Safety tips for MEN who have sex with MEN (MSM)
As well as pubs, clubs, saunas and websites, there are many parks, beaches, toilets and open spaces where men go cruising for sex.
If you use these public areas for sex, here are some tips that may help keep you and others safe.
You won’t normally encounter any problems but it pays to be prepared.
Before you go …
Check local newspapers & other cruisers, if a site has been in the news then it may attract trouble makers or the police.
Familiarise yourself with the area, check for exit routes & how to get to safety & remember things look very different at night.
“Cottages” are more likely to attract gay bashers & the police, there is also less chance of escape.
Try and let someone know where and when you are going.
Ideally go with a friend & arrange to meet up regularly whilst there.
If you have been drinking or taking drugs your judgement will be impaired and you will make yourself more vulnerable.
What not to take…
Credit cards, jewellery & large amounts of cash.
Even if you keep them in a zipped pocket they may still be lost or stolen.
I-pod or walkman, they will distract you and make you a target for muggers.
Anything with your address on, it may lead to further harassment. that may result in police action.
What to take…
Condoms & lube – you may not be able to get any later.
Enough money to get home.
A personal alarm or whistle – helps to attract help or scare off attackers.
Wear sensible shoes, some places may be muddy or slippery.
Mobile phone to call for help if required.
When you’re there…
Keep anything of value hidden away, do not wave around a flash mobile.
Be assertive about the sex you want, don’t be forced into a situation you are not happy with.
Do not go off with someone to a place where you may be more at risk such as a multi-storey car park or alleyways.
Be discreet, by attracting attention to yourself or if the general public can see you then it may lead to complaints and the involvement of the police.
Don’t leave used condoms and other sex litter, it draws attention to the area, and complaints from other users that may result in police action.
If you’re attacked…
Make as much noise as possible to attract attention and scare off attackers.
Don’t retaliate – get away as quickly as possible.
If knocked to the ground cover your head and keep moving making yourself a harder target to kick.
If someone else is attacked…
Don’t rush in to help, keep yourself safe!
Warn others in the area.
Call the police give them a description of the attacker, their build, accent, car number, what they were wearing, etc.
When the scene is safe again, help the victim – you may be the only person who does!
Sex in public places is not necessarily illegal, so long as others who may be offended cannot see you & are unaware that you are having sex – you will be ok.
Having sex in a public toilet is still illegal, not just for Gay men, but for everyone.
If you are caught you could be charged under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
It is important to report any crimes committed at cruising areas.
The more crime that is reported will increase the likelihood of the Police catching the perpetrators.
Trouble makers prey on men at cruising areas in the belief that they will not be reported.
The police should not be interested in why you were at a particular area, just the crime itself.
For a more sympathetic response call your local police station and ask for a Community Liaison Officer or the Community Safety Unit.
If you do not want to go directly to police you can remain anonymous & report it through a third party at a gay men’s health project or helpline.
Police: Dial 999 or 112 (Mobile only)