Sex is all over the Internet. It’s everywhere. When I was younger, I used to type in randomURLs just to see where they sent me.

I added ‘dot com” to my name, my sister’s name, my best friend’s name and my mom’s name. They all sent me to porn sites.

Of course, sex on the Internet isn’t limited to pornography.

If you’ve ever spent time in the personals section of Craigslist.com or even browsed the pages of Match.com, you know that the Internet is one of the most popular places to meet new partners. More and more people are hooking up on the net.
In college, there are lots of ways to meet people in person, but the Internet is still a huge part of our social lives.

How many hours a week do you spend on Facebook? You can hit on your crush in a wall post or follow up for a second date using a message. Even if you meet your sex buddies elsewhere, the Internet helps facilitate the relationship.

Meeting people online can be a tricky and even dangerous proposition. It’s important to protect yourself and your identity when you’re surfing. If you want to connect over the wires, take a few precautions to ensure you come out of it unharmed.

Don’t post your full name, address or phone number on any Internet dating site. Wait until you’ve e-mailed or chatted with someone a few times before you even think about giving out this information. To many of us, that’s obvious, but it never hurts to be reminded.

Even if you’re looking for some purely casual sex, it’s probably best to avoid sending naked pictures into the ethernet.

If you do have the irresistible urge to throw off your panties and get out the camera, don’t include your face in any of the photos. You never know where they could end up.

If you do decide to meet someone you’ve found online in person, do so in a public place. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, it should be no problem to meet for dinner instead of getting a ride there.

If you’re hooking up, give yourself enough time in a safe, neutral location to get a read on your new friend before you go to anyplace private.

Find out the full name and phone number of the person you’re meeting before you go. Leave this information with a friend, and make sure he or she knows exactly where you’re going and for how long.

Check in with this friend at the end of your night (or in the morning) to let them know things are OK.

If you ever feel unsafe, you can make it clear to your date that someone else knows who you’re with and where you are.

Always follow your instincts about the person you’re meeting. This applies to offline encounters as well. If anyone asks for information that makes you uncomfortable or even if you have a bad feeling about someone, remove yourself from the situation. If you’re already on a date, it’s OK to leave. You can be polite, but your safety is more important than any etiquette.

You’re also never obligated to meet an online acquaintance in person if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.

If you feel safe and take the right precautions, the Internet can be a great tool for getting to know someone. It gives you a chance to talk about anything you like before you have to deal with the pressure of face-to-face contact.

It can be easier to bring up tricky subjects like sex and boundaries when you’ve got time to think about and write what you want.

Take advantage of this, and you’re set for a positive experience!

Waddill is a member of the class of 2009.



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