How to Have Safe Sex (With Strangers)

Dear Veronica,

Hello! So this isn’t exactly a relationship question, but I thought you might be willing to answer it regardless. I am a twenty year old student from Montreal (Canada), who got out of a long term relationship about six months ago. Originally I thought I was interested in finding a new boyfriend, but when the opportunity presented itself I realized that I’m enjoying my single life way too much, and have neither the time nor the energy needed for a relationship. However, to be quite honest, I do miss sex. My friends and I often go out to a small club and many of the guys there are very attractive, my age, and from my school. I would like to have a one night stand with one of these guys but am worried about the safety issues involved. Montreal is a large city and my university has over 40,000 students, so the fact that we go to the same school does not put these guys into the relatively safer category of acquaintances or “friends of friends” I feel uncomfortable bringing a guy back to my apartment due to my rather conservative roommates. Any advice on how a fun but safe one night stand. Thanks,


PS: I looked on the internet for advice about this but most of it seemed to revolve around how not to get attached to the guy, or how to make your one night stand into a relationship. I just want practical “how not to get myself murdered” advice, obviouslly I am aware that there is always a risk.

Dear Anonymous,

As you say, there’s always a very real risk; but I think people often use the risks involved as an excuse to condescend people who practice casual sex, or who don’t want relationships, without revealing their moral feelings. Of course there are risks. Skiing is pretty risky, too. But in both cases, you can minimize the risks by keeping a level head and taking precautions.

It sounds like you’re interested in heterosexual sex, based on your PS. The most important thing to remember is that nearly all men can physically overpower nearly all women. As a feminist, I hate admitting it, but it’s true, and we’re not safe until we recognize that. The general difference in strength is exacerbated by the fact that men have better upper body strength and control than women. So you’re not safe just because a guy is smallish, or looks flabby, or has a low alcohol tolerance.

The first risk is getting drugged by one of these guys. I’m ashamed to admit that I kind of thought drugged drinks were an urban legend — until someone gave me one. I was at a band party at a bar with a friend of mine (who had actually spent the previous night in the hospital with an allergic reaction) and I let this older guy buy us drinks. Fortunately, I drank mine slowly enough to realize, a third of the way through, that there was no way I should have felt so woozy from the few sips I’d had, and I grabbed my friend, who was looking pale, and got a cab to drop us both off at home. I got through Beverly Hills Cop(s) I and II before the sensation went away. So yeah: don’t let anyone you don’t know buy you a drink, watch your drink, swap drinks with you, et cetera. And if you do, take small sips.

I totally know what you mean about roommates; everybody hates the loud couple, and nobody wants to be the roommate who can’t come home until 3. Since you say your roommates are really conservative, it makes sense not to go back to your own place. But in spite of the embarrassment and the awkward next-mornings, it’s always safer to go somewhere more public, where someone could hear you in a worst-case-scenario. For example, you could go home with a guy who lives in a dorm. Once you leave with someone, always tell someone where you are. Text a friend with the address when you get there.

Thirdly, never go home with anyone who exhibits aggressive behavior of any kind towards you, the bartender, or anyone else. And never go home with someone who makes you uncomfortable or pushes your boundaries in any way. It’s not that these things mean they’re bad people; everyone has rough days and says the wrong thing from time to time. But it’s not a good indicator that you can trust them when you’re alone.

It’s also really important not to go home with someone if you’re already too drunk to pay attention to these things. Even if you really want to.

Lastly, I feel obligated to remind you that you’re always safer with acquaintances or friends of friends. But you knew that.

Have fun and be safe!


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Veronica Mittnacht is a lifelong New Yorker. She has written for,, Soap Opera Digest, Flavorwire, Boldtype, The New York Egotist, and Human Rights First, and once attend more


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