Editor’s note: As people across the globe are encouraged to quarantine to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, we also believe it’s important to follow rules of social distancing when dating. Our advice below, while great when seeking someone to date in normal life, is best used when self-isolating is not recommended. In the interim, check out our solutions to dating during COVID-19 times here.
We’re living in a remarkable time where you can scope out potential hookup buddies without ever leaving your couch. That’s right — you don’t even have to buy anyone a drink or even put on pants. What a time to be alive, right?
The odds are in your favor when you’re using an app that connects you with hundreds of local single women in your area. You’re able to chat up prospective partners at a volume that you wouldn’t be able to recreate if you were out at a bar trying to seal the deal (many have tried, all have failed).
RELATED: Best Hookup Sites and Apps
That being said, using an app to get lucky also has its downsides. Putting out feelers for a casual hookup to strangers you haven’t met yet can get dicey fairly quickly. Figuring out the right approach can take some time, too. You want to make your intentions known, but you need to do so in a way that doesn’t come off too strong or make her feel uncomfortable. You’ll need to exchange a few messages to see if you two are feeling each other, but you don’t want to become pen pals with someone you’re just trying to get it on with, either.
Are Dating Apps Just for Hooking Up?
Amusingly, there seem to be two contradictory misconceptions about dating apps: some people think they’re only for people looking for hookups, while others think they’re only for people looking for relationships. How did this idea take hold?
Well, some apps are deliberately vague about their purpose, trying to be all things for all people. Tinder, one of the most popular dating apps, is a great example: some people swipe for short-term fun, while others use it to look for love. To solve that problem, some apps have decided to specialize, so, for example, Bumble is known as a female-friendly relationship app, while other apps are more deliberately targeted towards short-term flings.
Of course, you’ll want to be using the right dating app to get the job done. Luckily, you’re looking for a casual encounter at a time when new apps and features are constantly evolving to help you find exactly what it is you’re looking for. Not sure which apps to start with?
We’ve put together a list of some of the best dating apps for hooking up, as well as our advice on how to use them to your advantage to get lucky tonight.
How to Use Dating Apps for Hookups
When you’re using apps to find a local hookup, there are a few ground rules to keep in mind that will set you up for success in the long run. The first is deciding what to put on your profile. If you’re truly here for a good time and not a long time (for casual sex instead of a long-term thing), Elite Dating Managers founder Isabel James says that attracting your next casual encounter can be as easy as being upfront in your profile right from the beginning. “Explicitly state that you’re looking for a hookup on your profile,” she says. “Something like: ‘Not looking for a long-term relationship. Looking to have fun tonight!’ makes it clear.” Being direct with your expectations from the get-go means you’ll only be matching with women who are also looking for something casual with no strings attached, saving you the time it’d take to gauge whether or not your matches are here for the same reason as you are. Dating sites work much better if your match knows what you’re looking for, and you’re not being misleading.
As for how to approach potential hookup partners you’ve matched with, transparency and manners are important, as always. “The key to initiating a hookup over a dating app is to exercise patience,” says Caleb Hacke, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics. “Ultimately, it’s more important to make sure you don’t offend or put off anyone who isn’t interested in a hookup than it is to get your point across as boldly and as quickly as possible.”
Hacke also recommends testing the waters before proposing a hookup. “Try to get flirtatious and see how she responds,” he says. “As long as your would-be hookup partner is matching your flirtatiousness beat for beat without appearing put off or weirded out, you’re not doing anything wrong. You can gradually escalate the nature of your flirting until you’ve advanced to sexual innuendo. At that point, if she still seems interested, you’ve got a green light of sorts to attempt to initiate a hookup.” In summary:
- Look for hookups on hookup apps
- Be upfront about what you’re looking for
- Be flirtatious without being creepy
- Escalate the flirting in tandem with her interest
The Best Dating Apps for Hooking Up
Before there were dating apps, there was OkCupid. What started as a traditional online dating site you could only access on your computer has evolved into an app equipped with traditional swiping and messaging functions you’d come to expect in a dating app. It’s also coupled with a more robust written profile that allows users to state things such as interests, what they can’t live without and what a typical Friday night looks like to give potential matches a better feel of the person they’re chatting with.
What makes the dating app especially great for finding hookups is the search functionality, hands down. While apps like Tinder and Bumble only allow you to filter by location and age, OkCupid lets you search using keywords found on profiles. In other words, you can see who’s looking for something casual, or type in phrases like “not looking for anything serious.” If you’re kinky, you can also sort matches using your fetish of choice, all while keeping your location and age parameters intact. This is one of the app store’s most popular dating apps for a reason.
Check out OkCupid
If you don’t have the patience to weed out matches that are explicitly looking for a no strings attached hookup, a quick search on FriendFinder-X will probably make you pretty happy. You can search for potential matches using filters that range from proximity, sexual preferences and even cup size. Too lazy to search? The app has a list of compatible profiles sent to you for your consideration.
Check out FriendFinder-X
One of the oldest, largest and most-trusted hookup sites on the internet, AdultFriendFinder should be on everyone’s short list of hookup apps, first for its massive community of users (hey, more users means more options!) and second for its ease of use. Testifying to its effectiveness, the site has won numerous awards, including “Best Adult Dating Site” back in 2012.
Check out AdultFriendFinder
Tinder is great app for hookups mainly due to the sheer number of users that are on it (a respectable 57 million as of 2019). Finding a willing hookup buddy in your area is undoubtedly a numbers game, and while not everyone on this app is on it for a casual fling, the odds are high that you’ll be able to connect with users that are looking for something casual tonight. Not to mention, it’s beyond easy to use.
Create a profile with some photos, choose an age and location range for the person you’re looking for, and start swiping (left to reject, right to accept). If you both dig each other, you’ll be able to send messages to get things started.
Check out Tinder
Pure offers a short window for chatting, deleting conversations and photos exchanged between users an hour after they’ve been sent. That means you spend more time getting busy and less time exchanging niceties. It is overtly branded as a hookup app, so you know the intentions of whoever you’re chatting with without having to play the guessing game. Not only does this app protect your anonymity by making messages and images self-destruct, but it’s also free to download. Talk about a win-win.
Check out Pure
Bonus: Best Gay Hookup Apps
If you’re in the LGBT+ community, then you’ve almost certainly already heard of Grindr, which is the largest dating/hookup app of its kind, and a pioneer in the field. Creating an account takes no time at all, and then you’re connected to single people near and far. You can interact with people by sending either text or audio messages, and if you like the way the interaction is going, you can even share your locations to facilitate a quick and easy hookup.
Check out Grindr
Formerly known as Lucky, all you need to set up an account on Yumi is one single photo. Also, as the site coyly points out, it doesn’t have to be of your face. A hookup app that boasts complete anonymity, there’s no connecting your social accounts or even entering an email address involved. Meaning, you can find what you’re looking for faster, without having to jump through hoops or enter any personal information — other than your location, that is.
If you match, you’ve got three hours to respond and get busy, which encourages a sense of urgency for users who are looking to get lucky tonight. Ladies can use the platform for free, but male users will need to pay $19.99 per month after the free month trial is up.
Check out Yumi
Bonus: Best Free Hookup App
Let’s say, hypothetically, that you already have some potential hookup partners in mind, and that they just so happen to be your friends on Facebook (or friends with your friends on Facebook). Don’t you wish there were some way to see if they were interested in some type of casual arrangement?
That’s where DOWN Dating comes in: the app that connects you with your Facebook friends (and friends of friends) who are down to get down. But don’t worry, the lady you have your eye on won’t know you’re down for a hookup unless she says she’s down for one with you, too.
Check out DOWN Dating
Bonus: Best Fetish Hookup App
If you’re in the market for a hookup that satisfies a particular fetish, look no further than the Feter app, a dating app that connects local singles with shared fetish interests. This app packs all of the GPS features of Grindr (read: you can find out if there’s anyone who’s into the same fetish as you at the bar you’re at), with the ease of Tinder’s swipe left/right functionality to make finding a fetish hookup easier than it’s ever been before.
“When I’d meet people in clubs, they almost always told me that they found it difficult to meet people who shared their fetishes,” Iris Li, one of the co-founders of Feter explains. She created Feter to help fill the gap, and users have been getting their needs met ever since.
Check out Feter