A Guide to Online Dating and Hookups

With the rise of social media, a lot of things have transformed the digital space—specifically, the world of dating and hookups. We’ve all been there before. You download a dating app and start swiping, hoping to find a connection in a sea of people. If you’ve been living under a rock, online dating is defined as “a way for people to find and contact each other through the Internet to arrange a date, usually with the goal of developing a personal and romantic relationship.” However, with today’s hookup culture, many of these online dating rules have been bent and twisted, with added terms being coined as Gen Z takes on the dating pool.

How do you know if you should ghost them? Where do you draw the line between a relationship and a situationship? How do you navigate through the confusing landscape of online dating? Have no fear; here are some tips to equip you as you begin your online dating journey:

Online Dating Safety Tips

Meeting new people for dating comes with great responsibility. So, better read these tips first before you “swipe right” to avoid any mishaps. Practice these online dating safety tips from our online adult store experts.

1. Choose the right dating application

Before you start swiping, make sure you’re on the right track! There are many different dating applications made for different types of people, depending on your sexual preferences and intentions. There’s one app for everybody, whether you’re looking for your next long-term partner or a casual fling. We’ve all heard about Tinder and Bumble, yet have you ever thought about what distinguishes the two?

Tinder is a great avenue for, well, literally everyone. The application contains a massive user base where you can find anyone who is down for anything. The application gets around 1.6 billion swipes worldwide per day! Now that’s what you call collecting and selecting.

If you’re more interested in something a bit more personal, Bumble is the place for you. If you didn’t know, women actually message first on the application which encourages many great conversation starters. It also contains a lot of cool prompts on the profiles so you get to know your matches a bit more before swiping left or right. This application wants you to get somewhere, as matches expire after 24 hours! If you’re looking for the same sex, you can filter your applications, but Her and Grindr are great options too.

2. Be honest with what you want

Before you start conversations with other people, you need to ask yourself what you want and what you want to get out of this experience. Having clear intentions set out helps you find the people you want too. Whether you want a committed relationship or a one night stand, it's important to set your expectations for these things since you are looking for them on an online platform.

Once you know what you’re looking for, let your matches know to avoid leading them on or being led on. As ghosting and toxicity in the online dating landscape grows rampant, it's important to make sure you look inwards too to avoid bad dates and failed matches.

Don’t worry and don’t be too hard on yourself if you’ve had some bad encounters, as online dating is really known for these blunders and mishaps.

3. It's better to be safe than sorry

Anything can happen on the internet. It’s important to make sure you’re engaging with someone who won’t get you into trouble, no one wants to hear another online dating horror story! You can avoid this by taking a few precautions before meeting or choosing to further engage with your potential love interest.

Firstly, don’t be afraid to do a background check on them. Searching them up on Instagram or Facebook won’t hurt, plus you get to scan if you have any mutual friends who may put in a word or two about them. And who doesn’t already stalk their matches anyway? Once you’re in the clear, don’t be too trusting just yet.

Make sure you don’t disclose any personal information like your address until you know you can trust this stranger you met on the internet. If you’ve done these things and are finally ready to meet this person face to face, make sure you go to a public area and avoid secluded places.

4. Be responsible

Don’t be afraid to share your STI status with your match and ask for theirs as well. This is part of being sexually empowered and giving them the right to know for their peace of mind. Getting tested is definitely something that needs to be normalized because not only does it help you become aware, but it also helps you become more comfortable with your own body and sexually empowered.

If you’re still uncomfortable having sex during your initial dates, don’t be afraid to speak up. You can also suggest using pleasure toys and personal lubes on the first try. But if you’re going to be having sex, make sure to use protection as well. No one wants a surprise pregnancy. Make sure you’re taking your birth control pills or have a pack of condoms on hand!

Asked about your body count during your hookup? Here’s our expert tip on how to answer that: You Don’t Owe Anyone an Explanation for Your Body Count

5. Have fun

Online dating isn’t meant to be taken too seriously! If you’re getting into it, remember that you can use it as an avenue to explore and have some adventures. There may be some questionable or awkward experiences here and there, but that's all part of the experience.

These experiences can help you know more about yourself and what you want out of a relationship, so don’t be afraid to go on dates and meet new people, whether they’re your next relationship or not. Just always keep in mind these online dating tips for beginners and always meet people with caution.

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