Bondage, person wearing a face mask

7 tips for staying safe in a hookup

Bondage, person wearing a face mask

7 tips for staying safe in a hookup

We’ve all encountered that ‘down low’, ‘closeted’, or ‘discreet’ person on the apps, who’s not into sharing pics (or at least ones that seem real). While we’re not saying all of them are unsafe, it’s generally safer to not meet up with a blank profile who’s being a bit suspicious.

Our Tips

Video call Ask for specific photos Social media/ Snapchat Public place Tell someone Charge your phone Stay sober Need support?

Unfortunately, there’s been some stories recently of people in Aotearoa being lured in and assaulted on the apps, so we’ve pulled together some tips on how to stay safer while doing what we all love: hooking up with randoms.

Anon’ hook-ups are a spectrum from meeting up with someone that has no pictures to those who use ‘real’ photos that have been stolen and are fake.

Person hiding in a cardboard box

You can front-foot any of these tips below by saying “I don’t mean to be rude and I’m sorry if this isn’t the case but I’m getting catfish vibes from you. I’ve been catfished before, so I’m a little cautious."

If they’re real and well-meaning they will understand and if they don’t then it’s a red flag.


1. Ask them to chat on a video call.


Jumping on a video call is a quick way to make sure the person you’re talking to is who they say they are (Grindr has this feature now if you didn’t know).

Person looking at their phone

2. Ask for photos of specific things.

"Hey, can you send me a photo holding up a peace sign with your left hand and your tongue out?”  

If you don’t want to video call, then this is another good way to check if they’re legit.

person wearing a face mark, biting chains, kink, bondage

3. Ask for social media / Snapchat.


Facebook/Instagram accounts are an excellent way to check if the person you’re talking to is real.

Green flags to look out for:

  • Recent photos or stories in the city/town you’re talking in
  • Mutual followers/friends that you can verify their identity with
  • Tagged photos with other people.

Social accounts can also be bogus, so Snapchat is a useful app for them to send live photos.

Reverse image search their photos if you’re still not sure.

4. Meet in a public setting.


If possible, meet your hook-up in a public setting with others around before choosing to hook up with them (for example bars, bustling main street, 24-hour fast food places, busy parks). You can also consider alternatives like cruise clubs.

Don’t ever give your address. You absolutely should ask to meet in a neutral public location first or use the pin feature and meet them on a well-lit street near your house.

Shirtless man staring at their phone

5. Tell someone you trust.


Wherever you’re meeting up with your hook-up, it’s a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and when to expect a message from you. Can even leave a note on the kitchen bench for someone to find in the morning for those late-night visits.

6. Have a charged phone.


Make sure you always have your phone close by and with plenty of charge. If you need to call for help or organise a ride home, then it is useful to have it within arm’s reach.

Have an exit strategy if you’re indoors. If you feel stuck and can’t get to an exit - ask to use the bathroom (lock the door, if possible) and call the police or climb out a window if it’s safe to do so.

Person sitting on a chair

7. Stay sober.


Alcohol or drugs may affect your judgement and ability to stay in control of the situation.  It’s safest to not accept drinks or drugs from someone you’ve just met.

These tips are some things to think about but it’s not an exhaustive list of all the things you can do to keep yourself safe when hooking up anonymously. Check out Netsafe for more tips.

Some of these DLs may be playing quite regularly, but not checking their sexual health often (if at all). So, think about your sexual health and ensure condoms and/or PrEP are absolutely part of the DL adventure.

PrEP Condoms + Lube Testing

The New Zealand Police are looking to speak with anyone who can share more information on the recent assaults in Aotearoa. If you feel comfortable doing so, please reach out to them by phoning 105. 

If you’ve had a negative experience hooking up and want someone to chat with, we are here to support you with our free confidential counselling services, we offer these in person and online depending on where in the country you live.


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