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The Addictive Quality of Tinder Is Bringing an End to Intimacy

08/16/2015 09:51 EDT | Updated 08/16/2016 05:59 EDT
DPA

I read with interest Tinder's recent Twitter rant the about the September 2015 Vanity Fair article, "Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse," by Nancy Jo Sales.

I wondered whether it was an example of extreme defensiveness brought on by Ms. Sales hitting the nail too firmly on the head, or perhaps, as some have speculated, a PR stunt by Tinder to get attention for the app.

Either way, it got me thinking about Ms. Sales' article, which I had read and enjoyed when the magazine first came out.

I think that Ms. Sales did a terrific job illustrating the new world of dating for the millennial generation. It's tragic to think of how today's twenty-somethings are stuck in a soulless procession of left and right "swipes."

As a relationship expert, author of a book for men (Women Decoded) that shows how to have great relationships, and with a new book about successful dating coming out this fall, I feel the need to chime in on the conversation.

Lately I've been speaking with several people in their 20s and 30s who are beyond unhappy with their dating life. All have used online dating; some have been on Tinder.

While it's true that online dating exponentially increases our options when it comes to potential companions, it also lends itself to a "next!" mentality.

The sheer volume of people available to meet on-line makes it too easy for us to believe that someone even more fun is just the next "smile" "wink" or "swipe" away.

Instant sexual gratification has become the priority, while courtship, romance, and gradual getting to know one-another have almost become anachronisms.

I was watching a rerun of Sex and The City the other day. In it, Sarah Jessica Parker's character gets upset with the man she's been seeing because after 10 days of dating, he hasn't tried to go to bed with her.

She confronts him about it and he explains that before he sleeps with her, he'd really like to get to know her. She then has to stop and ask herself, "Have I forgotten all about romance?"

Today, things are so much worse. We're living in an era of instant everything, including instant sex. The problem is that quick hook-ups offer both parties very little in the way of real satisfaction.

In the article by Ms. Sales, young women who use Tinder are complaining about the epidemic of impotence in men in their 20s.

Between being overstimulated by porn and unable to perform due to anxiety, young men are now sexually crippled by their pursuit of more and more intense, instant sexual gratification.

The fact that young people spend so much time interacting online has made it terrifying for some to interact face-to-face, especially when there's anything important at stake.

Women aren't faring any better these days. The Tinder culture is turning women into commodities even more than any misogynistic society ever did.

Women on Tinder are objects to consume, and young men are ordering them up for sex as easily as they order their dinner online.

People say that Tinder is addictive, and I can see why. It provides no joy, no closeness, no meaning.

It's superficially stimulating and gives a false promise of fulfillment; just enough to compel the user to repeat the activity over and over again, in the hopes that eventually, they'll find what they're looking for.

Twenty-somethings say that they like this form of interacting with others, but in reality, many of them are miserable. They feel anxious, depressed, alienated from others and from themselves. They wonder why they feel like this and I think that it's because of apps like Tinder.

Quick and easy sex that's found on apps like Tinder is devoid of intimacy and as nourishing as junk food. The pleasure of instant hook-ups is like empty calories, leaving the user hungry for more.

If people don't realize that Tinder offers only empty promises, users are doomed to keep on indulging, gorging on fast sex in the same way as they gorge on fast food and feeling equally starved, afterwards.

I watched a TV show last year about a man who weighed about 900 lbs. He was bed-ridden and on oxygen and ultimately died of heart failure, at the age of 41.

He'd gotten this way because he ate everything he wanted. There were no limits on what he could consume, so he literally ate himself to death.

Even though he was able, with the help of his wife, to eat as much as he wanted, he was an extremely unhappy person. He was angry, anxious and depressed. He had all the food he wanted to eat, but it still wasn't enough.

The problem with using Tinder, or engaging in any type of addictive behaviour, is that the more you do it, the worse you feel, which makes you want to do it more in the mistaken belief that it will make you feel better.

In today's addictive society, whether we're indulging in junk food or Tinder, getting all we want isn't a guarantee of happiness or satisfaction; it's a guarantee of misery.

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