Your Online Dating Safety Handbook with The UCLA Sexperts
Meeting a potential romantic partner from online dating can be exciting, but daunting. You deserve to take some steps to ensure your safety!
- Don't be afraid it look for social media accounts; catfish dating profiles are unfortunately prevalent, and it can help you gauge how similar your interests are too!
- There is never pressure to respond to individuals that you do not want to. If you do not wish to meet up with somebody, do not provide them with your phone number.
- If you are on a college student on Tinder, the band on the bottom right corner representing their college verifies their age a little better!
- A helpful tip would be to video chat before the date occurs; not only does it test romantic chemistry, but it also confirms they are not, well, a robot.
The meat and potatoes of it all...here are some short and sweet tips.
- Take your own transportation. A ride from a friend, a bus ride, or your own car is a safer bet than accepting a ride from someone you don't know too well just yet.
- Let a friend know where and when you are meeting somebody; you can share location for a few hours in the information section of your friend's contact.
- Always meet in a public place! Coffee shop, the movies, a sexy little bar, all up to you.
- Always ask for consent if things start to heat up! Saying something like, “can I kiss you?” or “can I touch you here?” can help break the ice and can be really sexy.
- If you feel comfortable, ask them what they like sexually, what they would like to try, and if they have any boundaries that they would like to set.
- Don’t forget to prioritise your pleasure as well! Don’t feel like you have to go outside your comfort zone just to please a new partner. Instead, try expressing what you love in the bedroom!
- Make sure you assert your sexual health. Always use protection, like condoms and dental dams, in order to prevent STI transmission. You can even ask your partner what their STI status is and when they were last tested.
Aftercare for yourself is the most important step. Check in with your thoughts and feelings thoroughly.
Recognise that your feelings are valid.
You may feel a wild range of emotions after your hook-up: excitement, guilt, butterflies, shame, blissfulness, sadness, confusion… or maybe nothing at all! This is all totally normal! Sex is an emotional experience that affects everyone differently and can even depend on the situation.
So, after your hook-up, prioritise what you need! Whether this is making tea, doing household chores, hanging out with friends, or napping all day, make sure to leave yourself space to process the experience in a way that is positive for you.
Consider checking in.
While every situation is different, it can be nice to check in on the other person after a hook-up, even if you may not plan on seeing them again. Sending them a text like, “Thanks for having me over last night, I had a great time!” could be a nice way to show your gratitude for the experience (if you feel that it's necessary).
At the same time, some people prefer to have space after a hook-up. It really varies person by person, and we trust you to use your best judgment (and maybe some advice from friends) on what the best post-hook-up move is.
Have fun being safe and sexy, we wish you well on your online dating adventures!