Although the site explicitly warns that it is not a matchmaking service, it has a lot of DNA in common with dating sites. Its characteristically youthful and adventurous users upload their interests, references, and photos to a profile that isn’t too fundamentally different from what you might see on OKCupid or Match.com. We at The Date Report are delighted whenever people get to bone people who also wish to bone them, because that is the best. To the extent that Couchsurfing facilitates the having of fun, consensual sex, mazel tov. But the expectation of sex – particularly on the part of a man housing a woman – leaves plenty of room for creepiness.
Business Insider interviewed a 32-year-old New Yorker, “Riccardo,” who only invites attractive young female travelers into his home. He’s hosted eight guests to date, of whom he’s banged five. (He also cuddled in bed with two of the others, if that counts.) But he hasn’t always boasted such a high batting average – he failed to seduce either of the two women who stayed with him during his first couchsurfing experience. As he puts it, “Big fail!” This, you see, was before he developed the line that became his never-fail closer: “Come, get in my bed.” (n.b. Don’t have sex with Riccardo.)
I’m reminded of It’s Always Sunny’s Dennis and his thoughts on “the implication.” Whether the Riccardos of the world acknowledge it or not, there is a definite power dynamic at work here, one that some skeevebags no doubt choose to exploit.
So here’s the deal, couchsurfers. If you’re traveling (or hosting) and you find yourself digging somebody, congratulations! Get your Vicky Cristina Barcelona on and have a great time. But – as is literally always the case – consent is vital, and the offer of a place to sleep shouldn’t be contingent on whether someone will sleep with you. If you’re only interested in exchanging housing for sex, that’s what LoveRoom is for.
Image via Veer