Losing one’s virginity is something that most of us will always remember. It can be memorable for both good and bad reasons. However, the experiences of one teenager have illustrated the dangers of choosing to meet up with strangers.
The teen, who does not wish to be named, lives in Canada. He shared his story on Reddit, where it prompted dozens of comments and hundreds of upticks.
“I’m horny and felt really horny this morning so I downloaded Grindr,” begins the 18-year-old.
“I started chatting with this guy and he sent me a couple pics, he seemed legit so I went over to his apartment complex. He opened the complex’s basement garage and I went in and I couldn’t find the elevator up so I took the stairs, turns out they lock automatically so I had to wait for him to come get me in the stairwell.
“He came to rescue me but I didn’t realize it was him at first and I got catfished basically, for some reason I still went to his room (we had to be quiet because his grandma was in the other room) and we started kissing.”
Catfishing is the term used when someone uses photos of someone else on their dating app or online profile.
“I hated his kissing and closed my eyes the whole time,” continued the teen.
“He started sucking my dick and playing with my nipples, it felt so good but he then started giving me a hickey (which I didn’t even realize) and started putting lube in my ass and his dick, he didn’t put enough and he took off his protection mid-sex so it hurt a little bit.
“Afterwards, I saw the hickey and went to his washroom to clean up and try to ice it but it wasn’t working. He then started plucking my grey hairs?? and I tried to leave but he didn’t let me.
“Finally, I had a friend call me saying there was an emergency then I finally left. I cried all the way on the ride to my friend’s house because I regretted and was shameful of what I had just done. She helped conceal the hickey with makeup and then went to Sephora with me afterwards to try to find better shades for it.”
Many of the commentators told the young man to immediately seek medical help and get PEP. Post-exposure prophylaxis is a month-long course of medication you can take after a risky sexual encounter to stop you from potentially acquiring HIV.
Others told him never to be afraid to reject a hookup if that person turns out not to be who they say they are, or if they simply change their mind.
“I definitely should’ve just left the moment I saw him,” agreed the poster. “I talked to some friends and they’ve all reassured me so I’m feeling a little bit better but nothing will really shake the regret and shame.”
Others pointed out that his experience was far from uncommon and shared their own similar stories. Many said that there is simply no reason to engage with a catfisher.
“If you ever get catfished, never, ever follow them into their home. They lied to you about who they were/look like. Who knows what else they’re lying about,” posted one. “Don’t meet anyone without first video chatting with them to confirm who they are/ what they look like or at the very least, get a personalized photo from them. Aka, make them take a picture while holding up like 3 fingers or something so you get a recent picture. If they start going on about how they can’t take a picture, don’t have a social media or another way to send the picture. They’re catfishing you.”
Others pointed out that it’s always a good idea to meet somewhere public, rather than going straight to someone’s home or to their vehicle.
Others were blunter.
“This… is rape. This is actually rape,” said one. “Stealthing, or taking a condom off mid-sex without your consent, is rape. I would report him. I agree to get on PEP A.S.A.P.”
Thankfully, the teen concerned took some comfort from the many people who commented on his story. He later posted an update to say he had managed to get PEP from his family doctor (the medication needs to be started within 72 hours of the sexual encounter).
Queerty reached out to him to check on how he was doing a couple of weeks after his posting. “I am absolutely fine now,” he said.
He confirmed that he was taking PEP but had decided not to report the incident (”although it was a terrible experience”), to the police.
“I have definitely stayed off Grindr since then. I have thought about meeting up with new guys just to get rid of the experience and form new bonds in my brain, I guess … but I haven’t made that call yet. I believe the next time I will have sex, I will get to know the person first and meet up with them in a public place like a café or the mall before going to their house.”
For many gay and bi men, meeting up with strangers is a part and parcel of the quest to find love or intimacy. However, it comes with risks, particularly for inexperienced queer youth.
“We know that youth are exploring new ways to meet new people, especially online through social media or apps — lots of people build friendships, hook up, or become partners with people they meet this way,” said Sarah Hobbs, Executive Director with Planned Parenthood Toronto, to Queerty.
“It’s important to have accurate information and the right tools to navigate those relationships, including the decision to meet up in real life [IRL] or engage in sexual activity, and how to access care, information and support related to that in a stigma-free, sex-positive way.”
Because of this, Planned Parenthood offers a range of factsheets, peer programs, and services such as STI testing.
“Boundaries and consent are important parts of engaging in sexual activity,” Hobbs added. “When your boundaries are crossed or you’ve felt pressured into sexual activities, it’s not okay.
“It can happen to you no matter who you are, what you are wearing, or what you’re doing. If someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, doesn’t get consent, or otherwise makes you feel uncomfortable during any type of sexual activity, remember that it’s not your fault. There are places that can support you and help you work through your feelings, get you the medical attention you might need, or create a safety plan.”
For more information, you can download Planned Parenthood Toronto’s factsheet on Dating and Hooking Up via apps.