When Internet Dates Go Wrong

But plenty of them end up fine.

I hope you address the recent rough-play-gone-bad death of New
York City radio newsman George Weber. According to reports, it appears
Weber met a guy on Craigslist for “violent sex,” and the guy stabbed
Weber to death.

It’s a reminder that if you have these kinds of fantasies —
Weber wanted to be bound and abused — you’re better off doing it
with someone you trust and not with some random trick off the Internet.
No one should wind up dead trying to fulfill a sexual desire.

Safety Conscious

First, I want to extend my sincerest condolences to George Weber’s
family and friends.

Second, reading about Weber’s death reminded me of a joke —
this has to be the worst start to a second paragraph ever — that
Jon Stewart told on The Daily Show during the darkest days (er,
years) of the insurgency in Iraq. Conservatives were complaining that a
biased media wasn’t reporting any of the good news in Iraq, nothing
about all those freshly painted schoolrooms or, um, all those other
freshly painted schoolrooms; the news out of Iraq then was all
bloodletting, beheadings, and car bombs, all the time.

“Yeah,” Stewart deadpanned. “We never hear about the cars that don’t
explode.”

What happened to Weber was horrifying — what John Katehis
allegedly did to Weber was horrifying — and, again, my heart goes
out to his friends and family. And, yes, there are lessons in this
horrific crime for anyone seeking sex and/or love online. But looking
for sex online is not, as some have insisted in the wake of Weber’s
murder, so inherently risky a pursuit that only a lunatic would
contemplate it. Remember: We never hear about the people hooking up
online who don’t get brutally murdered — and unlike cars in Iraq
that haven’t exploded (yet), it’s actually relevant that most people
hooking up online aren’t brutally murdered.

Every day tens of thousands of people — hundreds of thousands
— find partners online. While lots of folks online are seeking
relationships at sites like Match.com
or ChristianSingles.com,
there are more people online at any given moment seeking NSA sex at
sites like AdultFriendFinder.com or Recon.com. (People seeking relationships can
find love the old-fashioned way, at work or by going out, and many do.
And the ones who go online stop lurking online after they’ve met
someone and appeared in an eHarmony commercial. NSAers, on the other
hand, have better odds finding other NSAers online, and they’re always
coming back for more.) If random Internet hookups were even half as
dangerous as crimes like this make them seem — if they were even
one-one-hundredth as dangerous — there would be a dozen
online-hookup murders in New York City every day, and scores more in
Toronto and San Francisco and Miami and Vancouver and Chicago.

No one should be cavalier about safety when it comes to Internet
hookups, of course; people seeking NSA or fantasy-fulfillment sex
online need to use common sense and take all reasonable precautions.
Insist on a verifiable exchange of real names and real phone numbers
before meeting; meet in person first, in a public place, preferably at
a time when you can’t mess around immediately after your first meeting.
And people seeking the services of a pro should go to one of the dozen
or more established web sites out there that host ads from pros along
with client reviews.

And it’s always a bad idea to post an offer for $60 in exchange for
sex to the crowd of fakes and freaks who have overrun Craigslist, as
Weber is reported to have done. Meeting cheap whores via Craigslist ups
your odds of hooking up with, say, a mentally unstable teenage
“satanist” with a coke problem and a MySpace page packed with pictures
of him wielding knives and swords.

Now perhaps Weber, working as a freelancer, couldn’t afford the
services of $200-an-hour professional dominant; maybe he had lowballed
it on Craigslist a dozen times before and always had good experiences.
Most people who ignore my advice about safety, or hook up with cheap CL
hookers, do live to tell the tale. But when it comes to realizing a
fantasy that involves violence or helplessness, someone safe, sane, and
expensive is more than worth the investment.

Finally, people take calculated risks all the time for pleasures
less essential than sex. You’re assuming a certain degree of risk
— of injury, of death — every time you get in a car, go
skiing, or order the chicken. We do what we can to minimize those risks
(buckle the fuck up, wear a helmet, don’t order your chicken rare), but
we don’t hold up deaths on highways, slopes, or at the dinner table as
evidence that people who even think of driving, skiing, or chickening
have to be out of their minds.

The sad fact is that some of us will die at the hands of our
intimate partners. Do what you can to minimize your risk of being
murdered by a sex partner, because some people are dangerous lunatics
— and not just Internet hookups. Yes, George Weber took the wrong
guy home, no question. So did Laci Peterson.

My fiancé is bisexual. I fulfill his “man-love” fantasies
by strapping it on and giving it to him, but he has started talking
about wanting to have sex with men. I feel like a jerk for freaking out
about this, but I’m not willing to entertain the emotional and physical
risks of opening our relationship to another person. Am I totally off
base here, Dan?

What The Fuck Is Wrong With Men These Days

Do not marry this man.

Lots of bisexual guys are capable of monogamy, as are lots of
bisexual girls. (That’s what angry bisexuals are always telling me, at
any rate, in their angry e-mails.) But this bisexual guy is not, and
he’s made that clear. He gets points for being honest — and I
mean that sincerely. He gets points for telling you now, before the
wedding, that being pegged, while wonderful in its own right, isn’t
enough and that he’s going to need a little man-love reality now and
then. You might be able to extract a promise from him under duress,
WTFIWWMTD, and get him to agree to sexual exclusivity as a condition of
going ahead with the marriage. But that will just result in you facing
the emotional and physical risks of an open relationship without the
honesty and accountability that can mitigate those risks.

And to the angry bisexuals: You know I don’t think monosexuals are
any good at monogamy either, right?

My partner and I have been together for four years. Last year we
sought to experiment with another couple via an adult web site. We
eventually found a sexy pair who we met up with, but the experience
left me feeling unsure about how comfortable I am with the idea of the
“swinging” lifestyle. I know my partner loves me and is loyal, and he’s
messed around a bit with others since we’ve been together and that’s
okay (so have I, also okay), but getting together with another couple
was a lot more personally challenging than I thought. How can I get
more comfortable and open-minded about this?

Swinger Wannabe

The problem might have been the other couple, SW, and not the
swinging lifestyle per se. You could give it another shot, with another
couple, and see if you feel differently. If you do and you don’t, well,
then you may have to accept — or, more to the point, the
boyfriend will have to accept — that synchronized infidelity just
isn’t for you.

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