Friday, March 9, 2007

Hooking up: a symptom of sadness

Hooking up for women isn't just a bad idea; it's a symptom of a deep inner sadness.

Several years ago, a friend of mine told me something that rocked my world. Before taking me into her confidence, her eyes darted around the room as if to make sure no one was listening. Her tone was hushed.

She said that during the last month, she had slept with a different guy every night.

That was around 15-20 years ago, but I have never forgotten the desperate look in her eyes. She talked to me because she knew I would try my best to not judge her. Who am I to judge anyone? Lord knows I've done my share of desperate behaviors.

So I didn't say much. Just gave her my full attention. She said she wanted to see if she could do it. Seducing all those men gave her a sense of power. And then she said what so many women say after a season (or a life-time) of hooking up:

"I regret it."

If you or a sista you know is engaged in this behavior, consider taking a vacation from sex for a short period of time--say, a month, even a week. I'm not a psychologist, but I do know that as you're withdrawing from an addiction (and hooking up may be just that) for even a short period of time, all kinds of troubling thoughts, memories, emotions, and physical feelings will arise. That's the purpose of the addiction: to help you escape from the things that are bothering you.

The problem with addictions is that they spiral you down into deeper layers of depression and dangerous behavior.

Taking a vacation from sex may be the most courageous thing you've ever done. You'll probably need support or counseling. During this time, don't go it alone. Get help--not from your peers who are also engaged in this behavior. They'll draw you back into the game. Talk to a counselor with expertise in this area.

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