Online dating has exploded over the last several years, and while it can be a valid and efficient way to find a mate, it can also become an unhealthy obsession. Are you scrolling through possible dates on an hourly basis? Do you find a date only to wonder if there’s a better option on the next swipe? Do you have a series of one-night stands with your online dates and never commit? It may be time to question how you use online dating and if it is leading you into a type of sex or love addiction.
What Is Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction is a type of behavioral addiction, and some experts may call it hypersexual disorder or something else. The bottom line is that sex addiction, like any addiction, means being obsessed with something to the exclusion of other aspects of your life. And it doesn’t actually have to be sex that you’re obsessed with. You could be a compulsive pornography user or hooked on inappropriate flirting. The underlying issue is that you think about it all the time and engage in the activity or fantasy while other parts of your life suffer.
Online Dating and the One-Night Stand Sex Addict
One type of sex addict is the person who actually does look for multiple sex partners. If this is you, it seems natural that you would turn to online dating. Where else can you find so many available partners? There are even dating sites that are devoted to daters not really looking for a commitment, which is a polite way of saying that they are looking for a hook-up. While one-night stands don’t qualify you as a sex addict, if you see this pattern of behavior in how you use online dating, you might want to question it. If you are seeking out these sex partners frequently and other areas of your life are suffering as a result, you could have a sex addiction that is fueled by your online dating accounts.
Online Dating as Porn Addiction?
Another category of compulsive online dater is someone who doesn’t even meet his or her dates in real life, or at least not often. You go to your dating site, scroll through the options and fantasize about them. You probably also like traditional porn, but you supplement it with the real people you see on your dating sites to add to the fantasy. As with casual sex, using pornography does not make you a sex addict. When you use porn, and dating sites as porn, so much that it harms your actual relationship or prevents you from finding real love, you have a problem.
Does Online Dating Lead to Committed Relationships?
Online dating can be a valid way to find a real partner and a committed relationship, but it can also be a place for predators, sex addicts and people lying about their intentions. Research has found that one-third of dating site users never meet up with anyone. Five percent of people in committed relationships, according to surveys, say that they met their partners online. That leaves a lot of people who meet partners in the real world. Dating sites can lead to real, lasting relationships, but they can also act like tools that feed sex addiction. If you feel like your online dating habits are starting to interfere with your life or are getting out of control, consider seeing a professional experienced with helping sex addicts. There is no shame in admitting you may need help, and working with a counselor could lead you to find that lasting love, whether it happens online or offline.