8 Ways to Make Your Grindr Hookups Safer

8 Ways to Make Your Grindr Hookups Safer

Gay and bi men have normalized an absolutely wild phenomenon. After exchanging as few as 30 words and sending a picture of our junk, we go to a complete stranger's house to have sex. Many times, we have no idea what he actually looks like before we get there. We're doing the exact opposite of what our parents taught us while growing up. Not only are we talking to strangers, we're meeting them in a closed-off space to bone.

But that's what makes it so hot. For many queer men, the element of fear and "Who's this guy going to be?" is arousing. I can't even count the number of times when I've met a guy on Grindr, and he's left his apartment door unlocked—or even given me the code to get into this apartment—and I've found him tied to his bed, completely nude, and blindfolded.

I love sexual encounters like this, but needless to say, you have to be careful if you're planning on trying it out. There are obviously huge risks involved in having anonymous sex with people you meet on an app, both in terms of physical safety and getting robbed. From my vast, vast experience using Grindr and other apps, here are eight tips to help you feel safe and comfortable when you go to meet a guy IRL.

1. Get those pics

Every person who's real on Grindr (and not catfishing) has multiple pics. That's just how this works. You should easily be able to get five pics, and not just ones of his dick. Tell him you want to see his face. If he says he "doesn't have" them, you are definitely not going over to his apartment. Mind you, it takes all of four seconds to take a picture of your face, upload it to Grindr, and send it. If they can't do the bare minimum, don't bother meeting up.

2. Ask for their phone number

When you get his phone number, it's another method of validating his identity. If they were someone who plans to harm or steal from you, they wouldn't want to hand out their number, since it can be traced back to them more easily. Again, not a full-proof plan because in theory they could be using a burner, but it is yet another way to help make sure that the hookup is safe.

3. FaceTime

Some of the gay/bi apps have a video calls built into them, like Taimi, and then some of the non-gay-specific, but still gay-friendly apps, like Bumble, do too. Grindr does not. But if you have his phone number, you can ask to FaceTime him, too. For some gay/bi men, it's a little aggressive or simply "too much work," for a casual hookup, so they might not do it. But others will be more than happy to briefly chat before meeting up IRL.

4. Share your location with a friend

There are numerous apps to share your location with friends, like Find My Friends, but honestly, the easiest is to share your location directly from your phone. All you have to is head into the specific contact, and at the bottom, it'll read share my location. Then it'll let you determine how long you'd like to share your location for. I have my location shared indefinitely with a few of my friends. Shoot a friend a text to let them know you're going out for a hookup, and if they don't hear from you in a a few hours or see any movement, they should find out what's up!

8 Ways to Make Your Grindr Hookups Safer

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5. Use an app that has mandatory photo verification

Grindr isn't your only only option when it comes to hookup apps. You can use other popular gay and bi apps that have more safety features built in, like Chappy. In order to get a verified blue check mark on the app, Chappy users are prompted to take a selfie mimicking one of the many random photo poses generated by the app. The photo is then verified by a real person on the Chappy team; confirmation or rejection is sent minutes after the photo is reviewed. Verified Chappy users will have a checkmark badge displayed on their profile. If safety is a concern, only meet up with people who are verified.

6. Talk about what you want to do before (sexually) meeting

Are you a gay man who uses condoms? Make that known, since in the era of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), many men aren't using condoms. They might not even have condoms at their apartment. If you want to bottom, only do oral, or chat in person a bit before getting down to business, make that clear. You should never go over to a person's house (or host) if you haven't already explicitly stated what it is you both plan to do.

7. Leave his apartment if you're not into it

If you're not feeling it for whatever the reason, you can leave. I've done this a few times, too. For me, it wasn't a matter of physical safety; their pictures were simply of them 15 years ago. I said point-blank, "I'm not feeling this. I'm going to go." Just because you planned to do things with them sexually before meeting doesn't mean you lose all sense of autonomy the moment you walk into their apartment. You always have the option to get the hell out of there.

8. Go with your gut

If something seems off—maybe he's incapable of replying to anything you message with more than one sentence—then don't meet him. Even if you can't put your finger on what exactly the guy is doing, but something smells fishy, then stay in bed. Remember: There will always be more men. It's not worth risking your safety and emotional wellbeing for a casual encounter.