In the digital age, dating apps have become a common way to meet new people and explore romantic or sexual connections. Nothing prevents them from being a safe and fun experience and more if you apply these tips.
For the sexually diverse or LGBT population, these apps have provided a platform to connect with like-minded people and find exciting matches. However, it is important to keep a few precautions and safety tips in mind when using these options. Here is a guide to having a safe and satisfying encounter:
- Do your research before you connect
Before meeting someone, research their profile and chat enough to get to know them better. Verify that it is a real and authentic person. Review their photos, read their description, and search for any additional information available on the Internet. Make sure you have common interests and likes before moving towards a physical encounter.
- Communicate clearly
Open and honest communication is essential when using dating apps. Express your intentions, expectations and limits in sexual activity, clearly and from the beginning. If you’re looking for a casual connection, make this clear. If you are looking for a more serious relationship, communicate that too. Transparency and mutual consent are essential to have a satisfying and safe encounter.
- Choose a familiar environment
Always choose a safe and public place for your meeting. You can opt for cafes, restaurants, or crowded places like shopping malls, instead of private spaces for first dates. Also, make sure you know nearby transportation routes and have an exit plan in case you feel uncomfortable or insecure at any time.
- Tell someone you trust
Before having a meeting, take the precaution of informing someone you trust (friend or family) about your plans. Share the details of the person you’re meeting, including their name, photo, and where they’re meeting. Keep that person informed of your whereabouts at all times, and also agree on a specific time for you to communicate with that person after the appointment.
- Trust your intuition
If something doesn’t feel right during the conversation process or the meeting itself, trust your intuition. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, insecure or gives you doubts, it is important that you listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to cancel the meeting or walk away from a situation that seems inappropriate or risky. After all, dating apps are also made for experimentation and things don’t necessarily turn out right every time.
- Practice safe sex
When it comes to sexual encounters, the protection and care of your health are paramount. Always use condoms and plenty of lubricant, as this combination greatly reduces the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection (STI). In addition, it is advisable to perform regular STI detection tests, including HIV, to always keep up to date with your sexual health.
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs
Consuming alcohol or drugs in excess can affect your judgment and make you more vulnerable to risky situations, since you are more likely to accept practices that, if you had not used these substances, you would not approve. Maintain responsible consumption and avoid situations in which you may lose control or be less aware of your decisions and actions.
Dating apps can be an easy way to meet other people, but they are not free from those who seek to do harm and take advantage of the anonymity that the Internet can offer. They also benefit from the fact that many LGBT people sign up to these apps in secret and may not even have acknowledged their sexual orientation to their closest circle.
Remember that your safety and well-being are the most important thing. Always trust your instincts and don’t accept any pressure to do something you don’t feel comfortable with. Enjoy your encounters, but keep your safety first.
By following these tips, you can have a positive dating app experience and enjoy safe and rewarding encounters. Always remember to find out about your date, communicate openly, and take precautions to protect yourself and others.
And if you need free lubricants and condoms, don’t forget that at AHF Latin America and the Caribbean we have them for you, in addition to performing HIV tests at no cost. Just look for our offices in your country or write us by WhatsApp and find out all our services.