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Hooking Up Online

You’ve heard your friends talk about online dating, your coworkers, and your family. Everyone talks about it and a lot of people have done it. What people don’t openly talk about is hooking up online. In this blog that’s what we are going to do. I am going to go over all the safety aspects of online hooking up just to make sure you crazy kids are not only having a good time, but a safe one.

Everyone seems to know the rules on how to date online as it seems to be the new norm when it comes to dating in general. If you don’t, let me quickly fill you in.

First Rule: Always get a picture of what they look like. It’s not shallow, it’s logical. Think of all the different kinds of people there are out there; now think of all the possible things that person you’re communicating with could be, but might leave out of your e-mails but which would be visible in a picture. For example: “I’ve recently taken up a serious drug addiction and as a result my skin is scabby and eyes are sunken in like black gaping holes,” or, “Oh that? That tattoo on my face? I just got that in prison; you know how it is…” I’m sure you laughed, but those are both real possibilities (I’ve personally experienced both cases).  Also, you can tell a lot from a photo about what kind of person they are, not entirely, but let me explain: if you are a conservative man looking for a woman with the same interests, chances are if you see a picture of the girl you are talking to and she’s covered in tattoos and piercings, you can pretty confidently decided that you two wouldn’t make a good couple. However, if you’re a punk rock boy and that same girl sends you her picture you may think you’ve finally found your soul mate. True, pictures can be deceiving - sometimes people send you a photo from ten years ago or maybe it’s not even them. Sometimes people are deceptive and, while there’s not much you can do about that, you can and should do everything you can to protect yourself and be smart about online dating.

Second Rule: When meeting for the first time, meet them in a public place. There is safety in numbers and it’s also good to see how a person acts out in the world and not just alone with you. The problem with online dating is people can take time to respond to messages and respond to your message with something eloquent and poetic, which may give you the impression that that is how that person communicates. The reality may be that they’ve just spent two hours crafting a response using online thesauruses and pre-written responses. People can hide behind a screen and become whomever they want online. I personally suggest you Skype (video chat) with them before you meet them in person. I have met men who seem very nice, normal and educated and upon meeting them, discovered that that was all a giant ruse and that, had I spoken to them via Skype beforehand, I would have been well aware of this. So, before you end up in a situation in which you’re forced to have a polite but super uncomfortable conversation and trying to think of any reason to run far, far away -  talk to the person you’re meeting in real-time (via Skype, or a similar program). We don’t suggest you use the phone, just for your own personal safety: if this person turns out to be a psychopath, you don’t want him/her to have your phone number.

Third Rule:  Never send them money to help them get out of Africa or pay for their mother’s medical bills. They don’t love you, they don’t need your help, it’s a scam. Period.

Now that the general rules of meeting people online are out of the way, I want to talk about why we’re all here: online hookups. They happen a lot; certainly a lot more than anyone cares to admit. There are sites dedicated to just such things. They even have sites dedicated to people with certain fetishes, ages, sexual preferences, et cetera. I mean, really, if you want to try out BDSM and can find no one to help you with this quest, where do you go? Why, the local BDSM night club/emporium in the heart of downtown, of course.  Of course there’s no such place (not here in Saskatoon, anyway). This is why these sites make sense. You can go cruise for whatever you want, things you can’t go out and find in a bar without the risk of being slapped, but it’s from the safety of your basement/work computer. You don’t have to date someone and pray that maybe they will be just as kinky as you and someday they will unleash it, you can simply find someone and already know their fetishes, their kinks and boundaries. You want sex, you don’t want to lie about it, and you’re looking for someone who also just wants sex. It’s a little difficult to strike up that conversation with a stranger in public. However, if you are on a site and its sole purpose is finding sexual encounters, you aren’t out of line when striking up that conversation with a stranger you’re chatting with online.

Fetishes: Some people have certain fetishes and have difficulty finding people that share the same fetish. Online sites are perfect for this. You can find groups of people who share the same sexual interests as yourself. You can learn a lot from the online forums and chats. When you go on hookup sites you write yourself a bio just like you would on a dating site and specify in it what you are into sexually, what you are looking to try, what your fantasies are and be as open with the subject at hand as possible. You can describe exactly what you are looking for. Whether or not you can find the person who wants what you want and wants to do it with you is another story. It’s not that easy, you will have to put in work and time to make something happen, like any other relationship. If you don’t want to put any effort into it, then you shouldn’t be there.

Safe sex:  Just like any other sexual relationship you have, make sure you are practicing safe sex. Asking someone if they have been tested lately or asking to see the results is more than reasonable. They can lie to you; they cannot know they even have an STI if they’ve never been tested. With sex comes risks, be aware of those risks and take the measures you need to keep yourself safe. Use condoms/dental dams, get tested regularly. If you are very sexually active and have multiple partners, getting tested every 6 weeks isn’t obsessive, it’s smart. You are not only protecting yourself, you are also protecting those you are being sexual with, which is part of respecting yourself and your partners.

Why it’s not wrong: Online hookups tend to have a “dirty” connotation. That what you are doing is wrong and somehow makes you a bad person. If you are not respecting yourself or whomever you are hooking up with, then yes, I agree, that is wrong. That, however, is wrong no matter how you met the person or what your intentions are with them. If you are open and honest about your intentions, clearly defining your boundaries and what you are able to give them for any sort of relationship (however long it will last: one night, for the duration of a role play story-line, et cetera), and respecting their boundaries, that’s totally fine. Your potential partners must also be respectful of your boundaries, and define what they can and can’t give you in the relationship. Although the relationship may be entirely physical, you still need to be able to respect that person as a human being. This doesn’t mean you need to learn all about them, heck, you don’t really even need to know their real name; you just need to know that you can trust them, you feel safe and the respect is mutual.

-Zelda BellaDonna Zonk 

Marnie says

"I met my current partner online... what was initially going to be just a dinner date, has turned into a long distance eight month (thus far) relationship :) So I say go for it, have fun, and yeah, what Zelda said ;)"
posted on: July 18, 2012 1:54 PM

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