I've heard people comment many times about how gross it is to just meet some stranger online and have sex. Meanwhile, this same person will meet some stranger in a bar, go home with them, or take them back to their place, and have sex.
Similarly, someone will comment how they would never go to a bathhouse, or go cruising, meanwhile, they're trolling for cock and ass using Grindr, Scruff, Growlr, GuySpy, Hornet, Tinder, et al, on their smartphones.
Each person seems to think that their method of hooking up is okay and safe, while other methods are gross and unsafe, not realizing that they are all exactly the same. There is no difference between picking up a stranger in a bar, finding a stranger using an app on your phone, or playing with a stranger in a bathhouse, or some sort of sex-positive club. They're all equal. You're meeting a stranger.
Is there anything wrong with this? With meeting a stranger? No. Is there something wrong with judging one method more harshly than another? Yes. You're delusional. That guy at the bar, that guy on Grindr, and that guy at the bathhouse could all literally be the same guy. How you go about meeting him makes no difference.
It is true that the more sexual partners you have, the greater your chances are of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Of course, you could also contract one from having had only one partner, ever, in your life. The key, though, is to practice safer sex. And to practice personal safety, but I'll get into that in a moment.
Safer sex means using a condom every fucking time you fucking fuck, you fuckers! I know, it's easier said than done. I've failed at this more than a few times. So, I'm in no position to judge anyone here. Though that's never stopped me before. But, eh, I'm not going to judge. You really should wear a condom, and/or have your partner wear one every single time. Not only to protect you, but to protect them too. Everyone says they're clean and disease free. The odds that everyone is disease free seem like they'd be pretty high, so I can only guess a lot of these people are bullshitting us. That, or they don't know that they've got something lurking inside them.
I'm not a doctor, and I'm not an expert on sexually transmitted infections, but I'm pretty solid on common sense. So, here's a little for you: I'm betting most people don't get tested for STDs, or as they're starting to be called, STIs, nearly as often as they should. Most people probably only get checked when they show symptoms. Not all STIs have noticeable symptoms. So, now you've got someone who is infected with something like, say, gonorrhea in their mouth, but they're unaware of it, and don't bother to get tested for it because most people only really worry about HIV, it seems. So, this person performs oral sex on your and your penis now has a snotty nose, which is basically what gonorrhea looks like. Don't ask me how I know this. *shudder*
The other thing is that people get tested and get their negative results and they think they're good to go. However, when you go to get tested for, say, HIV, it tests for antibodies in the blood, which don't start showing up until you've been exposed for a while. So, if you were infected three weeks before getting tested, it might not show up. They do have newer tests which can look for more recent exposures, but I'm not sure how recent of an exposure they can detect.
Now, after this person has gotten their negative results, they immediately start fucking around, well, now those test results are no longer valid, in my opinion. We no longer know if this person is disease free or not. They will say, "Oh, yeah, I got tested last month, and I'm negative." They won't tell you that they've had sex with five people since then, and didn't use a condom any of those times. Keep that in mind.
As for personal safety, well, that's the risky part. Whether you meet someone in a bar, or on Craigslist, or an app on your smartphone, you don't know this person. If you met them in a bar you can kind of gauge them and see if they're safe. And honestly, 9.9 times out of 10, you're not going to have problems. Think of how many times people have hooked up. You only occasionally hear about someone being hurt physically. So, the odds are in your favor. But, you do also want to make sure the person just isn't annoyingly nutty, too, whether or not they're going to hurt you. You may be bringing this person into your home, and you don't want someone who will be stealing your pain meds out of your medicine cabinet, or casing the place for a robbery, or something, either. Though, I don't know how you'd be able to guess if this person was going to do that, or not.
Wow, I'm probably scaring the snot out of you. Okay, okay... look, that type of stuff is rather rare. I've hooked up a lot. The vast, vast majority of guys I've been with have been, well, I'm sorry to say, unremarkable. They didn't annoy me, or steal from me. They didn't thrill me either. We might have had some fun, but then we parted ways. I'm sure they don't remember me either. There are some, though, who were a pain in the ass. They were clingy after just hooking up. I've had that happen literally 1% of the time. Actually, less than that. And, yes, I did the math. I had one guy steal from me, and he was actually someone I was dating. His drug habit was more important than I was. So, 0.5% of my partners, I'll say, have stolen from me. Yes, I see you doing the math there. Knock it off. Absolutely none of my partners have ever attacked me. Ever. None have even come close to trying. Now, I should disclose that I'm a big dude, and only date, or "date," smaller guys, so that may be a reason why that's the case, but I doubt it. I just think it's rare.
You're going to have to go with your gut though. But look at it this way. You're meeting someone new, when you're hooking up. But this isn't all that different from making a new friend and having them over to your house for the first time, or having a date come over. The fact that they're a hookup seems sketchy, but that's probably because you have some repressed feelings of guilt over sex, or something. I'm no psychiatrist. Don't add extra weight to it because it's about sex, though.
If you're nervous about meeting someone, arrange to meet at a public place first. Even if it's just going to be for a moment or two. You can do it under the guise of saying that it's tricky to find your place, so they can meet you at the local Starbucks and they can follow you back to your place. You can get there ahead of them, find out from them what sort of car they drive, wait for them to get there and watch for their car, and when they get out you can start looking for red flags. You can start gauging if this person is someone you want to have come over to your place. If anything make your Spidey-senses tingle, make a break for it and block them from contacting you.
Most hookups I've had were fine. Like I said, unremarkable. And that shouldn't be taken as an insult by any means. A hookup isn't supposed to be some romantic, memorable moment. It's a step above masturbation, and a step below a friend with benefits. You likely don't remember every time you masturbated, but you likely enjoyed 90% of the times you did it. I likely enjoyed most of the times I hooked up. But, unless something unusual happened, or we had some little bonding moment, it was unremarkable.
I will say, that I've made a few friends through hooking up. They were originally hookups, which turned into friends with benefits, which just turned into simply friends. I value each of them, and met them all through Grindr. It's not about how you meet someone. The person you meet online is the same person who is standing next to you in the grocery store. There's no difference. The internet has just made it easier to make contact with more people, who are farther away.