Online Dating

The Top Gay and LGBTQ Dating Sites

When it comes to online dating, gay men have been fortunate enough to find a space where they’re able to communicate with their dating prospects without judgment from the outside world.

Sure, there are public spaces where it can be possible to meet a potential match, but even the gay clubs of today are filled with women who don’t want to be hit on by straight men, and straight guys so comfortable with their sexuality that they don’t mind the go-go dancers.

Meaning, gay dating sites have been a welcome innovation.

But online dating, no matter what your sexual orientation, can be challenging. You have to wade through hundreds of filtered pictures of strangers.

Then you have to make awkward small talk to see if you’ll even have common interests to talk about once you meet up … and after all that, there is still the coordinating of the first date.

It can be exhausting to go through the process time after time in the hopes of finding someone who will make you want to delete your online dating profile forever.

So if you’re looking to meet a new friend (or find the perfect guy to bring home to meet mom), browse below to find a beginner’s guide to online dating as a gay man.

OkCupid

Although not exclusive to gay men, OkCupid still remains one of the most used online dating websites owing to the fact it’s free and has some major name recognition. When it comes to asking your friends which online dating website they’re signed up for as a millennial, most will respond with OKCupid.

It allows you to fill out questions in order to find matches with similar minded people, and since it is not toted solely as a sex app- chances are you’ll more likely to find someone you’ll be happy to bring home to mom to. OkCupid skips being like all those other dating sites with a slew of extra features such as allowing you to swipe on potential matches (much like Tinder) as well as answer insightful questions about yourself such as “What are your favorite novels?”

Whether you’re a gay Christian looking for another gay date to discuss your faith with, or if you’re a bisexual dude looking to experiment with going out to coffee with another male, chances are the OkCupid is the place to find them. In addition, their mobile app allows you to take your online dating profile everywhere you go, making this one of the best free gay dating options available to you. It’s worth mentioning that OkCupid was the first dating app to let users choose their preferred gender pronouns, and also provides 22 gender and 13 sexual orientation options to choose from.

Pros:

  • No cost to browse and interact with people on the site
  • Simple and straightforward design is easy to use and isn’t distracting
  • Upgrading to the A-list is cheap and offers great features

Cons:

  • People aren’t taking it seriously as it’s free to register
  • Have to pay to get full functionality of the site
  • Not as much selection in smaller cities or towns

Adam4Adam

One of the more commonly known gay online dating sites, Adam4Adam is more straightforward with its users’ intentions than OkCupid. The site is primarily used to find sexual partners who match your sexual and physical interests. This is great news for anyone who wants to try out a sexual fantasy or experience they’ve yet to have since Adam4Adam has an extensive filter feature that allows you to sort through users by age, race, weight, sexual position, and relationship status.

Yes, Adam4Adam even takes into account that a lot of homosexual couples are more adventurous with their sex lives. You’re able to sort through gay couples who are seeking to bring in a third for either solely fun or for a gay polyamorous relationship.

Either way, this free site has stood the test of time since it was launched in 2005 because it simply works to connect gay men who are both looking for a sexual connection and the potential for it to turn into more than just a one-night-stand.

Pros:

  • Full range of services for free
  • Easy to navigate
  • Offers users vast filtering options

Cons:

  • High volume of fake profiles
  • Interface
  • Security concerns

Grindr

Perhaps the most widely used gay dating app, Grindr has become synonymous with gay online dating. The reason for this is simple: Grindr is a clean looking app that allows you to filter through your matches who are in your local area. Using GPS match generation, Grindr allows you to see how far away your potential dates/ hookups/ new friends are from you.

Grindr is free, however the premium feature (which begins at 14.99 a month) allows you to see unlimited men in your area and get more specific with your filter searches (for example, the free version of Grindr only allows you to filter your searches with 3 categories while Premium lets you filter through 8 categories of specification).

Grindr is also known for first introducing the “tribe” feature for gay men. You’re able to sort yourself into categories such as: Jock, Nerd, Discrete, Twink, Daddy, Rugged, Poz, Trans, and Otter. This allows you to connect not only with like-minded people, but allows people who are interested in your specific “tribe” to locate you. All of this makes Grindr a big step up from using your local classifieds.

Pros:

  • Quick registration
  • Popular app with large active user base
  • Location-based platform allows users to more easily find others for in-person hookups

Cons:

  • Free account has limited search capabilities
  • Lots of ads
  • Can only view small number of profiles in your area

Scruff

Piggybacking off of Grindr, Scruff is another geolocation gay dating app that allows you to “unlock” photos of yourself and others in order to expedite the pesky “pics?” problem apps like Grindr face. Scruff also has employed the tribe feature on the app, but allows you to back search for people who are directly interested in the group of gay men you most identify with.

In addition, it allows users to check out which queer-focused events are going on in their area during the week and which Scruff users in your area have RSVP’d. This feature not only makes Scruff both a great dating and sex app, but it allows gay men to meet in safe spaces where they can connect in real life.

Of course, Scruff is primarily used for those looking to make a sexual connection, and the lack of requirement for a profile picture opens up users to fake profiles and catfish. But, despite these minor setbacks Scruff succeeds where most gay dating websites fail- it moves beyond the solitary matching scheme and offers users the chance to attend events together, and to discuss queer news with each other.

Even if finding a sex buddy isn’t on your mind, Scruff is ideal for finding someone in your area that checks all your boxes owing to their varied and nuanced ‘categories’ section and filter options. It fulfills the need for connection, friendship, sex, and, yes, community building, something usually missing from those other gay dating apps.

Pros:

  • Quick registration
  • Popular app with large active user base
  • Location-based platform allows users to more easily find others for in-person hookups

Cons:

  • Free account has limited search capabilities
  • Can only view small number of profiles in your area

GayFriendFinder

The gay dating website that doesn’t have a sexually charged name, GayFriendFinder sets the scene for gay men to connect beyond sexual hunger. The site is free to sign up and allows users a plethora of space and description to tell the world what they’re looking for in a partner. Other apps- such as Grindr and Scruff, limit how many characters are able to be in a user’s’ bio, which can mean a less concrete chance of finding the ideal person for you.

Much like Scruff, GayFriendFinder allows users to coordinate meetups, such as gay board game night or even a night out with new friends. The website allows you to search for gay singles in your area— and even includes a feature that allows users to announce when they’re traveling and who else will be in the area during that time.

By giving gay men more to do on a dating application than to ask each other for nude pictures, GayFriendFinder allows you to find your next date, friends-with-benefits, and, yes, next best friend.

Price: Free

Pros:

  • Gives users option to find singles, couples and groups
  • Promotes community with forums and original blog content
  • Verified email profiles

Cons:

  • Extremely limited free profile
  • Lack of active members
  • Limited filtering options

Bumble

Given that Bumble’s main selling point, in heterosexual dating, is having the woman message first, you might not think it’s inclusive of the LGBT+ community, and in the past, that was true: they used a separate app for queer dating called Chappy. They’ve since folded those functions into a single app, which is great news for the queer community, since it greatly expands the available user base while streamlining things for gay and bisexual users.The “women send the first message” mechanic is dropped for queer users, but someone still needs to send a message within the first 24 hours or the match is dissolved.

Pros:

  • Large userbase             
  • Easy to indicate what (and who) you’re looking for
  • More people seeking serious relationships

Cons:

  • Prompts can come across as excessive
  • Lots of overlap with Tinder in terms of the userbase

Tinder

Tinder may seem like a straight person’s app, but it has recently made great strides for LGBTQ+ inclusion. Launched around Pride 2019, Tinder introduced the features “Orientation” and “Travel Alert”. The former is rather straightforward: Orientation lets users select their sexual orientation, acknowledging that the feature will “continue to evolve and change, just like sexuality.”The latter, Travel Alert, could potentially be a lifesaver, protecting LGBTQ users when they enter any of the 70 countries that have laws criminalizing queer people.

Tinder will alert an LGBTQ user when they open the app in one of these countries so they can take extra caution and not unknowingly place themselves in danger. Once the alert is activated, users can choose to remain hidden or connect with new people. If they choose to stay visible, their sexual orientation or gender identity will not be displayed until they leave the area. While the Orientation feature is admittedly a little late to the party, Travel Alert is a new and important feature that deserves to be recognized.

Pros:

  • Quick registration matched with a user-friendly interface
  • Popular app with large active user base
  • Location-based platform allows users to more easily find others for in-person hookups

Cons:

  • No matching algorithm to narrow field for gay men
  • Limited bio prompts

Growlr

Growlr is an app similar to Grindr and Scruff, but is more niche, marketed primarily for bears (the typically huskier, harrier variety of gay man). The app, like Grindr and Scruff, uses geolocation technology to source potential mates for whatever type of connection you’re seeking. Currently, Growlr hosts a fraction of users that the other popular gay dating apps do, but that’s to be expected when you’re marketing to a fraction of the gay community.

Since its recent acquisition, the company that purchased Growlr, The Meet Group (which also owns dating apps Lovoo, Tagged and Skout) plans to introduce live-streaming capabilities. The streaming is meant to be an entertainment component with the idea being that when users aren’t getting a lot of messages, there are livestreams put on by others that can provide entertainment.

Pros:

  • Location-based platform allows users to more easily find others for in-person hookups
  • Users are active
  • Clean layout

Cons:

  • Limited “type” of men
  • No matching algorithm
  • Can only view small number of profiles in your area

Conclusion

Not only do these sites make it easier to meet people, but they also keep things safer and more discreet. A lot of these apps have free versions, so you don’t have to commit if you’re not ready to pay yet. Take your time and have fun on some of the top LGBTQ dating apps!