Hook ups and safety

This page has information about how you can ensure safety when meeting up with casual partners to party and play.  Trigger warning, this page covers experiences of violence, aggression and sexual assault. 


When we party and play, we often meet up with new partners. These partners can be strangers and we often meet them in private places. In our search for partners, we can find ourselves in situations where our safety is at risk. Most of our partners are good people who respect us and make us feel safe. However, experiences of sexual assault, violence and aggression can occur. Thinking about and making plans around our safety is important. If you do experience violence, sexual assault or aggression, remember this is never your fault, you are not responsible.

Chatting to a play partner beforehand

Many of us know the feeling of being horny and cruising for partners. When we’re in this state it can be tempting to get to it with the first person that offers.  As tempting as this is, we encourage getting into a practice of going a bit slower. What this means in practice is taking time to ask someone a few questions before going to their place or inviting them to yours.

You might like to ask them:

  • Their name
  • How long they have been partying for
  • What drugs they are using
  • Who they are partying with
  • What they are looking for in a session
  • What type of sexual health protection they are using
  • Whether there will be any photography or filming
  • What their boundaries or limits are

Having a chat should give you a chance to tell them what you’re interested.  In this conversation you are working out whether you are compatible. You are also getting a feel for someone and making an assessment about whether you feel safe with them.Of course, we can’t always know everything about a person or situation ahead of time.

Some red flags when chatting online

If a potential partner is not interested in chatting, if they are full of demands but show no interest in you, your preferences or needs then it may be best to avoid them.

One strategy that we might use to assess whether a new partner will respect us is to say no to one thing they suggest. Do this when chatting with them and see how they react. You might not send a picture they have requested. You might suggest that you’re not comfortable with a sex act that they have suggested. If they keep asking you after you have said no, if they sulk, get angry or shut down, this is a red flag.  From their response you can get a sense of how willing they are to respect you and you needs.

Stating your interests, boundaries and limits

When talking to a new partner it can be empowering to state your interests in a session including your boundaries and your limits. This takes confidence. To do this, you need to first think about what these boundaries and limits are. You also need to think about how you can communicate them in a friendly but firm way. You may not know what your limits and boundaries are, and boundaries can change when you meet someone, you might like to acknowledge this when you are chatting.

Preparing for your safety before meeting 

If we know that we’re going to meet with strangers it is wise to first think about who and where our supports are if we feel threatened or unsafe. Think about if there is someone who you can call. It might be a good friend, a sibling or another loved one. You might even make an agreement with yourself ahead of time that you will call 000 if you ever feel very unsafe or if you’re ever threatened by aggression, violence or sexual assault.

What if you start to feel unsafe or if you are unsafe?

If you get an unsafe feeling, listen to that feeling. It is better to be safe than sorry. If you are unsafe, make an excuse to go to the bathroom to call or text someone to come and pick you up.

What if someone is suggesting something that you are not comfortable with? 

Tell the person that you are not ok or comfortable with what is being suggested. If you would like to keep playing with the person offer alternative activities that you are comfortable with. If you are not respected, think about how you can leave or call for help.

What if someone is pressuring you into something that you are not comfortable with? 

Reinforce that you are not comfortable with the act that is being pressured. If you want to stay with the person or people think about how you can de-escalate or change the situation. You might try and change the environment that you are in. You might remove yourself by going to the bathroom and from the bathroom you might make a call for help or plan how you can leave. Or you might decide it is safest to leave their house right away, ask them to leave your house, or to call for help.

What is someone is threatening you or using force?   

This experience is very scary and difficult to navigate. Do whatever you can to leave a situation or environment and seek immediate help. Immediate help might be a call to a trusted friend, triple 000 or a retreat to a safe place or person.

Remember, if you ever experience violence, aggression or sexual assault it is never your fault. You experienced this because of a decision that someone else made, you are not responsible.  

If you do experience violence or assault you may benefit from accessing support. This might be a supportive friend, an inclusive counselling service like the one offered by ACON or a sexual assault service.   Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia have recently created a LGBTIQ+ line you can call this number any time on 1800 497 212. Information on this page has come from the Trans Hub page on sexual assault and coercion and been developed in consultation with the team who run the Say It Out Loud website




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