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These individuals, whether or not they meet the (unofficial) criteria for sexual addiction, often have several such apps on their phone, and they leave them on 24/7, eagerly anticipating their next encounter, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night to exchange sexts or meet someone, even agreeing to hook up with people they’re not attracted to or in locations that are inconvenient and possibly even dangerous.They report irritability when no one is contacting them or responding to their overtures, and they nearly always have begun to experience negative life consequences as a result of their obsession.Tapping on a user’s picture brings up a brief profile of that person, along with the option to initiate a digital chat.
Using the same geolocating technology that helps smartphone users find a nearby sushi bar, museum, or mall, adult friend finder apps like Ashley Madison, Skout, Blendr, Grindr, and Pink Cupid, among many others, are used to locate potential sex partners.
And if you’re not in position to search for sex, perhaps due to a business meeting or a family reunion, you can simply set your phone to silent while leaving open your hookup app of choice. As a therapist specializing in addictive sexual and intimacy disorders I am often asked: Isn’t this sort of technology a little bit dangerous? As is the case with any intensely stimulating, potentially pleasurable substance or behavior, individuals predisposed to impulsivity and compulsivity can become addicted.
On other user’s phones and pads you are listed as online and available, encouraging interested parties to contact you via text messages, to which you can respond as time permits. Essentially, people with an underlying psychological condition such as depression, anxiety, an attachment deficit disorder, unresolved childhood trauma, and the like can learn to utilize virtually any pleasurable substance or activity as a form of escape - a way to self-soothe, self-medicate, and dissociate from life on life’s terms.
Note, please, that over the course of the past two decades something that was once viewed as nothing short of desperate (placing a “personal ad”) has now become de rigueur for single (and sometimes not-so-single) men and women, regardless of age, race, creed, color, or sexual orientation.
Amazingly, the social impact of dating websites pales in comparison to the impact of “adult friend finder” smartphone apps.