Hooking up is totally fun and not at all dangerous!!! Right?
No, wrong. So wrong.
According to DigitalSpy, the longer hookup apps are around, the more distinct correlation we see between their use, and violent sexual assault or aggravated assault cases. And as it goes that gay men are in one of the highest brackets of people to be targeted for violent sexually motivated crimes, it is totally reasonable to feel on guard when searching for "right now."
While we're all about sexual liberation and freedom here at Andrew Christian, we would be doing our readers and customers a disservice to not tell you how important it is to think about your sexual health holistically-- as in, don't only worry about catching an STI from a random sexual partner and think about how you could (potentially) catch their hands.
Sexual violence is, unfortunately, a reality, so here are 5 easy ways to ensure your hookups are safer when the moment comes.
Follow Your Gut
This may sound corny, but your instincts are the biggest thing that can protect you when it comes to suspicious hookups. If you find yourself in a situation where you begin to worry, make sure you have an escape plan or get yourself out of their immediately.
Repeat after me: you don't owe this trick anything! You don't owe them an explanation as to why you're suddenly leaving, or why you're not feeling it, or what they did wrong. NOTHING. The only thing you owe anyone is the peace of mind that you got the fuck out of there before you needed to find out if your suspicions that this wasn't the right situation for you were correct or not.
Use Tech to Background Check
It is 2018 and at some point, we have to start telling ourselves that if we get cat-fished, it's on us. We're not saying that bitches out there aren't crafty with their photoshop and covert skills, but we are saying that in this day in age, we are armed with the tools that should make it much more difficult for someone to trick us. Between Snapchat, IG, and FaceTime--make sure you're confirming your identity and the identity of your hookup before you agree on a meeting place or tell them where they can find you.
Furthermore, things such as reverse image search and Google should allow you to check basic catfishing bases such as- is this person actually stealing images from a straight man from Oklahoma's Twitter-- or other things such as 'does this person even exist?'
Tell a Friend
Although it may seem awkward to tell a friend that you're about to go have your back blown out by some stranger-- that is exactly what you need to be doing. It isn't enough just to tell your friend where you're going, it is important to let them know the general build/ look of the person you're planning on meeting and set a time for you to check back in.
This may seem like you're taking away from the spontaneity of the hookup or telling your friends way too much information about what gets you off, but the reality is that it is much better to be safe than sorry. Sure, your cell phone could be traced, but the more information you tell people the more likely they are to know if something isn't right.
Play with penises, not your life-- tell a friend everything prior to meeting up with a hookup.
The beauty of not being face to face with a hookup prior is being able to be very clear and consistent with your sexual boundaries. Without feeling the pressure to go along with every situation, use this time to set clear rules and boundaries with the person you're going to be meeting up with.
Don't expect the situation to go with the flow. Arm yourself with knowledge of their sexual interests, boundaries, and hard nos. Similarly, they should know yours. This will diffuse any opportunity for people to escalate the situation past the discussed expectations-- if things go hard above what was agreed upon then it is a sign that this person does not respect you, and therefore you should leave immediately.
If there is one piece of advice we could give to you, it is this: don't know somebody like that until you know them like that. Meaning, don't let your guard down after meeting someone. More likely than not, someone who is dangerous to you won't be instantly off-putting or creepy-- which is a scary thought in and of itself. No, when hooking up make sure that you're always focused and not in an altered state of mine.
Additionally, suggest meeting with this person first (even its just for a quick coffee) because people need to see you leave with someone in order for there to be a traceable path for anyone who may be searching for you in the event of something happening. It also means that you're less likely to be in danger since the number of witnesses is much higher than agreeing to meet in, say, an abandoned parking lot.
Cruising and casual sex can be fun when done in a safe and healthy way! Always stay alert and keep your wits about you, you secret freak!