Queerty Query

How Can We Keep Ourselves Safer When Hooking Up Online?


We all know that hooking up online can sometimes be hot, and there are a lot of funny and freaky ways to do it as well.

However, last week’s rape and robbery of a visiting tourist by a Grindr hookup has cast an ominous shadow on something that a lot of gays consider to be a favorite pastime.

Most people hooking up online are just looking for sex, but it seems like some are also looking for easy targets, and it can possibly put gays at risk.

With that said, we pass the question to you, Queerty members: How Can We Keep Ourselves Safer When Hooking Up Online?

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  • TerrenM

    A.). Don’t do it.

  • Fang

    You know, I hookup online fairly frequently and I’ve never felt the risk of immediate physical harm (as opposed to delayed physical harm due to transmission of diseases). I rely on the most basic security measures: instincts. If a situation feels wrong or if I’m for some reason weirded out by a guy talking to me, I leave the situation. It’s worked out for me thus far and since I’ve had success, I probably won’t alter my practices. But there are several ways guys can scope out their sex partners online–meet in public first, chat extensively, talk on the phone, tell a friend where you’re going, hook up at a hotel where both parties register identities. None are convenient, but they’re not bad ideas.

  • stranded

    the only thing you can do is meet in public and get a feel for the guy. Then it’s no different than meeting someone at a bar, still risky but at least you’re not meeting in pvt where you have no one to help you.

  • Mezaien

    @Fang: You right man. As a HOMO dad to six I used to do online dating for sex what else?. But still guys have to be careful many gay bashers are “GAYS” who can`t accept themselves.

  • hawkeye7

    Use your head, the larger one on your shoulders. Have an online buddy who you talk to often, send him an email just saying “I am hooking up with this guy.” Always get a phone number and send at least a few text messages so there is a digital trail. If the area code is out of town, make a joke out of it. Get a name to go with a profile, a real man is not going to care if you know his name, a fraud will. If somebody looks and sounds to good to be true, they probably are just that. Be there for other people too. Be the friend for somebody else and when you don’t hear from them the next day call and check. I would much rather be a little embarrassed than trapped in some dudes basement. And finally ……pass this on to the next generation, they are a little thick skulled, you and I were.

  • Billy Budd

    I do hook up online frequently and I do three things to protect myself:

    1) Talk on the phone with the guy for a long time before meeeting in person

    2) Arrange to meet the guy at a public place

    3) Never bring the guy to my home on the first date. We go together to a Motel. Here in Brazil, motels are used solely for sexual encounters.

    I’ve had sex with more than 30 guys using this method and I have never had any problems.

  • B Damion

    @hawkeye7 …As a generation-Y gay, I totally agree. The buddy system in this case really is best. In a perfect world I would also agree with Fang, but most gay guys in generation Y rarely ever agree to those terms.

    Texting and the buddy system is key for me. Save your conversations and keep a log.
    Always text the address for your hookup if you can to your buddy as well.
    But always always go with your instinct. That little voice in your head is there to protect you from yourself. lol. It’s so true.

  • Charlie in Charge

    Pepper spray is legal to carry in most places, can be bought at sporting goods stores, costs less than $10, and is nonlethal.

  • LivinITforaspell

    If they seem a bit too eager, I normally do not meet, I Screen capture their profile pic if a meeting is planned, If they’re one of those that delete their profile after sex, it may serve as a reminder. I text the photo to a friend that knows I’m meeting/hooking up. I always meet in a public place or I meet them at the front of my secure bldg,,,verify pic, then ensure they’re traveling alone. I always see them out of the secure bldg, No problems in the states and now that I live in Italy, I maintain the habit.

  • electricconduit

    Because gay bathhouses provide a safe and relatively inexpensive environment for gay and bi men to meet, socialize and possibly hook-up in private, support local bathhouses and if you live in San Francisco, refuse to support politicians, gay, lbt or straight, who refuse to support the reopening of bathhouses in that city. Inform yourself as to who those pols are and denounce them.

  • Billy Budd

    @electricconduit: Here in Brazil we have tons of bathhouses and they are totally legal. I’ve been to many bathhouses in São Paulo and had great adventures. Some bathhouses have escorts, but I prefer the ones that have only “amateur” customers. You can find many closeted married guys in bathhouses, if that is your thing.

  • jwrappaport

    1. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right or doesn’t add up, it’s probably because the guy is a phony. Chat with them for a while – over a few days or a week perhaps. People who are overly insistent about meeting, who refuse to share mundane identifying details about themselves, or who have pictures that look too good to be true are usually bad news.

    2. Skype with them before you meet. It will give you a good sense of how they look, speak, dress, converse, etc.

    3. Add them on Facebook or other social media, which are often fast and easy ways to corroborate or negate aspects of someone’s story (e.g., where they went to school, where they’re from, etc.).

    4. Text a friend the person’s number as well as the time, date, and location of your meeting and when they should expect a call from you (e.g., by noon the next day).

    5. Meet in a public place.

    6. Bring pepper spray (I’ve never done this, but I’m all for people being careful).

  • Spike

    @electricconduit: Interesting how the 20somethings consider bathhouse to be a sleazy way of hooking up vrs. their way, that being, go out with friends to a bar, get drunk, go home, go on grindr and hook up with some random guy based on pics of various body parts.

  • Daniel-Reader

    Always meet in public first, take a clear photo of the person and send it to your friend before going any place. Let your friend know in advance where you are going. Check up with your friends via voice (a text can be faked). Be wary of guys who don’t show their faces in their profiles. Avoid closeted and/or married guys they usually have bad baggage they are dragging along.

  • Chaz

    1. Make sure you get a full clear recent face pic
    2. Meet in public like a coffee shop and make sure you are clear it is an introduction only
    3. Use your big head and common sense street smarts

  • Ben Dover

    @Spike: Thanks for one of the funniest observations ever here!

    @Billy Budd: Strange to hear it’s that way in Brazil. In the US, closeted married guys almost NEVER go to bathhouses, because those places require photo ID. That’s one thing I always liked about bathhouses, since I hated dealing with cloeted married guys! As @Daniel-Reader: said: “Avoid closeted and/or married guys they usually have bad baggage they are dragging along.”

  • sejjo

    Just common sense type stuff – meet in a public place, tell a friend or family member where you’re going and who you’re going to meet and when you expect to return, follow your gut instinct (if he makes the hair on your back stand straight, RUN AWAY), tell the guy you’re meeting that your dad is a federal agent or someone like Liam Neeson in “Taken”, don’t give out your home or work address until you’ve known the guy for at least 15 years (I recommend 20 years).

    Seriously, I don’t do it. I prefer meeting people the old fashioned way: at the church fete, while stuck in traffic and while shopping for carrots at my local grocer – you know, bourgeois type stuff.

  • Spike

    @Billy Budd: When I was in Rio a few years back and went to Club Le Boy, I was surprised to find that there was a bathhouse above the club that was accessible from the club. Never going to find anything like that here in the US.

  • Nanome14

    Every time I hook up which is very often and not ashamed of it as Im single, I let my roommate know and also I always exchange number with the person and send an email to my roommate with the guys phone number, picture and if I know full name. Also I always prefer to host them at my place and when my roommate is home. Never go to anyone’s home nor in the middle of the night. most times I met the guy at some coffee shop as to me connection is important and also these days many gay man lie about their age and appearance so I don’t trust them much.

  • Chris

    I followed the links to learn that the incident alluded to took place in Philadelphia. A conference-goer invited someone to his room without first meeting him in public. This is simply too trusting. Always meet some place public and chat up the guy first. And don’t be afraid to end things, publicly if needed. Also, in spite of their bad rap, I think that going to a gay bath house — where others are around — is better than going with a complete stranger back to your or to his place.

    [Ironically, someone else tried to hustle me while I was in Phillie. I bought him a drink, told him to try his luck with other bar patrons, and said “good bye.”]

  • Billy Budd

    @Ben Dover: Hi Ben, here in Brazil it is not necessary to show any identification when you enter a bathhouse, unless you look like you are underage. Most bathhouses have private rooms that you can rent for you and your new buddy. Most of them have dark rooms and there is lots of group sex happening all over the place. I have seen one or two things in bathhouses, believe me. :)

  • Billy Budd

    @Spike: I’ve never been to the LeBoy, but it is indeed very famous. I love the atmosphere of bathhouses. Specially those that are populated with a younger crowd. A bathhouse is a place where you can feel totally liberated. Anything goes.

  • vive

    I agree, bathhouses are safer. What nobody has mentioned is that bathhouses also require MUCH less time investment than online hookups. And in a bathhouse, you have fallbacks if the first one doesn’t work out (or even if it does).

  • Cee

    I don’t invite dudes over until I know them. I was talking to this guy from another city and he wanted to stay at my apartment when he’s in town. I told him he needs to get a hotel room. He’s cool, but we haven’t met yet and I’m not letting someone I’ve never met see where I live let alone stay at my apartment.

    I know a lot of dudes that invite guys over after a few sentences on Jack’d or Craigslist. Some do that ANON crap. I wish them luck. Sex is not worth dying over.

  • Cee

    @Spike: I have a buddy who does that. He hooks up on Jack’d and A4A, but he looks down on bath houses and Craiglist. All because he didn’t get laid when he went to the bath house and he doesn’t have luck on Cragslist lol A lot of guys look down on bath houses. I think it’s ignorant. Especially when they’re hooking up at random guy’s places and inviting random guys over to their place. The bath houses have a bad name because of the shit that went down in the 80s. I was only a baby then, but I know that’s the reason because of the documentaries and articles I’ve ready point back to that whole AIDS epidemic that gave the bath house a bad name. It’s ignorance though. More people are barebacking and spreading HIV in theirown homes and at sex parties than they are at bath houses. The bath house doesn’t condone bareback sex. They promote condoms and getting tested.

  • coltonblack

    I have very glad Queerty posted this. Someone I know right now is being harassed and extorted by a thug. The buddy of mine “met” this person on a4a. Long story short, after the thug obtained my bud’s personal info, he then began to harass, threaten and extort. It is all with the police now but my point here is that this is a very real issue.

    One thing I recommend to people is to consider getting a “trick” phone. You can get a disposable, non-traceable one at most drug stores. Never give out your real phone number and be very careful about giving any specifics regarding your home address, etc.

    I recently posted on my blog about how gay people can fend themselves off against an attacker, including gay bashers. Click on my face and you will be transported to the blog.

    Thank you Queerty for this important post!

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