Negotiating hookup apps
‘Meeting’ people online is very different than meeting people in a bar, or at other social events. Often what you think someone is like before you meet them in real life, or how they have described themselves, turns out to be very different to how you ‘really’ experience them.
And just as there are a number of people in a bar you wouldn’t think of inviting home – so ‘online’ communities are made up of diverse and different people, not all of whom are honest.
Here are some useful tips:
- Don’t freely give out or distribute your home address or mobile phone number.
- When meeting for the first time, arrange to meet in a busy public place like a bar or a club, or a coffee shop. You can always go somewhere more private later when you are sure you can trust them. Do not rely on the other person for transport – then you can leave whenever you want.
- Let someone know who you are meeting and where. You can leave a note, keep a diary, e-mail a friend, or ask someone to phone you on your mobile (if you have one) to make sure you are all right.
Apply your common sense and the basic rules of personal safety. Maintain a healthy degree of suspicion: if anything seems odd, be careful.
Trust your instincts. If you feel unsure about a situation, excuse yourself and leave immediately.
If you plan to meet a stranger for sex, be safe and take condoms and water-based lubricant with you in case you need them.
Don’t feel compelled or pressured to do anything you don’t want to. Should things get out of hand don’t hesitate to report it to the police or to local gay and lesbian legal organisations – assault is assault, and everyone can experience it, so they’ll be more understanding than you may think – or if you are not confident doing that, seek advice from a local gay organisation.
Remember to always think about if you want to share nudes or other online content, and remember that just because someone might send you their own nudes, it does not mean that you have consent to share that content with other people. In fact doing so is illegal, so always try and be respectful. If you are organising a hook up, discuss your expectations and boundaries, but also remember that consent can be withdrawn at any time.