Tinder for Gay Men: How to Use Tinder Differently

“It’s hard to find a gay partner nowadays, so what should you do? What LGBT can do to meet his life partner?”

Dating is for everyone, and even LGBT people deserve a romantic partner in this world. Do you know about any dating application that can help you in finding a gay men partner? Probably, many of you may not know about any such app. Well, Tinder has recently added a new feature Tinder gay to help you find partners based on sexual orientation. Tinder understands their value in this society, so it added such a great feature. So, let us find out how this tinder for gay men works. 

The best dating apps for gay users, since meeting people IRL is hellish

Most people have at least one horror story about online dating. It’s a rite of passage that single people love to hate.

But the horror stories look a little different for members of the LGBTQ community. On top of the classic awkward Hinge date anecdotes and screenshots of a corny bio seeping with secondhand embarrassment, gay singles deal with all sorts of alienating interactions. Baseless questioning of sexual history, harassment, and fetishization — most of it coming from cis straight people who shouldn’t have popped up in your feed in the first place — don’t exactly give one butterflies.

Still, dating apps have become crucial means of introduction for gay folks looking to settle down. A 2019 Stanford study and 2020 Pew Research survey found that meeting online has become the most popular way for U.S. couples to connect — especially for gay couples, of which 28% met their current partner online (versus 11% of straight couples).

But the Pew survey also dredged up those ugly experiences with harassment. This could be where options that bar heterosexual users, like HER and Grindr, come in. Their perfectly-tailored environments are so well-known in the gay community that they’re essentially in a league of their own.

That’s not to say that they’re in the queer dating app market alone. Apps like Zoe, Taimi, and Scruff exist. But their plateauing popularity can be attributed to similar complaints: too many scam profiles and too few legitimate users (ones within a reasonable distance to plan a date, anyway). Chappy was a promising app for gay men that shut down just as it was gaining serious traction.

And at the end of the day, „everyone“ apps are simply where masses of queer users are. Keeping Tinder on the back burner isn’t just a straight people thing, especially for those who live in less-populated areas where Grindr and HER have slim pickings. Plus, some mainstream apps do deserve credit for the steps they’ve taken to create a more inclusive atmosphere. Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge now offer lots of sexual orientation and gender identity options. OkCupid gets kudos for making that change years ago, as well as making social justice a core part of compatibility scoring — which kind of self-curates the type of people on the app.

If you’re LGBTQ and hate leaving your home, you’re not alone. Here are the best dating apps and sites that’ll maximize your opportunities while minimizing your human contact. Bless. (For the best dating apps specifically for lesbians, go here.)

The best dating apps for gay users, since meeting people IRL is hellish

Straight men on gay tinder

So I’m just curious if anyone has any answers to this: why are straight men on tinder matching with gay men?

I recently swiped right on a guy I found attractive and didn’t notice until later when he matched me and messaged me first that his profile says he is straight.

Why or maybe the better question is how? Anyone have any insight on how/why a straight man who considers himself straight is matching with gay men on a dating app?

Probably bi whos just beginning to acknowledge same sex attractions.

For some, it honestly might be an ego booster. I’ve met more than one straight guy who’d go to gay bars to get hit on so that they’d feel better about themselves.

That sounds like a bisexual man. Straight men do not get ego boost from men.

There are two kinds of straight guys: a) straight guys and b) guys who identify as straight.

It used to be a big thing in the 1970s when I was coming out: guys would say, „Nah, I ain’t gay. I just like having sex with men.“

Apparently that paradoxical attitude is still around.

Trust me, guys who want to have sex with guys are at least partly gay.

Straight men are not interested in men. Some gay and bisexual men call themselves „straight“ to appeal more to gay men who want to convert straight men.

Straight. It means different things to different people.

It’s denial and lying. Straight men do not have sex with men.

I have an account on a swingers site and often get message from straight men some with explicit „no single men“ in the profile.

Yeah I wouldn’t say they are not straight, if you’re willing to take a dick, suck a dick or give another man your dick, your at least bi lol

I bet they forgot or something happened. Cuz i too see guys on tinder, sometimes i have to double check if they are actually gay. Or i am by accident put my gender on women.

I read somewhere that the more right-swipes/ matches one got the more hotter people (higher league/ people in your hot picks) are shown on your daily stack. So some guys get those swipes from the gays too.

Also, another reason is they are promoting their Instagram and/ or their onlyfan.

Or a “straight” guy like the other posters suggested.

He’s a curious guy. Show him what hes been missing.

Straight men on gay tinder

Is Tinder the new Grindr? Why my awful dating reality could become your future

GRAPHIC images, one word replies, constant rejection and extreme flakiness. Paul is living in what feels like dating Armageddon.

Paul Ewart has a warning for all the Tinder users out

GRAPHIC images, one word replies, constant rejection and extreme indifference and flakiness. I’m living in what feels like dating Armageddon.

And unfortunately for you, my dating reality could soon become your dating future — and it’s far from pretty.

We’ve all read and — for the singles reading this — have likely had firsthand experience of modern day hook-up, I mean ‘dating’, culture. Long gone are the Hollywood-esque romances, extended candlelit dinners and gentle wooing.

Instead, it’s anonymous sex, ghosting, bad behaviour and dick pics.

Ever-increasing sordid accounts from Tinder are making headlines the world over and if you think it’s bad now, well, I’m predicting it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse.

You see, as a gay man I’ve got a good 3-4 years of dating app experience on you straights (the prolific gay dating app, Grindr, was launched back in 2009, versus Tinder in 2012). And if the evolution of Grindr that I’ve seen is anything to go by, then brace yourselves for extremely bad behaviour, a lack of humanity and blatant objectification.

I’ll talk you through my own light bulb moment. I split up from my partner last year.

Back in Grindr land after an absence of three years, I noticed that things had become even more base, more graphic and much more hostile.

Profile headlines and descriptions were hyper-sexual or all-out prejudiced: “No pecs = no sex”, “Blow me now!”, “No Asians”, “No fems”, “No fatties” and “No oldies”.

It was like the sum of my parts was reduced to a few ticked boxes about my physical attributes and sexual preferences.

Paul Ewart has learnt the hard way that it doesn’t matter how well travelled you are when it comes to dating

Screw my education, the amount of travel I’ve done, the books I’ve read, how nice I am, or my ability to tell a funny story. Nope, unless I have abs of steel and am willing to shag within 30 minutes of chatting, then forget about it.

Now, I know I’ll get flack from some gay men for this story. They’ll say that Grindr and the like are hook-up platforms, so I shouldn’t be complaining.

Yes, I know this. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of fun — and I’m far from saintly — but what comes after hooking-up? Or is that it? And, when it comes to gay dating in the virtual world, where else do you go?

The dates I do go on are, by and large, not great. I’ve been stood up twice, conversation is often one-sided and there’s a lacklustre amount of effort.

I theorise that it’s like a twisted Pavlov’s dogs scenario. Exposed to this bad behaviour again and again, it’s only a matter of time before users start to normalise it and start to dish it out themselves in a vicious cycle.

Despite an increasing feeling of disappointment, I’d use the app compulsively, clocking up hours of mindless scrolling.

I started to identify that I was feeling anxious and lonely at the same time. “Why didn’t he reply?” “What’s wrong with me?” I’d ask myself. I knew it was time to stop, so I did. Going cold turkey, I pressed delete, but then had to ask myself: What next?

Karina Pamamull, a dating consultant and founder of , believes that the precedent set by Grindr is being adopted in the heterosexual world.

“Straight dating has started to mimic dating in the gay community,” she says.

“We have moved to a culture of ‘hook ups’. Forget the date, say what you want and within a few hours you could be having sex.”

The parallels between these two dating app big guns (Grindr and Tinder) are starting to look uncanny. And given the increasing reputation of Tinder as a hook-up app, straight users could soon experience the downsides of sex-focused dating.

“Seeing a greater uptake of apps in the straight world that satisfy users based on solely on sex or their specific sexual preferences could lead to some of the pitfalls that many users of gay hook-up apps report,” says Dan Auerbach, relationship counsellor & psychotherapist at Associated Counsellors & Psychologist Sydney.

“Long term users of gay dating apps who engage in instant hook-ups based solely on proximity and a snapshot image can, over time, experience severe burnout.

“It can lead to a vicious cycle of loneliness and dissatisfaction.”

A recent study, presented at the American Psychological Association, suggested that dating apps (specifically Tinder) can reduce self-esteem and creating a negative perception of body image. Interestingly, the results showed that men were just as affected by women, if not more.

While this study was Tinder-specific, the disturbing impact of its long-term use is similar to what Dan has already seen in the gay world.

“Humans are wired for intimate connection, not just sex or pleasure,” explains Dan. “For wellbeing, we need others who we can rely on to offer us emotional connection, emotional safety and support.

“People are marketed the fantasy of quickly finding a relationship. After significant effort if that’s not delivered, they may feel that there is no one out there for them, or that they themselves are not attractive to others.”

While there’s no obvious solution, particularly with the addictive nature of these apps, the experts I chatted with believe there’s still hope.

“People will always having a longing for the human element,” says Karina. “Though dating apps are now the norm, for singles that seek real love, I would like to think that they continue to push themselves to step outside and join social groups and encourage friends and family to set them up.”

Whereas Karina sees the solution in diversifying with non app-based activities, Dan thinks that the onus is on the app creators themselves.

“To overcome these greater numbers of lonely people struggling to find a connection, the online dating market will need to incorporate more features of real life engagement,” he says.

“Trends in dating apps to connect profiles to other social media platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook are a start, but eventually app developers may find that those looking for love need a more immersive experience of the other person.”

As for me, I’m up for staging a rebellion before it’s too late, or at least going back to basics to some degree.

Though they are (almost) irresistible, I’d encourage anyone feeling frustrated with whatever dating app they’re on — gay or straight — to ditch ‘em for a month or two.

If that’s too hard, then at least try to adjust your behaviour online to match your behaviour offline.

If you’re a caring, decent soul in person, then make sure your app self isn’t morally bankrupt.

Think before you swipe, skip the exhausting game playing and drop the indifferent attitude. Meeting a fellow human being should be exciting — just like you, they have a sack full of beautiful experiences and life stories to tell.

Finally, get out. Talk to the guy or gal next to you at yoga practice, in the gym, or at the bar. Pay strangers compliments, regardless of their age, their sex or whether you find them attractive. And smile! As tawdry as it sounds, it really is infectious.

Be kind and you’ll feel it back in return. I promise.

Is Tinder the new Grindr? Why my awful dating reality could become your future

I Spent Years Ignoring My Bisexuality, Until Tinder Helped Me Come Out

One November day in 2013, in a suburb outside Los Angeles, Mark Vidal decided to download Tinder. He set up his profile, and then made a choice: He’d only ever dated women — including a seven-year relationship with his high school sweetheart — but in a moment of honesty and curiosity, he set his preferences to show him both men and women. Then he started swiping.

“I was only matching with guys,” he recalls. “It felt like the universe was trying to tell me something.”

Across the city, in an apartment next to Disneyland, Max Landwirth was swiping through matches on Tinder, too. It had only been a month or so since he had come out as gay to his family and friends. Landwirth had been single for two years after breaking up with his college girlfriend, a woman whom he loved but knew, deep down, that he couldn’t spend the rest of his life with.

“My biggest fear was that I was going to get married, have a family, have kids, and have this huge secret that would blow up and either end up destroying my entire family or destroying me,” he said. Landwirth had known he was gay for a while; he’d felt himself eyeing guys when he’d go out to bars in college. But nothing ever happened.

I Spent Years Ignoring My Bisexuality, Until Tinder Helped Me Come Out

Why isn’t there a Grindr for straight people?

Tinder is not the straight Grindr and never will be – so why are there not more venues for straight people to arrange casual sex? Moira Weigel investigates

By playing, I do mean playing: I have been happily married for a year and a half, and am not looking for dates, just subjects to chat with. My editor asked me to write a piece on what seems to be a perennial question: why isn’t there Grindr (a dating app for gay men with a reputation for facilitating quick hook-ups) for straight people? In other words, why, after decades of feminism and sexual revolution, at a time when new HIV infection rates aren’t rising in the United States and contraception and abortion are legally available – at least for now – are there not more venues for straight people to have no-strings-attached sex? Why don’t more straight couples want it?

I’ve heard the question many times before and I’ve disliked every answer. Most of them seem to boil down to stereotypes. They go something like: gay men are promiscuous. Straight women are frigid. Heterosexuality always has been, and always will be, a sad compromise between men who want to get as much sex for as little affection as women can wheedle out of them, etc. I think these stereotypes are both unkind and untrue. I wanted to see whether I could come up with something better.

Henry arrives and we cook up an experiment to try to answer my editor’s question. I reactivate my Tinder account. He gets on Grindr. We spend a night hopping from bar to bar together and see what kinds of romantic or sexual prospects each of these apps presents us.

I tell anyone I match with that I am in this for research as soon as meeting IRL comes up. Hey we’re all on here for something, one 28-year-old replies without missing a beat. But I still fret about the ethics of it. Because Tinder simply draws photos from Facebook, my husband is in most of mine.

I’m gonna go ahead and assume that’s your brother you’re with, one 32-year-old messages That your cat? I joke about the caged tiger he is crouching over in one of silence.

“Grindr has an immediacy that Tinder doesn’t; Grindr shows you only people who have logged on in the past hour, and you can see whether they are online at the moment. That immediacy makes hookups much more possible than I think Tinder does.”

Both Grindr and Tinder are mobile dating apps that rely on geolocation technology: they propose prospective partners in some proximity to your physical location. Grindr, which is geared toward gay and bisexual men, came first; it launched in 2009. Tinder followed in 2012. They are similar in purpose but their designs are different. Tinder displays just one person at a time, while Grindr presents a grid of active users, listed in order of how close they are to you in space.

“Grindr is different in New York,” the friend who recommended Whole Foods pointed out. “Anywhere else, you’re dealing in miles. In New York, it’s feet.”It’s true. By the time Henry and I settle in a bar, the app shows 179 active users who are less than 10 minutes away on foot. One especially cute one appears to be within 20 feet but Henry shakes his head.“You’ll never find him. He could be anywhere. He could live in one of the apartments upstairs. He could be walking by on the street.”

Henry seems to be right about immediacy: my half-hearted Tinder efforts do not generate much data. So I let my app idle and start up Facebook chats with a dozen friends and friends of friends who have agreed to speak with me about the subject of apps that let men look for men. As I do, I start to understand the problem with the design of our little experiment.

A friend, in his mid-20s, who currently works at the University of Michigan, put it this way in a Facebook message:

By “LTR” the University of Michigan friend means “long-term relationship”. For the first-time Grindr user, browsing through other users – whose profile photos are arranged, like tiles, in a grid according to proximity (with filters by eg, age, if you like), and can be tapped to reveal a short profile – there is an entire lexicon to learn. Regulars, FWB, role, now, looking, POZ, hung, BB.

From the beginning, as I said, I was skeptical of my editor’s question: why isn’t there a Grindr for straight people? Why is there no quorum of heteros who want truly casual, convenient sex? In the research that I conducted for my book Labor of Love, I found that there were countless varieties not only of apps but of ways of using apps, of mobile phone enabled sexual communities and cultures. For instance, last November, I interviewed a group of trans women. They talked about using Facebook to meet and screen dates, for who might be dangerous – or simply promiscuous, serial daters in their community, fetishists, fantasists

“Sometimes you go out with a cis guy,” one African American woman in her late 30s guffawed, “and you think, ‘This is great. This guy is holding his head up high, walking with me, walking his truth.’ Then you find out he lived his truth with the last hundred trans women! You have a hundred mutual friends and every single one is a member of the community. You find out he’s been with all of them”

We are accustomed to think of sex and love as eternal and unchanging. Tech entrepreneurs are therefore inclined to believe that if they could simply create the right widget to plug into eternal human desires and behaviors they could make untold fortunes. However, these are fantasies. The history of love, sex and dating show that our beliefs about romance and its rituals change much more dramatically over time than we tend to remember. As recently as 1905, advice columnists told straight young men and women that romantic interest ALWAYS had to be initiated by the female party – and her parents. More recently than that, LGBT folks were told that their desires were dangerous, deviant and would make them sick.

But dating apps that work well don’t work well because they capture any such essence of gender or sexuality. There is no one way all men or women desire; every person has his or her own sexuality. All successful dating apps succeed because they recreate versions of older dating institutions and experiences in a new, digitally networked form. And what Grindr seeks to approximate are specifically sites of LGBT liberation and community: gay bars, bathhouses, gyms and so on.

You can see it in the way they emphasize strangers mingling in space. You can see it in how many of the profile pictures literally depict muscled bodies with lockers in the background. Some friends I chat with lament the fact that these apps have replaced the significance of the brick and mortar bar, which was such an important institution of the gay liberation actions of the 1960s and 1970s. Henry emphasizes that today, in gay bars, the app lays a new kind of social network onto an old one; virtual and real space interact.

“Today, most men who go into gay bars alone, whether locals or tourists with mobile data plans, are on Grindr while at the bar, instead of interacting directly with new people around them,” Henry says. He demurs as to whether this is good or bad.

App users are building on these preexisting institutions, which were themselves created through decades if not centuries of development, tradition and political struggle – and not because they tap directly into something about universal “gay” nature. There is no such thing.

Those places had particular protocols, and they were different from the protocols of the straight singles bar.

There is a long history of entrepreneurs who saw the commercial potential of sexual subcultures that developed organically, and tried to make them “mainstream”– ie to make a “straight” version, as a way of scaling it. For instance, the founder of TGI Friday’s, the first singles bar in America, was inspired by the thriving gay bars he saw in the West Village in the 1960s. His gay bar for straight people made a splash for a while before being franchised into the internationally ubiquitous chain restaurant that has to be the least sexy place on earth.

This is why I was wrong: Tinder is not the straight Grindr and never will be. It more closely approximates the institution that its founders came out of, and the kinds of behaviors associated with it: not the bathhouse but the frat house, not political liberation but the college campus free-for-all.

How I Rebuilt Tinder And Discovered The Shameful Secret Of Attraction

Suppose you’re a straight woman thumbing through Tinder while waiting for the train, avoiding your homework, or bored at work. A picture of a deeply bronzed man pops up in your stream. How do you swipe? More interestingly, if someone asked you to explain why, how would you answer?

His location is exotic. He’s doing something that requires a wetsuit. Chances are, he needed a good amount of money to do what he’s doing in the place he’s doing it. But the dark tan, large tattoo, long hair, and name like „Kip“ indicate a lifestyle that is probably not that of an investment banker. You can’t really see his face, but surprisingly that doesn’t really matter because the overwhelming reason that hundreds of men and women who swiped „no“ in a full-fledged Tinder simulation I unleashed on the internet had nothing to do with attractiveness. Instead, it had everything to do with the type of person Kip seemed to be:

It’s possible these respondents are „overthinking“ their response to what, on the surface, is a very straightforward question: Indeed, some would argue that there’s no reason to even explain: You can’t argue with your genitals.

But maybe what we call the argument of one’s genitals is, in truth, incredibly — and both consciously and subconsciously — influenced by the cultures in which we grow up as well as our distinct (and equally culturally influenced) ideas of what a „good couple“ or „good relationship“ would look like. Put differently, we swipe because someone’s „hot,“ but we find someone „hot“ based on unconscious codes of class, race, education level, religion, and corresponding interests embedded within the photos of their profile.

Essentially, we’re constantly inventing narratives about the people who surround us — where he works, what he loves, whether our family would like him. And more than other dating services, which offer up comprehensive match dossiers, Tinder appears to encourage these narratives and crystallize the extrapolation process and package it into a five-second, low-stakes decision. We swipe, in other words, because of semiotics.

„Semiotics“ is, quite simply, the study of signs. The field of semiotics tries to figure out how we come up with symbols — even as simple as the word in front of you — that stand in for a larger concept. Why does the word „lake“ mean that massive blue watery thing? Or how does the stop sign, even without the word „stop,“ make everyone understand not to go forward?

But signs aren’t always static in their meaning — it’s all about context. Wearing a camouflage jacket can mean that you’re in the military, a hunter, a punk, a redneck, a misogynist; having a shaved head, as a girl, can connote that you’re a radical, a cancer survivor, or a lesbian.

I first noticed this „crystallizing“ tendency in Tinder when a friend, let’s call her Katie, starting playing it for fun, three beers in, at a bar. She was thumbing through prospective matches‘ profiles (usually comprising six Facebook pictures, authenticated Facebook age, and a brief bio line) for the table, yelling out her immediate reaction: too old, too manscaped, too short, too bald, too Jersey, HOT, too douchey, too finance-bro, too „ew,“ too hipster, too boring, too CrossFit, TOTALLY HOT.

Katie’s performance is indicative of a larger truth: that most of the fun of checking people out isn’t actually talking to them, but whether or not you’d talk to them and how. Katie was using Tinder at a bar, but instead of squinting across the room, she got to look at well-lit pictures of each potential match attempting to present his best self, seeing what phrase he uses to describe himself and a collection of ironic bon mots or general pronouncements („no offense, but no crazies“).

Tindering thus mimics the relationship of checking someone out on the street, in the classroom, or on the subway, but with the added tactile pleasure of physically swiping the rejects out of your field of vision (and your life). That’s the real difference between Tinder and sites like OkCupid, Match, eHarmony, and J-Date: The end game on those sites is an actual date (and a lot of times marriage!); the end game on Tinder is the web version of a low-stakes bar conversation, which may or may not lead to a date or relationship.

Katie’s verdicts were often based on obvious, glaring „facts“ of the profile: A 5-foot-7 male was „too short.“ A 39-year-old guy was decidedly „too old“ for Katie’s 33 years. Another is bald; she decides him „too“ much so. But other swipes relied upon more a more vague, albeit immediate, calculus. To be „too douchey“ is to have a bad goatee, a shiny shirt, an unfortunate facial expression, or a certain type of sunglasses. „Too ew“ could be any blend of traits that, to white, straight, middle-class Katie, read as repugnant.

But some judgments are too secret — and shameful — to say out loud, or even admit to ourselves. Katie never said „too not-white,“ „too poor,“ or „too uneducated.“ We cloak those judgments in language that generally circles the issue: „Nothing in common,“ „he wouldn’t like me,“ „I can’t see us together.“ Those statements aren’t necessarily lies, but they’re also not always full truths either — and often rely on overarching assumptions about what differences in race, class, education, and religion dictate not only in a relationship, but any interaction, romantic or otherwise.

After watching Katie and tinkering around on the app myself in a game-like fashion, I wanted to see if, relying on anonymity, I could get at the heart of the subconscious snap judgments behind each wipe. Why do we swipe the way we swipe? And are those assumptions „just human,“ or indicative of larger, enduring, and possibly destructive cultural divides?

Since there’s no way to standardize Tinder’s in-app selections for all respondents (and because using and publishing the real identities of strangers poses more than a few concerns), I decided to make my own, somewhat crude simulation. The first step: Scour stock images to find a broad array of profile „types.“

The process proved fraught, as stock images for casually dressed black males, women over a size 4, and anyone who didn’t fulfill stereotypical understandings of what male/female looks like require some unsettling search queries and yield clichéd and borderline racist results (try searching „curvy“ or „fat,“ for example, and you get a sea of women looking very sad while looking at food or standing on scales).

I winnowed the profiles down to around 30 men and 30 women, processed them through Instagram filters to make them seem more like something someone might actually have on their account, and put them in standard Tinder profile frames. I picked approximate ages and came up with a mix of names — some of which were intended to complicate or amplify the mix of signs in the profile.

The result is an approximation, but not re-creation, of what Tinder is actually like. The goal was to correlate each participant’s race, class, education, religion, and sexual preference to their swiping habits. For each Tinder „profile,“ regardless of whether they swiped yes or no, the user was prompted to answer „What race/religion/class and education level is this person?“ And, if they swiped no, they were asked to write a brief explanation for „why,“ with a specific instruction not to simply note, „not attracted.“

The survey circulated via Twitter, Facebook, email, and among friends, amassing 799 seemingly earnest respondents. It’s not divided by the gender of the respondent, but by sexual preferences: If you desire men, you took the male simulation; if you desire women, you took the female one. If a participant identified as bisexual, he or she could take either.

The most swipeable woman — no matter if the user identified as straight, gay, queer, or bi — was Yasmin, with an 89% swipe-yes rate, a full 10% higher than her closest „competitor.“

But why? She signified as middle-class (85% believed so); she seemed as if she had finished a four-year college degree or higher (83%). She looks Christian (42%), spiritual (20%), or agnostic/atheist (17%), and reads as either „mixed race“ (48%) or black (40%).

Look closer at this image: Yasmin’s teeth are white and straight and her skin is clear. Her shirt is nondescript, but doesn’t read, at least from what we can see of it, as „cheap.“ The contrast between the shirt color and house in the background makes her look crisp and clean. Her overarching look is bourgeois, like a model in an issue of Real Simple.

Her eyes are „smizing,“ which makes it seem like she’s actually happy, not just posing for the camera, all of which combines to create a feeling of „genuineness.“ Her hair seems only the slightest bit unruly — hey, she’s not uptight! — but is also well-conditioned and cared for. She probably has means; she is content; she is educated; you will have something to talk to her about, and she will be pleasant.

But perhaps the most attractive thing about Yasmin, at least according to the simulation, is that her race is ambiguous. In his new book Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), OkCupid co-founder and data scientist Christian Rudder asserts that „when you’re looking at how two American strangers behave in a romantic context, race is the ultimate confounding factor.“ Working with star ratings and messaging data, Rudder found „two essential patterns“ of male to female attraction: First, men tend to like women of the same race; second, men „don’t like“ black women.

So why, then, do Rudder’s OkCupid findings not apply to Yasmin? It would appear she’s not black enough. Just contrast Yasmin’s profile with that of Lindsay, whom users read as unquestionably black (97%) and who received only a 43% swipe-yes rate.

Most respondents explained their rejection of Lindsay based on height and race, or, in one straight white male’s words, because of „unconscious racism?“ He continues: „Not that I don’t find black women attractive — and not just the Beyoncés of the world, either — but this woman’s aesthetic, which has definite racial and class markers, doesn’t appeal to me at all.“

Here, „aesthetic“ seems to mean manipulated hair, more visible makeup, cluttered clothing, and a less-inviting facial expression. And those „definite racial and class markers“ make users more likely to see her race. For Yasmin it’s just the opposite: The absence of those racial and class markers make her race recede in importance (only two respondents, both straight white males, cited race as their reason for swiping no).

The same holds true for Xavier, who had the most swipeable male profile.

Xavier received a 79% overall yes rate — 10% higher than the closest „competitor.“ Ninety-five percent of users read him as black — a similar percentage to Lindsay — but users also perceived him as well-educated (95% percent thought he’d finished a four-year college or higher) and middle- or upper-class (74%/24%). The business attire makes him look professional, but not overly boastful; he looks directly at the camera and his arms are folded, which makes him seem direct. You could read his lack of smile as menacing, but the shirt and tie soften the effect.

The 21% who swiped „no“ were bluntly concerned with race: „Not into black guys“ (gay/white), „I think I might be racist“ (straight/white), „interracial dating is not for me“ (straight/white). Some pointed to race-specific traits without explicitly mentioning race: „his lips are way bigger than mine. I have thin lips and the thought of always kissing gimungous [sic] lips is scary to me,“ wrote one bi/white user.

Then there’s the cultural extrapolation: „Man, he’s pretty. And he seems really engaged and confident. But I can’t see him at the next big half Polish, half French, all judgmental family picnic“ (white/straight).

But why was Xavier rejected for his race more than Yasmin? Both read as middle-class and educated; both appear clean-cut in their pictures. But Xavier reads as „more“ black and he isn’t smiling; black men read, stereotypically, as more threatening than black women. Now, that’s all racist and speculative, but it also seems to mimic how our racist and speculative subconsciousness functions in the split second it takes to swipe a Tinder profile.

Here’s the religious breakdown of the simulation participants compared to national statistics from the 2012 Census:

The discrepancy is fairly easy to explain — the mostly twenty- and thirtysomethings who took the simulation are less religious than their parents and grandparents. Participants were willing, however, to assign religious beliefs to the profiles they rejected.

Take, for example, Junior, who garnered a paltry 7% swipe-yes rate. The stated reasons for rejecting Junior were variations on „he seems old school, like he’d be really patronizing to women“ (bi/white) and „He’s overweight/doesn’t seem athletic“ (straight/Asian). Eighty-one percent of users also read him as Christian — which could be correlated to the 70% who believed he was Hispanic, an ethnicity often associated with Catholicism. (Importantly, no respondent cited religion or ethnicity as their reason for swiping „no“ on Junior.)

Same with Jimmy, who also pulled a 7% swipe-yes rate. Users didn’t like his truck and read him as „Southern“ and working-class (84%). Seventy-five percent of users believed he was Christian, despite no physical indications of religiosity. A similar yoking happened with Chase, a man with a nice smile and a cowboy hat, whom 86% of users read as Christian.

By contrast, here’s Conor — who received a 56% swipe-yes rate. He’s holding a mandolin, he has a beard and long hair, and the reasons for rejection usually had something to do with said beard and the lifestyle it connoted. But only 10% of users thought he was Christian — while 60% thought he was atheist/agnostic, and 20% believed he was spiritual. Even though, like Jimmy and Chase, he’s photographed outdoors, certain hipster signifiers (not looking at the camera, long hair, mandolin) negate that reading.

When a profile includes obvious signifiers of religious belief, however, the reading process becomes more complicated. Thirty percent swiped „yes“ on Kate, and despite signifiers that many interpreted as hipster, many signaled the cross around her neck as indicative of Christianity. A white, bisexual respondent wrote, „I don’t date people serious about their religion“; a gay Hispanic woman called the cross „a huge turn off“; and one who identified as mixed race and straight thought she seemed „a bit arts-y and sanctimonious (spiritual).“

That said, perceived religiousness is not an automatic „no.“ Take Johanna, who had an overall yes rate of 64%:

Eighty-seven percent of users read her as Muslim. The reasons for swiping „no“ were almost entirely contingent on her perceived religion and its cultural extrapolations: A white male said, „I wouldn’t want to deal with cultural differences in the bedroom“; a gay Hispanic user said, „I have no patience for religious people. She’s hot, but sadly religion is the biggest turn off for me.“

Overall, however, Johanna had an excellent Tinder swipe-yes rate (58% of straight men, 75% of bi men or women, and 78% of gay women).

Johanna signifies as religious, but unlike Jimmy, Junior, or Conor, she also signifies as middle- or upper-class (71%/26%) and college- or graduate school-educated (64%/26%). Like Chase and Jimmy, she’s photographed outside, but she wears a women’s suit jacket. Even those who swiped „no“ on her profile for religious reasons conceded that „she is very cute“ and „she’s hot.“

Religion — even religion that would likely preclude a successful relationship — seems to matter less when the subject seems to belong to a higher class and educational level (especially if that subject is gorgeous).

Let’s examine Dave, one of the lowest-scoring male profiles. It’s an ambiguous profile — there are four men, and no sign as to which one is „Dave“ — but that’s also the case with many Tinder profiles. But the rage directed at Dave wasn’t primarily due to the inclusion of his friends in the shot. Rather, it was his apparent privilege — communicated via the golf course, the uniform whiteness of himself and his friends, and the apparent gall to use a golfing photo as one’s profile picture — that led respondents to say the following.

Dave scanned as well-educated (71% believed he’d finished college; 20% thought he’d finished grad school) and definitively upper-class (73% believed as much, the highest of any profile). But unlike other white men of higher class and education level, users also overwhelmingly read him as Christian: a whopping 79%. (Compare with Kieran, another white, well-educated male, whom 64% of users read as agnostic/atheist.) Respondents read Dave’s hobby and whiteness as indicative not only of wealthy, but Conservatism — which is often associated, explicitly and implicitly, with Christianity.

Dave demonstrates how Tinder’s lack of information forces assumptions from its swipers, which is is a perfect example of what makes Tinder so unique and perfect for this experiment. On OkCupid or Match, there would be clear markers of one’s political views. But on Tinder, you have only the presence of a pair of pleated khaki pants to tell you if the person is, say, conservative, „a douche,“ and thus unattractive.

No one wants to believe their attractions are racist, or classist, or otherwise discriminatory. We use elaborate phrasing to cover it up or explain it away, but it’s still there, even if not always to the profile’s detriment. The fact that the two profiles with the highest swipe-yes rate were both people of color seems to suggest something about shifting understandings about attractiveness, which makes sense given our respondents (overwhelmingly middle-class, largely white, and mostly urban and suburban denizens of the internet).

But „what we find attractive“ appears to be far less about someone’s face and far more about the signs that surround that face. Think, for example, if a woman like Marit, pictured below, had the cheap highlights and unfixed teeth and name of Crystal?

Though still anecdotal, Tinder rejection in this simulation appears to be more about class than race or religion. If a user self-identified as upper-middle-class and identified the male profile before him or her as „working-class,“ that user swiped „yes“ only 13% of the time; if they identified themselves as lower-middle-class, the swipe rate rose only slightly to 17%.

If those same users identified the profile before them as middle-class, that number rose to 36% and 39%, respectively. The same trend held true when judging female profiles: If the user identified as upper-middle-class and identified a profile as working-class, the yes rate was 26% — compared with 52% if they identified a profile as middle-class.

Whatever the signs that made someone think that a profile was working-class — McKenzie’s fishing pole, Renee’s dye job and pool pose, Ricky’s tattoos and piercings, John’s tank top, Toby’s camo, Jimmy’s truck — the swipe rates plummeted.

Which isn’t to suggest that poor people are ugly. The vast majority of explanations for the no swipes on all of the above profiles pointed to a perceived lack of common interests: „we’d have nothing to talk about,“ „I don’t think our politics would mix,“ „nothing in common.“ Sometimes those assumptions stem from depicted activities — fishing, body modifications — but some are just the way the mind runs wild with class, weaving the narrative that a working-class person probably doesn’t read books for pleasure, or enjoy art cinema, or seek out microbrews, or go on hikes the way a bourgeois, middle-class person does.

Now, the results of a small sample-size Tinder simulation doesn’t mean that we’re all destined to marry within only our own classes. Data on the tendency to marry within one’s class is difficult to come by, but if relying on education level as an (imperfect) proxy for class, then the rate has decreased dramatically over the 50 years. Even as more and more people marry „across“ lines of race and religion, fewer and fewer are willing to cross the education/class line.

Tinder is by no means the cause of this decline. It simply encourages and quietly normalizes the assumptions that undergird it. The Tinderspeak of „we’d have nothing in common,“ taken to its natural extension, bolsters and reifies the idea of „two Americas“ with distinct values and worldviews, two discrete factions with little impetus to support that which doesn’t necessarily personally affect us or our class.

It’s not as if race and religion aren’t still mitigating factors in our decisions about whom we find attractive, with whom we emphasize, or for whom we feel compassion. Race and religion do matter (and might always), but almost only when they intersect with a class identity that isn’t our own.

Ultimately, this admittedly un-randomized sample seems to suggest that the raw idea of attraction — that knee-jerk „thinking from the genitals“ decision — has less to do with our unmentionable parts and much more to do with a combination of our deepest subconscious biases and with our most overt uncharitable personal politics. And if that’s the case, it’s no doubt the reason why Tinder is so popular, addictive, and ultimately insidious.

Anne Helen Petersen is a senior culture writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in Missoula, Montana.

Dating App Tinder Works For The Gay Community, But It Wants To Be Even Better

Online dating is increasingly becoming a viable method for people to start serious relationships, especially among same-sex couples.

There’s a handful of dating apps out there that specifically cater to the LGBTQ (lesbian gay bisexual transgender queer) community.

But Tinder, an app taking the online dating world by storm, wants to become a better tool for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgener, and queer (LGBTQ) community.

The app has generated more than 75 million matches since launching last October. Meanwhile, at least 50 couples have gotten engaged thanks to Tinder. 

But Tinder is looking for a more solid way to determine intent for its non-straight users, Tinder CEO Sean Rad tells Business Insider.

“The product works for the gay community,” Rad says. “But we need to do a better job of sort of calling it out.”

There’s an ongoing internal debate of what terminology the app should use, Rad says. For now, users simply toggle “male” or “female” on and off. 

But if someone was only interested in meeting someone who transitioned from female to male, it wouldn’t be possible to specify that or find such a person.

“I think we could do a better job of making that clear in the UI,” Rad says.

Despite all of that, there’s a lot of activity on Tinder within New York City’s gay community, Rad says. 

Which Dating App Is The Most Queer-Friendly?

„I’ve been on Tinder for over a year and I’ve only ever gotten four matches,“ I once proclaimed to a table full of people. „And only one of those has ever responded to a message.“ Upon hearing this information, a gay male friend cheerfully snatched my phone out of my hands and opened the app.

„What? That can’t be right. Your settings must be wrong.“ And then he actually proceeded to double check whether or not I had been doing Tinder . I don’t know if you’ve ever had a dating app with the difficulty of Candyland mansplained to you at a bar, but I can assure you, it’s not cute. Of course, I hadn’t been doing anything wrong; Tinder is just an atrocious app for queer women.

It occurred to me that most people don’t take the numbers game into account when it comes to dating queerly. The CDC estimates that around 4 percent of the populationfor reasons we can’t possibly imagine. But even so, the non-hetero dating pool is significantly smaller, and many so-called „LGBT“ spaces only cater to gay men.

Because of that, LGBTQIA folks have known for approximately two decades what Tinder is just beginning to monetize: the Internet is a spectacular tool for meeting people with whom you’d otherwise never cross paths. But for dating apps to be fun to use, they need a wide userbase. And to have a wide userbase, they need straight people. And once straight people become their majority market, the app becomes myopically geared towards straight people, thereby diluting its usefulness to the people who arguably have a greater need for it in the first place.

Even gay-geared apps, in the hopes of finding success like heavy hitters Match and OKCupid, design their gender and sexuality options to mimic their straight counterparts. What’s the point of catering to niche markets if you’re not even going to bother researching their actual needs?

But, in all honesty: people wanna grind. So in the spirit of swiping your way to success against all odds, I’ve heroically set up accounts on the most popular dating apps Google Play has to offer (plus some more obscure ones who are getting it right) to gauge their LGBTQ+ friendliness.

An axe to Grindr? Stories from the dating frontline

Smartphone apps have changed dating for gay and straight people forever – or have they?

It began with Grindr (well, arguably it began when Eve ate the apple, but that’s another story).

“Traditional” online dating sites were the success stories of the nineties and early noughties, and now, according to , one in four relationships start online. The next logical step in the modern world of smartphones was dating apps, and none have been more successful than Grindr, which caters exclusively for gay men.

Set up five years ago, it now has more users in London than any other city in the world (950,000). Across the globe, seven million men use it in 192 countries, and 10,000 new users download the app every day. Users have profiles in the same way as on other sites, and the site’s USP is matching people up with others who are nearby, according to the geo-location data on their phones.

There’s a spin-off for lesbian women too, called Brenda, and in the last few months Tinder – for straight people – has taken off. Its strapline? “Tinder is how people meet. It’s like real life, but better.”

Here are some stories from people who use the apps about how they have changed dating – and attitudes.

The best dating apps 2020: straight, gay or bi, find love whatever your orientation

There was a time when dating services may have been considered a last resort in the long, arduous hunt for love. But fast-forward to 2020 and everything has changed.

Nowadays if you’re young (or not-so-young), free and single, chances are you have Tinder, Bumble or the hottest new dating app around between staples, like Instagram and Deliveroo, on your homescreen. 

Dating apps are more popular than ever, which means the demand for intuitive experiences, quality connections and more diversity is more important than ever too. 

That’s why we’re here to help you before you begin your swiping spree. Take a look at our pick of the best dating apps around in 2020 – catering to a wide range of preferences and orientations. 

We’d also like to add that we didn’t just look at the app stores to come up with this list, we also quizzed a wide range of dating app guinea pigs, from those who used them once and found a soulmate to those who use them regularly for everything from relationships to flings.

So whatever your preferences, and whatever you’re looking for, check out our selection of the best dating apps on offer right now. We’ll keep updating this list as new apps are released, because dating apps are becoming even more specific to help you find the perfect partner.

Tinder vs. Grindr: the differences between gay and straight dating

There is no doubt that dating is challenging. Thankfully, with modern technology, we now have apps and websites that provide an entire pool of potential matches. This technology has forever altered the way we date and the ease with which we do so.

For gay men, these apps have opened up a completely new world.

Long before the internet when homosexual couples were forced to keep quiet about their relationships, newspapers enabled gay and lesbian people to meet through matrimonial and personal advertisements.

It was not until the 20th century, however, when these advertisements broke into the mainstream. It soon became a trend but skepticism over the legitimacy of these ads faltered shortly after.

As H.G. Cocks, author of Classified: The Secret History of the Personal Column, describes:

“In Britain, the personal column was suspected (much like the Internet is now) of harboring all sorts of scams, perversities and dangerous individuals. At least that is what the police tended to think, and they only stopped prosecuting lonely hearts ads in the late 1960s — until then they often thought that they were mainly placed by prostitutes and gay men.”

Personal ads gained momentum again in the late 1990s, much due to the Internet. But since the early 2000s, the Internet has almost completely taken over the world of personal advertisements.

Then came AOL messaging and Craigslist ads. Today, dating apps and websites comprise a majority of the interactions.

Grindr has been one of the most revolutionary inventions in modern dating for gay men. With over 2 million daily active users in 192 countries, it is currently the #1 gay social networking app in the world.

But what is it that makes this app so popular and so revolutionary?

Unlike Tinder, Grindr allows for immediate, unfiltered communication. You scroll down a grid-styled list of profiles and can instantly start a conversation with anyone online in your area. I decided to download the app to really get the full picture.

Unlike Tinder in which there is a predisposed filter to determine whether someone is interested purely off of face value and a meager bio, Grindr gets the message across quickly and easily. There is no filter.

The app also allows for one to conceal their identity, unlike Tinder in which you must create a human-like profile.

Jamie Woo, author of Meet Grindr, How One App Changed the Way We Connect, says the main purpose is to facilitate hookups that are “spontaneous and intimate,” and is the only app of its kind that has succeeded in this simplicity. Apps like Mister, Scruff, Jack’d, Tinder, and OkCupid Locals have followed in its footsteps, but the immediacy of Grindr is what draws interest.

However, this design has seemingly only worked for the gay community. The company attempted to release Blendr, an app designed for straight people and women, but it has not nearly gained the same type of momentum.

“It could simply be that ‘gay men are early adopters.’ I joke that the wheel was invented by a gay man so he could get to his hookup faster,” Woo said.

This brings up an interesting point — is there really a significant difference between the way two gay men and two straight people or women communicate?

I first decided to consult the Internet and quickly came across an article on Gay Therapy LA entitled “Gay Men’s Relationships: Ten Ways They Differ from Straight Relationships.” Here’s the list:

While the list highlights main relationship differences, I was dissatisfied with the lack of scientific evidence. So, I decided to go straight to the source and consult the experts.

A little rambly, but my friends (Jared O’Mara, first, and Marcel Anderson, second) offered some decent insight.

I still needed more information, though, so I decided to take a visit to the PRIDE Center on California Polytechnic State University’s campus in San Luis Obispo. There I found Eric Victa, a very articulate staff member who was happy to help me truly get to the bottom of this:

And finally, I got the information that I was looking for. In other words, we cannot compare the worlds of straight and gay dating because they both originated in completely separate social situations. Thus, it would be comparing apples to oranges — they’re both from completely separate trees.

Part 1. Does Tinder work for gay men?

Technology has made everything possible in this world. LBGTQ community used to feel the absence of a reliable platform where finding another gay man is easy. Hence, Tinder decided to add a feature for the LGBTQ community. Tinder has revolutionized the way of LGBTQ dating. This new feature allows users to meet the person of their choice. Gay men can choose to be private and hide their gender, and many gay men have found their perfect match on tinder. It’s the gay Tinder app that promotes dating depending on sexual orientation. Moreover, it’s more comfortable to get a perfect match for gays and some even say it is better than the Tinder for straight people.

No matter what people say, your experience on Tinder gay dating app is going to be awesome. Maybe, you can end up choosing your life partner.

Part 2. How a gay man use tinder differently?

Tinder gay dating app operates differently and this is clear in the following points. Straight people have to follow a simple process, but due to the fear of harassment and bad behaviors, Tinder has kept the process differently for gay.

Part 3. How to explore more gay matches?

Although tinder for the gay app has a brilliant interface and easy to use features, it’s a little complex to find gay men. They avoid meeting people because of the fear of humiliation. If you are feeling it hard to match with a gay man, then try hiding or faking your current location. In simple terms, it is spoofing. Spoof your location using any application such as on iPhone and Android. It will enable gay men users to see other gay men only in their tinder feed. This trick is impressive for whoever wants to spend some quality time with a person having the same interests regardless of region. 

Part 4. Not satisfied with Tinder features? What to do?

Many of you may don’t enjoy using the tinder app. Instead of that, you can try alternatives available. Few of them are great competitors of Tinder per gay app. 

This dating app is specially for men. The application is free, but for a few features, you have to invest some bucks. You can meet millions of gay men around the world on your Android or iOS device. At this platform, the number of gay men users is more than 15 million. 

Grindr focuses on gay, Bi, Trans, and queer people. It’s also a spectacular dating app for the LGBTQ community, and you can connect with anyone living in some other region. The app has more than 4 million daily users all over the world. 

The application has a huge fan base, with the total users of around 25 million. This application also has a particular focus on gay men. You can be part of a gay community. 

This dating app got popularity in a brief period. It sends an alert if anyone tries to click the screenshot of your profile picture. The users swipe 2 million people daily. 

Everything here is easy to do, like sharing pictures, chatting, searching for your favorite partner, and plenty of other things. The app boasts 200,000 users daily active users. 

To conclude, Tinder has worked for many straight people, and undoubtedly, Tinder for gay men too is a perfect application. So, try the Tinder gay app today or any of the other five apps and meet your partner to make your happiness bigger.

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When he was finally ready to start meeting men, though, Landwirth had no idea where to start. “I was way too scared to talk to anybody — I didn’t know who was gay or not gay, or what to say to them,” he says. “I didn’t know how to flirt with a guy.”

But on Tinder, Landwirth says, he could finally just relax, because the app took some of the guesswork out of things. There was no fear he’d be hitting on a straight guy — which meant he could finally focus on figuring out who he was attracted to, and whether they were interested in him.

“It took away that unknowingness. I was able to let loose,” he says, “to try the lamest pickup lines or do some serious flirting.” Plus, having these exchanges on the internet felt less intimidating than interacting with someone face-to-face.

Landwirth and Vidal matched on the same day Vidal downloaded the app. After three and a half years together, the couple got engaged this past April. Both are now completely “out.” Tinder, they say, helped them get there.

In many ways, Landwirth and Vidal’s story is my story, too.

I first started using Tinder three years ago. Up until that point, I had only ever dated men. And as far as most people were concerned, I was a straight woman. But when I downloaded the app, I took a step I’d been wanting to take for a long time: I set my preferences to show me both men and women.

I’d known I was attracted to women since I was a teenager, but growing up in a religious, sometimes conservative environment, it was easier to push the feelings away than it was to pursue them. The idea of being queer felt scary. By the time I was in my mid-to-late 20s, I was lucky enough to have actually met some out queer people, and to be in a relationship with a supportive man who knew I identified as bisexual. I’d even hooked up with a few women, and had a brief love affair with one. For the most part, though, I still had no idea at that point in my life where to find other women who were like me. I didn’t yet know about “girls’ nights” at bars yet, or all-girl parties. I was terrified of walking into a bar, hitting on a woman who was straight, and being rejected or making her feel uncomfortable.

What’s more, I still didn’t know enough to really understand the type of woman I was attracted to. But when I downloaded Tinder, I, too, was finally able to relax and flirt. Unlike the other dating apps I’d tried years earlier, like Match or OkCupid, I didn’t have to scroll through paragraphs-long, superfluous autobiographies. They rarely told me much that mattered about a person, anyway (if you aren’t attracted to someone, for instance, who cares if you are both into the same fan fiction?). On Tinder, bios were often brief, sometimes just a few lines and a bunch of emoji — and I was fine with that. Everyone got a quick glance, and my only criteria was whom I felt attracted to.

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Which — as you probably know if you’ve ever used Tinder — is fairly typical. For me, though, it was educational.

“The ‘shopping’ factor of hookup apps … Tinder etc. encourages us to play ‘hot or not’ and consider how attracted we are to someone’s profile,” says Allison Moon, a queer sex educator and the author of . Do enough swiping, and sooner or later you start to develop a sense of what you like.

“The stakes can feel lower, too,” Moon added: “You can text and flirt, but there’s no commitment to choose a label. You’re not going to a lesbian bar, or joining a queer rugby team. You’re just dipping your toe into the queer pond, which can feel much safer … It’s much harder to sit your parents down for a heart-to-heart than it is to click a box that says ‘I’m looking for women.’”

These days, there are dozens of mobile dating apps — Bumble, Happn, Hinge, and Coffee Meets Bagel are just a few. But Tinder has a handful of advantages that, in my opinion, make it a better for people who are questioning if they’re queer, or want to “dip their toe,” to borrow Moon’s phrasing. For one thing, the gamey design lets your first instinct take over: You might think you like girls, for instance, but if you’re not “liking” any of them at first glance, the app may be revealing something about who you’re really attracted to. Tinder’s reputation as a frivolous hookup app is also a plus — it’s a lot easier to look for a hookup and learn about yourself in the process than it is to approach self-discovery with the loaded pressure of finding a long-term partner. (Even though that sometimes happens along the way, like it did for Landwirth and Vidal.)

Tinder’s lighthearted brand of sexual consumerism also means that it can make for a fun group activity (how often have you seen groups of people Tindering together on someone’s phone at a bar or a party?). And this, in turn, can make it easier for people to come out to their friends.

In fact, that’s exactly what happened to a U.K. teen named Ian, who came out as gay a few months ago. Ian, who wanted to use only his first name, had already told a couple of people by late 2016, but the majority of his friends still didn’t know until this past New Year’s Eve, when he opened Tinder on his phone while at a party.

“I was swiping through the app when some of my friends asked to help out, which — encouraged by a couple of beers — I agreed to,” Ian told me in an email. “When they started seeing other guys appearing on it, it was pretty obvious I wasn’t straight. After confirming this, it was a lot easier to just be blunt about who I was interested in.”

For Ian, this way of coming out mercifully lacked the drama of making a formal announcement. “It’s a lot easier when it comes up in conversation or there is a reason to show your orientation,” he wrote.

Which is why Tinder can be so valuable for people trying to step into their true identities. Sure, it may encourage shallowness and sexual objectification, but it also reconnects queer folks like me with reality. After years of listening to all the reasons why it’s not okay to be gay, it feels freeing to be in a virtual space that encourages you to just listen to what’s happening in your pants. Once people get real about that, then they can find true love. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not bad for a free app.

‘Grindr is more about yourself than anything’

“It’s a physical facilitator, it’s about how someone looks,” says Pat Cash, a journalist for QX magazine and sporadic Grindr user. “You’ve only got these little details to go on so the downside is… turning yourself into a box. It becomes I’m Pat, I’m 5’11, I’ve got dark hair and I might say, you know, toned body or something, and that becomes me.

“I think Grindr is only the sum of its users – it is not a reflection of the gay community or modern-day gay dating because people who use Grindr use it for a specific reason – they are mostly young, free and single, and they download it up for hook-ups, sex, to assuage an urge we all feel and can recognise whether you’re gay or straight, male or female, 18 or 80. The downside is the objectification and it takes away the full emotional gamut of being a human being.

“It does take away that idea of having to be out, on the scene, of going to a specific gay place and the worry that if you’re not in a specific gay place – you wouldn’t come on to anybody in a straight pub because you don’t know if they will be homophobic and punch you in the face.

“In a way Grindr is more about yourself than anything. People keep going back to it because those messages, that attention from other people, it’s about self-affirmation. It’s like taking a selfie and putting it on Facebook to get likes.

“I think the gay community suffers from an appearance of superficiality, of pop music, of dancing, of having no responsibilities – that’s changing slightly with equal marriage – but gay men generally don’t have kids, they’ve got a lot of disposable income, and so Grindr taps into that kind of idea and purports of it being superficial and all about fleeting encounters. But, you know, every gay man is looking for love, or most of them I know.”

‘It’s a technology-based cocktail of fun and awkward’

“They say when you’re gay getting a girlfriend is like trying to find a job; you either have to be referred by someone you know, or do it online,” says writer Nayla Ziadeh.

“Brenda is marketed to this specific niche – the female Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, InterSex and Asexual (LGBTQIA) community, renowned for being a small world. Meaning half of the women you come across, especially if you live in a city like London, Brighton or Manchester, are ones you’ve already seen out and about. It’s a technology-based cocktail of fun and awkward.

Is Brenda political? Arguably any space that caters specifically to non-straight women, even if it’s a bright purple cyber one, will be by default. Nayla Ziadeh

“But is Brenda political? Arguably any space that caters specifically to non-straight women, even if it’s a bright purple cyber one, will be by default. There is an unconscious link between sex and politics when you’re queer.

“Of course, the software is principally social – bringing women together for friendship, sex, or romance. Apps like Brenda are not explicitly building an LGBTQIA cultural revolution, but they do help facilitate the social lives of those whose sexuality exists outside of the mainstream.”

‘It’s not all about superficial sex’

“I’ve had a couple of really rewarding hook-ups on there, that have just been sex, and they have done what it says on the tin and it’s served its purpose and been great,” says Dylan Jones, a writer and one half of a duo who makes podcasts about gay life in London.

“It’s a cliched line but how much do we ever know about someone who we meet in a bar and go home with? It’s not that different to that. The few times I have met people just for sex on here, I’ve asked to go for a drink or a coffee first, just to, you know, dip a toe in the water.

“It can be very instant. I have friends where someone comes across the street, they meet them, then walk off back to their flat. That’s how instant it can be, although that’s not for me.

“You meet couples in bars…and you ask how long have you been together, and they say two years. And…sometimes they say, we met on Grindr. So it does last sometimes and it goes to show it’s not all about superficial sex.

“I was talking to my straight female flatmate and she’s got Tinder and I was interested because I never thought it would work with the ‘straight community’…I think because with men, there’s a lot more emphasis on just sex.

“Not because that’s a gay thing, I just think men – this is a generalisation – are more sexual in general, so it’s more acceptable for two men to say, oh shall we go and have sex, whereas if he said that to a woman, she might be a bit taken aback.

“It’s definitely changed for gay men but it’s changed for straight people too with the internet. Ten years ago dating websites were considered a bit sad and a bit pathetic and you only went on there if you couldn’t find a boyfriend, but now all my female friends and male straight friends, 90 per cent are on [the sites].”

‘Dating for the new digital generation’

“Tinder is like going up to a man in a bar but eliminating most of the risk factors,” says Moira Scarlett, who works in the film industry.

“You don’t have to fear face-to-face rejection, and you are armed with some prior information, even if only very basic. You can swipe through hundreds of men in a matter of minutes until you see someone that you fancy, and then you send a message. Being on your phone everything moves much faster than internet dating and you can be having a drink with that person within the hour.

“You don’t have to waste any time. It is acceptable to just see someone you like, go for a drink, and then do whatever takes your fancy.

“You have a massive pool of people to choose from – I really don’t see any negatives. Yes, there are always some perverts and weirdos, but they are fairly easy to filter out.

“It is dating for the new digital generation and it is great fun.”

OKCupid

Competition for a date may be tough. But competition between the top dating apps is fierce. That means it can be hard for other apps to really stand out, which is why OKCupid has turned its focus to matching people up on a ‘deeper level.’ 

By filling out your profile and answering questions, the app’s algorithm will suggest potential matches who share your interests in the hope you’ll build deeper connections, which you can easily see from a ‘compatibility’ score displayed next to other users. You can also link up your Instagram profile if you think it gives potential matches a better picture of what you’re all about.

Nick said: “The OKCupid dates I went on were often the most interesting, with people I could genuinely chat to.” 

The app is free and, unless you use its ‘quickmatch’ Tinder-style option, it’s all about browsing through many profiles and breaking the ice with a message. But this focus on messages can lead to some clear downsides. 

Sarah said: “The fact you can easily message for free comes with the downside that you might get a fair few unwanted messages.”

Last year, OKCupid recently refreshed its user profiles with an update that allows users to define their pronouns. This information shows up alongside gender and orientation.

Tinder

Here it is, Tinder. The app that’s apparently the cause of everything, from the rise of STDs and breeding promiscuity to global warming (okay, we’re messing with you with that one). But regardless of who you ask, it has become synonymous with casual dating and hookups rather than those looking for their soulmates. 

It’s perfect if you’re looking for something not so serious, but that’s not to say that it’s impossible to find a more long-term love. After all, we’ve all got a friend-of-a-friend who married someone they matched with on Tinder, right? Unless we’re all just referring to the same couple…

The core concept is simple enough. You see someone’s photo. If you like it, swipe right. If you don’t, swipe left. And then repeat a couple of hundred times. If you’ve swiped right on someone and they’ve swiped right on you as well, you’ll be notified and can begin messaging one another. 

Hayley Minn says: “I used to love it, it’s so easy to use and fun, but it now feels like a game more than anything and I’ve never had a date lead to anything serious.” 

Despite the fact it seems to be losing its edge, we included it because it’s still popular, and the large user numbers mean the more chance of dates.

Louise said: “I’m sick of it, but most people are on it. And I’ve had a few good, well, mediocre, dates.”

Bumble

In many ways, the Bumble experience is pretty much identical to the Tinder style of swiping, but rather than either party making the first move, it’s up to the girl to say something witty and impressive first within a day. 

For many women that we chatted to, this was a breath of fresh air in the often seedy and overwhelming world of online dating and cringe-worthy first messages. 

Hayley told us: “I LOVE it! The woman speaks first, and it means guys are way more likely to speak to you if you’re not just one of many.” 

It also seems that the higher quality experience and focus on women being in control attracts a slightly better standard of men. 

Louise told us: “The men are better, looks and personality.” 

Hinge

Calling itself “the relationship app”, Hinge is aimed at those who are tired of Tinder, or just have really sore thumbs from all the swiping. 

You’re prompted to ask a series of questions, but you can choose which you answer. The idea is you can build an authentic picture of yourself, with answers, photos, details about what you’re reading or listening to and even video. So you’re more likely to find someone with genuine shared interests, rather than just a nice face.

The biggest difference is there’s no ‘hot or not?’ style swiping. You can like someone’s activities and photos, which reminds us more of Facebook-style interactions, but packaged up within a dating app. 

Does this all sound a bit too good to be true? That’s maybe because it is. 

Sarah said: “Hinge definitely sounds good in theory. But I haven’t had a date through it yet. I’m trying to stay patient and positive, but I think the instant buzz of Tinder might have ruined me.”

Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish is another app that allows you to create a profile, answer questions or just upload your favorite selfies. It’s got a large user-base and when it comes to success rates, it really divides opinion. The huge choice of, erm, fish, tend to mean there are a few long-term love stories and lots of “okay I guess” dating anecdotes.

Louise said: “It’s a totally mixed bag. Be ready to hunt for people through the droves and droves. I’ve had a few fun dates through it, you just have to put the time in to weed through the rubbish.”

Paul said: “All I ever hear from men is that women never reply, and all I ever hear from women is that they get too many messages.”

That said, we know personally of one real world couple that are now married having met through Plenty of Fish, so love can be found here!

Chappy

If you’re serious about finding long-term love as a gay man, Chappy may well be the best app option on the market. Built from an idea by Made In Chelsea’s Ollie Locke (stick with us…) it’s a respectful community with a higher quality user than some of the sleazier apps.

Letting you choose between „Mr Right“ and „Mr Right Now“ it’s fun and playful if you’re in the mood for some quick company, while offering a bit more depth for those looking for a bit more.

According to Basil it’s greatest feature is „a slider at the top, where you can indicate what you’re after, so only like-minded guys will populate your feed,“ but the app experience „from that point onwards, is basically Tinder.“