Sex & Life
Sex & Life March 31, 2017
One in five Americans (aged 18 to 24) uses mobile dating apps, per a February 2016 report from Pew Research Center.
So with at least 22 percent of the population swiping for love – why isn’t safety more of an issue? Most services barely gloss over user safety, often employing a short, “safe tips” page as the only method of defense. And more often than not, it’s hidden under layers of navigation on the website — so people probably aren’t even seeing them.
For Tinder, “Safety” is the absolute last section shared at the bottom of the “Support” page. Likewise for Grindr, whose “Safety Tips” are buried in an article in the “Using Grindr” section, past “Help Center” and “Getting Started.”
And when I spoke with new LGBTQ+ dating app, Winkd, they had a similar response, leaving the responsibility up to the user. “As a woman you do not have to respond to anyone you don’t want to. The normal rules of being a respectful human apply. If someone is breaking your boundaries, we recommend you take the regular steps to decline their advances and if things are escalating, we’ll be working on a reporting process to block/bar users from the app,” Co-founder Diana Kalkoul said.
So, it looks like it’s on us to stay safe, ladies. Bearing that in mind, ENTITY shares 10 tips for protecting yourself while online dating.
My roommate and I tell each other when we’re going on a date – and where – and then we check in if it feels like perhaps too much time has passed.
Now, we’re not advocating you become overprotective parents to all of your online dating friends, but even just telling someone where you’re going is helpful, because at least they’d know where to look should you not return.
It’s a little morbid to jump right to abduction – but hey, better safe than sorry.
I know guys often want to rush into exchanging numbers, social media info, etc. We’ve all gotten the “I never get the notifications” excuse. But keep in mind that you really don’t know this person.
If things go bad, it takes less than 30 seconds to unmatch someone on Tinder. It’s an easy, painless process and feels a lot less dire than having to block a number. And then you won’t have to worry about anyone tracking you via your phone number.
If you think something is off about one of your matches – report them.
Of course, apps aren’t always so great about using that information. See the case of Jason Lawrence, who raped five women and attacked two more after meeting them on Match.com. The company failed to remove his profile even after four complaints, and now he’s been jailed for life over the attacks. So… way to drop the ball on that one, Match.
But generally, the idea is that reporting a person can help prevent them from gaining access to anyone else they may want to victimize. Basically, if you see something, say something.
I know it’s the stereotype of a crazy woman to stalk someone on social media before a date – Think Katherine Heigl getting a background check before her date with Kevin Connolly in “The Ugly Truth.”
But honestly, why is that such a bad thing? Now, I’m not talking 4chan shit. But look him up on Instagram. Check out Facebook. See if he’s a real person, and not some predator Catfishing you.
Okay, when it comes to safety, for all intents and purposes, chivalry is dead. Sure, it may sound sweet if a guy offers to pick you up for the date. But remember, you do not know this man.
If he seems too aggressive or threatening, you can just leave your date. But if he drove you there, well, now he knows where you live. Save yourself that stress and worry and just drive yourself – or call a Lyft/Uber.
Just like in realty, location is a key factor of staying safe when you’re out with someone from a dating app.
Little hole-in-the-wall establishments, the woods and long open beaches can all be cool or super romantic locations for dates. But maybe save those for a more established relationship.
If your date is suddenly revealed to be a lot creepier than he seemed on the app, you will feel much safer surrounded by people.
You’re not a “Lost Boy.” You won’t turn to dust if you’re caught out in the sunlight. So don’t restrict yourself to only bar-hopping or meeting up for a late movie.
I know that, at least in Los Angeles, all guys seem to want to do is grab a drink. But push for that daytime date with your potential new partner. Grab brunch or check out a museum.
It may seem lame but it’ll likely keep you a lot safer. And hey, maybe you’ll even find a new go-to brunch spot. There’s always a silver lining.
The Millionaire Matchmaker gives her daters a two drink maximum, and that may not be such a bad idea.
I know this one sounds a bit preachy, and kind of like that obnoxious judge who basically said it’s on you if you get raped after drinking too much. But it’s honestly just a good rule of thumb to keep safe.
If you’re not great at holding your alcohol, it may be a good idea to just remain clearheaded when out with, let’s be honest, basically a perfect stranger. Bonus: No beer goggle regrets!
“Sex with a Stranger” from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” jokes about the safety issue with bringing a strange man home, with lyrics like “Hey sexy stranger come back to my place/ And I hope you’re not a murderer.”
But in all seriousness, bringing a strange person home could be dangerous. You never really know if it could end up being the hottest night of your life… or the last night of your life. (Cue dramatic music.)
Bottom line – we think women should do whatever they want with their own bodies. No judgment. Your sexual inclinations have literally no bearing on your character or your ability to succeed.
But we’d be remiss to not address the danger of going home with a stranger on a list of safety tips.
The most important tip is just trust your instincts. You’re a strong, capable, intuitive woman. If you feel like something is off about a date, you’re probably right.
Don’t feel bad about blocking someone, calling a date off or even getting up and walking out if you feel threatened or unsafe.
It’s a jungle out there, and f–kboys are on the prowl. Trust you instincts, stick with your girls and stay safe!
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