previous article, we’re not animals. We’re people with emotional needs. Every time you go out with someone, remember that you have a human being in front of you. Not a piece of flesh.
If you show up in real life to have interactions with real people, you’re going to find “the one” and maybe some trustworthy friends, too.
But you won’t find “the one” if you’re looking for sexcapades. Get out more.