Dear Sasha,

“Recently and completely out of the blue, I have started using dating apps. Tinder, bumble, hinge – I’ve used them all and met a lot of people for one-night stands. I have really enjoyed the variety that I get here, it feels like shopping. I am absolutely hooked on these.

But is this normal or am I sex addict? What should I do to get rid of this?”

Dear Friend,

Any kind of addiction stems from childhood trauma generally.  To understand this better, let’s first understand the meaning or definition of addiction.

Addiction is any behaviour that a person finds relief in, therefore craves it in the short term, but suffers negative consequences in the long term. And does not give up despite the negative consequences. So there are three aspects to addiction. 1) Craving pleasure relief in the short term that basically masks the pain of the trauma. 2) Suffering negative consequences in the long term 3) Inability to give it up. So addiction could be for absolutely anything – cocaine, weed, cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, pornography, shopping, eating, sex, Instagram scrolling or Netflix. Through these substances – whether real or virtual we are avoiding and escaping from the emotions we feel of the trauma and pain.

So to answer your question, yes it very much feels like an addiction. The reason this happens are generally complex but largely stem out of childhood traumas. Now traumas don’t have to be some big incidents that scar us, but it’s about us, how we perceive the events that happen around us. For example, a child can feel traumatised when he desperately needs his caregiver, but his caregiver (generally the parent) is not around or ignores the child. Or it could be some bigger life events such as child sexual abuse, physical abuse, having authoritarian parents, losing a parent at a young age, illness etc.

So my suggestion would be to meet a therapist who does ‘Trauma Informed Therapy’. But in the meantime date someone who meets your emotional needs. A single person with whom you can connect with at a deeper emotional as well as physical level will give you a far more fulfilling life.

Much love