While London has a few clubs and cruising spots that haven’t changed in years, the way we hook-up today has evolved in recent years. We asked guys who are into bareback sex about the apps, clubs and cruising grounds they use and how they know the guys they meet are looking for the same.
If you are having bareback sex it’s vital to get tested regularly. Having bareback sex is how most men get HIV. Early detection and treatment means that you are less likely to pass it on to others and gives you the best chance of catching something as soon as possible.
“I use apps when I want sex because I think people are more open online. I look for guys who say what they want because it’s easier than trying to figure it out or getting rejected because of the type of sex I want. I have met guys in clubs too but I find it more difficult to talk about sex in that setting. I have gone home with guys where it just hasn’t worked out. I think you can also end up taking guys home who are drunk or high and you can’t always be sure what they really want. I don’t want to be in that situation so I prefer online where it is clear what people want.”
“I go to cruising grounds a lot. On the common or Hampstead still. Guys are pretty upfront about what they want. I suppose I have made assumptions in the past but I’ve never had sex with someone who wasn’t acting confident about the situation. I know it’s risky and I do worry after. Usually a few days after. I get tested a lot and I’ve been lucky I suppose. I know guys who haven’t been.”
“Online is the usual way I meet people now but you can still meet men in bars and clubs. I go out in Vauxhall mostly. I think different clubs attract different types of people. There are some sleazier clubs where more guys fuck without condoms. But in the past, I’ve got STI’s so I don’t go as much because I kept having to go to the clinic all the time. I use condoms too sometimes but I mainly go with the flow of what is happening.”
“It’s easy to find what you want now. It used to be much harder. I think it’s better like that because everyone can find what they want. There are apps just for bareback sex. You can see if a guy is positive or negative…” [We asked if he thought he could be sure they were negative.] “No one can be sure, I know that. I think actually it’s probably better to find guys who are positive and on treatment because that’s supposed to be safer but I suppose you can never be 100% sure what someone says is true.”