Using hookup apps can remove some of the usual ways in which we stay safe, below are METRO’s top tips to increasing your safety when hooking up:
- Meeting online means you have no way of knowing what they are actually like, try to meet in a public place first, or at least speak on the phone. This gives you the chance to get a better idea of how they might behave and ideally in a space where you have more control.
- Their profile might not cover what they are looking for right now. Take some time to work out what they are expecting and communicating what you are looking for, this helps to avoid a situation where you feel under pressure to do something you do not want to do.
- When you are behind a screen the anonymity can make you feel more comfortable sharing more about yourself than you might usually. Think about whether you would be happy for other people to see images you are sharing for example. You might want to crop photos so that people cannot tell it is you.
- Bring your mates back into the equation. When you meet someone on a night out with your friends, they can watch your back. If you are planning to meet someone online let one of your close friends know when and where you are meeting and agree ways and times to check in with them.
- Online, people are removed from your context, where you find them online, isn’t necessarily where they actually are. The safety that you might feel say in an LGBT venue doesn’t extend to where your hookup might want you to move to.
- Be smart, avoid carrying or leaving out valuable items, cash and bank cards when you hookup.
- Meeting online means you can be in very different situations, make sure this doesn’t create an imbalance of power, for example meeting someone when you have been drinking or taking drugs.
- Don’t let the familiarity of your favourite app stop you from thinking about where you are, some countries are fair less safe for hooking up and for LGBT people generally.
- As always, keep on top of your sexual health, by using condoms, and getting tested for HIV and other STIs regularly - we recommend every 6 months when you are sexually active, and when you change sexual partner. You might also want to consider using PrEP.