How to safely meet new sex partners

Whether you’re living in an open-style relationship or just living out your best single lifestyle, staying safe while meeting new sex partners is critical. There are sadly people out there with questionable morals and bad intent. Learn how to pick them out in the crowd and avoid them, as well as how to get away from them if you made a mistake.

Here are six things you should be doing to stay safe when meeting new partners for sex, either before or during.

1. Be sure they’re being real

When meeting new sex partners online, it’s essential to ensure that they’re being real and not catfishing or misleading you. Ideally people wouldn’t be assholes, but sadly the world isn’t ideal and assholes are abundant.

While a lot of people are just assholes, there are also some people out there who are downright dangerous assholes. The stabby / kill-y / Jeffrey Dahmer types. We especially want to avoid those people.

Some common assholes you’ll meet online:

Asshole #1 – Fake women/couples

One incredible common scenario is men masquerading as women or “couples” who turn out to actually just be the guy using old pictures of him with his ex.

Fake profiles of men probably also happen, although in our experience they’re significantly less common. It’s usually a guy pretending to be a woman or a couple.

For the most part these people thankfully won’t actually agree to meet up. Their intent is instead usually to get you to dirty talk with them and share sexual pictures of you.

As soon as you ask them to verify they are who they say they are, they’ll cut communication or make obvious excuses, e.g., “My phone is in the shop” or “I can’t seem to get my webcam working”.

Using the first few strategies outlined in How to check for chemistry with new sex partners will usually do the trick.

Asshole #2 – Fake looks

Another common scenario is people using either fake, manipulated or old pictures.

Some people really like the look they had that day back in senior year of college. Only problem is they’re now 37. That picture is hardly representative of their looks anymore.

Thankfully, this is another one that’s easily catched using the first few strategies outlined in How to check for chemistry with new sex partners

Asshole #3 – Fake situation

Yet another common scenario are people who are technically who they say they are in the most superficial of terms, but they’re lying about crucial details in their life.

The most obvious example of this is someone who’s in a monogamous relationship, yet claiming they’re single or in an open relationship.

Sure, you could adopt the opinion that that’s not your problem. But, even putting morals aside, I would argue that being the center of a potential relationship drama is always ill-adviced. Some of these assholes will also have dangerous asshole partners with frail egos and weapons. They may not agree with you that it wasn’t your problem. Essentially:

Don’t screw cheating assholes. They may have jealous dangerous asshole partners.

How do you avoid this? Admittedly, this can be hard. The best way is to do a bit of background research. I know people say it’s rude to Google dates… But I don’t care! Google them!!

In fact, ideally you should do a full-on dedicated background check, if you can. Trawl through Facebook and Instagram to find their profiles, either using their names or their profile picture. Search Google for any old websites they frequented or references to their names from high school websites, events and the like.

You want to verify as much information about them as you possibly can, to reduce the risk that you’re unwittingly made part of a situation you don’t want to be or lied to about details that are important to you.

It’s usually also during these backgrounds checks that you might discover some things that are just.. well… sketchy.

Asshole #4 – Just sketchy

You know that little uneasy feeling in the back of your head. Trust that. If something doesn’t feel right about a person, it’s usually because something isn’t right.

Can’t find any trace of their identity online? Yeah, that’s a red flag.

They seem to be writing a whole lot on incel forums on Reddit, huh? Yeah, that’s a big red flag.

Found a former arrest for DUI or assault? Yeah, that’s a giant freakin’ red flag.

Now, of course, many of these results could likely be explained away. Maybe that arrest was from a misspent youth and this person has since turned around? Maybe they work in a government agency and isn’t allowed an online presence? There could be many excuses, some better than others.

At the end of the day though, don’t feel pressured into meeting someone in person if you’re not comfortable – even if they have excuses.

Either take your time to get to know them well enough that you do feel comfortable or drop them outright now. If a potential partner gets mad because you want to get to know them better first before meeting, that’s a giant red flag in and of itself.

Essentially: Trust your gut! That’s the most crucial way in which you stay safe.

2. Ask about STI status and risky behaviour

Meeting new sex partners is risky.

They have history. You have history.

With accumulated history comes accumulated risk of having contracted some sexually transmitted infections (STI / STD) over the years.

Some experienced people will combat this by doing regular STI testing through a free clinic or their family doctor. Other’s will live with the very false impression that they’re infection free simply because they haven’t felt any symptoms.

When engaging with new potential sex partners, you need to be aware of how they approach the risk of STIs. If they’re testing regularly, that’s obviously ideal, regardless of how experienced they are. If, on the other hand, they’re not testing simply because “they haven’t had symptoms”, that’s a red flag – especially if they’re experienced. Lack of symptoms is not a good indicator of STI status, as many infections don’t present with symptoms unless very progressed.

Less experienced people or people getting out of a long term relationship are obviously less of a risk here, so it’s usually no big deal if they haven’t been tested recently.

Regular testing is NOT a silver bullet

While we highly recommend regular testing for common STIs, you do need to realize that doing this will not prevent all infections.

You’re likely not going to test after every single encounter with every single partner. You may have been infection free just yesterday, but your encounter with Emily today just gave you an infection you won’t test for until your next scheduled doctor’s appointment.

Even if you did test after each encounter, some infections can’t be detected straight away, even though you’ve been infected. Most things are contagious way before they’re detectable.

As a result, you should always view STI testing as a risk reduction strategy, not a perfect protection. It’s more about preventing harm from prolonged exposure to an STI than preventing the infection in and of itself.

In fact, there are no perfect protections against STIs and realistically you either already have one (HPV – most likely) or you will get one eventually. Thankfully, apart from a few ones, they’re usually no big deal and very treatable. The stigma surrounding STIs is usually a lot worse than the infection itself.

You can read more about the general risk of STIs here: The Risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) with Open Relationships.

How do I ask about a new partner’s STI test status?

The best strategy in my experience: Offer up yours.

This will usually result in them reciprocating. At least most of the time.

Beyond the test status in itself, you should tell them basic information about your sexual history and activity.

As I said, you both have history and some have more than others. Neither of you need to share all of that, but you do need to share any potential consequences of that history. Essentially you should share enough to make your partner(s) able to determine what their risk is in meeting up with you for sex.

For example, you should share the extent to which you’re having unprotected sex with changing partners.

Finally, if you’re having any symptoms of an STI, you need to get a doctor to check that out before making any agreement to meet up.

What if they don’t share back?

Ask, but be prepared for the likely scenario that they haven’t been tested.

Not being tested can be fine, under certain circumstances. It really depends on their history. In some cases it may just be down to inexperience. So be curious, not judgemental. They’re not on trial and they may just be new to all this.

Now, if however they hear your question and immediately react defensively – that is a red flag. Being asked about their test status should not result in a tantrum or argument. Nor should it result in them claiming they don’t have to test because they’re immune, they don’t have symptoms or STIs aren’t relevant. If your potential partner has this sort of reaction – drop them. immediately.

All that being said, while STI test results are recommended, please do recognize that even the vigilant testers don’t get them done often enough to be much of a guarantee. So again, see them as a risk-reduction strategy, not a silver bullet.

Reliance on STI test results for safety is always dangerous, as they’re a snapshot of what was detectable at the time of testing – not what’s there now, nor necessarily even what was there back then.

3. Talk about boundaries

All sex requires consent.

Your idea of a good time, might not be the same as any new partner’s idea.

The only way you to ensure you both have a good time is by discussing turn-ons and boundaries beforehand. This includes, but is not limited to, any hard and soft limits – e.g., no bondage (hard limit) or no breath play, unless I ask (soft limit).

The reason hard and soft limits isn’t enough though is that most people are usually not experienced enough to cover all possible kinks some new partner might want to try. For some just giving oral is novel, while for others it’s perfectly normal to spit in the other partner’s mouth during sex (yes – a very common BDSM thing among dominant partners). An inexperienced person will likely not know that getting spat in their mouth is a hard limit until it happens, because they didn’t think it could happen.

Ideally, both partners should be aware of each other’s experience levels and therefore ask about performing certain kinks before trying them “in the heat of the moment”. For example, the dominant guy should ideally ask before spitting in the girl’s mouth or spanking her, rather than just assuming she’d be into that.

In reality though, this is often not what happens. In the heat of the moment, they’re both too enraptured to talk limits and even if the dominant guy asks, the girl will likely be too horny and submissive in the moment to truly consider whether she wants him to do a certain thing or not. Essentially – it’s the wrong time to have that discussion.

How to explore boundaries through dirty talking

Instead of trying to determine boundaries in the heat of the moment, I would generally recommend taking an exploratory approach to talking about boundaries beforehand.

A good starting point for that is of course talking about any hard and soft limits you’re aware of.

A second step, in my opinion, is to dirty talk about sex with this new partner using scenarios you would normally engage in or turn you on. So, for example, if you’re the kind of dominant guy who likes holding your partners down, fucking them and spitting in their mouths – try to dirty talk about that. You’ll pretty quickly get an idea of whether or not she’s into that.

Obviously, start slow with this dirty talking approach. If you’re a dominant woman, don’t go straight for “I like pegging every man I meet with a 10 inch dildo”. Instead suggest a scenario in which you play with their ass with a finger or something like that. Build up slowly until you find the hard or soft limit. Often, through this proces, you’ll find a lot of soft limits where your partner has no experience with that particular kink, but is curious enough to perhaps want to try it with you in the moment. In many cases, this will include kinks you would never have dared assume someone was into, but by discussing it beforehand you’ve found common ground and can explore together.

Not only will dirty talking improve your mutual understanding of each others hard and soft limits, it’ll likely also get you both that much hornier and eager to meet up.

What if we’re really bad at dirty talking?

If you’re having a hard time finding subjects to dirty talk about or just really don’t like that approach, you can try determining boundaries more formally.

One way is to use a kink test, like the BDSM kink test. You can either go through the test together, talking about each question, or you can do it separately and talk about your results. These were my results as of today:

Now, does this result tell you exactly what my hard and soft limits are? No. But it creates a starting point for discussing it. For example, say you noticed my Dominant score was 79%, yet my Sadist and Rigger scores were only 44% and 49% respectively. A natural question could now be “If you’re not spanking or tying me up, how would you be dominant towards me?”.

Equally, you could perhaps have a fantasy about normally being submissive and then turning the tables on your partner during play and forcing them to be submissive – essentially some form of revenge power play. With a switch like me, that would be very doable, whereas for someone more strictly dominant, that would likely be a hard or soft limit that person hasn’t considered before.

Conversely, a seemingly “always dominant guy” may in fact actually be a switch, but has just never been presented with the opportunity to be submissive given their former partners. So sharing these kinds of results can present new opportunities to explore together, without having to actively dirty talk about them or have them happen organically.

The nuclear option: Go/No-go lists

As a final option, I should mention one more suggestion if you’re extra concerned about consent or if you know that you’re both going to be exploring more non-traditional sex together.

In the BDSM community, most people use go/no-go lists to communicate kinks, experience, hard limits and soft limits. Essentially, if it’s not on the list, it’s always considered a limit and you have to fully respect the list at all times.

If you ever go to a BDSM event of any kind, odds are you’ll be filling one of those lists out and carrying it around with you. They’re usually pretty exhaustive and elaborate, describing not only your desire to be spanked, but also what tools are acceptable to use to spank you.

Bad Girl’s Bible has a good one on their site that’ll cover most things. You can find it through the last link there or directly here.

I don’t generally recommend going this formal, as I don’t think it’s needed for most encounters. It’ll also likely scare inexperienced people away.

That being said, your situation may warrant it. If in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Meet somewhere safe

Let’s assume you’ve now determined that A) they are who they say they are; B) they take appropriate precautions; C) you know each other’s boundaries; and hopefully also D) you have chemistry with them, perhaps using the strategies suggested in How to check for chemistry with new sex partners.

Now you need to set a time and a place. This is where it gets tricky, because where do you meet?

There are number of options, some riskier than others.

Meeting in public (not a real option)

If you ask most people, they’d probably say meet in public, for example at a bar or a restaurant.

However, this doesn’t really solve your problem as most bars generally don’t let you have sex in them. So you will eventually have to go somewhere else if you intend to actually have sex.

So that doesn’t really keep you safe beyond knowing that the person you’ve met is in fact who they said they were.

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with starting the night in a public place – as long as you have a plan for afterwards.

Meeting in a sex club or swingers club

This option is without a doubt the safest option by far. Not only will you be in a semi-public setting where sex is allowed, it’ll usually also have security staff in case the person you’re with turns out to be dangerous or disrespectful. If you yell for help, someone will be there within seconds, even if you’re in a private room.

On top of that, neither of you will get to know where each other lives and you could even go so far as to keep interactions more anonymous, seeing as the sex club provides security limiting the need to fully vet your partner’s identity.

Depending on your country however, just casually going to a sex club to meet up with someone you met online may not be feasible. Either it’s not available, not allowed, it’s expensive or it’s just culturally frowned upon to the point where you can’t suggest that without being labeled as something you’re uncomfortable with. Perhaps you’re also not comfortable with the idea of someone knowing you’re having casual sex, even if you don’t know those people.

If you are up for it and do have the option though, this is the one I’d recommend if you want to stay as safe as possible. This is the gold standard.

Meeting at a hotel

This option has some of the benefit of a sex club, albeit with less security. You still get the anonymity and avoid sharing your home address, however a dangerous date could still harm you in a hotel room.

As with the sex club option though, I realize that for some, the cost of a hotel room may be prohibitive and they may also be uncomfortable having sex somewhere where people in their community might frequent and see them. At the end of the day, hotels are high traffic locations for “normal people”. So if it’s a local hotel, odds are some people may know and recognize you – perhaps recognizing that you’d have no need for a hotel normally, given you live locally. So you’re potentially anonymous towards your new sex partner, but perhaps less so towards others. Unless of course you choose a hotel further from home.

For added security, make sure your partner doesn’t get access to the room before you – check in together or check in yourself first.

Meeting at a friend’s property

This option admittedly only works if you have a good friend that knows you have experimental sex and owns multiple properties, e.g., a summer cottage.

If you do have this option, this can be a good way of keeping it private without devulging your personal address. This is likely especially interesting if you’re a single female meeting with males or couples.

Being in a location that you can control provides some assurances towards your safety and your friend could even have setup a panic button or other backup precaution (more on that later) to protect you in case of emergency.

Meeting at their place / Meeting at your place

I’ve grouped the last two options here, not because they provide the same benefits and downsides, but rather because they’re both equally high-risk in their own ways.

If you go back to their place, you give them control of the entire environment and situation. Worst-case they could hold you against your will, drug you or even harm you.

If, on the other hand, you let them come to you, you control the environment, but they now know where you live. This means the odds of something bad happening that night are reduced, but you open yourself up to issues like stalking and harm down the road.

Either way – you’re risking something here.

What do we normally do?

Honestly, it’s a mix. The bulk of it is equal parts sex club and meeting at our house. That’s probably 75% of it. The remaining 25% is mostly us going to other people’s homes and a few instances of meeting at hotels and secondary homes. But the vast majority of it is sex clubs and our own house.

But wait Michael – wasn’t your own home a problem? In general – yes. For us – no.

Bare in mind, we live in Denmark. It’s probably the least dangerous place in the entire world. Also we’re a couple and I’m quite tall, broad-shouldered and muscular. So the likelihood of someone trying to harm us is close to zero. We’re very privileged in that regard. Things may be very different in your country and also obviously very different if you’re more vulnerable than us – e.g., a single woman.

Things would also be different if say Sara was going on a date alone with someone. We would be reluctant to have her go to someone’s home alone if we didn’t already know them quite well and trust them.

Likewise, the more experimental sex you’re planning to have, the safer your location should be. If you’re planning to have hardcore BDSM sex, especially with people you don’t intimately know, absolutely go to a sex club. Do not do that at their house.

5. Have backup

Sometimes all the due diligence in the world can’t save you from a bad situation. You need to have a backup ready in case your date turns out to go in an unwanted or downright dangerous direction.

Obviously, if you choose to meet at a sex club, your backup solution is quite easy. Just yell for help.

If you didn’t however, you need to plan more. Essentially, hope for the best, yet plan for the worst. Usually the easiest way to do this is to inform a friend of what you’re doing.

Don’t want to tell your friends about your sex life? I do understand, but ideally you should.

At least one friend should know

  • Who you’re meeting
  • What they look like
  • Where you’re at

The where could be an address, but ideally I would suggest both sending an address and live location updates, for example using Facebook Messenger:

Using something like Facebook Messenger, your friend will receive constant updates on your location for 1 hour. After that hour, you should make the agreement that either you resend a new live location or send a message with a pre-arranged codeword saying “stand down – all is well”. If no new live location comes through, nor any message, they should try to call you immediately. If they can’t get a hold of you, that’s when they start calling the cops and giving them your last known location.

Why use live location instead of just an address? Because sometimes dangerous assholes will lure you to a location, only to coerce you into a car and drive you to a new location. If you’ve told your friend you’re going to an apartment in Brooklyn, New York and now you’re suddenly headed towards New Jersey, that’s when your friend should again try to call you and call the cops if you don’t pick up.

If a dangerous situation occurs, even at the right location, you can also setup SOS functionality on your phone. This allows you to discretely press a combination of buttons on your phone that’ll automatically send your location and an alart to your emergency contacts over text. This will tell them to either call you or call the cops directly, depending on what you agreed beforehand.

The exact approach to setting this SOS feature up depends on your phone and for some phones, a dedicated app may be needed. Newer Samsung Galaxy phones have these functions built in:

Try googling options for your exact phone make and model. You’ll want to test out the functionality at home before trying it out “in the field”.

Do we need to do all this as a couple?

It depends.

We usually only do some of this. We tell a friend, but we don’t send location information. I do however always recommend singles do this, even when meeting us. Not because we’re dangerous, but because I want to make sure they do so in the future if they’re not already doing it.

Why don’t we send location information? At the end of the day it’s down to your own risk tolerance. I’m a very big, muscular and tall guy, so it’s unlikely someone would choose to target us when there are easier targets out there. At the same time it’s also less likely a couple is made the victim of a crime, as the risk is simply too high for criminals, unless they’re several perpetrators working together.

That said, if we were a younger couple or I was smaller, we probably would take more precautions. I have the questionable benefit of looking like a dangerous asshole, so the real dangerous assholes skip us.

6. Use condoms

Final one and probably the one most relevant as a precaution in 99% of instances. You probably knew this one was coming.

Now that you’re actually there with your new non-dangerous sex partner(s) and about to have sex, using condoms is obviously one of the easiest things you can do to not only protect against pregnancy, but also protect against many sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).

It’s cheap, it’s simple and you can easily verify it’s being used. Unlike birth control pills or regular STI testing, anyone can visible see that the new partner is actually using the protection they’re claiming.

Bare in mind, it won’t protect against all pregnancies and it also won’t protect against all STIs. Especially considering you’re likely not using it for oral sex (almost no one does). Some examples of STIs it won’t protect against are herpes (HSV), HPV (e.g., genital warts) and scabies. Really just anything that can transmit through skin to skin contact, seeing as the condom only covers some of the guy’s private parts.

You can also get something like syphilis from oral sex, so do bare that in mind. If you’re very worried about STIs, you could use condoms and dental dams for oral sex. But be prepared for new partners giving you pushback or potentially dropping you for that reason. While it may seem unfair, most people will not want to use protection for oral sex. Maybe that’ll change eventually, just like condom use for intercourse has become the norm – but I wouldn’t hold my breath just yet.

No! I hate condoms. I can’t feel anything?

While I do recognize that condoms reduce sensitivity, I would argue that for sex with several partners this is usually not a bad thing – lasting longer is better when you have multiple partners to satisfy at once or the person you’re with is new to you.

Also, it’s not like it makes the sex bad. It’s a slight reduction in sensitivity. It’s by no means crazy.

At the end of the day, the upsides outweigh the downsides.

If you’re really worried about decreased sensitivity, there are also condoms out there that focus specifically on keeping the feeling as close to bare as possible. We’ve personally used Durex Real Feel condoms quite a lot. They’re very close to the real deal, albeit a bit more expensive than your average condom. You can buy them through Amazon here (paid link):

Do you always use condoms?

Honestly, no.

We probably should, but for a few people we don’t. Specifically we might opt not to when it’s someone we know very well, when we know they’re protected or when we know they don’t have a lot of sexual partners.

This is one of those “do as we say, not as we do” type situations.

While we do occasionally skip the condom, we don’t do so lightly or without assessing the risk we’re undertaking. Don’t just drop the condom in general. Only do it when you have a very reasonable expectation that your risk is low and those you are with are okay with it.

A good example would be having a threesome with a woman who just got divorced and is looking for adventure – so you’re literally her first sexual partners after 10 years of STI-free loyal monogamy and she’s taking birth control – she’s probably a safe bet, unless you have reason to believe she’s lying or her partner was cheating.

Other examples could be an otherwise monogamous couple you know personally, who’ve only experimented with a few other partners and regularly get STI testing, that you can verify and trust. This is less of a safe bet, as some testing may miss certain STIs, but it’s definitely less risk than skipping the condom with a random one night stand.

Bare in mind though, that while you may be okay with going without a condom for a low-risk partner, they may not be okay doing it with you. If you’re generally being risky with many changing partners and little to no testing, they would be right to avoid forgoing a condom with you. Risk assessments go both ways after all. Remember to be honest about how you protect yourself.

Whatever your risk tolerance, be sure to be honest with your sexual partners, so they don’t assume you’re only skipping the condom with them, when in reality you’re doing it with more people. This is also very important with inexperienced people, as they may not think about these things on their own. They need to make their own risk assessment as well. Consent is key.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x