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7 Tips To Defeat Your Grindr Addiction

Isaac Archuleta

dating apps - LGBTQIA+

Lonely, curious, excited, and starving for connection. I felt all of these emotions in major waves as I unpacked my brand new set of sheets in my first apartment. I was 26 and Grindr hadn’t even turned 1 years-old yet. 

The app seemed like a promise, like I would find the man who would finally put an end to my isolated nights, my empty calendar, and my emotional angst. I wondered if those new sheets would ever swaddle someone other than me. So night after night, I would practice taking the perfect pictures that could convince someone to want me. Of course, it didn’t take long for my love journey to get lost in the sauce. I became more occupied with getting someone to want me than I was focused on finding someone interested in creating long-lasting love with me. 

One of my friends thought his compulsions were not tied to a Grindr addiction, but more related to an affirmation addiction. Although that may be the case, I think it goes a bit deeper than just seeking affirmation. 

As I observe our interactions with Grindr and other hook-up apps, I’ve noticed that we actually have a low sense of relational value. Valuelessness isn’t only a default setting in our bodies after all those years hiding in the closet, it can also be the bedrock for our identity. Learn more about Relationtips for Dynamic Couples

There is one important factor to consider with valuelessness: We don’t know we are valuable enough to ask for what we need and want. As a result, we provoke others into soothing us and we call our provocations Negative Control

Whether it be a sex addiction, a value hunt, or Negative control, here are 7 questions to consider: 

1. What role does sex play in my life? Starting at square one, consider what role you want sex to play in your life. For many, sex is just as much emotionally bonding as it is physically pleasurable. And for others, sex is simply pleasurable and playful. But for now, is sex used as a provocation to feel worthy or is it originating from a source that feels authentic? 

2.  Is it even about the sex or is it about getting confirmation? When negative control is at play, our pictures, our quippy or steamy messages, and our personalities will be used to convince someone into sleeping with us. In this context, sex isn’t about bonding or even about play. It has become the sign that we are valuable. The “I provoke you into soothing me” loop is complete when they finally agree to hookup. 

3. What are you soothing? Oftentimes, I tell my clients that when we came out of the closet we didn’t bring our desires with us. It might be true that becoming aware of your desires might be a good step in assessing your relationship with Grindr. Is the hookup designed to give you a sense of belonging, connection, thrill, desirability, dominance, or being known? Sex can be a powerful source of all these great emotional experiences, so it’s no wonder we want it so badly. But when we know what desire–like a bond-dry bucket designed for fulfillment–need filling, we have more control in how we top it off. 

4. Is vulnerability challenging? Because we have spent so many years hiding our desires–or our preferences–from others, vulnerability often leaves us feeling scared or awkward. If showing your desires to others is difficult, it will be even easier to provoke someone into soothing you on the invisible and subconscious level where emotional satisfaction resides. 

5. Do I have safe and trustworthy people? Sharing your desires and allowing others to fulfill them can be a serious life-changing force, a true game-changer. Identifying safe and trustworthy people is an imperative. Avoid practicing the new skill of vulnerability with someone who might take advantage of your honesty or disrespect it. The safe and trustworthy will not only leave you feeling cherished, but also soothed in an emotionally fortifying way. 

6. What will actually fill up my emotional buckets? Because sex can be a powerful source of value (and all the emotional desires that contribute to it), it is hard to get the same level of satisfaction. So let’s be real, taking up running will not do the trick. This isn’t about finding things that can occupy your attention. It’s about finding the deep relationships, the meaningful projects, and the restorative practices that leave you fulfilled, purposeful, and connected. And remember sex isn’t the bad guy, negative control is. 

7. Can I find my value and use Positive Control? When we know we are valuable we are confident to ask for the things we need and want. In such circumstances, we are confident to ask for connection, belonging, pleasure, and thrill- we don’t have to provoke others into giving it to us. Positive control allows you to show up fully aware of what you desire (in relationships or out of sex) and you get to connect with others, as opposed to using them. 

You and your sex life deserve to be wildly fulfilling, but it might require that you connect back to your value and your desires. Don’t rely on the flimsy connections based on provocations, short-term agents like pics and DMs, and polished personalities. Doing so will only leave you hunting for the next whoosh of gratification in ways that feel compulsive or addictive. From the get-go, give your connections a chance to thrive by showing up confident in your value and fully aware of your desires. Learn more about addiction counseling at iAmClinic!

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