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10 safety tips for using gay dating apps

10 safety tips for using gay dating apps

Follow our tips to stay safe on the gay dating apps such as Hornet, Grindr, Tinder, Scruff… Well, any app, really!

Listen up, everyone, the future is now!

And by that, we really mean to say that modern technology has made gay dating more manageable and more accessible than ever. Thanks to the various online gay dating apps on the market, meeting someone new only takes a couple of taps on your phone.

No more bar-hopping in the hopes of scouting a hottie with whom you might be slightly compatible! Now you can know about their their tribe, their favorite position, whether they like puppy play or not, before even saying hello.

But, the one downside to using gay dating apps and sharing information about yourself with strangers is safety!

Lying on the Internet takes no effort at all, which means there are bound to be tons of creeps hiding in the shadows. The online gay dating sphere provides so many opportunities to meet people. Still, it also offers plenty of chances to take cover in a curtain of anonymity.

But never fear! The Nomadic Boys are here to help with our personally-crafted list of ten rules to help keep you safe while browsing gay dating apps such as Hornet, Grindr, Tinder, Scruff… Well, any app, really! Just follow along, and you should be able to walk into the online gay dating world with an incredible sense of confidence.

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1. Never include information related to your identity in your profile

Look guys, it may seem obvious, but putting your full name, address, etc on gay dating apps is a big NO NO! You should only display the basic info relating to dating so that other gay guys can build an overall picture of who you are…and that does NOT require displaying your bank details if you catch our drift!

Obviously, it's okay to mention your city in your online gay dating profile, but leave it there. Leave out more personal information such as your street name, zip code, college, or workplace. When it comes to sharing your name, it's ok to display your first name, but it may be a good idea to instead consider using a nickname.

Other big no-nos include displaying your phone number and email. When it comes to sharing your social media handles on your profile, this is a personal matter for you. Some people (like us!) readily display all their social media, others prefer not to.

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2. Make sure he shows his face pic

Those many faceless profiles on gay dating apps? Ok, we get it, lots of people are shy and still struggling with coming out that they don't want to show their face in searches. And that's ok! So many gay guys are conscious of their public image that you shouldn't judge them for not publicly displaying a profile picture.

That being said, if a potential date refuses to share pictures of their face with you, when you showed them yours, then you should be on your guard.

Is it possible that they don’t trust you yet? Maybe. Could they be insecure about their appearance? Sure. But there is a line to be drawn somewhere. You did share your facepic with them, it's hard to understand why they would not replicate. In that case, they need to at least be understanding if you decide that you can’t continue talking to them.

Make sure the other person on a dating app has a pic of their face showing
I've been told that I should consider avoiding face pics altogether!!

3. Ask to do a quick live video chat

If he looks too good to be true, chances are he is!

There are sooooo many fake profiles in gay dating apps showing someone else's photos (as we've experienced on many occasions). By the way, if you stumble on a profile using our photos based in Indonesia (alleging we're called Ahmed and Sulman with terrible English) it's not us!!

We're talking about Catfishing here guys!

It happens all the time and it's a massive pain in the backside. You can usually spot them, but some profiles are borderline and may seem legit at first. If you get a bad feeling about them, suggest a quick live video chat. It's the best way to scope out whether your gay hookup is being truthful about his identity. If he refuses this, then chances are, you're dealing with a fake profile.

Most gay dating apps such as Hornet, Grindr, etc… offer a video chat functionality, so you don't even have to share your telephone number.

Though to add a bright side to the situation, if you do manage to get into a video call with the cutie you’ve been chatting up, not only will you be able to confirm that he is indeed who he says he is but it provides a fantastic segue into meeting up for your date!

It can be so much easier to talk to someone face to face than it is through messages. You should be able to get a better feel about how much you like them or what things you have in common.

4. Ask to meet in a public place first

For most guys, a gay hook up is a gay hook up, so why bother wasting precious time in a Starbucks or local park?

Oh honey, we'll tell you why…

Whilst 90% of the time, going directly to the bedroom of “HotDaddy69” isn't going to be an issue, at the end of the day, you are leaving it to chance. This is a total stranger who you've never met and only connected with through a few chats on a gay dating site.

Whilst the idea of making out with a complete stranger is exciting and super hot, agreeing to meet your online heartthrob in a public area isn't going to detract from this too much, right?

This will at least allow you to feel out the person’s vibe and ensure that you feel safe with them. Don’t feel bad if the person asks you to go home with them, but you’re not feeling it. Your safety will always be the most essential thing, so don’t be afraid to be rude if you’d prefer to wait on that house tour!

Ensure you meet someone from a gay dating app outside in public for the first time
Meet in a public space first so you can feel out their vibe!

5. Check his social media handles

One of the best ways to get a feel for a guy on the gay dating apps is to check out his social media accounts, especially on Instagram. Maybe he's not comfortable about sharing his pictures in the chat, but on his Instagram, he'll be sure to have all his best thirst traps from his recent summer holiday in Mykonos on show!

Of course, the main thing about checking out his social media is that it's a sure-fire way of ensuring that he is who he says he is and he's not another catfisher!

However, don't be quick to judge! Many guys are private and prefer not to share their social media on gay dating apps, or, they may not even have any social media to share quelle horeur!!!!

The one other thing we'd say about this is to be wary of any social media accounts that are newly created and have no posts. Some professional catfishers will also have fake Instagram accounts to match their fake Grindr profile.

6. Take it slow

We hate to sound like your gay Internet Grandmas, but don't be in a hurry to jump into bed with “HotMuscleTwinkXXL”. At least give yourself all the time you need to be confident that this is truly what you want. For some gay guys, this takes seconds, for others, this takes a few dates. And that's absolutely fine. Everyone is different. Everyone has different needs and desires.

There's a lot to be said for taking the time to talk to the person who's just captured your interest in the DMs. Not only could you reveal a fake person through all of your conversations, but it could also give you a great chance to get to know him on a more fundamental level.

We know this rule is easier said than done, but no matter how much your heart is begging you to take the plunge and commit to the person you’ve just started chatting to, we're simply suggesting you take a step back to reevaluate things carefully until you're confident you're making the right decision.

We recommend taking things slow when meeting people on gay dating apps
Don't jump into that tent right away!

7. Check the local laws

When using Grindr back home, you may be completely baffled as to why we even suggest this! However, there are some very homophobic places out there with oppressive governments who heavily regulated Internet use.

In countries where there are anti-gay laws in place (like the UAE, Lebanon, etc), Grindr is banned. In such places, if there is even a scintilla of online LGBTQ content linked to your name, you can get into trouble with the authorities – as we found out in Lebanon where they almost blocked us from leaving after posting LGBTQ content on Instagram!

In short, always check the local laws of the places your visiting. If they have anti-gay laws, then you should avoid using any gay dating apps altogether!

In theory…

The reality is a lot different thanks to VPNs! All those trolley dollies based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi? Well they're not going to be prevented from hooking up on gay dating apps, are they? Grindr may be blocked but investing in a VPN allows you to still access it via a foreign server. Technically, VPNs are likely to be illegal in such places, but it's a lot safer because your location is hidden, thereby allowing you to browse anonymously and minimize your online trail.

Ultimately, when heading to such places it's your choice as to whether you simply abstain from using the gay dating apps or take the risk and use a VPN. A token of hope, it really is a small risk: we've not yet heard of any gay travelers being arrested for using a VPN!

8. Avoid showing nude pics with your face

Yes, it's hot to see his face in the full body shot, but just avoid it! Use your phone's pic editing tool to crop out your face (and other easily identifiable features) before sending those kind of pics and videos!

You never know where you want to be in 5…10…20 years down the line. You may choose to run for public office, become an online social media sensation, you're in a vocation (accountant, lawyer, etc) where leaked dodgy pics could get you into a lot of trouble.

When fallen into the wrong hands, a photo like this can lead to blackmail, threats, and long-lasting regrets. And if you're aspiring to one day become a public figure, this is not something you'll want coming back to haunt you! You may not care now, but your future self will be so grateful you took the time to be that extra bit cautious of the sort of pics you shared with “BurlyDaddyBearSteve” a few years back…

If you want to share a X photo online, it's safer to make sure you're face isn't in it too
This should be the only sausage you post online with your face showing!

9. Tell a friend where you're going

Whether you’re gay or not, this rule always applies to dating and hooking up with strangers. When you go out to meet someone, especially if it's the first time you’re meeting them in person, make sure a friend or family member you trust knows exactly where you're going.

Just drop them a quick message. It takes seconds, and could save your life!

Put yourself in the shoes of your bestie: wouldn't you rather receive a message from me boasting of another conquest rather than receiving a missing person's report from the local police?

It may seem a bit awkward but we know your friends would rather receive these sorts of texts from you rather than find out something bad has happened. We have friends who message us all the time to let us know when they are leaving for their date, where they are going, and when they are expected home. For us, it’s always a relief to know that our friends trust us and that we can play a role in making sure they stay safe from potential creeps!

10. Be aware of scammers

Again, this happens in all online spaces to tons of different people, but scammers do love to hang out on gay-specific dating apps. From Catfishers to total A-holes looking to make a quick profit from your good self, there are a ton of warning signs to look out for.

If someone pressures you into giving them your phone number despite you saying ‘No!' and they continue to insist, you just go ahead and hit that Block button!

Similarly, if someone asks for your home address right away, then you know that's one sweet bit of honey you ain't ever going to be tasting without a ton of trouble…Block!

And of course, if after a few chats he asks you for financial assistance out of the blue, chances are, it's a scam. Block!

Block them, report them and let's help keep our online gay dating app community a safe space for everyone!

Be cautious when using gay dating apps as sometimes people are trying to scam you
Something tells us this Banksy piece isn't a real profile pic…

At the end of the day, follow your instincts!

If it doesn't feel quite right, then it's probably for a good reason!

Whether or not something is expressly wrong and you can't quite place your finger on it, listen to that inner voice and avoid this hookup. Better to be safe than sorry.

Following your own instincts is often something we overlook when it comes to gay dating apps. It's sometimes easy to miss those red flags along the way but sometimes our gut just knows when something isn’t right.

Don’t let people be disrespectful to you just because you’re looking for something more than a hookup. Don’t tolerate weird or inappropriate behavior for any reason. Know your worth and allow yourself to shut out the people who don’t show you the care and consideration you deserve. We promise that you don’t have to be nice to everyone that you meet.


For more inspiration:

Follow our tips and tricks to ensure you stay safe while using gay dating apps
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Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor, and author of the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times, Pink News, and Attitude Magazine. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practiced as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

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