Guidelines on Safer Dating
Recon is a great place to make some fantastic new friends and acquaintances, enabling you to message, interact, or meet up with each other (be it privately, or at one of our many sponsored events worldwide).
Meeting new people can be great fun, but at the same time we encourage you to do it safely. Our guidelines on safer dating are provided in order to help raise awareness, and encourage you to think about how you approach meeting and playing with new people, both online and in the real world.
You can do a lot to ensure you are safer (e.g. tell a friend where you are going and when you will return) but of course there's always an element of risk in chatting to, or meeting, somebody for the first time - whether you have meet them online or in a bar.
Take a moment to read the sections below:Writing your Profile
Messaging and Chatting
Arranging to Meet
Drugs and Alcohol
Much of this advice is common sense, but it never hurts to remind yourself!
Have fun, and play safely!
Most people listed on Internet dating sites are sincere. However, don't forget that your profile may be read by people who aren't always as well-intentioned towards you as you would like. There are also criminals who trawl the web for email addresses and other bits of information which are valuable when combined together (e.g. home address combined with information that you're away on holiday).
In order to help to ensure your safety, and prevent identity theft, we suggest that you do not put very personal information on your Profile, such as:
- Postal addresses
- Telephone / mobile numbers
- Email addresses
- Credit card details
- Bank account details
- Date of birth
- Name of your Company or where you work
- Specific places or times you regularly go out
Let your instinct guide you and don't continue the discussion if you think the other person:
- may be lying
- has inconsistencies in their story
- has made inappropriate remarks
- has gone beyond the usual boundaries of conversation
- or if you get a "gut feeling" that something is not right during or after the conversation
- take your time - get a "feel" for the person before you meet
- talk on the 'phone a few times before arranging to meet
- meet in a public place
- don't immediately accept an invitation to their place, unless you know they are genuine
- meet in a place where other people are present
- don't get picked up from your home
- always provide your own transportation to and from your meeting place
- tell a friend where you're meeting your date, where you are going and when you will return
- leave your date's name and phone number with a friend, or where they can be found if you return late
- send yourself an email saying where you are playing, with whom, when you will return, and their contact details
- call a friend to say you are safe when you have met your date
- agree a "signal" that will tell a friend if you are worried
- if you invite someone to your home, don't leave any valuables on show, or leave your date alone - unless you know they are genuine.
Use your judgment, remember that you make the decisions:
- you decide when you feel comfortable meeting someone
- you're never obligated to get together with anyone, no matter how many e-mails or messages you've exchanged
- if you don't feel comfortable once you meet your date you can simply leave and go home - don't continue if you don't feel you want to
If in doubt...don't go out!
There are a number of practical steps you can take to reduce the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs):
- Practice safer-sex to minimise the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
- Use condoms and plenty of water-based lube for anal sex.
- Do not use oil-based lubes with condoms unless they are specifically designed to be used in that situation - many oils will cause latex condoms to weaken.
- Whilst it is commonly viewed that oral sex has a lower risk of transmitting HIV and some other STIs, some people choose to minimise that risk further by using condoms.
- Latex squares called Dams are available for rimming.
- Gloves are recommended for Fisting.
- Insertable equipment and toys such as sounds, dildos, butt plugs or douches should be thoroughly sterilised following each use and certainly before using on another person. Ideally they should only be used on one person.
- Using a new condom over a dildo or butt plug will help prevent cross infection.
- Floggers, whips, paddles, etc. should be sterilised appropriately, especially if skin has been broken.
Contact your local sexual health clinic for more information on Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention methods.
Safer play is about being aware of possible risks and deciding what action to take to minimise them.
Two common acronyms within the BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism) scene are SSC (Safe, Sane and Consensual) and RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink). Whole books and website have been written on this, but much is down to your own personal judgment.
- Ensure you know your partner's limits. Talk about them in advance, either online or in person. And stick to the agreed limits!
- If you are into bondage or any kind of BDSM play, agree a "safe-word" up-front. This is a code word that means "Stop!". It should be something you can remember easily and that won't come up in the normal course of conversation. When you say it, your partner knows it's a signal that something is wrong and that they should immediately stop. Always STOP if your partner asks you to. A common "safeword" system is Red, Amber, Green:
- Red = STOP NOW
- Amber = Approaching Red
- Green = I'm fine!
- If playing with gags or any form of headgear, ensure that a safe action (instead of a safe-word) is agreed, as your partner may be unable to talk. Ensure that there is a clear means by which they can signal that they are in difficulty.
- If you restrain your partner, check their circulation and breathing regularly. Do not leave a restrained person alone - for any reason - always be in the room with them. Do not place ropes around the throat, or tightly round the chest. There are courses available for those interested in learning about safer Bondage and S&M.
- Keep a pair of strong blunt ended scissors (or medical shears) handy, in case you need to get your partner loose quickly. Avoid pointed scissors or knives as you could cause more damage.
- Be aware that your play partner needs to breathe, so don't cover the nose and mouth at the same time. Breath control is an extremely dangerous sexual practice. Make sure you know the risks and learn the basics of CPR/resuscitation.
- If you or your partner have any specific medical conditions (e.g. epilepsy, allergies), are on any medication, or suffer from any phobias (e.g. claustrophobia), ensure both of you are aware of this, and comfortable to proceed.
Want more advice on specific risks? There are many resources offering good advice available on the internet or in lifestyle books. You can also talk to people who are into it, most people are happy to help or offer advice where they can.
- If you've never taken drugs or alcohol don't experiment on a date or in a scene where you cannot readily get help if needed
- Don't feel obliged to take drugs or alcohol if offered, remember that you make the decisions.
- Don't accept drinks or drugs from people if you are unsure as to what they may contain.
- Do not leave drinks un-attended in clubs or bars.
- Never use drugs that may alter your ability to notice when your partner is in difficulty, or their ability to tell you.
- Drugs and alcohol can alter self-awareness and you may not realise that something doesn't feel right.
- Have frequent breaks in longer sessions and allow your partner to cool down.
- Drink plenty of water, and re-hydrate regularly.