We created three made-up online dating profiles and spent five days trying out each service and monitoring the responses our fake profiles received. We created a woman seeking a man, a man seeking a woman and a woman seeking a woman to make sure our data was well-rounded. All three profiles were similarly generic: They were white with bachelor’s degrees with low to midrange full-time jobs. To create these accounts we had to make fake email accounts and, for some sites, fake Facebook accounts and phone numbers as well.
You discover potential matches based on searching instead of getting match suggestions, which gives you more control over your online dating experience. For each match you see, you also see the percentage match rate you have with that individual, giving you not just another conversation starter, but an actual data-driven indication (based on the profile questions you answered) of how well you and someone you find in your search results may match. OKCupid has a fun, laid-back feel to it, and users generally adopt a similar attitude when interacting on the site, making it a legitimate choice both for people looking for casual flings, and those in search of more serious, long-term relationships.
Once you pick that perfect selfie and write paragraphs to sell all your best attributes to your future mate, it's time to start browsing. This is where the big differences between these apps are apparent. For instance, Tinder, with its famous hot-or-not swiping interface, makes it quick and easy to find your next date. Bumble, on the other hand, puts all the power in the woman's hands; men can't even contact a woman unless she's expressed interest first. Others, like OkCupid, have robust profiles that let you dive deep into a user's personality (or at least the one he or she has decided to present to you), before you decide to go on the pursuit.
Tinder has been nothing less than a cultural phenomenon, adding "swiping" to our dating lexicon. The casual dating app is incredibly straightforward and easy to use. In fact, it's so simple that, at least for the standard free version, there are really only a few things you can do on it, including updating your profile, swiping left (to pass) or right (to like), and chatting with matches.
To set up an account, link your Facebook account or phone number, upload your photos, and start answering some questions. In addition to the questions that help you find out how compatible you are with other people, the OkCupid profile gives you around 20short-answer prompts to choose from that you can fill out to give other singles a peek into your personality. It’s recommended to fill out as many out as possible.
The app is free and works based on your location, so you can use it to find dates while you're traveling. You need a Facebook profile to link to your dating profile, and the apps asks you to outline your intentions and hobbies in its dashboard. That’s also where you select an activity and a time frame and see if any other users are interested in meeting up with you for the date.
Why it's awesome: AdultFriendFinder is our pick for the best hookup site, and that's because it's literally impossible to walk away unsatisfied. It's like a Pornhub that you can actually interact with. Regardless of whether you're looking for an in-person hookup or to blow off some steam via sexting or raunchy videos, AFF has everything that your dirty mind can think of and more. Almost nothing is blurred out (no, really, there are lots of unsolicited dick pics), v=but if you don't mind that the entire thing looks like a sketchy "There are hot singles in your area" ad, you'll be in heaven.
Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.
One thing to note if you don't fall into the cis-hetero dating pool: While most of the apps reviewed here are inclusive, there are those that are friendlier to the LGBTQ community than others. For example, OkCupid goes beyond forcing users to choose between being a male or female, including options like Hijra, genderfluid, and two-spirit. If you're a man seeking a man or a woman seeking a woman, you'll want to steer clear of eharmony: It doesn't even give you the option of a same-sex match.