“If you own a Smartphone, you’re carrying a 24/7 Singles Bar in your pocket” – Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg (quote from their book “Modern Romance: An Investigation”)
Online dating can be fun but also poses potential dangers.
We’ve recently received reports of LGBTIQ people who’ve been brutalised and robbed after meeting strangers via online dating services. When this happens, victims are often left with feelings of guilt, shame, anger, and loss.
Here are some tips to help you be safer:
• Exchange phone numbers. Talk over the phone before meeting.
• Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, then don’t take the risk.
• First meet in a public place, say for coffee or a drink, before hooking-up.
• Rather than inviting someone to your home or going to his, it’s probably safer to go to a sex club or steam bath, where there are other people around.
• If you meet someone at a club or bar, introduce him to a friend and let your friend know that you’re leaving with the guy.
• Be prepared for if the guy arrives and he turns out not to be who or what you expected or hoped for
• Be aware of your surroundings, should you have to leave, and pay attention to where your drink is coming from.
• Make sure that you have plenty of condoms and water-based lube at hand.
• Do not be ashamed to talk to someone, like a counsellor, should things go wrong.
• If you end up having unsafe sex or your condom breaks, make sure you contact a gay-friendly clinic such as the TEN81 clinic for a course of PEP within 72 hours to avoid becoming infected with HIV.
If you need advice or support, please contact:
– Dr Dick on www.men2men.co.za
– or Dr Delicious on www.womyn2womyn.co.za
– Get FREE face-to-face counselling at TEN81 in Pretoria (Book now on 012 430 3272 / 066 190 5812)
– or get FREE telephonic counselling nationwide (012 430 3272 / 066 190 5812)