With many of us creeping up on two months of mandated loneliness ( I mean, quarantine), it’s safe to say that we’ve had a lot of time for introspection and soul-searching. Whether you’ve spent the majority of your time baking sourdough or binge-watching Netflix, you’ve most likely had some quiet moments to really think about your life. What is it you need? What do you want to achieve? And how do you want to spend your time when all this is over?
For singles, a resounding answer to these questions is “a relationship.” During this quarantine, over 42% of singles have downloaded a dating app and 41% have signed up for a dating website. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, put these statistics into perspective during an interview with Vanity Fair.
“You may have been vaguely aware that you want or need a partner, but you’re busy at work, you’re busy with your family, you’ve got your weekends with friends, et cetera,” Fisher said. “The need for another person (right now) is ‘going to be very vivid for an awful lot of people.'”
We already know what you’re thinking: how can people go on dates while we’re in lockdown? Scoot over Netflix, we’re FaceTiming and chilling now–some are even recreating the dating experiment made popular by Love is Blind on Instagram.
Major online dating services like Bumble and Hinge have heard the desperate call of your souls and are changing the way people date by bringing in-app video chat features to its platforms in an attempt to safely bring you one step closer to your matches. Tinder is even reporting a new in-app trivia mode debuting later this year that will allow you to get to know your matches in a more enjoyable setting. While we sympathize with all the singles out there, we strongly advise against allowing your carnal desires to overpower your decision making by meeting up with the people you match with on these sites. Instead, sit back, relax, bake some bread, and brush up on the best dating sites (and apps) to use once quarantine is over.
Top adult dating websites and apps
Adult Friend Finder isn’t just a dating site, it’s a social media and hookup site, too. Boasting well over one million site members and counting, AFF is easily navigable, explicit, and heavily used in major cities. Before signing up for a free account, the site showcases sneak peeks of users in your area that are active, or have been active recently. Before entering the site, you’ll be able to set your preferences as interested in single men, women, couples, or groups. Then once you get through to the homepage, you’ll notice the layout is pretty simple, almost early Facebook-esque, and quite revealing. Having the ability to filter the content according to nudity is a big bonus for at work browsers. Other options for filtering are age, distance, username, and active status. Complete the profile “purity test” to find out if you’re a sexual newbie or a full-blown hedonist, or, fill out the personality test to connect you with your perfect match. Not only does AFF connect you with profiles online, but it also offers a cam site, adult-centered content community, and app! If variety is what you’re searching for on your new dating site, AdultFriendFinder is your destination.
Book of Sex is run by the same company as AdultFriendFinder, so the interface is the same, the features are the same, and, for the most part, the users are the same (since access to one site gets you in on the other). The biggest difference between the two is the number of users and a variety of users. I can’t tell you which site is better between the two, since the user fluctuation is pretty small, but also, what you like and what I like are not the same. My advice would be to try both out! If you’re in a big city, you might find that the users you’re looking for are more involved with one of the sites, but if you’re not in a city, the chances are that most users are signed up for both.
Happn is a breath of fresh air when it comes to adult dating sites. Forget the algorithm and personal aesthetics, this free app matches you with people who have physically crossed your path throughout the day! Using its geo-location system, this app will connect you with other app uses who have crossed your path within a 250-meter radius. The matches appear on your screen in the form of a profile showing the user’s name and occupation. Once a match appears, you can then scroll through photos, and read a short bio of the person detailing things like what they’re looking for in a relationship, their height, how much they exercise, what their food preference is, and even what their party habits are. These “matches” will be available to view for up to one week after crossing paths, however, specific matches will be updated if you cross paths again within the week.
Take into account that if you don’t go out much, or if you don’t live in a heavily populated city, this might not be the app for you. And because of the geo-location, even people you haven’t “matched” with will be able to see where they crossed paths with you and how far away you are at the time of their present viewing. If location services aren’t your thing or make you feel uncomfortable, I would suggest another app or signing up for the premium membership. Ranging from $10-$25 a month, you will be able to turn off your geo-location, filter the types of profiles you want to see, and have access to unlimited likes. If you want to feel that balance between fate and curation that no other app offers, strap on your shoes, download the app, and go on a run!
Pure is such an interesting platform I almost wish it wasn’t only geared toward anonymous hookups and one-night-stands. If you’re looking for something quick, unconventional, and discreet that will often lead to a meeting, this is the app for you. The app is built on chats that self-destruct within 24 hours and uses end-to-end encryption to keep anonymity and privacy the priority.
Upon logging on, it will ask you to update a status which will display exactly what you’re looking for. If you don’t know, it’s okay to say that! Your status will be posted on a ‘wall’ and will be made visible to other users. Upon seeing your status, users will be able to engage in conversation with you, or simply keep swiping down the wall. Keep in mind that chats are only available for 24 hours as a security measure, however, if you and the person chatting both want to extend the chat, that is also a possibility. If a chat is extended, the app will assign the two users nicknames (which may be changed at any time). As photos are allowed to be sent in chats, the app advises its users not to give out any personal information and to keep all conversations within the app. If you decide to give Pure a try, don’t forget that city-dwellers will most certainly have the upper hand when it comes to activity on the app. Even then, don’t get discouraged and try it out for yourself! You might be pleasantly surprised.
It almost feels dumb to review Tinder at this point because, let’s be honest, its the mother of our modern-day dating apps. But, since it is a list of dating apps and sites, I kind of have to include the original mainstream sex dating app.
For those of you who have been in a long term relationship since 2012, or have been living under a rock, Tinder is the free dating app that invented swiping right. Again, for the 1% of you who don’t know what “swiping right” means, it’s basically Tinder’s way of letting the user match with another user. The whole interface is based on the profile picture, a small bio, and common interests. Swipers see a person’s photo, bio, and interests. If they like it, they swipe right with their finger to try to match with the person, and if they don’t like it, they swipe left. You can only message someone when both of you have swiped right. The app is super straight forward, very clean, and easy to use. It isn’t the most advanced in terms of filtering, but with 1.6 billion swipes per day and 57 million users around the world, I think it’s safe to say that it doesn’t really matter. If you’re looking for a mainstream “anything goes” dating app that many swear by, look no further and give the OG a try.
Tinder is free to use but offers two different premium memberships, Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold. Both extensions allow you unlimited daily likes, the ability to “rewind” your last swipe and do it over again, five Super Likes per day, one free Boost per month, and a “passport” that lets you swipe around the world rather than being limited by your location. Tinder Gold takes it one step further and allows you to see who already liked you, making it much easier to decipher whether or not you’ve got a shot. However, it’s worth noting that if you’re over the age of 30, Tinder is going to upcharge your subscription costs.
|1 Month Tinder Plus (aged 18-29)||$9.99|
|6 Months Tinder Plus (aged 18-29)||$34.99|
|12 Months Tinder Plus (aged 18-29)||$54.99|
|1 Month Tinder Gold (aged 18-29)||$14.99|
|6 Months Tinder Gold (aged 18-29)||$52.99|
|12 Months Tinder Gold (aged 18-29)||$82.99|
|1 Month Tinder Plus (aged 30+)||$19.99|
|6 Months Tinder Plus (aged 30+)||$60|
|12 Months Tinder Plus (aged 30+)||$80|
|1 Month Tinder Gold (aged 30+)||$29.99|
|6 Months Tinder Gold (aged 30+)||$112.99|
|12 Months Tinder Gold (aged 30+)||$149.99|
Rated #98 in the app store, and with over seven million users, the DOWN hookup app has seen its fair share of flings. The concept is easy to understand: swipe left or right to review or skip a user, swipe up if you’d like to “date” the user and down if you’d like to hook up with the user. In terms of ease of communication, I think Down has nailed it. There’s no confusion between users when their profiles are matched, you’ll know instantly if that person wants to date or just wants something quick, and if you happen to swipe the wrong way, don’t worry! You can edit your picks in the likes tab. If there’s someone you really want to meet, you can click on the lips button and send them a crush. This will pop up on their feed and push your profile to the front of their list. What I don’t like about this app, however, is that they only give you about 10 preview swipes before you have to pay for the subscription. It’s also a pretty dark interface with standard features. Out of the profiles I did see, there were no bios included, and they all only had one photo. This is nice for discretion, but if you need more info to go off of before you start swiping, then this app might be too spontaneous for you.
Feeld, previously 3nder, is your destination dating app for all things kink, swinger, and polyamorous. This app has a great design, interface, and security and is your best bet for judgment-free browsing of couples, doms, subs, and a whole lot more. Feeld really flexes its creativity right upon opening the app. You’re greeted by an aesthetically pleasing orange and white screen detailing the ways you can browse the app. Meet open-minded people and join solo or with a partner, lover, or friend. With the ability to link and unlink accounts, the browsing opportunities are limitless and exciting.
After creating your profile, you’ll be asked what you’re looking for and how you identify this profile (is it a couples’ profile or does it belong to a single, bisexual, nonbinary person?) you’ll also be asked to set your “core” location and age range. Profiles appear as a split-screen with a summary of the account (name, sexual orientation, age, relationship status, and short bio) underneath a photo gallery. Swipe left and right to toggle between different profiles, and if you come across one you like, just give it a heart! If they like you too, you’ll be able to start messaging. For your peace of mind, the app also lets you create your own pin code lock as an extra layer of security if you happen to pass your phone to your nosy mom or leave it unlocked around a snooping younger cousin.
Now, this is a site that gets straight to the point, even in the name! Mixxxer is a cross between a website and an app where you can find sex based on the user’s location based on their phone’s GPS. There is no official app on the app store, but browsing on your laptop or desktop is not supported–it’s strictly a mobile-only site. Whether you’re looking for a one night stand, a date that evolves into something more, or something strictly cyber-related, this is the place to be. With two ways to browse, you can tell that this site is trying to keep up with its more modern competitors. Search who’s around you by using a grid (think Instagram profile grids) or take advantage of the “Into the Mix” swiping feature to find your next local hookup. But what’s by far the coolest detail is that users can set the mood on their profile by choosing from its premade options like “dinner and dancing,” “looking for a gang,” or ‘down to f*ck,” and even set your preferences to show you people who are looking for the same activities. The only con to this site is the outdated browsing option. If you want to be an app, be an app! If you want to be a website, be a website. Let’s not hover awkwardly between the two, yes?
SaucyDates is the only site on this list that offers a completely free service. Not to say that every other site requires money to use right off the bat, but in order to utilize all of the SaucyDates features, no membership or purchase is required. Free members have the ability to send messages, connect with unlimited profiles, search for new matches, and reply to all messages received. Signing up as a member entails the standard procedure of inputting your info, and stating what it is you’re looking for on the site. Awesome features on this free site include online user display, access to chat rooms, private photo galleries, and weekly newsletters. For a basic site, that is completely available to anyone who signs on, SaucyDates is definitely a hard hitter.
Launched in 2001, Ashley Madison has grown so rapidly that as of February 2019 the site boasted 60 million users. It’s an adult dating site marketed towards married people and others who are already in monogamous relationships but looking to have an affair, which is pretty much all you need to know. Regardless of how I personally feel about a site designed to make cheating on your partner easier, I can see the draw to this site.
Ashley Madison brings users a clean layout, easy navigation, and coy filters. Creating a profile is fun and easy with the site’s special filters that cater to its target market. You’re able to browse by limit (short term, long term, cyber fling, or undecided) and set a quick reply to winks and favorites so they don’t go unnoticed if you are otherwise engaged.
If you don’t have a lot of free time on your hands to browse for potential matches, don’t worry! The site can do that for you, just remember to select the personalized option when asked. Sifting through the profiles has an added air of excitement as some users opt to don the masquerade mask filter provided by the site. Morals aside, Ashley Madison has definitely nailed its target market and provided a pretty great site for what it’s worth.
Best adult dating sites and apps for LGBTQ+ users
It’s not to say the LGBTQ+ community isn’t welcome to use the above services, but most of them are really inclusive (we’re looking at you, Happn, Feeld, Tinder, AFF, and SaucyDates). You just might have better luck on a site designed to support your preferences. You’ll find our recommendations listed below.
#Open is a fun and fresh approach to the standard hook up and dating app scene. Upon making your profile, you’ll have the choice between creating a solo account, partnered account, or a “double profile” where users can toggle in between the two with the ability to edit the account type at any time. Even better, the app has a strict no-NSFW image policy and encourages the use of usernames or nicknames for heightened security, so there’s also less of a chance you’ll find yourself harassed or spammed with dick pics by a deranged user.
#Open also requires all of its users to play “N.I.C.E,” it’s so refreshing to see a dating app highlight consent, respect, and boundaries. However, if you’re feeling a little more…open…there’s a spot to add your social media handles and define your current relationship situation or describe what you’re looking for. #Open also functions on–you guessed it–hashtags. It offers up three phrases for users to complete that will help them find whatever it is they’re looking for. Some examples being: “I’m open to trying…”, “My interests are…?”, and “I’m looking for…?” which can all be answered by typing in specific phrases which then convert into active hashtags.
The app is pretty simple to figure out and works like many other swipe-based apps, except users can also browse the hashtags that they’re interested in and stumble upon other like-minded users and possible flings that way. What this site excels in is the diversity of its users (it’s way more inclusive than other apps that have you identify within a gender binary), and how well it integrated the ability to have multiple profiles into its community. The algorithm often layers multiple profiles behind each other. So, for instance, if you don’t want to match on a couple, but are interested in one of the individuals from the couple if that person has a solo account, they’ll be the next option for you to match on. All in all, #Open is a great app for open minded adults looking to connect with couples, individuals, and groups of all shapes and sizes!
HER is another LGBTQ-friendly adult dating app. 40% of users on this app are either gay or lesbian, 30% are bisexual, 20% are pansexual or queer, and the remaining 10% don’t identify. This free app is made by Queer Womxn for Queer Womxn and sets itself apart with the community it has built. While in the app, you’ll be able to browse the community, event, and feed tab, which all bring you closer to the members on the app. Join different communities such as “Strong and Single,” “Newly Out,” and “Queer Womxn of Color” to find users interested in the same things and discuss with them on the community wall, discover unique events happening near you and all over the world in the events tab and join an event with the click of a button, and stay up to date with the official ‘HER’ profile in the My Feed tab. With 24/7 moderation on the platform and seemingly limitless options for filtering and engagement, HER is the app for queer womxn and other LGBTQ+ members.
Lesly is a great app for lesbian and bisexual women. It’s one of the few apps out there that has a website feel with its layout and does it well. Upon signing up for an account, you’re prompted to enter the basics, whether you identify as lesbian or bisexual, your age, ethnicity, and location. As an added layer of security, you’re also able to create your own pattern lock.
As for viewing the profiles, there are two viewing options available – grid or app view. With the grid view, you’ll be shown three columns of smaller photos and usernames and you can click into the photo to view their whole bio, gallery, and the option to send a wink, message, or favorite. With the app view, it populates around eight profiles in the same fashion as Tinder or Bumble and allows you to swipe through the profiles in order to connect.
What I don’t love about the app is the need to purchase a membership in order to really utilize the site and its members. Without a paid membership, messaging is prohibited, as well as many other features. If you’re in the mood to spend a little money for a short term trial of the app, go right ahead!
I once saw a Tumblr post that likened the Grindr app to the Bible app, and, unbeknownst to me and what I was doing at the time, I downloaded it on my mother’s phone. You can imagine her surprise. Now, a decade later, I’m proud to say that Grindr has become the world’s largest social networking app for LGBTQ users. With its no-frills grid display sorted by location and super specific filter options, it’s no wonder why the LGBTQ community has flocked to the platform. Decide if you’re looking for a chat, date, relationship, or immediate hookup through its basic filters, You can also look for something a bit more specific like a bear, jock, daddy, or twink if you so desire.
Basic Grindr is free, but there are paid subscriptions that boost your mojo. We recommend trying Grindr’s seven-day free trial if you constantly want to sort through profiles that you haven’t chatted with, find users that accept NSFW pictures, or advertise enjoyment with specific positions. If you like all of this, the Xtra or Unlimited memberships might be worth your while. Unlimited is the most elite tier of paid Grindr subscriptions. It allows users to unlock unlimited profiles so they’ll never run out of people to browse and chat, see who’s viewed their profile, browse in incognito mode so other users can’t see you, un-send messages, and even seen when someone is typing to you.
Grindr XTRA is a step below Unlimited, but still offers a bunch of perks the basic (free) subscription won’t getcha (like read receipts, no ads, push notifications, a discreet app icon, more Grindr Tribes, additional filters, online-only view, and much more!).
Whether you’re looking for a cyber connection to get you through the remaining quarantine or just want to brush up on your interpersonal skills for that first night out on the town, these sites have everything you need to get you out of the kitchen and into the pool–the dating pool, that is.
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