Agreeing To Meet, Is Not Consenting To More

Flirty DMs and thirsty pics may lead to a meetup IRL (in real life), but if the chemistry is not there when you’re face to face, you should always be able to say ‘no’ and walk away. Dick Richards explores the pressure to consent at online meetups.

We all talk a big game on sex apps, but do we actually follow through with it? Or is it all just horny chat inspired by our fantasies and what we’ve seen in porn? Oh yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. We’ve all experienced that horny hyped-up moment where our inhibitions are let loose. But when it comes to consent… a no means NO. 

I’ve had some great naughty chats with guys on apps that had a lot of promise, but when it came down to following through on the amazing sex he was boasting about, well, I’ve had more fun riding a Lime scooter.  In fact, there have been many times where I have asked to politely leave, either because I realized after meeting him that his pics were 10 years old, or he was a terrible kisser, or there was simply no chemistry. And I really want to make it clear that THAT IS OKAY. It’s both parties prerogative to end the hook-up at any time and for any reason. It’s not a contract, it’s called consent. 

Before apps, you would meet the person first, whether at a bar, or a party or through a mutual friend. There would be a literal physical connection – because you would see the person in the flesh – not through a device. But now… it’s device first, flesh later. When you think about it, ‘app hook-up’ culture is quite bizarre. It’s a bunch of random strangers on an app looking to fuck. I’m not criticizing casual sex at all – casual sex is great. But let’s break it down… you go to a stranger’s house… have a quick verbal exchange (if that) … then get naked and have a dick put inside you or vice versa… then you leave… maybe to never see them again.

I want to focus on the fact that who we are meeting is a stranger. You don’t know them, bar a few pics and a conversation, and you’re both looking to do something that is quite intimate. When we agree to meet, we are trusting this stranger has given us the information we need to know in terms of STI’s etc. And that this is a person who is safe – and I’m not talking about sexual status. 

The first time I got topped, it wasn’t consensual, and unfortunately, I know many guys who have had the same experience. It’s heartbreaking, it’s disgusting (the perpetrator that is), and it’s rape. He was a man from an app. He seemed nice, respectful and sexy from our online chats (Obviously, I wouldn’t purposely meet a guy who would do that to me). Things got heavy, fast. I made it clear I wasn’t looking to be penetrated, but he had other plans. 

Apps have taken away the most important part of any social interaction whether sexual or not, and that is the physical introduction. There is so much to learn by being in someone’s presence and talking to them. Very rarely do we go to a bar, go up to someone and say “let’s fuck” and then it happens (I’m sure that happens at sex parties but I’m not talking about that). Apps have erased emotion from an interaction that gives emotion. We treat each other like pieces of meat that we eat and throw away when we’re done. Even though we like ‘meat’, we aren’t just pieces of it. Those sorts of interactions can seep into our ‘real-life’ relationships. It’s dangerous and something to be aware of. We’re humans who deserve respect – especially when it comes to sex. We are the bosses of our own bodies and when our bodies meet and touch each other, it’s because we both want it.

If you have been the victim of sexual assault support can be found through the sexual harm helpline Safe To Talk on 0800 044 334 or free txt 4334.

You can report an assault to New Zealand Police by calling 111 or visiting your nearest police station.