We all know what it's like getting ready to go cruising on a Friday or Saturday night. You find your favorite fitted jeans, a t-shirt that highlights all that hard work, comb your hair out of your eyes and practice your best sexy, slightly crooked smile. While in the past cruising took place in parks, secret bars and bathhouses, today the cruising scene is found along the proud Strip and myriad of dating apps. Remember, no matter how you meet up with your next catch, you can minimize your risk by using protection and being open about your status.
What is cruising? Cruising is getting out and trying to hook up with someone, often times for sex, but sometimes further relationships develop with guys you meet while cruising.
The internet and mobile apps. Hooking up online can be exciting. Opening up your phone to find a buffet of potential partners can be quite a boost to your 9 to 5 grind. But there is no guarantee you’ll get what you ordered, and you can never be entirely certain about the truth of their situation and profile without staring those conversations. Who hasn’t set his Viagra hopes on hitting the hairy business bear you chatted with, only to arrive to his place and discover he doesn't quite fit his profile picture? There is also the safety factor.
Parks. Park cruising because popular in the 60s and 70s due to the low acceptance for gay men. Men would park and watch while others drove slowly past them, observing one another. Parks are sometimes still used to find hookups, but the practice has diminished with the rise of gay bars.
Bars. Then came the gay bars in the 70s and the 80s. A glance down to the package, a nod, or a slight smile, can be an invitation to approach. If there's chemistry, you might end up going home with him. If you top or bottom without protection such as condoms and PrEP, you are at high risk of contracting HIV or an STD.
Bathhouses Have gotten a bad rap since the first days of HIV/AIDS in San Francisco and New York City because of their involvement in spreading the virus. Going to the bathhouse can be risky, but there are ways to play at bathhouses and still be safe. For one, you can choose safer sex practices from the list outlined here. If there’s no penetration, your risk for getting HIV is low. Secondly, you can use condoms and lube which will reduce your risk as well.
So what? Whether you cruise Eisenhower Park, the bars, or online you can never be sure who you are doing, or who is doing you! Play smart and play safe.