Q: With Craigslist having become an unsafe way to meet people for quick and/or kinky hookups, can you recommend any other online sites that are good for such a task? Free or subscription-based. I have had a few great experiences hooking up with people through Craigslist, but with all the news lately, it clearly is not safe and a lot of people on there are frauds or spammers. I can't imagine I'm the only one who enjoys the random fling with a couple or a total stranger.
A: Craigslist isn't any less safe than it's ever been, nor is it any less safe than using a pay personals site or simply meeting someone at the bar. A web site that's not only free but accessible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection is bound to attract the odd nutjob from time to time, but so does the Dollar Menu at McDonald's. You haven't stopped grabbing the occasional large French fries just because that creepy guy is always there, slurping coffee in the corner, right? Hooking up with someone online -- whether it's Craigslist or any number of other sites -- carries all the same risks as going home with someone you just met standing in line at the RedBox.
Everybody uses Craigslist for something or another, so don't let a few psychos put an end to your success with the site thus far. Craigslist is mostly safe, but you should still take all the necessary precautions when using it for sex. You've had great experiences doing it in the past, which probably means you're being sound and selective about your hookup choices. Continue to exercise that good judgment, always pay attention to your instincts and keep a few things in mind when connecting with people on Craigslist (or any other web site).
• If you're getting into something kinky, tell someone what you're doing. You don't have to go into all the sordid details about the S&M couple from Minnetonka you met through their "Chinese Fingercuffs" ad, but at least let a trustworthy friend know where you're staying for the night and when you expect to be home.
• Stay sober. Sure, drugs and alcohol can be fun, but getting blotto with a complete stranger is just inviting something to go wrong. We've already seen the worst-case scenarios in the headlines; don't set yourself up to be another one.
• If a casual encounter is what you're after, then keep it casual. No home or workplace information should be exchanged and nothing resembling a security password should be mentioned. If your hookup manages to get your first pet or mother's maiden name out of you, leave the scene immediately and go change your passwords. Knowing someone's full name before engaging in sexual activity with them should be status quo, just in case you need to recite it for the cops later.
• Protect yourself. Use condoms, of course, but also think about tucking a can of pepper spray into your jacket pocket. Better yet, invest in a stun gun. You can get a decent, rechargeable stun gun for around $30, which is a small investment when it comes to your safety. I know it seems like overkill, but again, remember the worst-case scenario.
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