This is the friend you worry about. You wonder how she doesn’t end up in the hospital or on the late-night news. She doesn’t seem the least bit afraid of hooking up with strangers, even those she just met online. When it comes to sex and intimate relationships she takes a typical male role. Much like the character Samantha in Sex in the City, Dora has all the sex she wants and that’s just how she likes it. No one gets too close; no one can really hurt Dora.

Into the high of meeting new men, Dora hooks up online, through social networks on her smart phone, and in local bars. Dora often meets men for the first time at their apartments, never considering this might be dangerous because it’s so exciting.

Dora has done things she later regrets. Safe sex is optional and often she lets the man decide. It’s likely she’s had multiple STDs and/or abortions. Dora likes to get high, but she’s not addicted. It’s just part of the fun. And though she can tweak it into amusing cocktail party conversation, she sometimes ends up in scenes that have made her uncomfortable, even afraid, such as unexpected threesomes and S&M. Dora can’t say no, claims she doesn’t want to, and over time her life becomes a revolving door of men, sex, partying – repeat.

Arrogant about “real relationships,” and looking down on friends who pursue them, Dora thinks of “that whole thing” as boring. This is her defense. In the past Dora was hurt badly and disappointed by someone she devoted herself to. Perhaps her father or another early formative figure scarred her deeply. For Dora emotional safety means focusing on fun, shallow relationships, where fun is the priority and sex the glue that keeps her coming back.

Why She Seeks Treatment

Dora has likely experienced some real scares, and they become more frequent the longer she remains “a player.” Maybe some stranger at a bar slipped her some “roofies” (date-rape drugs), or one night she just got too high and woke up in a stranger’s bed, not knowing the person next to her, how she got there, or even what happened that night. She may have been frightened, even abused by an anonymous online date. Dora seeks treatment because she is genuinely afraid of where her behavior could take her and in some ways already has.

Dora might also seek a treatment program because she had an affair with the wrong person and created an embarrassing situation at work or with friends and family. Her profound regret motivates her to change her behavior. As Dora ages, perhaps she gets tired of the one-night stands and unpredictability and is discovering that it isn’t so much fun anymore.

Dora’s sexual addiction also might be uncovered in the midst of treatment for the drug and alcohol use she has integrated into her party lifestyle. Once in treatment she has sex with patients or staff and is either asked to leave or simply misses the work of treatment due to her sexual obsessions. Dora needs a different kind of help.