Women and online dating safety
A recent study in the journal Sexuality Research & Social Policy of women who met a man through online ads found that thirty percent of women engaged in sexual activity on their first encounter. Seventy-seven percent of women daters who met an online partner did not use condoms for their first sexual encounter.

A study by The University of Texas School of Public Health of women seeking dates online revealed that some women are cautious when it comes to personal safety and casual when it comes to sexual safety. The study involved 740 women who had placed online personal ads seeking men and studied their behavior with regards to personal safety and sexual safety.

Dating and Personal Safety

Women were very cautious with regards to personal safety. They request photographs, check for small-talk inconsistencies, run criminal background checks and call workplace phone numbers. They took precautions before meeting their date in person including meeting men in public places, arranging their own transportation, giving the man’s name to a friend and calling a friend before and after the encounter.

Risky sexual behavior

Padgett, the author of the study said otherwise cautious women may engage in unprotected sex because they are lulled into a sense of “virtual intimacy.” By the time couples meet face-to-face, they have exchanged much information about their backgrounds, their likes and dislikes, as well as their sexual preferences.

Despite these findings, Padgett feels the Internet is a good way for women to meet men. “Women are in a position of power when the communication starts. They get to screen the men and decide who they want to meet,” she said. “If they don’t feel comfortable, women can hit the delete button and end it.”

Additional safety precautions gleaned from the survey include:

  • Conducting a Google search of the man’s name;
  • Requesting that a friend vouch for the man;
  • Utilizing feminine intuition or gut feeling;
  • Getting a feeling for someone by their phone voice;
  • Discussing the limits of sexual activity up front;
  • Asking for information on the man’s sexual history;
  • Evaluating e-mail answers and views on various topics.

Personal Safety and Sexual Safety for Women Using Online Personal Ads

June 2007, Vol. 4, No. 2, Pages 27-37  Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC