Recently the opportunity came up to review gay dating apps. Now being a single pringle ready to mingle I thought to myself, why not? I need to get my lazy butt back out there and this seemed like my kind of thing and I do enjoy a good app (who doesn’t??).
Well I can safely say I’ve been on a little journey boys and girls and let me tell you it’s a maze of nonsense out there.
Ranging from the apps that Cupid would be proud of to the apps that try and fail miserably there are literally countless numbers of apps out there for you to chose from. I’ve gone with a small selection of the ones most people appear to have heard of (or that came recommended to me).
Let’s begin with the usual suspects. Number 1, good old Grindr…
Now if you haven’t heard of Grindr then where have you been for the last five years or so? Love it or hate it the fact is that most (emphasis on most, but not all) gay men have been on it at some point over the last six or seven years. I gave it up for two years when I was with my boyfriend and didn’t miss it but now that I’m single again it does become a little habit. Good or bad, I’ll let you decide.
Grindr sells itself as “the best gay dating app” and yes as far as technology goes it is the simpler of the apps out there. It simply shows 1 profile picture for you, shows you people around you and lets you input basic information about who you are and what you are looking for. I currently pay for Grindr “xtra” (because I’m sad like that) and it basically gets you unlimited blocking capability and a much larger list of guys to view. I’m undecided if it’s worth paying the extra few pounds for. It could be to remove the ridiculous amount of adverts that are on the free version.
Now because it is location based it’s also very handy for those that want “a quick hook up” and nothing more. Hence there are a lot of guys on there that are after one thing and one thing only. On the ‘looking for love’ scale, if you go onto it with low expectations when it does happen (and I know that it has) then it’s a pleasant surprise. Otherwise, I’d recommend it for visiting new areas and seeing who is about or for those days when a booty call is really all you want (and don’t deny that you have those days, because we all know that you do!).
For months I have resisted the urge to join Plenty of Fish because, rightly or wrongly, I saw this type of site as the last chance saloon of singledom. And I don’t think I’m quite there yet… (Famous last words). Now I fully accept that was being prejudiced having that view and I took the plunge some months ago and signed myself up with an account. I’m all about challenging perceptions and all that so why not start with my own? I have to say that I was surprised a little with what you are given. Yes, it’s the same faces on here as there is on Grindr but actually, this is geared up more to those just looking about to see who wants to connect.
Yes, you do get the people that start off all sweet and lovely and then declare that they are horny and “can our date be moved forward to right now”, but actually that’s just men. We can’t really blame an app for what an arse your average man can be.
But actually, if you’re looking for something different then POF could be for you. Unfortunately, the app does load other users that are near you so if you happen to check it while travelling about you may have to disappoint some people that message you thinking you are local when in fact you are just travelling through.
If you are concerned like I was that being on there is “sad” or not something to admit in public then I would challenge you do try it out. You might be surprised at what you see. Again, the app is only as good as what you put into it. Put rubbish in, get rubbish out.
Like POF tinder a simpler app designed to “match” people based on their personalities and likes/dislikes. Tinder asks you to complete a survey and provide as much information about you as possible so that it can create a list of possible matches for you and ask you to “like” or “not quite right” profiles that it presents to you.
The traditional features are all there including location-based searches but like POF there are very little opportunities to declare your sexual preferences or put on your profile that you’re horny. Like POF they are still on there but this app is geared up to be very “blind date” matchmaking.
It sounds cheesy but it really isn’t. I’d recommend checking it out as it’s fairly modern in design, appears to be stable and like
POF if you put some real effort in you may be surprised with what you get out.
Jack’d is a really odd app as it is very simple to use, a little more functionality that Grindr does (more pictures for example and a “matching” service) but it’s also very basic, very clunky in places and has a habit of presenting you to a lot (and I do mean a lot) of US-based guys. I’d say out of all of the profiles that messaged me during my time on here a good 50% were “non-UK” based. Which is great if you’re looking for a long distance to marry and move to the states with. But for us lowly average gays it doesn’t really do much for your chances.
It also seemed to struggle with logging in quite a lot (more than Grindr anyway which is saying something). Can you see Willam Belli or another drag queen making a song with a reference to Jack’d? No me neither!
As far as “hook up” usefulness, yes like Grindr it is location based so can show the guys around you it doesn’t really sell itself as a hookup friendly app. You will find the same guys on it mind you. Except on this one its long walks and snuggles and on Grindr its long dicks and group sessions. That’s a massive generalisation but you get the point.
“Wapo” (what used to be called Bender before someone cottoned on that it really is a stupidly unwise name) apparently is Spanish for ‘handsome man’. Far be it for me to quote trade descriptions at them as I oversell myself but seriously?
In recent years it’s undergone a major overhaul so that now it’s not bad looking. It gives you more functionality than Grindr (ability to view your profile views for example without having to pay for it) but it is slightly temperamental. Not only in my experience but some of the reviews on the app store also give it a scathing report that it is unstable and not very user friendly. On the upside it does let me detail my height in feet and inches (it’s the small things. Oh and I’m 6 foot 3).
Again, most of the people you’ll find on Grindr or Jack’d you’ll find on Wapo but it does seem to be more of a mixed bag. Worth a look and see what you think. I do however think the name is lame.
Now hornet seems to be a mix of all the others. It has a very simple setup like Grindr with some added features liked Jack’d (public and private photos, view tracks, add favourites etc) but isn’t quite as ‘tidy’ or as finely tuned as Grindr. The Hornet app is also geared up for those looking for something more as not once does it ask you your “role” or if you are listed as looking for “hook-ups”.
What I also like about Hornet is that it asks you if you know your HIV status and when you were last checked. You can choose not to provide that information as it’s not mandatory but alongside asking you it also encourages you to find out and get checked. As a promoter of good sexual health, this is a big tick in the box for me. An app that seems to actually care…
Booty call usefulness again depends on your profile. Like the others it is location based so if you are anywhere near another user then you’ll show up and who knows what could happen. It doesn’t appear to offer any sort of “matching” service nor does it offer chances to detail your sexual preferences so in the battle between “sex app” vs “dating app” Horney remains decidedly neutral.
For those guys, that like me had a gaydar profile back in the days when it was just a dating website I couldn’t not mention the app they now have. Given all the changes Gaydar has been through lately the app isn’t bad overall. It is reasonably well designed, clear and easy to understand. It follows the same sort of layout as the website profiles and gives you pretty much all the same information as the full website.
As Gaydar is the longest serving gay dating website that I’m aware of, its ‘looking for love’ factor is quite high. The days of sitting on Gaydar just for the chat rooms are long gone. Having a look around online and talking to other people I get the impression that everyone has a profile on there, but not many people actually use it or update it.
This means that Gaydar does have a chance of helping you find love, little to no chance of finding a hook-up and providing you’re in no hurry to find anyone or get a reply to your messages then this is the app for you.
(After this little exercise I decided to completely delete my profile on there… No real reason other than I very rarely got anything from it and I decided it was the end of an era).
Now I’ve always liked the Fitlads main website. Yes, it is basic but functionality wise it offers a lot and some of the guys on there are a laugh. I’ve had many a good night on Fitlads and made a few online friends from it.
But having said that I wouldn’t recommend the app. It’s very basic, not very stable and makes you want to log on to the website to see what it’s trying to present to you. You can search for members, use your location to find other people, message and post on the forums but is pretty much it. Whereas the mobile web page lets you do much more. I mainly use the mobile web page now, to be honest. I may also be the person that subscribes monthly to get access to the porn videos. Far better than storing them on my laptop. ;o) I’d recommend checking out the website www.fitlads.net as it’s a pretty good, albeit basic, site for meeting guys, getting dates and various other things. I think I bought my first sex toy from the Fitlads shop. For that reason, well that reason and others, it will always have a little soft spot in my heart.
If I was to tell you that I was ever so slightly hairy and fell into the category of “otter” would you be surprised? No? Didn’t think so! Well for those that also love the male form with a little bit of hair (or not) then Scruff is the app for you. It’s got all of the functionality of Grindr and Jack’d and is a little more stable and easy to navigate. It’s a little more complex than Grindr as you can have private “albums” and search internationally for people but essentially it is simple to use. Having been on Scruff during my single years I’ve found it to be very handy for meeting guys that not only like the hairier male form but also some real guys that are looking for something more. I’ve got a couple of dates out of Scruff and while they haven’t developed into a relationship (because not everyone has to fall in love with the first guy they meet) I’ve actually made some good friends from it. And yes I have also had some good times from it. As it is location-based and allows for private album sharing it is very “hook up” friendly. But like all the others, it is an app where what you put in is what you get back out again. If you’re after the more masculine man then Scruff is for you. If not, then I’d stick with Grindr.
Now I thought I’d throw this one into the mix purely because of my last article about kink in the media. If you are looking for love on here then you will be hard-pressed to find it but that isn’t to say that you can’t. I know a fair few people that have met their partners in a roundabout way through Recon. So don’t automatically dismiss the idea.
Now that being said, Recon is very much aimed at those with a kinkier side to their personality. From the hardcore through to the milder tame stuff. The app, just like the website, is very geared up at the sexual aspect detailing what you are into, what your body is like and what you can be contacted for. The app allows messages, searching based on your current location, editing your profile and searching for Recon events in your area.
Check it out. Go on, it may surprise you…