Is It Safe? Is It Safe? 

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Dear Audrey,
Lately, I’ve been really feeling the cam-whoring. I get a lot of requests for live meetings, and I do kind of want to do that, but I worry that if I meet these people for real they will hurt or kill me. Is this being too paranoid? If I do decide to meet for real-life fucking, is there anything I can do to minimize the chances of accidentally walking into the hands of a psycho? It seems that most advice is on the level of “get to know the person by meeting in public places first,” but that doesn’t help, because I am not at all interested in getting to know people I meet this way—I just want to fuck, preferably not with a murderer. Any advice?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to 100 percent guarantee you’re not going to end up hacked to bits and stuffed into a suitcase. This is true in all things, from going to the deli to buy a soda to having sex with strangers from the internet. It’s difficult to say exactly how dangerous casual encounters-type sex is for women, in part because there’s a lot of slut-shaming “oh NO you simply MUSTN’T it will damage your fragile EMOTIONS” hand-wringing in lieu of useful information.

It’s not necessarily less dangerous to meet a stranger on OK Cupid and go on a non-sex date than it is to meet someone on Adult Friend Finder and fuck, but one is stigmatized and therefore considered too risky. Unfortunately, when something bad does happen to a woman in a sexual situation, the reaction is like “well, she should’ve known better” rather than “how can we make the world safer for women in general and especially sexually.”

So, given that you can never absolutely guarantee your own safety, go into every encounter with your eyes open. Don’t drink or get high in a way that will impair your judgment. I think the most powerful tool you have is your own instincts, so listen to your gut. If something feels off in any way, pull the ripcord. Don’t be afraid to be “rude” to protect yourself.

You said you don’t want to get to know these people, which makes total sense—what’s more boring than making small talk with someone you’re never going to see again?—but I do think that at least meeting in public is a good idea. Just like, meet up near wherever you’re going to have sex so that if you get a bad vibe, you can leave easily. Eyeball the person and decide if you’re into it. Of course, you’ll want to always tell somebody where you’re going and with whom, bring your phone and keep it in reach, maybe have a friend check up on you if they don’t hear from you within a certain amount of time. Give the guy’s info to a friend before you go.

Yes, meeting internet people for sex is somewhat dangerous. Ultimately, though, all sex is risky. It’s tempting to think that if you “know” a guy because you went on a date with him or talked to him at a bar for a while, there’s no way he could be a rapist/murderer so you are “safe,” but of course that is untrue. Bad things happen to good people, but not because they have casual sex, you know? Be alert, trust your gut, minimize risk where possible, and most importantly, have fun!

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