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Gay Men: 10 Hookup Tips On Grindr, Scruff and Other Apps You Need to Know!

Updated on June 20, 2016
Grindr and Scruff Hookup Safety
Grindr and Scruff Hookup Safety | Source

Grindr, Scruff and Other App Hook Ups

In recent weeks and months, it seems like we have been hearing more and more incidents where something bad has happened to gay men as a result of hooking up online.

Not too long ago, I saw a a news item about a Philadelphia tourist who was physically and sexually assaulted at gunpoint and robbed. An elderly Michigan man was murdered by a trio of thugs as a result of a Grindr hookup gone terribly wrong.

I am personally aware of two cases where people have been the victims of violent crime (and in one case, extortion) as a result of trying to hook up.

Looking around the Internet, there seems to be very little information “out there” that offers guidance to gay men on basic, essential safety precautions for making a sexual connection. And so what follows is a list of 10 tips that I hope you will find useful in keeping you safe.

Before continuing, I know there will be some who will suggest that the best way to prevent a bad hook-up is to avoid hooking up at all.

My response to this is simple – people are still going to hook up! Better to offer some practical, realistic suggestions as opposed to the Nancy Reagan approach (just say no) advice.

At its core, we are talking about risk reduction here. And the tips being offered in what follows could very well apply to straight individuals. Crime is an equal opportunity destroyer folks.

Let’s move on to the 10 online hookup safety tips. Please keep in mind this list is by no means exhaustive. Also, remember these tips are not foolproof. Again, we are talking harm reduction here.

Get a trick phone
Get a trick phone | Source

1. Get a trick phone

A “trick” phone is a pre-paid phone that is used only for online hook ups. You can get a fairly inexpensive cell phone at most drugstores. You can also buy them online at Amazon for less than $10.00.

With these phones, you simply charge them up with minutes using PayPal, a Debit/Credit card or direct draft from your bank. These phones will allow you to download your favorite hookup aps and will make real calls.

You can also send and receive txt and SMS type information (aka pics). The reason you should consider using a trick phone will become clear in the next few tips.

Say No To Giving out Your Real Cell
Say No To Giving out Your Real Cell | Source

2. Never Give Out Your Real Cell Phone Number

At least for the initial meeting, it is strongly encouraged that you meet at a public place. Examples include a café, a bar or even a supermarket. Do not invite the person to your home and do not give out your home address.

Remember, the moment you give a stranger specifics about where you live, they now have identifying information that can potentially be used to bully, harass and threaten you. No matter how hot he is or how horny you are, please do not give this information out for your own sake.

On the other side of the coin, think very carefully about meeting at his place. Remember that if you meet in a public place, you have far greater control over the situation. Once you are in his home, you lose much of that power.

Use a Fake Name
Use a Fake Name | Source

3. Use a Fake Name

When you start talking with someone online, be it on the computer or a phone app, you should think very carefully about what you provide. I am suggesting this because you have no idea who you are talking to on the other end of that electronic device.

If a person has your real name, they have something personal about you that can later be used in a way that con artists and other criminals know how to use. If you do not want to use a fake name, just give out your first name and nothing else.

The other reason you may want to use a fake name is simply this – if the hook up goes south while you are there, you don’t want the creep to find you again. Don’t give him your real name until you are absolutely sure you feel safe.

No X Pics with Face
No X Pics with Face | Source

4. No X Pics With Face

If you send a stranger an X picture that includes your face, you have just given that person the ability to potentially extort from you. Do a quick search of the Internet and see how many times this has happened to people. If you must send out pictures of yourself and want to include your face, consider upper torso shots only. In other words, do not send anything you would not want your boss, your grandmother or your co-workers to see.

I recognize here that people are likely saying to themselves. “How do I know the person is real?” My simple answer to you is this – you don’t!

That is the problem folks, you have no idea who you are dealing with on the other end of that computer or phone. They can send you a dozen photos of themselves but that does not mean that is who they say they are and that does not mean the pictures you are seeing are of them. Why would you give a stranger something explosive to use against you?

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5. Meet Somewhere Public

At least for the initial meeting, it is strongly encouraged that you meet at a public place. Examples include a café, a bar or even a supermarket. Do not invite the person to your home and do not give out your home address.

Remember, the moment you give a stranger specifics about where you live, they now have identifying information that can potentially be used to bully, harass and threaten you. No matter how hot he is or how horny you are, please do not give this information out for your own sake.

On the other side of the coin, think very carefully about meeting at his place. Remember that if you meet in a public place, you have far greater control over the situation. Once you are in his home, you lose much of that power.

Tell Your Buddy!
Tell Your Buddy! | Source

6. Use a Buddy System

A buddy system is a 25 cent term for letting a close friend know trust that you are going out on a hook up. Tell your buddy the time, place and location of your destination and make sure you check in with them.

Consider creating a code-word that you can use with your buddy that you can quickly say or text to let them know you are in trouble. Also, after the hook up, make sure you contact your buddy and let them know you are on your way home, regardless of how the hook up went.

One other tip that some people suggest is to text your buddy a photo of the person you are going to be hooking up with. For what it is worth, there will at least be an image that can be used by police if something bad happens (even if the image is fake, it has likely been used before by the person).

No Drinking and Hooking Up with Apps
No Drinking and Hooking Up with Apps | Source

7. Skip App Hookups When Drinking

This is an obvious one but needs to be listed. If you are drinking out at a bar, do not jump on one of your phone apps looking for a hook up.

Your judgment is likely going to be impaired and if you are drunk or even a little tipsy, you are a major target for the freaks, psychos and criminals who are looking for their next victim. How good is that hook up going to be anyway when you are drunk?

Think about it.

8. Pay Attention to His Intent

When you are texting with your potential hook up, be aware of his intent. Is he asking you if you party? That is a warning sign he may be looking for drugs. Is he saying he only sleeps on the bottom bunk – ask yourself: why?

Has he been using something that prevents him from doing anything else? He is looking to dominate? If so, is this something you really want to do with a total stranger?

9. Talk to the Person on the Phone

One way to screen for problems is to take the time to talk to the person on the phone. This means old fashioned voice communication.

When you are speaking with them, do they sound high, drunk or “off”? If so, simply tell them it is not a good match and politely end the call.

Now you know why I suggested using a trick phone. Last point here – if they refuse to talk on the phone, consider this a major warning sign of trouble and discontinue communication!

10. Listen to Your Gut

This is perhaps the most important tip of all. If you feel something just seems weird or are concerned in anyway about your personal safety, call off the hook up.

You are not obligated to follow through. This point is very simple – listen carefully to your inner voice.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned earlier, the 10 online hook up safety tips offered here are not exhaustive. My hope is to spark conversation and awareness around this issue with the hope of promoting personal safety.

Speaking of personal safety, if you are ever in a situation where you are being attacked, please consider reading my personal self-defense tips.

© 2014 CB Jones

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      Matthew 6 months ago

      Number 2 and number 5 are the same tip.

    • profile image

      Asim 5 weeks ago

      excellent.

      i alread follow them.

    • profile image

      Charles 5 weeks ago

      Personally I disagree with using a fake name and not giving out your real phone number. I reverse image search every single picture a guy sends me. If nothing pops up I ask if they have a snapchat or a phone number. If they have a phone number I use it to check them out on facebook.

      Basically if any of your pictures aren't yours (Ill know from reverse image searching), if you claim you don't have snapchat (unlikely), if your facebook search comes back with a different name than you told me, and you refuse to give out your phone number you are automatically blocked.

      I expect to know exactly who I am dealing with and have a way of confirming that (unless you want to meet in person first, which can be a nuisance for random hookups).

    • profile image

      Casey 5 weeks ago

      You can leave out a lot of info and enjoy yourself. Great advice!

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