Gay men practically invented the “hookup culture”. Being forced to sneak about in dark parks, alleys, public bathrooms just to get their freak on… how could that not evolve from a “something we have to do” into a “something we want to do”. Decades ago, the anonymous hookup was a necessity, and a dangerous one at that. Dark figures in dark spaces meant no chance to exchange sexual history, an abundance of unsafe spaces, and no good way to make sure there was protection.
Thankfully that has all changed. Now with apps like Tinder and Grindr, hookups are not only easier, but a lot safer. But even with hookup culture being brought out from seedy spots and into the open, there is still a need for caution. Here are some ways you can keep yourself safe and make sure everyone has a good time.
Be clear with what you want, and stand firm
Before meeting with your intended hookup, make sure they know exactly what you’re looking for- and in turn, make sure you know what they are looking for. Nothing will make a meeting go awry faster than expectations not lining up. If you want to just meet on the first interaction and they just want sex, move along. Or, if you’re the one looking for a quick fix and they want a slower start, find another willing partner. It shouldn’t be one person trying to coerce the other to get between the sheets.
Full sexual history disclosure
It’s not the most fun thing to talk about, but if you wanna continue living your life with healthy man-bits, you need to know any risks. It’s a tricky (and sensitive) topic to approach, so the best way is to offer up your info first. Keep it casual; something as simple as “Hey, full disclosure, my STI status is ____” should get the ball rolling. And if you have anything to disclose, disclose it. If you don’t want your partner to omit, don’t you dare omit. Remember to get tested regularly, too. Make sure you know your true stats, and you’re not lying to your partner (or yourself) about the risk.
This one seems obvious, but in the heat of the moment it’s difficult to remember. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most important things to remember. Gay men have the highest percent of STIs in the country. Put your condom somewhere you’re not going to forget it, like in the waistband of your underwear. It’s hard to forget to wrap up when your hookup reaches into your shorts and grabs a Trojan.
The social climate of the nation has brought up the risk of LGBT+ murders by a fair margin. No, thinking about being killed is not a sexy way to look at hooking up, but it is a realistic one. Stories about men on gay hookup sites who arrange a hookup and then harm/kill their target are unfortunately true. Prevention is the best way to keep yourself safe. Always talk to the person before you meet them, check out their social media, and agree to meet in a public place before anything goes down. (And no, in the park at night does not count as a public space in this instance.) Coffee shops are good.
Another tip: Take a picture of them (and they should do the same to you) and send it to a trusted friend. Text that friend the address of where you’re going. If the person you’re meeting seems defensive of this idea, or refuses to do it, that’s a red flag. They might be worried that you’ll post all over Facebook something they want to keep quiet (which is reasonable), or they don’t want anyone having proof of their identity. If the former, try to find a compromise that keeps you both safe. If they are adamant in refusing even the most basic way to ensure your friends know where you are (and who you’re with)… it might be time to reconsider.
The best way to get advice on how to stay safe during a meetup is asking your female friends. Because of the absurd percentage of women killed by men each year, they have tons of ways to keep themselves protected. At least one of them should work for you.
Hooking up is meant to be fun and casual. And with just a few basic safety precautions, it will be.
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