• Well that got your attention!

    We are all adults here so may as well address this topic instead of pretending it doesn't exist. There is a certain percentage of people who will use the CS website to find sexual partners. Agree or disagree with people doing that doesn't change the fact that it does happen. How about we come up with an icon that people can put up on their profile to say they are not interested in having sex with surfers. That way the people who are only interested in using the site for sex will be able to see straight away that the profile they are looking at is not interested and will move on to someone else.

    Something like this.

    It's simple, sends a clear message and is easy to implement.
    there's plenty of web sites for that purpose.
    CS is for travelers.
    I'm pretty sure if you search on google about 'sex partner in berlin',
    you can find more than enough.

    so go for it and please don't put this sort of post on CS.
    I know many couple who have met through this site. There have even been marriages and kids so to think that this isn't actually happening is a bit naive.

    But the other side of the coin is that you have unwanted sexual advances and even some cases of sexual assault. I think it is impossible to completely remove that problem but this could be an approach.
    the other way round also works. What ever makes it easier for people to find what they are looking for :D
    I really like this idea! That way it would be much more simple for CS, for both sides =)
    it's totally okay to meet through CS and have something between two, but we don't need to make it so obvious and absolutely no need for recommend it.
    there are plenty of site that you can use for finding sexual partners but the problem is that many people think that couchsurfing is one of them.
    @Darko - Debate is always good. This is an issue that I have heard about and read about a number of different times over the years. The conversation normally goes around in circles with no real solution. So here is an idea. Maybe some others can come up with something better.

    There is no system in the world that can stop this from actually happening. No matter how much thought you put into something there is always the potential for it to be abused.

    What ever 2 consenting adults want to do has nothing to do with me. Who, how often and in what positions you want to have sex with someone is your business. It has nothing to do with me or anyone else for that matter. But the number of users on the site has grown and many of them do not necessarily know what couchsurfing is actually about for the majority of people who use it.

    I am not saying that CS should introduce it. It is something that individual users could choose to put on their profile if they wanted to.
    yea that could be an answer :)
    Hi Don, greetings from Bratislava. I just moved here from Berlin, where I lived more of my life than anywhere else.

    I took the time to ready your profile and you indeed write a lot about the expectations you have from your guests. This is perfectly OK. Everyone should have the right to write anything they want in their profile, provided it isn't offensive in nature (well, this is always up to interpretation), e.g. incite hatred towards others, have the goal of insulting others, etc.

    I agree with you about debating and of course we want to break the viscous cycle and come to an amicable solution.

    You bring up the point that there are a lot of new members on the site and they don't fully understand how CouchSurfing works. Well, then why don't they consider changing the registration process so that new members are walked though the site and made aware of the potential risks and or dangers and that everyone is expected to be respectful towards other member, etc.

    I'm not talking about the rules that we agree to, i.e. that we just agree to them, but rather new members who are registering would have to take approx. 10 to 15 minutes to register. This would include a brief introduction to CouchSurfing, with all the benefits and possible risks. It's just too easy nowadays to click on the 'I agree to the General Terms and Conditions" button and who even reads them? Maybe just key points could be mentioned - the most important ones.

    Would this satisfy your concerns, Don?

    These are just some ideas I have.

    The thing is, I can't change the registration process for the entire site. That is something that is done at a corporate level. I think there should be more information for new users on how to use the site.

    I have done new member welcome meetings in Berlin and a large portion of it was about setting expectations from your guests. If you have it written clearly on your profile what is acceptable behaviour in your house and what isn't then there will be fewer problems.

    Another potion of the meetings I did was "worst case scenario" type things. What do you do if you end up in a certain situation. I think this is something that should also be covered for both hosts and surfers. If for example you end up with a surfer you need to get out of your house what do you do? This topic is important for girls living on their own (not a sexist comment but purely related to physical strength). There is a really simple solution to this and that is to get to know your neighbours. Then you can use the "I'm just going next door to borrow some milk" type excuse to go get some help. Neighbours can get there faster than police.

    In a city in Brasil they have someone that is using CS to get with women. When that person gets a few negative references he deletes his profile, creates a new one and starts the whole process again.

    No matter what you do some people will use that site for sex and romance. I've written it twice in my profile but I guess horny people are unstoppable :D
    If people want to meet and have sex I have no problem with that at all. Every couple of months the topic of safety on CS comes up and every couple of months it normally gets divided into the "CS must do more to protect the users" and the "the users must be more aware of who they stay with".

    The simple fact is, that it is a recurring issue that has never been addressed. What I have suggested is a rather unusual solution to the problem. So suggest more solutions that don't require CS to change the website :)
    The reference system only works if people leave detailed references and often that doesn't happen. There is nothing to stop someone from deleting their profile and creating a new one. All you need is a new email address and you can have a new account. As you know it is quiet easy to set up an email address and if you are only going to use it for CS then you can change your profile as often as you want.

    No matter what system you put in place it will be flawed.
    All people is allways looking for sex come on !!!!

    This site is really attracting some scary freaks these days. My girlfriend recently got harassed by some guy we met to hang out with in Istanbul within minutes of meeting him. So personally I'd says fuck you to all of you assholes who are only using this site for sex. You're turning it into rapesurfing.
    @Mike - I have a conversation with your gf on Sunday morning which is kinda what started me thinking about this again. The same day I read a post about Brasil. Glad that she is fine and hope you two enjoy the rest of your trip in Istanbul.

    As you can see, this is actually a problem and something that is probably only going to get worse are the membership increases. I just did a google search for "couchsurfing sex" found this thread. http://www.wetravelaroundtheworld.com/sex-and-couchsurfing/ of a girl telling her experiences of CS.

    guys let's keep the conversation civil and productive.
    So what is the alternative? We continue to stick out heads in the sand and pretend this doesn't happen at all?
    Yeah, no offense, but we need to be kicking the scumbags who prey on women out of our local communities. Women shouldn't have to worry about being pressed for sex or raped when they Couchsurf.

    Do people meet, have sex, have relationships via Couchsurfing? Of course, (I personally am dating an ambassador!) but this usually develops naturally over time because of mutual attraction.

    What Don is talking about are the fucktard assholes who invite women to their houses or to meet just to try and fuck them, and some of these guys are extra forceful, creepy, and get pissed when they get turned down.

    And seriously, we need to be telling those particular guys to go fuck themselves and CS needs to BAN them.
    - You opened Pandora's box here! Provocative! Well done! -

    Let's face it, casual sex with strangers in the context of CouchSurfing can bring all sorts of problems, generally, more so for women than men. Women face the possibility of becoming pregnant, and they are often at greater risk of contracting STDs. And when you throw in the fact that the female traveler is moving on, she ultimately takes the problem with her. However, if both guest and host develop romantic feelings for each other and both people involved (male or female) treat each other with respect, and and they have sex - and both agree to this, then I don't see a problem.

    Travelers and hosts alike should use common sense and be aware that we are all sexual beings and things can happen, especially when we don't plan it that way. Ultimately, everyone at CouchSurfing have to use good judgement and solo female travelers should consider staying with other women or perhaps a couple (perhaps with children). CouchSurfers who hit on other CouchSurfers who are obviously not interested need to take a course in interpersonal skills and etiquette.

    The fundamental problem is, and will continue to be related to what might motivate some CouchSurfers to be a host or guest. I would suggest that a guest take adequate measures before they accept/arrive at their guest's accommodation:

    Take the time to choose their host well (click on the friends of the friends, click on the friends of those leaving feedback - go at least two to three degrees of separation from the host or guest - depending on the arrangement). How long has this CouchSurfer been a member? Do his references seem to stack up? What kind of friends does he have? Also consider doing an online search and see what you come up with (Facebook, etc.). If you have your any doubts at this stage, consider staying with a different host (or do not host this person).

    Let others know where you intend to stay (or host) and bring this up in casual conversation to your host.

    Important: I suggest you always plan to arrive early enough at your host's place. Should you have bad vibes from the start, there's nothing to stop you from changing your mind and going to a hostel. Just make sure you know of other places to stay. In the case where the aggressor is the guest, you have every right to demand that they leave at once!

    Always have an strategy and a contingency plan.

    Personally, I don't think a NO SEX PLEASE! button would work. It's just too easy for 'lazy' users to read. Then such users might fail to read the references and the rest of the host's/guest's CSing page. And I say it again, someone who only wants sex could easily use this button and make their guest/host let their guard down. - Never let your guard down! -

    Seems hard to edit online: Anyhow, I meant to add:

    Always have an EXIT STRATEGY and a CONTINGENCY PLAN!

    I think you meant to quote me.

    In the initiator of this thread's own words:

    "Guys let's keep the conversation civil and productive."

    Honestly, I don't know what you mean by saying "This is sick." Please elaborate. Moreover, please further develop your case why you think my post is full of contradictions. Enlighten me.

    Of course everyone knows about condom use.

    The point that I was trying to convey in my last entry on this thread is not about condom use, or sexual education in general for that matter, but about the POTENTIAL problems that can arise from unwanted (maybe rape is a more suitable word in this context) sex. Condoms have been known to break and I don't think rapists used them on a regular basis.

    Sexual predators act very irrationally. Hence, they don't consider the STD aspect of their behaviour to be a determinant factor, i.e. something that might prevent them from committing such a selfish act. And you have to consider that it is the sexual predator who already has the STD in this context, and that HE is the one transmitting it to his unwanted sexual partner. It might have been more difficult for him to receive the STD in the first place (if you don't believe me, then research the differences between male and female anatomy and STD transfer risks).

    In the case of condom use (assuming the sexual predator uses one), they do not always prevent pregnancy (I feel compelled to teach sexual ed. 101), e.g. breakage, secretion of bodily fluids before the condom was fitted, etc.

    I would agree that as guests/hosts need to more aware. And perhaps having something like an image on their couch/personal description will actually make them think about this topic.

    Also we are applying western standards to this topic. Hopefully we have all be taught that when someone says NO that they mean NO. And girls have been taught that they can say NO and that the person should stop. This is not always the case in other cultures. Also you we are looking it at the view point of men harassing women. It is possible for women to harass men, women to harass other women and for men to harass other men.

    Instead of just listing all the reasons that something like this wouldn't work, suggest something that would.

    Options so far
    1) Delete profiles of people that use site for sex. - Noble idea but there is nothing to stop them from creating a new account. Stopping someone from creating a new account or verifying someones identity requires a technical change to the site which given the current team that are working on it, I don't have much faith.
    2) Do nothing - This is the current method and it does cause problems.
    3) sex/no sex image for profile - It can be the no sex image, clothing optional image, Cultural exchange only image. Something that indicates you want to use this site for it's purpose which is not primarily to find a fuck buddy. Not perfect as has already been explained.
    4) ....
    5) ....
    6) ....
    Unwilling sexual partner is what I mean to say.. sorry everyone.

    Your last post was excellent! I would like to help you expand upon the awareness aspect. Why not consider making an entry to wikipedia on this subject. I don't know how easily it can be done in the case of CouchSurfing. Wikipedia is an open access website and I've created and edited pages in the field of aviation and citizenship. Take a look at what wikipedia say about this subject in English:

    2009 Leeds Incident
    On 5 March 2009 in Leeds, UK, a man raped a woman from Hong Kong who stayed at his place through the CouchSurfing project.[11] He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.[12] Other cases of sexual assault and theft have been reported to the police and in the press in several countries.

    This is all I could find (at first glance) on the subject of sexual harassment and rape.

    @ flohfish, I also liked your excellent latest entry. You made some very convincing points.

    The ideal solution has been, is, and shall remain quite simple: Use common sense (and of course a bit of luck).

    If someone wants to buy a new computer, they can either research the consumer report reviews and talk to friends who have a new computer - or maybe just take the risk and buy one without doing any research. The same rule applies to using CouchSurfing. Buttons are too easy, research takes time and requires the researcher to analytic and not everyone is willing to do this. So the common sens thing to do would be to do the ground work, take the time to research your prospective host or guest.

    Sorry mate, but with suggestions like that, you'd last about five minutes in the Nordic Countries.
    the problem with common sense is that it is not that common.

    If you wanted to be really cynical you would say its their fault for not researching.

    how about some sort of cultural exchange icon?
    I think this is the most active thread we have had in a long time. I am not sure who the troll comment was directed towards but this is not a trolling thread. This is a genuine problem that exists on this site and is something that we should talk about. Jess explained the situation she found herself in. She has been a member since 2005, is an experienced couchsurfer and still got caught by surprise. Mike gave a brief explanation of the situation with his girlfriend, who is a couchsurfing ambassador, so also pretty experienced. Cathy, you and I have had many a conversation on this and related topics in the past. No matter what you do, or how experienced you are it is still possible to end up in a harassing situation.

    The idea I put forward is not the silver bullet to solve this problem but perhaps it would have some impact. @Jess, if this or something like it had been on your profile do you think the guy would have possibly refused to host you? @Mike, do you think this guy would have bothered contacting your gf if this was there?

    With regard to the emergency services that already exists for Berlin. If you check http://www.csberlin.com/maps/emergency you will see that here is a map with Police stations, hospitals and emergency services including rape crisis centers. It would be pretty easy to draw up a map for each city and put in on couchwiki for people to see and use.

    So if the sex/no sex icon doesn't work for people how about something like this http://media2.my.88db.com/my_UploadFiles/2012/10/11/17AC85F5-07BE-44A1-9C5B-3617761049CF.jpg
    You get to have that icon on your profile after you complete some sort of online training course about hosting/surfing. You have a presentation that covers various topics and at the end of the course you get to put this icon on your profile.
    In a bar your defenses tend to be up and you are maybe a little more aware of what is happening. In your own home your defenses tend to be down as this is a safe place for you. When you are in a hosts house it is like you are in a friends house. You know something about them, they know something about you as you have read each others profile and exchanged some messages. This is the fantastic thing about CS is that you can go to another city, anywhere in the world and already have friends to meet with.
    //on SEX with couchsurfers/hosts
    on you have the power of simple said, NOOOO!!//

    This is rape apology & victim blaming. "She didn't say no, she wanted it, the poor rapist shouldn't be held accountable"

    No fucking way rape apology belongs in CS. Like I said, this site is starting to teem with scary freaks.
    @Don Shine
    "the problem with common sense is that it is not that common."
    You're so right, Don. Case closed.

    @Don Shine"If you wanted to be really cynical you would say its their fault for not researching."
    I would prefer not to cynical because I don't find it appropriated to blame the victim.

    @Don Shine
    ....."You get to have that icon on your profile after you complete some sort of online training course about hosting/surfing. You have a presentation that covers various topics and at the end of the course you get to put this icon on your profile."
    Excellent idea! The lack of such an added feature is what makes CouchSurfing and so many other social networks wide open to abuse.

    I don't even like the CouchSurfing website since they made major changes to it. I find it difficult to navigate in the meantime.

    I do not blame the victims of sexual advances or abuse by any means - If they say NO! (It shouldn't even be allowed to go this far) I just find it very difficult to understand how a single woman would feel comfortable being with a singe man in his home, and especially spend the night there - and when she has never met him in person before, honestly. I do have a female friend who is well-trained in martial arts - but how many girls are already trained and can use this?

    Actions speak louder than words! Instead of saying NO! SCREAM! SCREAM loudly and repeatedly! I think this would get the attention of the entire neighborhood. And if it's gone this far already (his unwanted sexual advancements), then she's not going to stay there, because if he's tried it once, she's got to assume that he'll try it the next day - and by screaming she's already alerted others.
    i think something like that is really useless. if somebody doesn t want sex they should say no and if somebody impolite with this answer or a freak write a bad review that other people see,thats it!! no need for shit like this!!
    This is a warning sign:
    (A true example from a user profile)

    Age: 20 something
    Gender: male
    Preferred gender: female
    Shared Sleeping Surface: Depends
    Shared Room: Depends
    "What happens in this place (this person's flat is affectionately names after him), stays in this place."

    He makes his position quite clear.

    I also think a button is the wrong way to go. Keep reading the descriptions, references and feedback - but always keep your guard up - and in this guy's case, I think he makes it clear what he's looking for.
    Harassment is going to happen no matter what you do. There is no silver bullet to solve the issue. What you do to be friendly can be misinterpreted as a sexual advance. The 2 or 3 kisses on the cheek which is quite common in many European cultures doesn't really work in Ireland, UK or USA. In some cultures that could result in a couple of years in jail.

    Going to the police works out well in some countries in others you are perhaps better off not saying anything to anyone.

    As for the online training course it would be more to make people generally aware of what CS is about. Getting people who host to understand that it's YOUR house and YOU make the rules for YOUR house. As a host you should communicate your expectations from your guests clearly on your profile. The more information you provide the more informed a decision someone can make about if they stay with you or not. Someone can read my profile and think its quite a lot of rules on there others will read it and think it makes perfect sense.

    Everybody talking about sex and I even didn't notice !!!
    Well, I think that we don't need the "No Sex Zone" sign because we already have the feedback. In CS the feedback is used for that, isn't? To say "this person wanted to have what I didn't want to give" and that's all. You don't invite that person to your place anymore.
    @Stefan - I have no time and honestly at the moment I am not feeling much love for CS and what they are doing.

    @annalimassol - so we should just do nothing??

    @Victoriano - what is happening is that people who get negative feedback are deleting their account and starting a new one.
    Why don't activities and/or profiles just have a list of "what you want from CS" style optionS <- emphasis on the S. Most single people as far as activities involving drink goes would be firmly in the "i don't know sure we'll see what happens" category i would imagine.
    Fantastic idea! I would definitely use your icon.
    @annalimasol - I fear it is going to happen. I really hope it doesn't but with the rapid expansion of the network and lack of explanation as to what the community is actually about the outcome is somewhat inevitable.

    @Michael - Unfortunately I live in the real Couchsurfing world. While you, I and many of the other people on CS may not use the site to find a fuck buddy there are many that do. What happens when the number of people who do us the site for that reason increases? If you and a surfer/host are getting on really well and things move to a different level, that's great. I have friends who met through CS, fell love, got married and have a child. Anyone who has been here for a long enough period knows at least one story like this. If you look at any "place" around CS they are flooded with couch requests from new users, with no experience and are getting offered couches from empty profiles. This tends to be young girls looking of a couch and guys offering to host.

    Here a better alternative.

    How about erasing the categorie "Gender" from the profiles?

    It shouldn't matter in the first place, and it would make looking for sex harder.

    Most of all it wouldn't penalize people who didn't plan anything and end up having sex anyway.

    A no-sex icon would certainly not discourage people capable of sexual assault, and it would actually turn couch surfing into a dating site, since all the people without it are in for sex.

    What disturbs me most about this idea is that it has this sex hostile undertone.

    I hope we all agree that sex is a good thing.
    sex is a great thing. The more the merrier :)
    @Patrick remembered me this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObbLapUaZd4 and the movie they showed right after that. I just imagined you in the role of that professor, telling about the anonymity in the internet and asking the audience "Why you think 99% of you are using nicknames in their profiles? I made some researches...."
    (Agree or disagree with people doing that doesn't change the fact that it does happen), this is right, but i.m sure,that SEX with couchsurfers/hosters must change CS.org.
    how about the poster will just get a life? seriously who cares.. all this energy put into this pointless discussion... if you dont want be sexually harrassed then avoid your contact with women LOL
    this thread is too long to read every post... but is there any point in having this "discussion"? I mean, come on! Are you seriously suggesting that everybody who doesn't want to be assaulted / have sex / who is not looking for a partner has to run around with signs of all of the things he doesn't want to do?
    what the hell?! I don't really think we need a "no thanks I don't want to be raped" button. This is in fact what is discussed here. When I surf a couch somewhere and somebody is a way too flirty and he/she seems to wanna have sex I can just say no. If it's going any further after that it isn't about sex anymore.

    And if it is about rapeing a button surely wouldn't help. If people wanna have easy and fast sex they go for dating website and if they wanna have a woman alone in their flat and won't stop after she said so a button wouldn't help.

    I think every woman using couchsurfing is aware of this risk. There are a few bad people everywhere nobody can't help that.
    Reading the profile usally helps and if not a button wouldn't help either.

    I more agree with the people who said we need a discussion about our culture.
    And I have to say I'm pretty shocked about some people really wriing "come on why does a woman wanna stay at a mans house?!" For me that already kind of implies victim blameing. I really, really hope I'll never be unlucky engough to surf with somebody like this.

    So please no stupid signs but a culture of awareness.
    to: Lilja Girgensohn "too flirty " und " fast sex they go for dating website",
    Agree, you are right!
    reputation, I think it is very importend for CS,

    and, CS is not Facebook, not dating website, not BBS or chat, balabala,,,,,

    we are backpacker, what we hope, it is exchange between diffrent cultur ,not exchange between M/W gender.

    I don't like a changed CS,
    Karl Marx, a philosopher with a long beard, wrote around 1860 that economic conditions, meaning how much money people have in their pockets, determine social conditions, meaning how many sexual partners one will get in one's life. He explained everything in a book called Das Capital. If you don't agree with this you can do two things: burn his text in a Berlin square, something we have already seen, or move with a time machine to the Middle Ages, to meet with Dante and pope Boniface VIII.

    I had forgotten about this thread! (about the thread, not you Don...)
    I'm so happy, I loved this thread!
    Would someone please tell me how to get out of this thread with the CS settings! I'm receiving an email every few minutes and no longer wish to participate. Cheers!
    bumping uglies? Wasn't that the start of the topic?
    Good old Don. Good to see his pic! ;-)

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