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In 2023, there are countless online dating sites on the market. For those that are new to online dating it can be a daunting task to figure out which dating sites and apps to use. Googling ‘best gay dating site or app’ will likely yield a result for Grindr.
Grindr was the dating app that was first to market that catered to gay men and still boasts a large presence online and with society but understanding the demographics, intentions and types of users on each app is crucial to improving your experience and success on dating apps.
One shouldn’t confuse most downloaded dating app or gay dating app with the top search placement as being the best. Most of this attribution has to do with SEO efforts and age of the apps, sites.
Below are some tips on common mistakes, assumptions made (i.e. common lies told on dating profiles) when trying out dating apps for the first time and which apps are more geared for hookups or relationship focused individuals.
Related read: What do your dating profile photos signal?
Pro-tip: Learn how to write a good dating profile here.
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I would argue Grindr is similar to Tinder in this regard. Is Tinder the best dating app on the market? Absolutely not.
Yes, it’s the most widely used and download across the globe but 1) it’s more of an introduction app for friends and meet new people rather than dating, 2) It’s used for more casual purposes not dating with a focus on relationships, and 3) there are no universal best dating apps on the market.
The best dating apps depend largely on one’s age, location, intention, photos etc. Dating apps are exhausting and because of that, most people pick one app at a time and don’t really have a basis for comparison.
The other thing to consider is that many folks have the wrong idea of what kind of people are on each dating app and don’t really cater or alter their profile to attract what they want but focus rather on what they think will do well to catch the eyes of others.
Unfortunately, apps and technology companies like UberEats and Amazon have altered the mindset of all consumers thinking they can get exactly what they want with a few swipes and clicks (read this post about the dystopian state of dating in San Francisco).
However, dating apps are not like food-ordering or other shopping apps, they are merely introduction apps. Grindr treats profiles like a commodity and as such, people often go to the app with the intention of a hookup or something casual.
Dating apps should not be expected to screen users, filter out creeps nor weed out hook-up focused individuals – nothing will nor should replace the due diligence and social skills needed to analyze people and profiles, ask questions, be patient and meet in person.
However, one can improve their chances of weeding out folks whose intentions don’t sync with that they are looking for using better apps that focus on their particular needs.
No dating app is perfect but there are some great dating apps out there if you know how to approach them, know which photos are effective, know how to write a bio and have realistic expectations based on your own looks, education, height, age and location.
Below are my favorite dating apps right now that I recommend most to clients.
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As seen in the NYT, Bumble & More.
Bumble App – Is Bumble LGBTQ Friendly? Is Bumble A Gay Dating App? Is Bumble Gay Friendly, Does Bumble Have A Gay Option? Gay Dating Sites, Is Bumble A Gay App? Is Bumble A Gay Website?
Bumble is known widely across the hetero world of dating apps for its verification efforts as well as having an etiquette policy around photos.
In those arrangements, mutual likes are needed to establish a match but after that is established, women are the only ones who can send the first message (this was done to improve the experience from hetero apps like Tinder where women get bombarded). This is known as Bumble’s First Move Privilege.
In same sex scenarios, either party can send the first message on Bumble. Bumble is known in more urban, larger cities but it’s grown over the years to secondary cities across the world. Regardless of orientation, same rules apply when it comes to the 24 hour countdown – either person has 24 hours to make the first move before the connection expires.
Bumble Alternative Apps: Hinge, Hinge, OkCupid
Recommended Demographics: 27-45, bigger U.S. cities mostly for those seeking something long-term, college educated, graduate degrees.
For tips on photos, prompts, first messages and how to reply to messages, check out my Bumble blog posts.
Related Read: Bumble Profile Template
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Hinge is perhaps my favorite dating app at the moment given it’s non-swipe focus (requires you to tap vs swipe) but also because of the quality of users.
This dating app requires 6 photos (to unlock full preference usage) which is great at eliminating profiles without enough photos and also provides excellent prompt possibilities facilitating conversations.
The biggest con about this dating app is that it is extremely buggy. There is a lot of confusion on whether likes and messages were sent and received as well as profiles appearing too much or if they ever will again if you accidentally mark no.
Similarly, many people have complained lately about longer ugly queues (number of unattractive people being shown to them relative to other apps).
The other complaint is with profile bans and creating new accounts or using different login methods. If you lose phones, use a phone number you don’t have access to, have different info on Facebook than is actually true, your account might be flagged.
Also, if you try to re-create your account to often in an attempt to game the system so your new profile is shown to more people, your profile can be banned or at least penalized and shown to fewer users possibly.
One of the main draws for Hinge is the profile prompts. These conversation starters provide opportunities to talk about yourself and invite others to comment on observations, preferences, hot takes, unpopular opinions and more.
Even since former president candidate Pete Buttigieg announced that he met his husband on the app, usage among Hinge has been at an all-time high for LGBTQ folks.
Hinge Alternative Apps: Bumble, OkCupid,
Additional Reading: Best Hinge Prompts / Questions – https://eddie-hernandez.com/best-hinge-questions/
Recommended Demographics: 23-45, bigger for U.S. cities, mostly casual and long-term dating.
Related Read: Hinge Profile Template
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I would stick to Okcupid or Hinge but even then, those may not work if you live in the middle of nowhere.
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-As seen in the NYT, WSJ, AskMen, Women's Health, Bumble, SFGate, ABC7News-
OkCupid Dating Website – Is OkCupid LGBTQ Friendly? Gay Dating App Comparison – Same Sex Dating Apps, Gay Dating Sites For Over 50, LGBTQ Sites, Popular Same Sex Dating Sites
OkCupid is one of the older kids on the block and sometimes overlooked.
It is still a solid app for introverts, quirky folks, gamers, introspective folks, artistic souls, pansexual, kink, bi, polyamorous individuals, open-relationships, throuples, shy people, people who lead alternative lifestyles, non-monogamous folks, non-mainstream (pop-culture) people and those who are a little more expressive than the character limits allow on sites like Tinder.
One of the main draws for OkCupid is that is one of the most inclusive apps out there in terms of using category spectrum labels across 22 gender types and 12 orientations.
Okcupid Genders: Agender, Androgynous, Bigender, Cis Man, Cis Woman, Genderfluid, Genderqueer, Gender Nonconforming, Hijra, Intersex Man, Non-binary Pangender, Transfeminine, Transgender, Trans Man, Transmasculine, Transsexual, Trans Woman, Two Spirit Woman.
OkCupid Orientations: Asexual, Bisexual, Demisexual, Gay, Homoflexible, Heteroflexible, Lesbian, Pansexual, Queer, Questioning, Straight,
Recommended demographics: 22-50, looking for something casual, open-ended or specific gender types and orientation.
Okcupid Alternative apps: Feeld (Poly, Non-Monogamous) or Hinge (for LGBTQ, relationship focus)
Additional insight: https://eddie-hernandez.com/okcupid-review/
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Tinder is mostly known for casual connections, tour guides, pen-pals, flirting, IG followers, sharing memes, witty banter, immature conversations and hookups but it is definitely quite possibly to meet a quality person for serious relationships on Tinder.
In some remote areas or those that don’t embrace technology as much as SF or NYC, Tinder is the only app with traction among users. It’s also the most widely used app out there (based on accounts not necessarily on actual users).
It’s a little less-forward than Grindr but the same kind of users can be found across the apps. It’s worth a try if you find that number of users on other apps are a little thin for you.
Tinder App Alternatives: Feeld, OkCupid, Hinge
Related read: Feeld Dating App Review
Is Grindr A Hookup App? Is Grindr A Safe App? Is Grindr Any Good? Gay Hookup App, What Is The Safest Gay Dating App?
I generally recommend staying away from Grindr. It’s mostly for hookups and people on the apps lurk around for new profiles, younger folks who are curious or more naive. If you are new to dating apps, have a hard time trusting people, screening profiles or reading people, I recommend staying away from this app or other apps. There are predators out there promising relationships but only seeking casual flings. Use good judgment.
Grindr is one of those few hookup apps that works.
Related Read: Online Dating Red Flags
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Sites like Jackd, Scruff, Squirt etc are a bit too particular. They capitalize on the idea of fetishes instead of more relationship type qualities. I recommend filter folks out on the other apps rather than try to find a super niche app like these.
Scruff was initially designed for slightly older and more masculine men, but it’s rather diluted right now. Sure you can find a relationship on Grindr, Jackd or Scruff but it might take more time, awareness, ability to read people and patience than other apps listed above.
Related Read: Worst Dating Profile Photos
Bisexual Dating Apps
Lesbian Dating Apps? Her Dating App?
Try Okcupid or Hinge. Her Dating App can be hit or miss but lots of bots, spammers, married women etc.
Is Bumble A Hookup App?
Bumble, like all dating apps, are introduction apps. While designed for relationships, not everyone seeks a relationship or wants one with you.
Is Hinge For Gay Guys? Gay Sites, Is Hinge For Gay People? Gay Dating Services, Gay Guys Dating, Is Hinge For Straight?
Yes, it’s popular for gay men seeking relationships as well as straight/heterosexual folks.
Is Bumble For Gay Guys? Is Bumble For Gay Men? Gay Dating Services, LGBTQ Apps, Hinge vs Bumble Gay, Is Bumble For LGBT, Is Bumble For Gay People?
It can be but Hinge is better for relationships.
Dating Apps For Lesbians, Dating Sites For Lesbians
For those seeking relationships, I would stick to mainstream apps like Hinge.
What Is Feeld? Who Uses Feeld? What Kind Of Dating App Is Feeld?
Less than half the users are heterosexual. The New Yorker describes it as a playground of sorts for people to discover and explore their sexuality. There are lots of non-binary folks on there as as well as ENM folks and those who are looking for something different.
Related read: Dating Sites For ENM, Open-Relationships
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Although these are my favorite dating apps with a focus on dating and relationships, these apps do not screen folks and some people are not always truthful about what they seek. It’s up to you to ask questions, be patient, evaluate dates and use good judgment.
Some people may state they want a relationship but might lie and try to sleep with you and then ditch you immediately after. Nothing can replace getting to know someone, spending time with them.
Grindr alternatives include Scruff. There are plenty of apps better than Grindr out there.
For additional dating tips, check out this post on how to stay safe when online dating. https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-safety-tips/
Free Gay Dating Apps Without Subscription
Most apps don’t require a subscription. Just don’t sign up for bells and whistles.
Grindr vs Tinder; Is Tinder Or Grindr Better For Hookups?
Grindr tends to be more casual, sexual whereas Tinder is more open ended.
How To Meet Gay Guys – Gay Dating San Francisco, Gay Dating NYC, Gay Dating Seattle, Gay Dating LA, Gay Men Dating, Dating Coach For Gay Men
Apps are still one of the top ways to meet gay guys but depending on where you live, check out events that draw diverse crowds and people. Get on mailing lists, follow bars, clubs, organizations that put on events in your area.
Biggest Gay/LGBT populations in the United States: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/21/upshot/the-metro-areas-with-the-largest-and-smallest-gay-population.html
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First date ideas, wardrobe styling, places to meet singles, body language, vocal intonation, eye contact, conversation skills, how to be more approachable, grooming, hygiene, wardrobe, style, hobbies, lifestyle choices, reducing biases, weeding out time-wasters and more. Let's chat!
-As seen in the NYT, Bumble & More-
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Online Dating Background Checks – How To Vet People On Dating Sites
Biggest Mistakes Women Make On Dating Sites – Worst Mistakes Women Make On Dating Apps
Is Online Dating Worth It? – Is Online Dating Worth The Time, Effort?
ENM Dating Sites – Dating Apps For Open Relationships
Biggest Mistakes Guys Make On Dating Apps – Assumptions, Mistakes, Myths & More
Why Do Your Dating Profile Pictures Suggest? – First Impressions On Dating Profiles
Online Dating Resource Guide – Studies, Research & More
Online Dating Red Flags – How To ID Red Flags In Profiles, Photos & Communications
The Most Common Lies Told On Dating Sites – Age, Location, Intentions, Love-Bombing & More
Is Tinder Better Than Bumble? Is Hinge Better Than Tinder? – Bumble vs Tinder vs Hinge
How To Have Success With Dating Apps – Profile Photos, Prompts, Bios, Messages & More
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie is a dating coach for men & women in San Francisco (clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, & beyond ), as seen in the NYT & Bumble). He has insight into algorithms as well as a keen understanding of dating cultures across locations, demographics, and orientations.
He helps with profiles, photos, wardrobe, messaging, date ideas, red flags, lifestyle choices, hobbies, grooming/hygiene, communication, social skills & where to meet singles. Whether you are a POC, short guy, introvert, engineer, or just struggling with dating, he can help you be efficient & strategic.
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