Tag Archives: online dating

Casual Sex Encounters? Tips for staying safe online & at #LeicesterPride

ChemSex

Image © 2014 TJRFoto

Protect yourself while having sex, it’s our number one message and it’s primarily directed around having safer sex in terms of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

This time, we’re talking about your physical safety.  When you’re meeting someone new while you’re at Leicester Pride or using an app then going home afterwards.  With Leicester Pride coming up on Saturday it’s a good opportunity to meet new people, maybe even ‘The One’ and update yourself on some common sense advice for meeting people for the first time, maybe even share this with a friend if you think they’ll benefit from this.

This isn’t the normal yada yada, it’s an unfortunate fact that gay people are attacked, mugged or worse, sometimes on the promise of meeting someone for sex.  I’m lucky, it’s never happened to me before but last year, a friend of mine was beaten up and was robbed in his own house, just for meeting someone online!  There are people who exploit online dating apps and I’m sorry but in 2016, homophobia still exists.  Here are just a few UK headlines from this month alone..

A lot of people use apps to look for sex and many find it.  We know it’s exciting to meet strangers too for those evenings of passion which you remember for days on end but you must ensure you are safe with new people you have only just met. It would be irrational to say don’t do it at all so here’s a pointers on how to stay safe while hooking up online..

LET A FRIEND KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON

If you’re one the lucky ones (the type of person who can hook-up within a few minutes of logging on), the chances are that you’ve probably got a friend that is equally as friendly as you are. So, put that friendship to use!  Take a screenshot of your next meet’s face pic then text it along with the address to your pal with a note that you’ll text them as soon as you’re done so they know you’re safe. The bonus is that you’ll have a record of all your online meets, someone to talk to them about and a printable face pic to put on a dartboard in case they end up being a time waster. It’s a win-win situation.

TRUST YOUR GUT

You know that feeling when something isn’t right, when you know that everything isn’t as it should be and you’re second guessing yourself, trust it! Most of us have experienced the sense of knowing things before we know them, even if we can’t explain how. Theories suggest you can “feel” approaching events specifically because of your dopamine neurons. “The jitters of dopamine help keep track of reality, alerting us to those subtle patterns that we can’t consciously detect,” explains Jonah Lehrer, author of the book: How We Decide.

So when chatting to someone, at Pride, on apps or otherwise for the first time, your instincts can tell you whether or not there’s a “creep factor” that you can’t shake off. If you get even a hint that there is something not right about the situation, don’t go, find someone else, the internet is an ocean with plenty of fish, stay away from the sharks!

KNOW HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Everyone should know how to escape danger and how to protect themselves.  If you’re a small frame, and into the big muscle type then you’ve got to be aware that you’re at a physical disadvantage going into the situation. At the very least you should know how to escape a bad situation. A few self-defence lessons from a martial arts centre could make all the difference if you’re ever confronted in the future or worse, attacked by someone in your own home who you’ve just met online.

If you’re not interested in signing up to a centre, use YouTube instead.  Search for ‘how to protect yourself in a fight’ or ‘self-defence techniques’ and explore what’s there.

If you’re more serious about this, here’s a link to explore some Martial Art‘s centres in Leicester: http://dojos.co.uk/Leicester/ It’s another way to meet new people, have more social interaction and all while keeping fit and helping to protect yourself! Another Win Win!

AVOID ANONYMOUS ENCOUNTERS

It needs to be said, some people are very into the anonymity and fantasy of a total stranger coming in to their home and having sex with no prior discussion and we have to say that this is probably one of the most dangerous things that you can do after looking for sex online. If you think it’s a good idea to have your head buried in the pillow and leave your door unlocked while waiting for a complete stranger to enter your home then get over it. Now.

Engaging in this particular type of fantasy leaves you more open to robbery and sexual assault, and leaves you in the most vulnerable position you could be in. If this is really your thing, don’t do it on the first time you arrange something but if you do, you should tell someone what you’re up to as a safety net.  Remember, it’s safer and eaiser to arrange this kind meet with someone you already know so make it a part of a fantasy so you can have the good sex with only the idea of the danger.

HAVE A REGULAR ONLINE BUDDY

OK, so if you’re doing the Grindr & Tindr thing. Obviously there is always going to be the awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time. If the sex is really good and you’re both into making it a regular thing, then why not use the app to reconnect with them? You’ve obviously both passed the chemistry test so now you have someone who can be trusted on some level that you have really good sex with.

(And here’s the dirty little secret about finding people for sex, most people actually want a regular partner to meet up with, even if they’re not looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend).

So have fun “auditioning” people, and when you find one or two (or ten) that you click with, go ahead and put them in your phonebook. Properly vetted online friends with benefits can nullify the need for all of this advice so keep your eyes open for someone good to add to your black book – It’ll save you a lot of stress in the long run.

Are you going to Pride? What tips do you have for staying safe?  Would you add anything to this list? – Let us know in the comments.

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Casual Sex Encounters? – Read This & Stay Safe!

RobsonTomUnsafe

‘Ready & Waiting – by Tom Robson

Protect yourself while having sex, it’s our number one message and it’s primarily directed around having safer sex in terms of sexually transmitted infections.

What then when meeting new people while out then going home afterwards or online, using a website or app?

A lot of people use the internet to look for sex and many find it.  We know it’s it’s exciting to meet strangers too for those evenings of passion which you remember for days on end but you must ensure you are safe with new people you have only just met. It would be irrational to say don’t do it at all so here’s a pointers on how to stay safe while hooking up online..

Let a Friend Know What’s Going On

If you’re the type of person who can find a hook-up within a few minutes of logging on, the chances are that you’ve probably got a friend that is equally as friendly as you are. So, why not put that friendship to its best use? Take a screenshot of your next meet’s face pic (because we know you’re not seeing them without one)! then text it along with the address to your pal with a note that you’ll text them as soon as you’re done so they know you’re safe. The bonus is that you’ll have a record of all your online meets, someone to talk to them about and a printable face pic to put on a dartboard in case they end up being a time waster. It’s a win-win situation.

Trust Your Gut

You know that feeling when something isn’t right, when you know that everything isn’t as it should be and you’re second guessing yourself, trust it! Most of us have experienced the sense of knowing things before we know them, even if we can’t explain how. Theories suggest you can “feel” approaching events specifically because of your dopamine neurons. “The jitters of dopamine help keep track of reality, alerting us to those subtle patterns that we can’t consciously detect,” explains Jonah Lehrer, author of the book: How We Decide.

So when chatting to someone on and off line, your instincts can tell you whether or not there’s a “creep factor” that you can’t shake off. If you get even a hint that there is something not right about the situation, don’t go, find someone else, the internet is an ocean with plenty of fish, stay away from the sharks!

Know How To Protect Yourself

If you’re a small frame, and into the big muscle type then you’ve got to be aware that you’re at a physical disadvantage going into the situation. At the very least you should know how to escape a bad situation. A few self-defence lessons from a martial arts centre could make all the difference if you’re ever confronted in the future or worse, attacked by someone in your own home who you’ve just met online.  If you’re interested, here’s some details of Martial Art‘s centres in Leicester: http://dojos.co.uk/Leicester/ It’s another avenue to explore for social interaction while keeping fit and helping to protect yourself! Win Win!

Avoid Anonymous Encounters

It needs to be said, some people are very into the anonymity and fantasy of a total stranger coming in to their home and having sex with no prior discussion and we have to say that this is probably one of the most dangerous things that you can do after looking for sex online. If you think it’s a good idea to have your head buried in the pillow and leave your door unlocked while waiting for a complete stranger to enter your home then get over it. Now.

Engaging in this particular type of fantasy leaves you more open to robbery and sexual assault, and leaves you in the most vulnerable position you could be in. If this is really your thing, engage in it with a trusted friend/meet and make it a part of the fantasy so you can have the good sex with only the idea of the danger.

Have A Regular Online Buddy

OK, so if you’re doing the Grindr & Tindr thing. Obviously there is always going to be the awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time. If the sex is really good and you’re both into making it a regular thing, then why not use the app to reconnect with them? You’ve obviously both passed the chemistry test and since you’re both smart enough not to try to make a ‘relationship’ out of an online meet then you’re left with someone who can be trusted on some level that you have really good sex with.

(And here’s the dirty little secret about getting sex online, most people actually want a regular partner to meet up with, even if they’re not looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend).

So have fun “auditioning” people, and when you find one or two (or ten) that you click with, go ahead and put them in your phonebook. Properly vetted online friends with benefits can nullify the need for all of this advice so keep your eyes open for someone good to add to your black book – It’ll save you a lot of stress in the long run.

Would you add anything to this list? – Let us know in the comments.

 

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Love matters: Internet hookups for men don’t always mean unsafe sex

If a gay or bisexual man seeks sex or dating online, the type of partner or relationship he wants is a good indicator of whether he’ll engage in safe sex, a new study suggests.

Gay men seeking long-term romance online are more likely to engage in safe sex than men who want a sexual encounter only, the study shows. This is valuable information because it helps HIV-prevention counselors design more effective sexual health interventions, says Jose Bauermeister, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and director of the Sexuality and Health Research Lab.

June marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the pneumonia-like illness that later emerged as HIV/AIDS.

Bauermeister says that dating sites for gay men are no longer reserved only for sexual hookups and that many sites today exist for men who also seek love, intimacy and long-term romance. Unfortunately, even today the assumption is that gay men use the Internet solely to find sex, and that HIV-prevention counselors don’t talk with clients about love and relationships, he says.

A pair of papers from Bauermeister’s research group are among the first to identify and look at four categories of online dating, ranging from hookups only to long-term romance, and the risk behavior associated with each category.

“The takeaway here is just because I go online doesn’t mean I’m engaging in risk,” Bauermeister said. “It’s what kind of partner I’m looking for (that matters), so for HIV prevention purposes if I were going to try to develop an intervention, I need to take that into account.”

Much of the literature about online dating looks at the sex-only encounter, which is “predictably unsafe,” Bauermeister says. Not much research exists about the other categories of online dating and how they associate with risk behavior.

In one study, men who reported seeking hookups only engaged in more unprotected sex than men who reported only looking for romance online.

“It’s interesting because as a test counselor if you have five or 10 minutes, you need to talk about how to include conversations about love,” Bauermeister said. “If you aren’t hooking up very often and looking for Mr. Right, you may be engaging in very particular behaviors that decrease your risk of HIV.

“The bigger question is should we include components about romantic relationships into HIV prevention. Those components are not usually included now.”

A second paper looks at different dimensions of love, passion, intimacy and commitment to see if different configurations of love could be correlated to different risk behaviors. Young men who think about their future and their love in the future are less likely to engage in risky sex in the present, Bauermeister says.

“This is important because counselors, rather than assuming young men only seek hookups, can make a point to discuss the role that romance plays in their lives,” Bauermeister said. “For counselors testing for HIV, one of the ways to decrease the risk is by reducing the number of partners. One of the ways to do this is emphasize relationships in HIV prevention.”

The University of Michigan School of Public Health has been promoting health and preventing disease since 1941, and is ranked among the top public health schools in the nation. Whether making new discoveries in the lab or researching and educating in the field, SPH faculty, students and alumni are deployed around the globe to promote and protect our health.

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