After sleeping with more than a 100 guys from Grindr, I’ve decided check my behaviors
Five years span between the first time I hooked up with a guy, and I signed up for a Grindr account. I held out getting one for as long as I could. Tons of gay friends told me I simply had to get an account. Not because Grindr is so life-changing, or for that matter, all that good, but because that’s what gay men do.
They get a Grindr. They get drunk, go to a club, and if they don’t get laid, they hop on Grindr. Instead of jacking off on a lonely Wednesday night, they find a cuddle buddy on Grindr. Only the cuddle buddy is a stranger, looks nothing like his pictures, and instead of cuddling, they’re having intercourse.
“It just makes things easier,” a gay friend once told me. “It greases the wheels.” To which I replied, “That’s not the only thing that gets greased…”
Finally, two years ago, I got a Grindr account. Bizarrely enough, it wasn’t any of my gay friends who convinced me to get a Grindr. It was my straight friend, Bobby. He said, “Dude, I wish I had an app like Grindr that would make it easy to screw girls.
You don’t know how lucky you have it.” Instead of calling him a pig and punching him in the face, I reluctantly signed up for an account. I took a pic of myself flexing right then and there, and watched the “heys,” d*ck pics, and assh*le close-ups flood my inbox within minutes.
My mouth dropped. “Holy mother of God,” I thought to myself. “Some of these guys are actually pretty cute!”
Since I’ve gotten a Grindr, I’d say I’ve had sex with about 100 men through the app (give or take 20 in either direction).
And in the interest of full transparency, I got horny after writing the first paragraph of this article, hopped on Grindr, had sex with a guy, and am now continuing to write this piece. The whole endeavor took the same amount of time it would take me to watch a rerun of Family Guy, which is the other way that I usually take breaks from writing.
But I digress…
Two years and countless sexual encounters later, ranging from unexpectedly wonderful to outright dangerous, I’ve had to ask myself, “Am I addicted to Grindr?”
Well, if I’m being 100% candid, it didn’t take two years for me to start asking this question. It took about 30 days. In the first month after I got a Grindr account, I was glued to it. I was on my phone nonstop: at work, every time I pooped, and all night after I got home from the gym.
Oh, and at the gym, I would try to find a guy on Grindr in between my sets, with the goal of finding someone on the walk home to bone.
So I asked my therapist (a gay man), if I was addicted to Grindr. He asked me what I think. Classic therapist move. I told him, yes, I think I may be. He asked me, why? So I told him. I said because I’m having sex with about three different guys a week.
He asked if I was having protected sex. I was.
He asked if was enjoying it. Obviously.
He asked me if it’s getting in the way of any of my responsibilities. No, it wasn’t at all. I still went to work and to the gym. Since I didn’t see friends too often during the week, I wasn’t seeing my friends any less friends because of Grindr.
“So what’s the issue?” he finally asked, unclear of why I was calling my Grindr use an addiction.
“I feel like I’m wasting time.” I replied. “I spend hours on Grindr some nights. Literally hours messaging boys, and sometimes, at the end of those hours, no one comes over. It’s a waste of a night. I could have been doing something productive.”
“Aha. Herein lies the problem,” he said with a smile.
We then went back and forth. My therapist telling me that it really wasn’t issue. I should simply limit my Grindr use to 15 minutes at night, and if I can’t get someone to come over in that time period, I should get off it. He then told me to enjoy myself. Since I was making new connections, meeting new people, and having fun, all while engaging in my usual activities, there wasn’t anything to worry about.
I had (and still have) a tendency to make problems out of nothing, and he told me this was one of those times. I trusted him, so I dropped the whole thinking-I’m-addicted-to-Grindr thing.
But two years later, I find myself asking the same damn question: Am I addicted to Grindr? I’ve had plenty of time now to introspect, and I think I have the answer. The short answer is what my old therapist, “No.” I’m having fun. I’m being safe. I don’t get upset when guys block me or don’t want to have sex with me.
My self-esteem is high and can’t be affected by a headless torso on the web. I have a boyfriend whom I live with and love (we’re polyamorous… don’t worry). It doesn’t bother him in the slightest that I use Grindr often, and it gives me an outlet to do some of the things sexually that my boyfriend isn’t a fan of.
Now the the long answer is “Yes, but…”
Here’s where it gets more complex, and where I don’t think I’m alone. I think many gay/bi men, like myself, are actually high-functioning Grindr addicts.
Now in order for something to become an problematic addiction, there needs to be negative consequences. Here’s an example. I’m clearly addicted to coffee. I make a full french press in the morning and drink the entire thing throughout the day. I love coffee. I enjoy coffee. It’s tough for me to do anything without coffee.
That said, I’m not worried about my addiction to coffee because there are literally zero negative consequences for my body’s dependency to caffeine. There are no health ramifications. I also brew it at home, so it’s very inexpensive. There’s literally nothing wrong with my obscene coffee intake. So I’m not worried about it, and have no desire to cut down on it.
However, that’s not quite the case for my Grindr addiction. Yes, my Grindr addiction doesn’t cause me to shirk important responsibilities, neither does it pose any life-threatening danger, but it does impact my life negatively. I still do waste a lot of time on it. Time that could be better spent writing or doing well… anything. I sometimes don’t want to have sex with my boyfriend because I screwed a guy earlier that day and am all sexed out.
Again, not a huge problem, and he claims it doesn’t bother him, but that’s not the way I want to treat my partner. I want to be able to satisfy him sexually and to be able to have sex with him when he wants to.
So I’ve set some new rules for myself. When I’m not traveling for work, I only sleep with one guy on Grindr a week, during the day. That way I’m not wasting time, and I’m revved up when my boyfriend comes from home from work, so I can go at it with him.
And if I have a hankering for someone during the evenings, I ask my boyfriend if he’s in the mood for a third. Usually he is (as long as he approves. How should I say this…My standards are…lower…than his).
So far it’s been working out, and I wish someone had given me this advice sooner. So many queer men, like myself, think of Grindr as all or nothing. Either they use it or they don’t. If they use it, they use it hard. If the don’t, they hate it, hard. Or they delete the app, only to then download it that weekend when they’re walking home alone drunk from the bar. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Moderation. That’s the key. Like it is for any vice. Grindr can and needs be used in moderation.