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Navigating Interracial Dating During the Black Lives Matter Movement


How to Support a Black Partner During Racially Charged Times

Today, that promotional image you see of a mixed-race family smiling together at a fast food restaurant or an young interracial couple shopping at a hip furniture store might be focus group-tested as exemplifying the best of contemporary capitalism. 

But not too long ago, the idea of people from different racial backgrounds loving each other was far from commonplace — particularly white and Black people in America, where such relationships were, in fact, criminalized. 

RELATED: How to Help the Black Lives Matter Cause

Though this racist law was overturned in America by the landmark Loving v. Virginia case in 1967, interracial relationships can still prove difficult in ways that same-race relationships might not. 

Problems can arise in terms of each partner confronting the other’s understandings of race, culture and privilege, for one, and also in terms of the way you’re treated as a unit by the outside world, whether as an object of fascination or derision (both often concealing racist prejudices). And tensions like that can be especially amplified when the national discourse around race intensifies, as it has since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25. 

In order to better understand how to properly support a partner of color as an ally in the time of the Black Lives Matter movement, AskMen went to the source, speaking with Nikki and Rafael, two individuals whose partners are black. Here’s what they had to say: 


Talking About Race With a Black Partner


Depending on the dynamic of your relationship, you may already talk about race a fair amount. 

But whether it’s something you’ve been actively avoiding, or it simply doesn’t seem to come up much at all, it’s worth exploring why in order to make a change.

Unfortunately, because America and many other Western nations have deep-rooted anti-Black sentiments running through them, your partner’s experiences with anti-Black racism are likely a non-trivial portion of who they are. Never discussing that with them means you’re missing out on a big chunk of your partner’s true self. 

RELATED: How Black Men Move Through the World and Why Change Is Needed

“The topic of race has come up in conversation between me and my fiancé from the very beginning of our relationship,” says Nikki, who’s been with her partner since 2017. “We’ve discussed how people react to our relationship from both Black and white perspectives — from simply walking down the street to getting dinner at a restaurant, we have always been observant and aware of others.”

She notes that these conversations would come up as the two “encountered prejudice,” noting instances of people looking, occasionally speaking directly to them, and even “being pulled over once for no reason.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has only encouraged more “heightened and deepened discussion more recently,” adds Nikki.

As for Rafael, who’s been dating his girlfriend for about eight months, race comes up “naturally in conversation often, on a weekly or probably daily basis.”

“My girlfriend works for a prestigious Black dance company and we both keep up with news, current events, movies and music,” he says. Race plays a role in all aspects of our culture, so it would be strange to not talk about it.”


Supporting Your Partner When They’re Facing Racism


If you’re only just beginning to talk about race with your Black partner, you might not yet have a solid grounding in how to support them when they’re facing racism, whether that’s systemic or personal, implicit or explicit, intentional or not. 

RELATED: AMPLIFY: AskMen Elevates Black Voices

1. Recognize Racism’s Role in Your Own Life

It’s important to recognize that white people are born into an already existant racist culture, and it’s impossible to properly tackle racist issues until you can recognize how it’s factored into your own upbringing. 

“Be an ally,” says Rafael. “Come to the table with an understanding that we all function within a racist system, and therefore either benefit from white privilege or in the case of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals, are marginalized/held back by racism. Most if not all white people have done, said, or participated in racist behavior at some point. Denying that we participate in a racist system is foolish and not true. Start there.”

It’s fixable by asking your partner to help educate you, or simply by recognizing the role you have to play in your journey towards anti-racism by educating yourself and others around you.

2. Listen to Your Partner’s Truths

You may be used to communicating with your partner about weekend plans and where to eat for dinner, but that should also extend to their experiences with racism and anti-Blackness. 

Even if they’re subjects you feel uncomfortable bringing up, it’s important not to shy away from them or make your partner feel bad for bringing them up. 

“It is imperative as his fiancée that I listen and support,” says Nikki of her partner. “I allow him to express his feelings freely, offering a place of comfort. When he was ready to open up and have those deep conversations, I was there to listen. I believe that this is very important in supporting a Black partner, especially during this time.”

3. Be Willing to Have Difficult Conversations…

Beyond just listening to your partner, you should also work to create spaces for them to talk to you about what they’re going through. That could be direct experiences with racism, feelings surrounding the racism they see on social media or in the media, or both. 

“It seems basic, but asking how their day is or how they’re feeling are important,” says Rafael. “Those simple questions could open the door for your partner to tell you about a racist interaction they experienced, or how they’re feeling about the ongoing cases of police brutality that are constantly in the news.”

Nikki said her and her partner have had “some tough conversations” as of late, covering the “true, hard reality of what is going on.” 

When we look at the future we talk about the hardships he might face as he looks for new jobs, travels, runs alone or simply goes to the grocery store alone,” she states.

4. …But Don’t Push Them on Your Partner

However, a person experiencing trauma might just need a break from the pain. Your partner likely wants someone who is willing to go there when they are, but also someone who can understand when not to. 

“I like to make it known that I’m always open to talk about racial issues and injustice, but also not force those conversations,” says Rafael. “It could be the case that your partner is inundated with images, articles and videos of violence towards Black people all day long, and they’re exhausted by it. When they come home they may want to rest, take a breather, relax, have a meal, watch Netflix, etc,, and in those cases, I try to facilitate and foster that space. Supporting can mean different things at different times. I take my cue from my partner.”


Working on Your Own Anti-Black Racism


One of the most valuable things you can do, both as a partner of a Black person and as a human being, is work towards unlearning the racist ideas that you were unknowingly raised believing and work towards what author Ibram X. Kendi calls “being an antiracist.” 

That is, it’s not enough to be free of racial prejudice — you also need to work actively against the racism that exists in the world, racism that’s corrosive to your partner’s well-being, and the well-being of all racialized people. 

Recognizing Less Explicit Forms of Racism

White people are often raised to associate racism with extreme acts like lynchings, KKK cross burnings, and the Holocaust, but it’s important to recognize that racism is also present in seemingly benign or less-discussed things. 

“In a past relationship with another Black partner, she let me know on numerous occasions that something I said was or did was racist,” admits Rafael. “It was not my intention to do something racist, of course, but nonetheless I had.”

RELATED: AskMen Book Club: Spotlight on Black Authors

“Hearing that I was racist was a shock at first, and I rejected that notion,” he said, feeling that the idea of overt, explicit, hateful racism didn’t line up with who he is. 

“’I have black friends and a black girlfriend’ I thought, so how could I hate black people?,” he says. “It took me a while to understand racism and privilege in a more nuanced way and understand it as a system that I’ve benefited from and participated in.”

For instance, when a white person says the N-word, many people correctly recognize that as racist and condemn it. But when a white sports commentator calls a Black athlete “articulate,” they’re also often evincing racist prejudices, since the implication is they believe the average Black athlete to be unintelligent. Similarly, when a white person talks about “bad neighborhoods,” they’re also often evincing racist prejudice, since these are often areas financially abandoned by municipal governments, and their conditions are not the fault of the residents. 

Recognizing the little ways that racist acts and feelings are present in our lives and working to eliminate them from your behaviors, thoughts, and vocabularies can make a huge difference when it comes to your Black partner. 

Not Getting Defensive When You Slip Up

“Sometimes the way my ex voiced these concerns to me caused me to become defensive,” admits Rafael. “I felt like I was being ‘attacked,’ or she was speaking to me in an angry or confrontational way. The reality is that she was the victim of racism throughout her life, [and] I was not the victim.”

He adds how common it is for “white people to shut down when they are confronted with their own racism.” 

“Now, in my current relationship,” says Rafael, “I think I’m better equipped to hear some critiques about myself without a knee-jerk reaction or putting up a wall.”

Working to Educate Others

The next step in being anti-racist is trying to expand your impact and help other people you care about understand the ways that racism functions. Nikki says she and her fiancé have been doing work to that end in light of the resurgent Black Lives Matter movement. 

“We have also encouraged family and friends to start having those conversations and speak up and out,” she says. “And I have researched and expanded my knowledge base while my fiancé has gone out and participated in protests.”

Being anti-racist is impossible in a silo — if you are against racism but are quiet when you see other people engaging in various forms of it, you’re complicit in their actions. As Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” 

Part of being in a relationship with a Black person, as a white person or non-Black person of color, is to side with your partner and other Black people over the people who marginalize and harm them. Though all of this work may sound difficult, Nikki says it’s also extremely powerful. 

“Something that I learned by being in an interracial relationship,” she says, “is just how beautiful it is to be in one.”

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How to Get Accepted Onto Raya, the Exclusive Dating App for VIPs Only


The Trick to Joining Raya, One of the Most Exclusive Dating Services Out There

What do Chelsea Handler, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, John Mayer, and Channing Tatum have in common? These are just a few of the famous faces who have reportedly been spotted on Raya, the uber-exclusive app that’s been called everything from Illuminati Tinder to the “you can’t sit with us” space of online dating. 

If you’re wondering how to get onto Raya, you’re not alone — it’s notoriously hard to break into, and truth be told, it’s supposed to be. After all, it’s the exclusivity factor that makes this app so attractive. 

Not only do you feel like a total boss when you’re accepted, but you’ll also potentially have access to more high-quality matches. If you had a choice between hanging with a bunch of randoms or a select group of accomplished and attractive go-getters, you’d probably go for the latter, right? Well, if dating apps were parties, Raya would be the latter. 

RELATED: Ben Affleck Is Using His Dating Profile on Raya for a Good Cause

In fact, your pool of options on this exclusive dating app may include A-list actors, high-fashion supermodels, well-known fashion designers and artists, and pro athletes alike. While apps like Bumble, Tinder, and Hinge allow you to use them by merely verifying your identity through a social media account and creating a profile, however, Raya requires a lengthy application process. The bad news? Only about 8% of applicants are accepted, a percentage lower than entry rates into ivy league schools like Dartmouth College and Brown University. The good news? You don’t need to be rich, or a celebrity, to get the seal of approval. All you really need is possession of a few key traits and assets.

Here are the necessary steps you’ll need to take if you’re looking to be accepted to Raya:


How Do You Get Onto Raya? Here’s What You Need to Know


Step 1: Get a referral from a current member

Sometimes it’s all about who you know, and that’s definitely true for Raya. Part of the application process entails selecting a current member from your contact list so that they can provide a referral. It could be a friend, coworker, sibling, or even an acquaintance you met at your buddy’s pickup basketball game. As long as you have their phone number, you’re golden. And while it’s not required, it will likely help your odds quite a bit.

In the app store reviews, one user said they were waitlisted for a full year before getting accepted. “I’m a pretty well-connected dancer/model,” they said. “Got a new gig, met a hot chick already on there. Got a referral and my approval was almost instant.”

Step 2: Have an interesting career

Since Raya prides itself on bringing together creatives and innovators, having a cool job is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to get approved. During the application process, you’ll be asked to describe your career field with a possible selection of two industries from a menu. You don’t necessarily need to be making a ton of money, but certain occupations that are considered desirable — successful photographers, designers, musicians, entrepreneurs, scientists, and researchers — are certainly a selling point. 

While we’re on the subject of your career, bragging about your wealth will not help you get onto Raya. In fact, it could hurt your chances. Raya states on the guidelines and values section of their website that applicants mustn’t “have consistent displays of excessive shows of wealth.” Meaning, you may want to delete those flashy photos and boastful captions about your new Benz and that trip you took to the British Virgin Islands. Not a good look, bro.

Step 3: Rack up a serious social media following

Another aspect of the application process entails providing your Instagram credentials. Sure, they’ll be taking a look at your follower count (having at least a few thousand will likely give you an advantage), but they may also check to see if any other existing Raya users already follow you. Additionally, the kind of content you post can come into play in terms of deciding whether or not you’ll be an asset to the community.

Step 4: Win over an anonymous committee

Raya notes on its official website that “algorithmic values” come into play while assessing applications … whatever that means. But now that you’ve gotten a referral, passed the Instagram test, and proved you have an awesome career, you’ll also need to get approved by “hundreds of members of the committee throughout the world.” 

Raya claims that the committee members come from diverse backgrounds, representing a wide range of races, ages, and sexual preferences and interests — in the interest of minimizing potential biases from impacting the approval process. 

According to Raya’s website, the best way to win the committee over is being known for or being an expert in something, and sharing a common bond with the Raya community. However, they also look for that “hard to describe ‘something extra’” that “would make the Raya conversation more interesting.” 

Interpret that how you will, but basically, it seems like they want members who have something to say, and perhaps a special or unique talent/skill.

Every single application is considered for admittance by Raya, but don’t be surprised if you’re left twiddling your thumbs on the waiting list for weeks or months at a time. In fact, it’s been reported that there are about 100,000 people on the waiting list at any given time. 

And if you are denied, don’t bother waiting for a formal rejection notification. Most members who were never accepted have said that even years after they applied, their applications still said “pending.” 

As enticing as flirting with the elite may sound, your love life isn’t doomed if you don’t get onto Raya. Even Demi Lovato was once rejected by the app, and “Bachelorette” star Hannah Brown has been on the waitlist for months. 

Luckily, there are plenty of other dating apps in the sea, most of which allow you to start looking for love the second that download is complete.

Download Raya here 

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Best Dating Apps for Hooking Up


Keep It Casual With These Tried-and-True Hookup Apps

The AskMen editorial team thoroughly researches & reviews the best gear, services and staples for life. AskMen may get paid if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service.


AskMen’s Editor’s Choice List of The 5 Top-Rated Dating Apps for Hooking Up:

1. OKCupid
2. FriendFinder-X
3. Adult FriendFinder
4. Tinder
5. Pure

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?

RELATED: Best Hookup Sites and Apps

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).

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 Apps for Hooking Up


1. OkCupid

GettyImages / Okcupid

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

2. FriendFinder-X

Couple kissing, Friend Finder X logo overlayGettyImages / Friend Finder X

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

3. Adult FriendFinder

Couple kissing in bed, adult friend finder logo overlayGettyImages / Adult Friend Finder

One of the oldest, largest and most-trusted hookup sites on the internet, Adult FriendFinder 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 in 2012.

Check out Adult FriendFinder

4. Tinder

Couple laughing and tinder logo overlayGettyImages / Tinder

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

RELATED: Best Free Dating Sites

5. Pure

Couple's feet in bed and Pure logo overlayGettyImages / Pure

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 App


Grindr

Two men in bed together with Grindr logo overlayGettyImages / Grindr

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

Lucky

Couple kissing with Lucky logo overlayGettyImages / Lucky

All you need to set up an account on Lucky 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 Lucky


Bonus: Best Free Hookup App


DOWN Dating

Couple in bed with Down dating app logo overlayGettyImages / Down Dating

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


FetL

Couple in bed together, FetL app overlayGettyImages / FetL

If you’re in the market for a hookup that satisfies a particular fetish, look no further than the FetL 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 FetL explains. She created FetL to help fill the gap, and users have been getting their needs met ever since.

Check out FetL


Bonus: Best Hookup App for Couples


CasualX

couple kissing in bed with Casual X logo overlayGettyImages / CasualX

If you like the ease of Tinder but are searching exclusively for hookups (or even a third person to complete a threesome) and only want to match with people of the same mindset, CasualX bills itself as “Tinder minus marriage-minded daters.” The app’s functionalities are pretty much identical to Tinder, with the main (and, maybe only difference) being that no one here is trying to find anything serious. Using an app where everyone’s on the same page undoubtedly increases your success rate for finding a warm, willing body to spend the night with, which makes CasualX an ideal app for hookups.

Check out CasualX


Bonus: Best Local Hookup App


BeNaughty

Couple kissing in bed with Be Naughty logo overlayGettyImages / Be Naughty

A niche app with a wide user base (over 13 million and counting), BeNaughty has both a wide audience and the right audience for finding a partner who’s down for an easy night of fun. Not to mention, you can maximize your chances of finding a match who’s free thanks to the app’s mass messaging system, which allows you to send out the same message to multiple members at once every 12 hours. The app functions with the same swipe left/right capabilities as a standard dating app, but also allows users to find potential matches via forums and group chats rather than swiping through matches one by one, further increasing your odds of finding what you’re looking for.

Check out BeNaughty


Bonus: Best Anonymous Hookup App


Wild

Couple talking in bar, Wild logo overlayGettyImages / Wild

Wild provides users with the anonymity that other dating apps don’t. For starters, there’s no social login required. The app also goes the extra mile to verify its users (meaning, you’ll need to send a photo of you giving a thumbs up, which is then checked against the photos you’ve posted to verify it’s really you), helping to take the awkwardness out of meeting up with a potential hookup that looks nothing like her picture. You can also filter by intention, so that you’re not wasting time sorting through matches who are here for something serious. Once you’ve found a hookup for the night, you can set your profile to invisible so that other users aren’t messaging you when you’re, uh, in the middle of something.

Check out Wild

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The Best Dating Sites for Gamers


The 7 Best Dating Sites for Video Game Lovers and Self-Professed Geeks, Revealed

The AskMen editorial team thoroughly researches & reviews the best gear, services and staples for life. AskMen may get paid if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service.


As much as online dating has expanded the ways we meet others and find romance, there still remain some stigmas in the online dating world that can make finding that special someone more difficult for some people than others. Ironically, it’s one of the internet’s most popular cultures, those of gamers and self-proclaimed nerds, that often finds it hard to meet others on generic dating sites with similar interests, which is where gamer dating sites come in handy.

These niche gamer dating sites are designed for geeks, nerds, and anyone else who falls into a similar category, such as those who love fantasy and anime. By delivering an online dating environment that is filled with members proudly flying their geek flag, these niche sites remove the stigma and allow gamers to discover matches in a positive, judgement-free zone.

RELATED: A Strategy Guide to Dating a Man and His Video Games

These dating sites don’t just do away with the typical “gamer” stigma, they actually encourage gaming passions, with many allowing you to enter special profile fields that only a gamer would appreciate the answer to, such as your secondary dream car, or let you show off your favorite games so you can find others with similar gaming interests. Some sites even get as detailed as not only letting you showcase what games you like, but also on what platform you prefer to play them, so you can meet other who you could potentially bond with over a gaming session or two.

Read on to discover the best gamer dating sites out there to find that special someone who not only approves of, but, even better, appreciates your inner geekiness.

1. Soulgeek

Tune in to your secret or not-so-secret geek side on a site designed for geek pleasures. Soulgeek calls itself a dating site for those interested in topics such as sci-fi, horror, fantasy, animation, anime, and comics, and matches you with other fan guys or fan gals based on your sexual interest. The site features extensive profile fields with fun and informative multiple choice answers and an auto-search that runs once a week and delivers picks to your email based on the profile field answers you indicate you want in your matches. The site offers various ways to express yourself, including with blogs and videos and has a fun video-game like layout. Profiles are extensive, which lets you really get to know potential matches, and have numerous areas to express your geek passions such as with albums or blogs.

Check out Soulgeek

2. Girl Gamer Dating

The Best Dating Sites for Gamers

Send unlimited messages and communicate freely with others without the need to give away your personal details on Girl Gamer Dating. Signing up only takes a couple of minutes and profiles are always free. There are various advanced features such as music and photo albums to keep you engaged.

The site attracts those who identify as gamers and nerds and, by providing a service to these individuals, gives you a better chance of finding a match with your same interests. You can communicate using the free messaging system for one-on-one chats, or voice your opinion in the forums section where many different topics, gaming and beyond, are discussed. The site prides itself on being free and never asking for credit card or personal info.

Check out Girl Gamer Dating

3. LFGdating

The Best Dating Sites for Gamers

LFGdating stands for “Looking for Group” dating and offers a premium online dating experience that’s 100% free. The site claims to be the #1 dating site for those interested in Twitch, World of Warcraft, Destiny, Pokemon Go, League of Legends, and cosplay. The site prides itself on putting gaming on the backburner (assuming all members game) so users can focus on finding love. The site motto is “for the love of the gamer,” and claims it could have just as easily been “dating first, gaming second.”

It was founded by a high school teacher and a Marine Corps officer who, with the help of VCs, made their stigma-free online dating site become a reality. The site helps streamline the love-finding process by monitoring and removing inactive profiles, protecting your info with “uber” SSL encryption, and responding to customer service requests within 24 hours.

Check out LFG Dating

4. GamerDating

The Best Dating Sites for Gamers

Enter a community of adults looking for love on Gamer Dating, the online dating site that helps you find your “Perfect Player 2.” The site lets you fully express your gaming passion by picking up and adding your favorite games to your library. Just as you add your favorite games, you can search and see what other singles are playing to identify what you have in common with others. Signup is quick and easy and requires you upload a real photo, which means you actually see who others are on the site, rather than just avatars.

The site also insists profiles are kept clean so they’re not offensive to anyone, or filled with solicitations and ads. To get the most out of the site you’ll want to upgrade to a silver or gold gamer status, which gives you unlimited communication options, such as messaging and live chat, as well as rewards in the form of free games.

Check out GamerDating

5. Gaming Passions

The Best Dating Sites for Gamers

Gaming Passions helps fellow gamers find each other and interact. The community site is intended to be both an online dating site, as well as a gaming community where like-minded people can discover others who share their interests. On the online dating scale, the site has everything you’d expect from a modern dating site including photo personals, groups, chats, webcam videos, emails, and forums. As a free social networking site, Gaming Passions offers a solution for those looking for romance, love, friendship, information, and emotional support. Signing up is easy, done through email or Facebook, and at any time there are a few dozen gamers on the site to connect with whom you can easily find using the Who’s Online feature.

Check out Gaming Passions

6. Zoosk

The Best Dating Sites for Gamers

Sure, if you’re a hardcore gamer, you might feel more comfortable socializing primarily with other gamers on a gaming-focused site. But one thing all gamers know is that the more difficult the challenge, the bigger the payoff. Rather than sticking to gamer-centric dating sites and apps, it might be worth giving a mainstream site a chance and trying to find gamers there. From that perspective, why not try Zoosk? As one of the biggest and best dating sites out there — it’s the top-rated site on AskMen — it might not have only gamers, but it might have more gamers than a gamer-dating site just by virtue of its millions of users.

Check out Zoosk

7. Match

The Best Dating Sites for Gamers

Not unlike many of your favorite games, this site has been around since the 1990s — and it’s still one of the biggest and best out there. Given Match’s popularity, you’re still quite likely to find gamers of various stripes on here — and you might be more likely to find female gamers, if that’s what you’re after, since these big sites might feature stronger gender parity than smaller ones focused on a hobby that many consider to be guy-centric. Being upfront in your profile about your love of gaming will be key to weed out potential normies, however.

Check out Match

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40 Traits That Make a Man Extremely Attractive

We Picked Key Qualities of a Truly Sexy Guy – How Many Do You Possess?

The traditional definition of “sexy,” courtesy of Merriam-Webster, can be something either “sexually suggestive or stimulating,” or “generally attractive or interesting.” But what’s the fun of sticking to tradition?

The idea of what makes someone sexy has drastically shifted throughout the years. The 1960s saw what can only be considered a total revolution when it comes to how people expressed themselves through fashion and the arts. Now, 60 years later, while some might prefer a man who jugs protein shakes, wiping his mouth using his shirt that’s hiding a set of six-pack abs, others aren’t necessarily pining after a purely physical specimen. Personality wise, nice guys don’t necessarily finish last anymore either, proving that even the most average of Joes can still catch the attention of a gorgeous woman from across the bar. 

RELATED: The Most Traditional Dude Habits You Can Leave at the Door

As a society, we’re constantly reevaluating what traits in men we think are appealing (along with what we find overtly gross and sexist). That’s why, as it can also be difficult to stay on top of sexiness trends, here’s a comprehensive list of TK things we’ve deemed as sexy behavioral traits that will never go out of style. 

  1. You don’t feel the need to constantly brag about material goods.
  2. You make sure those close to you are valued and appreciated.
  3. You know your limits when it comes to drugs and alcohol.
  4. You know that women are worth more than just their looks.
  5. You don’t expect to be treated greater than because of your gender.
  6. You’re respectful even if things don’t go your way.
  7. You have a strong sense of humor that shines bright.
  8. You have life goals, even if you’re still on your way to reaching them.
  9. You’re not helplessly terrified of commitment.
  10. You know a craft beyond the one that pays your bills.
  11. You’re not afraid to ask someone out even if it means getting shut down.
  12. You’re man enough to walk away from a fight instead of instigating it.
  13. You question the world in an insightful and informed way.
  14. You’re cultured, well-informed of the world even if it doesn’t necessarily pertain to you directly.
  15. You value both a classic slow dance and an opportunity to bust a move.
  16. You’re willing to listen and respect the opinions of others.
  17. You don’t need to dominate and control others to prove that you’re a man.
  18. You don’t play games when it comes to texting someone you’re interested in.
  19. You’re there for your friends when they ask for help.
  20. You don’t shun beliefs that directly oppose your own.
  21. You know how to show affection in your own way.
  22. You’re active enough that it keeps you energized with a good attitude.
  23. You’re open-minded in regards to identity, gender, sexual orientation and representation.
  24. You’re not afraid to cry during an emotional movie.
  25. You take good care of your possessions.
  26. You’re not afraid to say how you feel, even if it hurts you to do so.
  27. You hold the door open for others, regardless of their gender, color or creed.
  28. You participate in philanthropic events and organizations without bragging about it.
  29. You understand the value of money, savings and investments.
  30. You can stand out from a pack.
  31. You know when to put down a wall in order to get close to someone.
  32. You don’t find the need to take everything personally, and can take a joke.
  33. You have a great relationship with your parents, valuing quality family time.
  34. You’re proud of your friends’ successes, praising them instead of putting them down.
  35. You’re always trying to be a better you.
  36. You understand consent, asking someone if it’s OK before you touch them in a sexual manner.
  37. You have conviction in your morals and beliefs.
  38. You don’t cheat. Period. 
  39. You call your parents to see how they’re doing before they have to call you.
  40. You have a sexual confidence that has nothing to do with what’s between your legs.

You’ve probably got some work to do.

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These Dating App Features Make It Easier to Find Love While Quarantining


Dating During COVID-19 Times Just Got Easier, Courtesy of These New App Features

The AskMen editorial team thoroughly researches & reviews the best gear, services and staples for life. AskMen may get paid if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service.


The coronavirus has cancelled just about everything. From your spring getaway with the guys to your personal training sessions, things are pretty much at a social distanced standstill. Even the act of putting on normal clothes has slowly become a forgotten art.

But what’s one thing it didn’t cancel? Online dating. Sure, you may not be able to grab drinks or dinner with someone IRL, but all your go-to apps have been adding new features that make it easier to keep dating while you’re social distancing.

RELATED: A Guide to Dating and Finding Love During COVID-19 Times

While this pandemic has probably affected your life in a myriad of ways, there’s no reason why it has to press pause on your love life. As you continue to swipe (because there’s really not much else to do, here are a few dating apps that have added brand new features to assist you in finding love without ever leaving home.


Bumble


With it being insanely difficult to get a vibe check from behind a phone screen, that’s where Bumble’s in-app video chat and voice call features come in. Truth be told, these are not new features to Bumble, but they’ve become increasingly popular these days for obvious reasons.

“With a video chat, it adds that extra dimension in getting to know someone while hearing your date’s voice and seeing their smile,” says online dating expert Julie Spira. “While texting and messaging are important to create a flow and to build continuity, going on a video date is the next best thing to being there. When you ramp up your dating game with a video chat, you’re letting your date know that you’re investing more towards the relationship.”

Keep in mind that women get the option to call or video chat immediately after matching with you. Men, on the other hand, have to wait for their match to make the first move. After you receive that icebreaker message, you’ll see a video icon and a phone icon in the top right-hand corner of the conversation screen. The best part? You won’t even have to exchange phone numbers to meet face-to-face or hear each other’s voices.


Match


Match

Thinking about reaching out to an ex during quarantine? Not sure how to set up an awesome date over video chat? No matter what dating conundrum you’re dealing with, Match may be able to help you figure it out. The company’s new Dating while Distancing hotline is staffed by a team of experts who are down to advise you on any of your dating-related questions and concerns, or to just provide an ear for listening. The hotline is totally free to use, available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. CST.


Tinder


Tinder

Whether you’re curious how daters in other countries are faring, or you just want to learn how to say “hey” in another language, Tinder Passport is here to save the day. The feature, which is typically only reserved for paid Tinder Plus and Gold subscribers, is now free for all users through April 30. Just drop a pin anywhere in the world to start swiping through all your prospects. After that, you can begin chatting with others at the destination of your choice.

To change your location using Passport, just tap your profile icon, open “settings” and scroll down and tap “location.” While you can only virtually date in one city at a time, you can change your location as many times as you wish. Who knows? You could very well spark up an international romance without ever leaving home.


Plenty of Fish


Plenty of Fish

Another unique way to vet your matches is by using the new LIVE! Feature on Plenty of Fish, allowing you to record and watch livestreams from quarantine, a la Instagram Live. It’s currently available in more than 80 percent of the U.S. (mainly areas that are most impacted by the coronavirus), and will be rolled out across the globe by the end of April.

Just tap the “LIVE!” icon within the app to get started. From there, you can see who’s viewing your stream, search for other streams nearby, leave flirty comments on the ones that make an impression, and eventually move your convo to a private message.

When live-streaming, you can also choose to play NextDate, a game that emulates speed dating by allowing streamers to share 90 seconds of live video chatting with potential matches. If you hit it off with any of your virtual dates, you can choose to transition the convo to one-on-one video.

“With the NextDate feature and other video speed dating apps — which will rise in popularity now — if someone shows up in the queue who isn’t your type, you won’t have to invest extra time chatting if you’re not feeling it,” adds Spira.


The League


The League

This app prides itself on being picky for you. Not only does it personalize prospects to your liking, but it only shows you people who you actually have a shot with. Best of all, The League has a slew of features that will come in handy while you’re isolating, like the 10-second video trailer you can add to your profile to show off your personality (and win over potential matches, of course). You can also arrange one-on-one video dates with any of your matches via the messages tab.

League Live, a live speed dating session, also offers another awesome shortcut for testing out the chemistry. After you’re matched with three users in your area that fit your preferences, you’ll go on a 3-minute video date with each to see if the sparks fly.

According to The League, people who match through video date are 3.5x more likely to exchange digits and meet offline, and the match rate for League Live is 3x the rate of the rest of the app.

With the odds definitely in your favor, what are you waiting for? Change out of those sweats you’ve been wearing for three days in a row, run a little pomade through your hair and get ready to make a killer first impression right from your couch.

Once you start feeling a connection with a match on your app of choice, Spira advises putting some thought into your virtual dates with them. Her favorite ideas include using the Netflix Party Chrome Extension, which allows you and your date to stream the same show or a movie simultaneously from your homes, as well as posting your comments and reactions.

Spira also suggests scheduling a virtual happy hour over video chat where both of you can bring your “quarantini” of the day. If that goes well, graduate to a dinner date where you cook the same meal from your own kitchens or talk about your day over a delivery meal.

“Whether you use Zoom or FaceTime, at the end of your virtual date, you should make plans to schedule another video date to keep the spark alive,” she adds.

Who said you can’t find love from the comfort of your own couch?

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Best Dating Apps for Relationships


Looking for Long-Term Love? Try These Dating Apps

The AskMen editorial team thoroughly researches & reviews the best gear, services and staples for life. AskMen may get paid if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service.


Dating apps were created to make finding your next relationship easier. With so many different platforms to choose from (and plenty of members signed on for a good time, not a long time), trying to find a match who’s here for the right reasons can feel kind of impossible. If you’re starting to get burned out from your online search for “the one,” it might be time to reevaluate your strategy — and the apps that you’re using — in order to find her. If this sounds a lot like your current online dating life, it’s time to rethink the process and platforms you’ve become accustomed to, and try using something new.

We asked a few dating experts for their best tips and advice on which dating apps will help you find a match who’s also looking for commitment. Here are some recommendations for the best apps to use if you’re ready to settle down, along with a few smart strategies that will help you find her in no time.


Finding a Serious Relationship


Are you done with the awkward hookups and unsatisfying one-night stands? Do you yearn to spend time with someone you care about, and are excited to see on a regular basis? Are you looking to be attracted to someone’s mind and spirit, rather than just their body? These are signs that you’re ready for a serious relationship, and in the age of hookup culture, that can confusing.

How do you separate the potential relationship partners from all the casual daters? How do you put yourself out there without getting hurt? Nowadays, one of the easiest ways to find a relationship involves using the right dating apps for your needs, and screening out those people who aren’t looking for a relationship. Below, you’ll find advice on how to do that, as well as which apps offer you the best chance of finding a significant other.


How to Use Dating Apps to Find a Serious Relationship


If you’re struggling to find what you want on a dating app (read: someone who’s interested in finding a serious relationship), one challenge you may be up against is that you’re not sure what your matches are looking for. Elena Murzello, author of “The Love List: A Guide to Getting What You Want,” says to take a cue from this, and make your own intentions clear on your profile. “Saying, ‘I’m interested in marriage and settling down immediately’ comes across too strong,” she says, “but something like, ‘I’m looking for a committed relationship’ opens up the conversation.” When writing your bio, Murzello says to keep it short and sweet, and include what a potential long term partner would want to know about you. “Complete a solid profile. Having photos that showcase your personality is key: Do they invite others to want to get to know the real you? Keep in mind that no one has time to read a novel, so write succinctly and include your interests!”

RELATED: Best Dating Apps for Hooking Up

As far as determining whether or not your matches are here for the real thing, Murzello says a picture’s worth a thousand words. “Look at the photos carefully,” she suggests. “Are these all half-naked photos? Maybe the person is looking for a hot hookup. Are they half drunken photos? She’s probably partying and not looking for something serious.” Low-quality photos or profiles without a bio are also signs that this person isn’t putting much effort in, and isn’t looking for something serious.

The time of day or night that you’re typically chatting with a match can also be a telltale sign of what she’s looking for. “Pay attention to when they’re making conversation with you,” says Lauren Levine, dating expert and co-host of The Margarita Confessionals. “Is it during the workday when they’re bored and trying to pass the time? Is it really late at night? This is probably someone who’s not looking for a relationship. Also, the conversation should have substance to it. If it’s just, ‘How was your weekend?’ or ‘What are you doing today?’ for days on end, they’re probably not looking to get to know you on a deeper level.”

Levine says to also keep this rule of thumb in mind when you’re messaging matches. “If they have a real conversation and want to get to know you as well, they’re probably interested in something more,” she says. “If you’re getting one-line responses, they’re probably not trying to invest in someone. Also, meet up as soon as you feel comfortable. It’s so much easier to understand what someone is like and what they’re looking for when you’re with them face to face.”


The Best Dating Apps for Relationships


Coffee Meets Bagel

The more potential matches you have, the more likely it is that you’re going to find the right woman for you, right? According to James Anderson, dating expert at Beyond Ages, this way of thinking can actually end up backfiring when you’re in the market for something more serious. “Many dating apps and dating sites are essentially a numbers game,” he says. “You look through hundreds of profiles, message dozens of people, and maybe get a few dates. With Coffee Meets Bagel things are very different. You receive a daily match that is properly filtered to be in line with what you are looking for. Since you only get one match a day, each person actually takes the time to review the match instead of making a decision in two seconds based on the photo.”

Check out Coffee Meets Bagel

Match.com

Match Dating App Logo Over Image of Couple

 .You’ve seen the commercials, you’ve heard the success stories, and while you’ve probably toyed with the idea of putting money behind your search for a relationship, you still haven’t pulled the trigger. If you haven’t recognized the theme here, let us be straightforward with you: The more involved a dating app is, the less likely users will use it for low-commitment casual encounters. There are plenty of functionalities you get with Match that make the process more straightforward, from algorithms that point out similarities when viewing profiles to the ability to upload more than a handful of photos, so that you get a fuller picture of the person you’re chatting with.

Check out Match.com

The League

Best Dating Apps for Relationships
The League operates under a similar limited match system as Coffee Meets Bagel. In fact, you may even have to wait to sign up, whether that’s a few days or a few months depending on the user base available where you live. After you jump through those hoops, you’re given three matches per day based on the preferences that you outline, which include proximity and age. While getting started on The League can take a while, the app’s acceptance process does ensure that the people using it are taking it seriously. The League will actually kick inactive users off after two weeks, which ensures the people you’re matching with are actually using it.

Check out The League

Bumble

Best Dating Apps for Relationships
Online dating burnout can happen to anyone, but for relationship-focused women who are getting grimy messages sent to their dating app inboxes on the regular, this can end up making them throw the towel in. Bumble combats this by making the app’s messaging features ladies’ choice. “One of the biggest turn offs from online dating is that women are absolutely bombarded with messages from guys,” explains Anderson. “This can turn a lot of eligible women off and lead to some uneven power dynamics with many online sites. With Bumble, once you match with a potential partner the woman must make the first move. This allows for a better experience for women, a high quality of users, and overall a better experience for everyone.”

Check out Bumble

Elite Singles

Best Dating Apps for Relationships
If you’re tired of trying to determine your compatibility with potential matches based on a few photos and the three emojis they include in their bio, look no further than Elite Singles. In order to sign up, members need to complete a comprehensive personality test, which is then used to identify matches in your area. After you’re signed up, the site sources 7-10 potential matches per day, which eliminates the time suck of swiping back and forth, and makes for a more commitment-oriented user base (because no one in their right mind is going to spend 45 minutes on a questionnaire if they’re just trying to get lucky).

Check out Elite Singles

OkCupid

Best Dating Apps for Relationships
In case you haven’t been paying attention to billboard ads, the O.G. dating site OkCupid is having a rebranding moment, positioning themselves as a relationship-focused app. This means chances are high that single women in your area have recently re-downloaded this app in hopes that this isn’t some false advertising. Commercials aside, there are features on OkCupid that lend well to finding a match that’s looking for the same level of commitment you are. For starters, the platform features a more comprehensive profile, which allows members to fill out their interests, what their typical Friday night looks like and what they’re doing with their lives, giving you a more well-rounded idea of who you’re chatting with. You can also search using keywords (think “commitment” or “looking for something serious”). Depending on how many questions your match has answered on issues that are typically off the table for first date talk like politics and religion, you’re also given a percentage of compatibility to see what your odds are.

Check out OkCupid

Once

Best Dating Apps for Relationships
Similar to Coffee Meets Bagel (and true to its name), Once gives you one match per day based on your preferences. You also won’t come across any blurry, low quality photos on the app, since there’s a team that verifies each profile photo uploaded to ensure it’s of good quality (which can take up to 24 hours). While not as extensive as some of the other apps on this list, there are a list of questions you’ll have to answer in order for the app to start curating potential matches. Your daily match expires within 24 hours, which means users stay engaged in order to make sure they don’t miss out.

Check out Once

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How to Use Tinder for Hooking Up (and More)


Struggling to Get Matches on Tinder? Here’s What You Need to Know

The AskMen editorial team thoroughly researches & reviews the best gear, services and staples for life. AskMen may get paid if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service.


Tinder has become the go-to app for people looking to date, hookup, find a long-term relationship, or simply see what kind of interesting singles might be in their area.

Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, online dating sites have been waning in favor of dating apps for some time now, and Tinder has cornered a massive portion of the dating app market.

For many young people, the very name of the brand and its functions have become synonymous with dating – you’re likely to hear young singles saying “I’m back on Tinder again!” as a shorthand for their relationship status, and “I’d swipe right!” used as a widely-understood idiom for finding someone attractive.

RELATED: Best Tinder Conversation Starters to Get a Response With

Yes, Tinder is an always-available, pocket-sized method for finding the person of your dreams – or, at the very least, a regret-free hookup – but the app can be frustrating when you don’t completely understand its functionality. To ensure you get the most out of your experience, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to dating with Tinder.

Here’s everything you need to know, from how to use Tinder to how to get matches, and how to move from the app to the real world:


1. Does Tinder Work for Guys?


The first question on the minds of plenty of guys is, “Does this thing even work!?” The answer is clear: Yes, it does, but that depends on a few key components entirely under your control. That includes your profile, swiping strategy and messaging technique, as well as first clarifying what you even mean by “work.” Let’s take a closer look at how people use Tinder for different outcomes before moving on to some tips for getting matches:

Is Tinder for Dating or Hooking Up?

There is some confusion about what Tinder is even for. Is it for serious dating, or just for casual hook ups? The short answer is both: You can use Tinder for a variety of reasons, varying from making friends to something casual to dating with the intention of finding your forever person. While Tinder started life as a hookup app, it’s no longer appropriate to assume that everyone who is using it is looking for sex — some really are just looking to extend their social network.

How Do You Know Why Someone Is on Tinder?

If Tinder is used for so many different purposes, how can you tell whether the person in your match list are looking for friendship, hook ups or serious dating? Well, there are a few key signs and phrases. For example, if you see the phrase “no ONS” on Tinder, that stands for “no one-night stands,” and means that person is unlikely to be interested in casual sex. The same goes for phrases like “no hook ups,” “seeking something serious or long-term” and “no players” — anything along these lines will indicate something more serious. Equally, someone hinting at casual sex or a one-night stand will probably use wording like “no strings” or “casual fun only,” or less explicitly, with phrases like “only here for a good time.”

What Are You Looking For?

You can use Tinder for any of the above reasons, but it pays to be clear with yourself and everyone else; if you know exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll have a better chance of finding it. If you’re not looking for anything more than hooking up, you should make that clear, ideally in your bio (“not looking for anything serious,” “seeking hook ups”) or at least once you start chatting to your matches (more on that below). If you’re looking to date seriously, that should also be immediately evident to anyone interacting with you.

Once you’re clear about what you want and you’ve made sure everyone else is, you’re going to need to craft the perfect profile to maximize your chance of getting matches:


2. Crafting Your Tinder Profile


If you’re one of the few remaining singles on Earth still unexperienced with Tinder, the first step is to create the best possible profile with the best possible pictures. Yes, Tinder is largely a looks-based endeavor (most dating apps are) and can sometimes feel superficial for that reason, but remember: It’s not really any different to meeting someone at a party or bar. You tend to approach the people you find physically attractive in real life, and then talk to them to see if there’s a deeper connection, right? It’s the same story with Tinder. Make sure that you’re creating an excellent first impression by following these Tinder photo tips:

Lead Photo

It’s important to use a flattering (but not misleading) picture of yourself in your profile, and starting with a clear, well-composed, smiling image is your best bet. Make sure that your leading pic is a solo shot without other people in it — you don’t want potential matches to fall in love with your best friend. 

RELATED: How a Bad Tinder Profile Photo Can Ruin Your Dating Chances

Helpfully, Tinder has a “smart photo” function which continually tests the success rate of the photos you’ve uploaded to your profile, and automatically shows your best-performing photo to other users first. It’s well worth enabling this function as it doesn’t cost anything extra, and Tinder claims that it boosts right swipes by 12 percent. Like it or not, choosing the right Tinder pictures is the key to your online dating success.

Photo Diversity

Ideally, you want to take advantage of all the photo slots Tinder offers you to provide as much information as possible to potential matches. Consider that your pictures give away crucial information not just about what you look like, but also how you like to spend your time, matches are going to form a certain impression of you depending on whether you’re squatting in the gym, splayed out on a beach with friends or chugging back beer at the game. 

Don’t partake in kittenfishing – the lite version of catfishing – by uploading misleadingly flattering photos, and make sure your images are recent enough to show what you look like now. Remember, there’s no point in being dishonest. It’s all going to come out in the wash when you meet a match IRL, so be upfront from the start. If you’re really having trouble selecting photos, you could consider linking your profile to your Instagram account.

Bio

Your bio is optional, but we highly recommended including one. You’re allowed up to 500 words to showcase your dazzling personality here, but we’d suggest you err on the side of relative brevity as online daters don’t want to read a novel while they’re swiping. Make your bio about you, and keep it short, simple and friendly — it’s a bonus if it’s funny, but you don’t want to come across as trying too hard, either.

All we know about you is that you’re picky and hard to please. Be more positive!

How to Use Tinder for Hooking Up (and More)

Funny, gently self-deprecating and informative without being too long —this is a great bio.


3. How to Use Tinder


Depending on how much money you’re willing to spend, Tinder has several useful options to maximize your chance of getting matches. The Boost function can help for accumulating matches as it pushes you to the front of the match line for people in your area for half an hour. After the Boost session is over, you will see stats on how much more exposure your profile got (4x, 8x, etc), to ensure you got your money’s worth. Of course, you have to pay for the privilege, and free users cannot dictate where in the queue their profiles appear.

One potential pitfall of Tinder is that swiping becomes so reflexive that it is easy to accidentally swipe left on someone because you’re going too fast. In those cases, Tinder’s Rewind function is invaluable — hand over a few bucks, and you can recover the person of your dreams that you accidentally swiped left on (free users will simply need to slow down and pay attention to what they’re doing).

If you’re willing to pay for Tinder’s subscription services, Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold, you can unlock the Passport function, which allows you to swipe in different cities and countries. So, for example, you could be in London but visiting New York in a week’s time, and Passport will let you start swiping on New York-based profiles from across the pond.

However, even if you’re not willing to pay to use Tinder, there are some swiping strategies that are available to you. One is to use the Super Like function, which tells a user you really like them, bringing you to the front of their queue (free users get one Super Like per day). Another is to bear in mind that those who’ve already swiped right on you are likely to show up near the beginning of your queue, so it’s worth paying careful attention to profiles that appear early in your swiping session. That being said, constantly right-swiping to game the system is a bad idea as it just means you’ll match with those you may not be interested in. Swipe right only on people you genuinely hope to match with, so that when you see that coveted, “Congratulations! It’s a match!” alert, it actually means something.

Tinder Plus

Tinder has now introduced a “Tinder Plus” option: A paid version of the app which gives you various benefits — at a cost, of course. 

So, what are the advantages to Tinder Plus that make it worth all that extra money? Here are some of the touted benefits:

Match Around the World

One coveted benefit of Tinder Plus is the ability to match with users around the world, as opposed to just in your area. So, if you live in California but have an upcoming holiday in Paris, for example, you can start swiping in Paris and accumulating matches before you even arrive. Tinder is truly a global dating service.

Rewind Left Swipes

Another prized feature of Tinder Plus is the ability to rewind your last swipe. This means that if you accidentally swipe left on a user and instantly regret it (because you’re swiping too fast, perhaps), you can “rewind” the swipe, bringing that user back into view so that you can correct your mistake and swipe right instead.

Super Likes

Tinder Plus also allows you to send more Super Likes. Hit the blue star instead of the green check mark and you will show up near the beginning of this specific Tinder user’s queue with a notification that you used your Super Like. The Super Like helps you show a potential match that you are definitely interested, and it will guarantee that you are made visible without a guarantee that they’ll swipe right on you (sorry, but no Tinder feature can force a right swipe or guarantee a match!)

Tinder Plus users get five Super Likes per day compared to the sole daily Super Like allotted to regular users.

Boosts

Tinder Plus users get one free “boost” a week, which means that Tinder will make you the top profile in your area for 30 minutes. Ordinary Tinder users can also pay for individual boosts via the app at a rate that changes depending on how many boosts you buy. This is a way to potentially get more matches by making you much more visible to other users, but again, it’s no guarantee, so spend wisely.

Turning Off Ads

Tinder Plus users won’t see ads. This is perhaps the least tempting of Tinder Plus’ range of benefits as ads are a relatively minor annoyance for regular users, but it still doesn’t hurt.

Swipe Life

To assist users in their dating lives, Tinder has launched a lifestyle website, Swipe Life, a resource where singles can visit for advice when navigating dating in the digital space. The website offers date ideas, dating stories, the best restaurants and bars for dates in different cities and a whole bunch of fun and playful content catering to the general Tinder users.


4. Frequently Asked Tinder Questions


So is everything crystal clear? We won’t blame you if all of the above sounds pretty confusing, as Tinder is becoming ever more complicated and laden with new features. While you should be able to understand the basic mechanics of using the app now, there are still some common questions on people’s minds when it comes to using Tinder:

If You Swipe Left, Are They Gone Forever?

One question on the minds of many men is the permanence of the left swipe. If I’m not interested in someone and swipe left, does this mean I can’t change my mind at a later point?

The short answer is yes: Once you swipe left on someone, they are gone and will not return to your queue. However, there are two caveats. The first is that Tinder Plus users can rewind swipes, as mentioned above, so if you think you accidentally swiped left on your soulmate, you’re going to need to shell out some cash for the ability to rewind.

RELATED: Check Out AskMen’s Official Tinder Review

The second is that Tinder is still a bit buggy, and from time to time users have reported seeing left-swiped users popping back up into their queue. It’s also possible to delete your account and start again with a fresh account, meaning that you will have a chance of seeing someone you swiped left on once again. However, these are not rock solid options, and there’s no guaranteed way to revisit a left-swiped user — unless you have Tinder Plus, that is.

If You Swipe Left, Can They See You?

A Tinder user will not be notified or otherwise alerted if you swipe left on them, meaning that you don’t need to feel too worried about hurting someone’s feelings. Obviously, if someone swipes right on you and you aren’t a match, they’ll know that you haven’t swiped right, but this could be for a variety of reasons: Either you haven’t seen their profile yet, or you are not a frequent user of the app, or you have indeed swiped left for a variety of potential reasons. 

How Do You Know If Someone Swiped Right on You?

The only way that you can tell for sure if someone has swiped right on you is to swipe right on them, too. However, we’ll let you in on a secret: People who’ve already swiped right on you are likely to show up near the beginning of your queue, so it could be worth paying careful attention to them as you are likelier to be a match.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Match?

There is no set answer for how long it takes to get matches on Tinder. In fact, there’s no rock solid guarantee you will get matches at all. However, if you have a strong profile and sound swiping strategy, you could theoretically be getting matches as soon as you start swiping, though for most people, it will take from a few hours to a few days to start seeing results.

How Long Do Matches Stay?

Tinder matches and any associated messages will remain until either you or your match deletes their Tinder account. Tinder users also have the option of “unmatching” users, which means that even if you become a match, either one of you can change your mind and unmatch the other. Otherwise, Tinder matches hang around until you decide to finally strike up a conversation, unlike other apps such as Bumble which instill a time limitation.

Why Don’t You Have Matches Yet?

If you have been using Tinder for a while and still don’t have any matches, you’ll need to reevaluate your profile. Check out the profile section above, and perhaps even consult a friend or two who  could help make your profile more attractive and appealing.

Can You Find People You Know on Tinder?

It’s perfectly possible to see someone you know appearing on your queue on Tinder. If one of your friends or coworkers lives in your area and happens to be on Tinder with the same age and gender parameters as you, they may well appear in your queue, and vice versa. That’s just how social media works, folks!

Some people find the prospect of being seen on Tinder slightly embarrassing, but there’s really no reason to. It’s a hugely popular dating app and people use it for a variety of different reasons, plus your friend or coworker is also a user! If you see someone you know, you could swipe right and have a laugh about it if you match, or else just swipe left and forget about it.

Should I Swipe Right on Everyone to Get More Matches?

Constantly right-swiping to game the system is a bad idea. Swiping right indiscriminately just means you’ll match with people you may not be interested in, which is annoying for them and you, wasting their time and clogging up your messages. Swipe right only on those you genuinely hope to match with so that when you see that coveted, “Congratulations! It’s a match!” alert, it actually means something. Not only that, but new iterations of the app penalize indiscriminate swipers, so you’re better off being choosy.


5. Sending the Right First Tinder Message


Success! You’ve matched with that hottie with cute photos and a witty bio, and now you’re in the enviable position of being able to talk to them directly. Don’t rest on your laurels just because you know they’ve swiped right on you, though, as you can make or break the match depending on your approach. A lazy or creepy opener might even mean that they unmatch you, blocking you from any further contact.

RELATED: How to Talk to Girls on Tinder, Explained

Your opening line is crucial. Your matches are likely to have dozens of other potential prospects in their Tinder messages section, most of whom will be approaching with a tired, “Hey,” or, “How are you?” There’s no need to overcook it by opening the conversation with a sonnet, but it will work in your favor if you approach in a friendly, novel and interested way. Try asking an unusual question, like “If you won a million dollars today, what’s the first thing you’d do?” or compliment a particular detail in one of their photos (“That’s a really cute French bulldog! Is it yours?”)

A disappointing number of male Tinder users think it’s appropriate to start a conversation with lewd innuendo and overtly sexual “compliments” right off the bat, such as the below gentlemen:

How to Use Tinder for Hooking Up (and More)

How to Use Tinder for Hooking Up (and More)

Guys, please: Don’t start a conversation like this. Not every person is on Tinder looking for casual sex, but even those who are keen on a no-strings hookup are unlikely to be swept off their feet by a rude and juvenile approach. Make your approach flirty and friendly, and definitely avoid the negging strategy advocated by so-called pickup artists: Backhanded compliments are not going to endear you to anyone at the best of times, but they might be even worse on Tinder or other dating apps, where you can easily be unmatched with a couple of finger taps. Be positive, complimentary and charismatic instead.

How to Use Tinder for Hooking Up (and More)

If you find yourself pleading into a void, it’s time to move on.

Another thing to bear in mind when talking to your Tinder matches is that defensive, passive aggressive opening lines are fairly common, but rarely ever work: “Quite a lot of selfies you’ve got there,” for example, or “I guess I’ll get the ball rolling because women never start talking first.”

Don’t dump your frustrations onto your poor, unsuspecting Tinder match! Instead, spend a minute or two crafting something friendly and subtly flirty (or check out these Tinder conversation starters for ideas), and finish with a question to keep the banter flowing. Being kind and showing enough genuine interest to keep the conversation rolling is a winning strategy and should help to convert your matches into IRL dates.


6. How to Land a Tinder Date


Hopefully your opening line (or theirs!) has progressed into a natural, lively conversation, and you’re now both interested enough in each other to go on a first date. It can be a useful first step to exchange phone numbers so that you can text or chat over the phone, because Tinder’s messaging system can make for slow-moving and disjointed conversation. Apart from that, Tinder dates work like any other: Think of something pleasant to do, and show up on the agreed time and date, looking sharp and ready to have a great time.

When to Ask Them Out

There’s wiggle room here, and every user will have a different idea of the ideal time to progress from Tinder conversation to an IRL date. However, it’s not out-of-place to ask for a date within a day or two of chatting, or even an hour or two if things are going brilliantly. If you’re really hitting it off and you’ve had a great conversation, it’s fine to say something like, “You seem really cool! Would you like to grab a drink sometime?”

Don’t be too perturbed or offended if they say no — some are cagey about people from Tinder and may wish to wait a while before bringing it into the IRL realm, while others will relish the opportunity to meet in person. You really just have to try your luck by asking.

Where Should We Meet?

You are much more likely to convince someone to meet with you IRL if you suggest meeting at a cafe or bar rather than at your house or hotel room. Even those who are interested in using Tinder for casual sex are unlikely to want to come straight to your bedroom for a variety of reasons including their own safety. Remember, you two are essentially still strangers even if you’ve had a lively conversation on Tinder, so take things slowly and be sensible. In short, meet in public.

How Many People Actually Meet Through Tinder?

For fairly obvious reasons, it’s impossible to know with any certainty how many people are actually meeting up with their Tinder matches. But rest assured that it’s happening — ask any of your friends or coworkers who use the app and they can regale you with stories about their Tinder dates, both good and bad, and Tinder’s Twitter account even claims that the app is leading to a “sh*t ton” of marriages (although hard data is thin on the ground here).

So that’s how Tinder works: From swiping to crafting your profile all the way through to sending the perfect opener and setting up a great date, we’ve got you covered. Tinder can be as effective in finding a new relationship as more traditional dating sites like Zoosk. Stick to the advice above and you can’t go too far wrong.

It’s true that Tinder can be frustrating and that some users are time-wasters, but it can also be an incredible way to meet people who you would otherwise never have encountered. Once you have a handle on how the technology works, simple, timeworn techniques are still what it takes to make approaching dates rewarding rather than scary. Be warm, interested and gracious in the face of rejection, and it’s hard to imagine things going too badly for you. Now, get swiping!

Read the full AskMen review of Tinder here.


7. Best Alternatives to Tinder


Of course, Tinder isn’t the only option out there, and in fact the user experience can be pretty exhausting. Tinder is hugely popular and has its perks — an intuitive interface, millions of users and the fact that most features are free, for a start — but there are real downsides, too, and the fast pace, unresponsiveness, superficiality and difficulty of transitioning into IRL might start to get you wondering what else is out there in terms of dating tools.

Well, there are plenty of other options if you know where to look. If you’re willing to pay to get a better experience, check out the following alternatives:


Match

match screenshot

Match.com has all of the usual features of a reliable dating site, but one advantage that stands out in particular: you get a generous six-month money back guarantee. So, you can really experiment with how things are going for you and how much luck you’re having on the site before you have to truly commit — financially, that is.

While approval on the site is not instant and the month-to-month costs are higher than average once you are approved, you’re in for a strong user experience once you’re in the ranks: a continually improved algorithm guides your matches and incorporates user feedback and behavior, and new features are being added all the time.

Click here to check out Match.com.


Zoosk

How to Use Tinder for Hooking Up (and More)

Zoosk was voted the #1 dating site in AskMen’s awards for a reason: it has a large member base and user-friendly mobile app, a layout that’s easy on the eye and simple to navigate, and multiple options for promoting your profile and increasing your chances of getting matches.

You are going to need to do things the old fashioned way and browse profiles one-by-one, but, hey, that might actually be a good thing after the indiscriminate swiping that goes on on Tinder. Zoosk is well worth a try.

Click here to check out Zoosk.com.


EliteSingles

How to Use Tinder for Hooking Up (and More)

Targeting a sophisticated, slightly older market, Elite Singles is the go-to site for serious and professional singles looking for a genuine connection.

The site uses a questionnaire that analyzes 29 character traits and matches you accordingly — there’s a commendable focus on personality rather than looks alone here — and while the signup process is admittedly lengthy, you’ll be browsing comprehensive profiles of women who are serious about dating once you’re in — no time-wasters or ghosters here!

Click here to check out EliteSingles.com.


AdultFriendFinder

How to Use Tinder for Hooking Up (and More)

On the sexier side, AdultFriendFinder is the go-to avenue if you’re looking to explore your fetishes, or if you’d like to facilitate various sexual arrangements online. It’s a reputable site with a large, loyal, open-minded membership — we’re not talking some sleazy internet corner here — and you can express your sexual self through profiles, blogs, webcams and more.

No one’s 100% sure on the male-to-female ratio (the data isn’t publicly available), but it’s worth checking out if you’re wanting to explore your more primal side in a safe environment.

Check out AdultFriendFinder


8. More Tinder Info


Not quite satisfied? No worries! We’ve got more Tinder content for you. 

Tinder’s LGBTQ Efforts

The most recent additions to Tinder are designed protect and better include the LGBTQ community (who account for an estimated 24 percent of the U.S. population) in an effort to facilitate the company’s belief that “everyone should be able to love who they want to love.” 

ILGA’s executive director, André du Plessis, praised Tinder’s effort, saying, “We work hard to change practices, laws and attitudes that put LGBTQ people at risk — including the use of dating apps to target our community — but in the meantime, the safety of our communities also depends on supporting their digital safety.” The following are Tinder’s efforts to support and protect the LGBT community.

Orientation

Tinder partnered with GLAAD to allow users to select and display their sexual orientation on their profiles. To make the designation, simply edit your profile, tap “Orientation” and select the identity that best suits you. By visiting your Discovery Preferences, you can view people of your same orientation first.

Traveler Alert

As an added precautionary measure, Tinder worked with ILGA World to introduce what they’ve dubbed a Traveler Alert that will appear when Tinder is opened in one of the 69 countries where same-sex relationships are illegal. (FYI: In nine countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, prosecutors can seek the death penalty against same-sex acts and relationships.) This feature protects users from unknowingly placing themselves in a potentially dangerous circumstance. With Traveler Alert, queer people will not appear on Tinder when they open the app in these areas. Once the alert is activated, users will have the choice to remain hidden or opt into making their profile public – without information indicating their sexuality – so that they can connect with new people. Users’ profiles will return back to normal once they leave a protected area.

How Tinder Works

Considering it’s an app people use in order to potentially meet the love of their life, people are very curious about how exactly Tinder works.

The app’s user interface is more complicated now than when it was first launched, but the essential principle remains the same: Swipe left on profiles you’re not interested in, right on profiles you are and you chat with your matches when both of you indicate interest.

But how, you might be wondering, does Tinder decide who to show to whom, and in what order? That’s the real question at the heart of how Tinder works. 

The answer, similar to almost every app out there today, is a proprietary algorithm whose exact details are secret to the general public. However, we do know a few things about how the Tinder algorithm works.

The Old Model

A 2016 article revealed that at the time, Tinder used a ranking algorithm to assign each user a score based on how people swipe on them — the more left swipes you get, the lower your score goes; the more right swipes, the higher your score rises. 

However, it wasn’t as simple as simply adding or subtracting one point every time someone swipes right or left on you. The algorithm is apparently based on the complex ELO score used to rate chess players, meaning who is swiping is also a factor. 

If someone with a high score swiped right on you, you’d be likely to jump higher than if someone with a low score swiped right on you. Similarly, a high score swiping left on you would drop you further than a low score swiping left on you. 

In this way, people who got a lot of right swipes — the Tinder elite, if you will — had a greater impact on people’s scores than people most people aren’t crazy about. 

The New Model

However, in 2019, Tinder announced that they had moved away from the ranking model in favor of something that tracks your like patterns to get an idea of what type of person each user is interested in. 

As well, Tinder keeps track of things like how much time you spend on the app, how often you return to it and what percentage of swipes are right vs. left in order to develop a profile of what type of user you are, which it uses to construct your user experience — who you see, and in what order. 

In short, nothing you do when on the app seems to go unnoticed. The app knows that data analytics is key to producing a more streamlined product, and they’re not shy about using it. Next time you see someone’s profile pop up, know that they’re being put there according to a very complex set of calculations. 

Whether those calculations will lead to anything more, though? That’s a whole other layer of complexity that even Tinder’s data analysts can’t accurately predict. The only way to find out is to swipe right and see if you match. 

What’s Next for Tinder

Tinder’s become the go-to online dating platform for American singles for since its introduction back in 2012, but the app isn’t interested in sitting on its laurels. 

2020 marks a year where Tinder is making serious strides when it comes to an often under-considered aspect of the user experience for dating apps: the user’s safety once they put their phone down and begin the actual date. 

Noonlight

Tinder’s finally recognizing that it has a role to play in making sure a Tinder date doesn’t go south in a horrible way. Partnering with a service called Noonlight, the app is giving its users the opportunity to notify others when they’re going on a date, when and where it’s going to be and an option to quickly alert authorities if they begin to feel unsafe.

Photo Verification

As well, Tinder is unveiling a system where users can verify their profiles by taking a real-time photo. Tinder’s internal software will attempt to match it to your existing, uploaded profile pictures, and if the pictures you uploaded and the new, candid picture you took are judged to be of the same person, you’ll get a little checkmark icon next to your name in the app. 

It’s a little detail that can help ensure that you don’t end up getting catfished by someone who looks nothing like their picture. However, this functionality won’t be necessary for all users, so people without check marks might be fakers (or they might just be lazy).

Improved Messaging

Tinder is introducing another feature aimed at improving the general tone of discourse in chats between matches. 

While it takes two right swipes to create a conversation, that’s no guarantee of conversational compatibility, sadly, and Tinder’s been dogged for years with a reputation for fostering unfriendly and sometimes downright abusive conversations. In fact, it’s an aspect of the app that’s only contributed to Bumble’s success as a Tinder-like app with a vastly different messaging set-up (men can only message a match once the women has sent an opening message). 

Now, Tinder will attempt to flag unpleasant messages before they’re even sent, asking users if they want to “undo” a message it deems potentially unpleasant. As well, users have the option to report interactions that make them feel uncomfortable. 

Safety Center

To round out the suite of safety-oriented additions and updates to the app, Tinder is also adding a “Safety Center” to the app, where you can go to discover handy additional resources on dating safety. 

This might not sound like a huge deal, but easy access to crucial, potentially life-saving information and hotlines that pertain to sex and dating will now be much closer at hand, which could make a huge difference for some users who might not otherwise seek it out.

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What Your Number of Sexual Partners Says About You

How Many People Have You Slept With? Here’s What That Number Means

“What’s your number?” is a question that many couples dread, yet still bravely pose in hopes of gaining insight into each other’s sexual pasts.

But tread carefully — too much information could leave your partner feeling insecure or uncomfortable once they’ve heard the answer. So are we obligated to tell our partners how many people we’ve slept with if asked? If it’s not brought up, is it even a conversation worth initiating? And do we have to be truthful when it does come up?

RELATED: Best Dating Apps for Hooking Up

According to a 2018 Superdrug survey of more than 2,000 men and women, 81 percent of respondents think your number is something you should talk about within the first eight months of dating, while 30 percent think a discussion of your sexual history is necessary within the first month of the relationship.

In the 2011 comedy “What’s Your Number,” Ally (Anna Farris) is beside herself after discovering a magazine article statistic that claims the number of men she’s slept with is alarmingly high. By the film’s end, she ultimately learns to embrace her number rather than stressing about it, but it’s the plot that points to a very relevant subject in today’s dating world: Your “number” can be a source of pride, shame or a whole range of other emotions. As such, sharing that number with someone else can feel vulnerable AF.

Before you go tallying up your hookups, there are a lot of things to consider to ensure that the conversation is productive as opposed to problematic.

Here’s everything you need to know about revealing your sexual history, and what your number of partners says about you.

Should I Tell My Partner My Number?

Dr. Dawn Michael, clinical sexologist and relationship expert, notes that once you’ve decided to tackle this subject, it’s important to be open and honest to the extent of feeling safe and supported. If it’s your partner that brings it up, Michael recommends digging into why they want to know.

“There usually is a reason,” she explains. “Perhaps they want a sex history because of STDs, but it’s necessary to go into the details or offer information that the other person is not asking for. If you really feel uncomfortable, you can leave that information out or shorten your response.”

If you’re the one asking, you should be prepared to talk about your sexual history, too. Additionally, Michael says that you can’t really predict how your partner will respond to your number. If they become jealous, shut down or otherwise react negatively, you’ll need to explore those feelings with them further.

“Each person is unique and there is no right or wrong answer about sharing your past sexual experiences,” she notes. “But if both people are mature and can deal with the information, then share away.”

Could My Number of Sexual Partners Be Too High or Too Low?

According to the aforementioned survey, Americans’ average number is around 7.2 sexual partners in their lifetimes. That said, the number ranges quite dramatically from state to state — the average for Louisiana residents was 15.7 partners, while it was 2.6 for Utah residents. It’s important to note that these statistics refer to the average number over an entire lifetime, and your number will be heavily impacted by factors such as age, location and upbringing. It’s next to impossible to determine whether a number is “normal” or not, but if it falls between 7 and 16, it’s on par with the rest of the country.

What If I (or My Partner) Have No Interest in Revealing Who We’ve Slept With?

There’s always a chance that your partner won’t want to disclose how many people they’ve slept with, either because they feel embarrassed about it, they’re worried it might change your perception of them or both. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t push them for information they aren’t ready to share. Keep in mind, however, that their hesitance to reveal their number may point to some trust issues. That’s why Dr. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and host of “The Kurre and Klapow Show,” advises asking why they don’t want to talk about it.

“You can and should respect their right to privacy, but at the same time they should respect your request,” he explains. “This also comes down to why are you asking and why are they not telling. What benefit are you getting from knowing, and what benefit are they getting from keeping it from you?”

How Can I Make Sure This Conversation Is Mutually Comfortable and Respectful?

If you and your partner decide to tackle this topic, there are some ways to minimize the chances of any issues arising. First, having the conversation in the comfort of your own home is key. You also may want to wait to bring it up until your partner is calm (not after a stressful day at work, or when they’re rushing around for an appointment).

Also, be sure to keep things short, simple and to the point.

“While you are discussing how many [people you’ve had sex with], the intimate details are in your past and do not need to be discussed,” says Klapow. “This is a time to neither share too much information nor clam up. Respect boundaries, but also recognize that your willingness to answer the question shows your transparency and trust in your partner.”

What Does It Say About Someone Who Overestimates Their Number? What About Underestimating?

In the Superdrug’s survey, a whopping 41.3 percent of men and 32.6 percent of women admitted to lying about their sexual history. That’s no real shock — men were more likely to increase their number, whereas women were more likely to decrease it. This likely stems back to outdated social norms that put pressure on men to have more sexual experience to appear masculine, and put pressure on women to have less experience so as not to seem promiscuous.

A 2018 study published in “The Journal of Sex Research” also found that men are more likely to estimate rather than actually count their sexual partners, which could obviously suggest that their numbers are less accurate.

Clearly, it’s pretty common to fudge your number a bit, but what does that say about you? Whether you add or subtract a few sexual partners, it all boils down to insecurity. Either you don’t feel good about your sexual history, or you fear your partner will judge you.

“If you have been with hundreds of people with highly promiscuous behavior in the past, underestimating may help protect the feelings of your partner,” suggests Klapow. Honesty is the best policy, but it’s also about being considerate. Remember that over or underestimating calls your trust into question, which is critical to your relationship.”

That said, there’s a difference between being honest and showing off.

“Bragging about your past partners shows a lack of compassion for your partner,” he adds.

Does My Number of Sexual Partners Say Anything About Me as a Person?

The only thing that your number actually says about you, according to Klapow, is how much sexual experience you have.

“The reasons for the number is where the important relationship information is,” he says. “Did you develop sexual interests later in life? Did you have less activity for religious reasons? Were there sexual traumas? Were you promiscuous because you love sex or were you promiscuous to get attention?”

Ultimately, Michael notes that the most important thing is not the number itself, but how you feel about it.

“If you are uncomfortable or comfortable about it, that’s what counts,” she explains.

Only you and your partner can determine whether this is a conversation that’s going to prove helpful or harmful. When executed with caution, it’s a discussion that can foster intimacy and build trust. As long as you feel secure in your past decisions, as well as your current relationship, you should be able to have an honest exchange sans awkwardness, anxiety and judgement.

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How to Get Your Ex-Girlfriend Back

Want to Win Back “The One That Got Away”?

You idiot. What did you do to screw this one up? OK, calm down and take a few deep breaths. This isn’t the end of the world. Losing the one you love aka the One That Got Away™ may seem like it’s the end of the world, but I can assure you that it’s not. While the feelings circling through your stomach, heart, and brain are currently at their most uncomfortable state, there is plenty to do to win back the one you lost. All it takes is a little bit of sticktoitiveness and a slight suspension in self-respect … but just for a little bit. If Brad Pitt’s recent encounter with Jennifer Aniston at the SAG awards is any indication, that spark you two once had can potentially be reignited.

RELATED: Post-Breakup Rules

Here you’ll find everything you need to do get back the one that got away.

1. Apologize Profusely … If It’s Your Fault

What happened? Look, let’s straighten out the facts before they blow up in your face. If either one of you did something completely morally reprehensible, then you should truly consider if it’s worth getting back together. Some couples can get through something like infidelity, but some couples can’t. You two will know in your heart if there’s an issue you can get through, but if you broke up over a silly who-said-what quarrel, then apologize like your life depends on it. Make sure it’s something you actually feel sorry about, though, as this will be the basis of your new relationship.

2. Make an Effort to Change Yourself

Nobody should have the ability to make you act the opposite way you intended. If you hate oranges — and I mean truly hate them — you can’t be expected to suddenly love oranges with the coos of someone you love. That being said, there are some qualities that cannot (and should not) be changed. On the other hand, there are some qualities that absolutely can stand to be tweaked. If your untidiness and interest in hoarding old bottles drove her wild, consider changing your act. In the end, do you want to be on your deathbed with the one you love or surrounded by your hobbies and foibles for all to see? Forget the Coke bottles, damn it.

3. Be The Cusack

There are so many good movies out there in which star-crossed lovers have to defy the odds to be with one another — a lot of those movies feature John Cusack. In one of his most memorable roles in Say Anything, he plays Lloyd Dobler who holds a goddamn boom box over his head (blasting Peter Gabriel of all people) to get the love of his life back. Guess what: it eventually works. While not everyone likes Peter Gabriel and even fewer people have access to a boom box, doing that one huge romantic gesture is something she won’t be used to. Maybe it’s surprising her with a dozen roses, or chocolate, or a new puppy covered in roses, showing you’ll go the distance for her will almost definitely help break through that icy layer of anger. BE THE CUSACK.

4. Use Your Words

Don’t message her on Facebook, don’t favorite her tweet, don’t show your affection via a stray like on Instagram — hell, don’t even try to get back together on the phone. Put down your phone if you can stand it and have a face-to-face conversation like adults. You’d be incredibly surprised to know how much emotion and meaning gets lost in translation when communicated through a text message. An innocent “It’s OK” can be turned into a cold and scathing version of itself when the other party is upset enough to interpret it as such. So, just grab coffee together and work out your differences with your mouth holes.

5. Offer a Solution

OK, so maybe it wasn’t an argument that drove you two apart, maybe it was a natural disaster like moving across the country. If you gave or were given the whole “the universe will bring us back together” speech and know that the universe doesn’t particularly give a shit about two young adults in love, offer a solution. If she’s in New York and you’re in Ohio, make a schedule. You’re going to visit each other every month and talk on the phone every night. If that doesn’t work, find a compromise that does. One of the biggest mistakes a couple can make is giving up and leaving their fate in the hands of this foggy unknown force that is the universe. It sounds romantic to say that you’ll eventually end up back together, but have you seen how many attractive people are in New York? She’s gonna find a new boyfriend faster than you can say “universe.”

6. Change The Relationship

If you broke up over the state of your relationship, whether it was too stale or rocky, simply change it. If it takes some particularly un-sexy planning in which you sit down together and figure out what you’re going to do and when, just do it. It may not sound fun to put “sexy time” in your iPhone calendar, but when that notification pops up and you follow through with your plans, you’ve already progressed in changing your habits. Let’s say you’ve ended things because you couldn’t find time alone with her and your roommates were constantly getting in the way of your relationship, consider moving in together. It’s not that hard.

7. End Your Fling

Being single, no matter how long, is a perfect time to test your bachelorhood and date a bunch of different people to make sure you’re fine with your choice. Once you’ve gone through and had sex with the entire Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and are sure the one that got away is the one for you, then end your fling. Just end it. If she’s gone through the same process, assume she’s learned the same vital information about herself that you have. No matter how you cut it, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

8. Don’t End The Conversation

There’s a reason you keep coming back together. If you truly didn’t want to be together, you wouldn’t be. Keep the dialogue open and relish the time you have with one another. There’s never going to be a relationship as seamless and easy as you imagine and that’s totally fine. Nobody’s perfect and two not-perfect people together are bound to make for a not-perfect relationship, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. If you’re worried that things are going downhill, ask her if everything is alright. Sometimes your insecurities will take hold and send the relationship into a bad spot when everything was going better than you thought in the first place. Keep talking, keep planning, and never stop being romantic.


Need specific help on how to get your ex back? Head to guyQ to ask our community of experts.


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20 Different Ways to Successfully Find Love in 2020

How to Get Out There and Find the One for You in the New Year

There’s this common belief that falling in love is something that just happens to us. Despite all our efforts, there’s nothing we can truly do except hope that the next person we meet is “the one.”

RELATED: Best Dating Apps for Relationships

Sure, it might just be a type of right place, right time situation when it comes to meeting the person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stack the deck in your favor. There are plenty of ways to cast yourself in the best light, increasing your chances for meeting the person who completes you.

If your 2020 resolution is to finally find the right person, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 20 expert tips for finding love this year.


20 Different Ways to Successfully Find Love in 2020


1. Put Yourself Out There

This might be the most common advice people doled out when it comes to finding love. In fact, you may be reading this thinking, “How much more could I possibly be out there?” Well, putting yourself out there goes beyond just simple things like visibility on dating apps or frequenting your corner bar.

“Create more opportunities for you to meet other people, learn new things, and generally improve and expand your life,” says relationship expert Amy Hartle. “These should be things you actually WANT to do; activities you actually have an interest in. When you focus on doing the things you love, the right person will come into your life – not only because you’re putting yourself out there and taking chances, but because when you’re focused on the things you love, you become the best version of yourself. A potential partner gets to see you in your element.”

2. Take a Class

“Education improves who you are and exposes you to not only potential partners who may be in the class, but many others who are around the educational facility,” says relationship therapist Andrew Aaron. “Those who value education also share many other good values and thereby increasing the chance to meet someone special of high quality.”

3. Perform Volunteer Work

What’s a cause you truly care about? Volunteering helps to improve your overall mood and self-esteem, and connects you with others who share the same values.

“Unlike on a dating website or Tinder where deception and distortion are easy, participating in a group effort actually takes a commitment – something that separates those who are low in motivation from those who are vital, ambitious and determined,” says Aaron.

4. Be Open to Finding Love in All Different Places

Opportunity waits for no man, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a potential match at the grocery store, on an airplane or anywhere you meet someone who catches your eye.

“Being open can mean something as simple as making eye contact with others,” says therapist Lauren Cook. “As you enter 2020, commit to actually ‘seeing’ other people in the new year by looking at those around you.”

5. Network With Dates Who Didn’t Work Out

This may seem like strange advice, but according to marriage and family therapist Dana McNeil, the more you expand your social circle, the more likely it is you’ll meet someone.

“If you and a date don’t work out having a love match, but you really like the person and their character, there is no reason you can’t help each other to network your perspective groups of friends or family members,” she says. “If you are both able to be mature and acknowledge that a love connection isn’t happening for the two of you, why not put your collective network to good use and consider if there is someone that either of you knows who might be a good match?”

6. Ask People in Your Life to Set You Up

“It is very likely the people you admire and genuinely care for in your world hang out with and have a close relationship with other admirable and quality people who may also be looking for a new love,” says McNeil. “Letting your network (co-workers, neighbors, colleagues, etc.) know you are open to and interested in meeting some new people this year is just reinforcing your efforts with help from a community who probably has your back, and wants to help you find the best match.”

7. Leave Selfies and Filters in 2019

Speaking of online dating profiles, start putting your true self out there in 2020.

“Dating profiles that are filled with selfies make that person look like they have no social life, or like they love themselves more than anyone else ever could,” says dating profile writer Eric Resnick. “You don’t need a ton of group shots in your profile, but have your friend’s take some pics for you. You are going to have a much more natural smile when you are relaxing with your friends than when you are trying to look at the screen with one eye and at the lens with the other.”

8. Don’t Just “Spray and Pray” Online Dating Messages

Sending out the same message to hundreds of potential matches online may make your inbox more full, but if you’re serious about finding love this year, Resnick says to go for quality over quantity.

“Don’t message a woman unless there’s some evidence in her profile that she’s looking for someone like you,” he says.

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Off the Wheel

Dating apps can be great tools to help you find love, but they can also burn you out. If it’s too much to handle, it’s alright if you want to take a breather.

“Online dating should not be a part-time job,” says Resnick. “If you’re spending more than 20 minutes of your day on it in 2019, it’s time to limit yourself in 2020. FOMO isn’t real here, but burnout is. The people you don’t see today will still be there tomorrow, but your will to find them might not be.”

10. Know What You Value

What actually matters to you in a relationship? Getting clear on what you value most in a potential partner will help make it clear when you’ve found the right one for you.

“When you are unsure what matters to you in a relationship, it can be easy to be swayed purely by chemistry rather than an actual character traits connection,” says Cook. “Does your ideal life include adventure, safety, achievement, connection, creativity? From this, you can begin identifying what matters most to you.”

11. Be Vulnerable Where It Matters

“Many of us either operate in a space where we are totally closed off or share too much,” says Cook. “Find a happy medium where you are willing to connect in a safe and open way that allows you to get to know someone. You can still protect your heart without appearing guarded and defensive. If you notice that your partner has a wall up as well, carefully consider if they are at a place in their lives where they are willing to be thoughtfully vulnerable as well. In other words: Don’t date someone who is not open to love at this time.”

12. Own Who You Are and What You Want in a Relationship

If you really want to be in a serious relationship, why pretend you don’t to appease someone else? It’s okay to make that known.

“Pretending to be interested in only casually dating or portraying yourself as someone who is willing to hook up without a commitment when that isn’t who you are is not going to serve you in relationships,” says McNeil. “You send mixed messages to both the new partner and yourself by accepting less than you want. The right person for you will find it refreshing and attractive that you are willing to own who you are, and state your expectations about what you are looking for regardless of whether or not the other person agrees or validates you.”

13. Stop Being So Rigid in Your Expectations

You may have a prepared plan as to what you want out of the person you date, but make sure you’re focused on the right things.

“So many of my clients shoot people down before they ever have a chance to meet because of their ‘requirements’ for a new partner,” says McNeil. “Not every woman has to be a perfect size two in order to be a fit.” Instead, make a list of must-haves based on what a potential new person values – “their character, their ability to take personal responsibility for their behaviors, and sense of genuine concern for their needs,” continues McNeil. “Then you are more likely to find someone who is actually a good long-term fit.”

14. Consider Therapy to Learn How to Set Healthy Boundaries

“The common denominator in all your relationships is you,” says McNeil. “If you feel you give more than you receive in relationships and they often leave you feeling disappointed, frustrated, victimized or resentful, you may have difficulties setting healthy boundaries in relationships.”

If you find yourself feeling that no matter how hard you try, nothing you ever do is good enough, or you catch yourself walking on eggshells out of fear about how your partner will respond to you, it’s time to do some work on yourself.

15. Evaluate Your Beliefs About Dating

Your beliefs about the dating landscape you’re in can impact whether or not you’ll be successful. Meaning, if your internal monologue consists of feeling like women never notice you, that you have to be a bodybuilder in order to get any attention or that all the good ones are taken, it’s time to challenge that thought process.

“Our beliefs create our reality, so really examine what thoughts you think on a regular basis about dating,” says relationship expert Kat Trimarco. “What if these beliefs weren’t true? As you choose different thoughts that are more in alignment with what you want to experience, these new thoughts over time become your beliefs and shape the new experiences you’ll have. Your willingness to see things differently will open up doors to meeting new people.”

16. Have a First Date Plan

When you’re going on a first date with someone you barely know, it can be tempting to leave the date up to chance. As Aaron explains, taking initiative to thoughtfully plan out a first date can really work to your advantage.

“Having planned for the date shows forethought; it signals to your date that she or he is important and worthy of your time,” he says. “Pre-planning also shows leadership, a fine strength to demonstrate. Share the plan as a way of keeping your date informed of what will happen, but also to get agreement that the plan will be pleasing to them.”

17. Incorporate an Activity Into Your Next Date

If firing questions back and forth at a bar on first dates isn’t getting you anywhere, Aaron suggests planning a date that focuses on an activity both of you enjoy.

“A date that incorporates a physical element adds a source of conversation,” says Aaron. “Taking a walk, riding bikes, going bowling, exploring a location, dancing, and climbing stairs to see a beautiful view are all examples.”

18. Listen More Than Talk on Your First Few Dates

“I often tell my clients that the people you date will generally tell you who they are within the first few dates,” says McNeil. “Allow yourself to have potentially uncomfortable silences without rushing to fill the void. Let the other person share the responsibility of creating a space that feels mutually acceptable, and see if the other person is aware of your needs during conversations.”

19. Believe There Will Be a Second Date

The goal of any first date is to get to date number two, but going into a first date with that pressure hanging over your head can actually work against you.

“The best way to get a second date after a first date? Decide that there’s going to be a second date before that first date even starts,” says relationship expert Jenny Block. “Instead, enjoy the date. Look for the positive. Remember that love at first sight is mostly in the movies, and love that grows is the kind of love that lasts. You just might be surprised by what you discover about a person when you’re looking for their best instead of their worst.”

20. Go On a Second Date Even If the First One Wasn’t “Perfect”

“Many of my clients tell me they give someone just one date to get it right, and if they don’t feel a spark, then they move on,” says McNeil. “Have you ever considered that maybe you should give someone a few dates to get comfortable, and allow some of the nerves to die down so they can show you who they really are? Give this person a few dates to get comfortable with you and you with them. There is no rush to get to the finish line, and sometimes a person grows on you once you get to see them in a relaxed space.”

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How to Get More Right Swipes on Dating Apps, According to Science

13 Science-Backed Ways for Guys to Get More Right Swipes

A smooth opening line, your air of confidence or some gallant gestures are all things capable of grabbing a woman’s attention — in real life, that is. In the digital dating world, it’s all about your profile. Every single word and photo you use counts when it comes to making a good impression, and various studies have shown that certain profile strategies may inspire more right swipes.

RELATED: What a Genuinely Good Tinder Profile Looks Like

You want to present yourself in the best light possible, all while being your most authentic self. Exaggerating about your job or using a photo from years ago will get you … well, just about nowhere when your match eventually sees the real you.

Need some guidance? Fortunately, there’s a wealth of research on which dating app strategies are most effective. Consider these 13 science-backed tips while perfecting your profile, and watch as the matches come rolling in.


13 Foolproof Ways to Get More Right Swipes on Dating Apps


1. Include a Full-Length Photo

To no surprise, app users want to be able to scope out their potential dates from head to toe.

A 2019 survey conducted by Carphone Warehouse and dating expert James Preece asked 1,000 Brits about their biggest dating app turn-ons. The results? 86 percent of both men and women would like to see a full-length photo.That means even if the rest of your photos are zoomed in from the waist up, make it a point to include just one picture that shows your full physique.

Speaking of photos, make sure you have at least one. A whopping 93 percent of survey respondents said they would straight up ignore someone on an app if their profile was lacking images (for obvious reasons).

2. Skip the Emojis

You may want to think twice about using those emojis, too. Results from that previously mentioned survey had a whopping 80 percent saying they’d consider ‘em to be a turnoff. Wouldn’t you rather use that valuable space to write something that’s actually informative or insightful anyway? Save the emojis for after you’ve landed a match.

3. Flaunt Your Furry Friend

Unsurprisingly, pets can make your profile more that much more attractive. That doesn’t mean you should snap a picture with any random dog just to bait the ladies into swiping right, but if there’s a furry animal out there that has a special place in your heart, feature them on your profile.

According to the Carphone Warehouse survey, 77 percent of people think photos with pets make someone more attractive. Who knew things whiskers could be such phenomenal wingmen?

4. Add a Group Photo (But Not Too Many)

Capture a cool shot with your buddies on a fishing boat or hanging at a summer BBQ? Show it.

Hinge’s 2017 Profile Picture Report found that pictures of dating app users having fun with friends were 74 percent more likely to get a like. That said, going overboard with the group shots will only leave swipers questioning who you really are.

If they’re unclear of who you are amongst the group, that extra effort may leave them swiping to the left instead of giving you a shot.

5. Show Your Active Side

Part of a hockey league? Or maybe you just participated in a Spartan Race? Be sure to include a photo that demonstrates your active lifestyle. Data from Hinge’s 2017 Profile Picture Report showed that photos of users playing a sport or doing something athletic performed 75 percent better than the average, non-athletic photo. How’s that for some fitness inspiration?

Some extra incentive comes from a 2014 WIRED analysis of data from OkCupid and Match.com — surfing, yoga, skiing, hiking, and tennis were among the words and phrases most associated with popular profiles for men.

6. Pose With Your Mama

Next time you’re home for a holiday or some other occasion, you may want to snap a few photos with dear ‘ol mom. According to a 2018 study by The League, dating app users who have at least one photo with their mother experienced a 7 percent higher match rate than those who didn’t have one.

While some may take it as a sign of a momma’s boy, this kind of photo shows that family is important to you. After all, there’s nothing wrong with showing some appreciation for the lady who gave you life.

7. Ditch the Shades

Just as you shouldn’t wear sunglasses indoors, when choosing the best photos for your profile, skip the ones in which you’re wearing glasses. A 2016 study from Tinder revealed that users wearing glasses in a profile picture (both prescription and sunglasses) were 15 percent less likely to get a right swipe.

Shades and spectacles make it more difficult to see someone’s face, and isn’t that what you’re supposed to be showing it off on your profile?

8. Be Forthcoming About Kids

Having children may not be something you want plastered all over your dating profile. But if you’re worried they may scare off some prospective dates, consider this: One in three women who participated in Carphone Warehouse’s survey said they liked to see photos of matches with their children.

Besides, it’s always best to be honest about your situation from the get-go. If someone doesn’t like your kids, there’s no point in wasting your time or effort in getting to know them.

9. Get Candid

An easy way to stand out on a dating app is by having at least one or two candid photos in your profile. Hinge’s 2017 Profile Picture Report found that a whopping 80 percent of users’ profile pictures were posed, but get this: Candid photos were 15 percent more likely to get a like from other users. There’s something about a candid shot that’s inexplicably attractive because it looks more natural, and thus, shows off your true, filterless self.

10. Implement the 70-30 Rule

It’s easy to ramble on and on about yourself in your dating app profile. You’re trying to give potential matches as much information as possible before they make a decision which way to swipe, right? Well, according to Statistic Brain, the most popular online daters used about 70 percent of their profiles to talk about themselves, with the other 30 percent describing what they’re looking for in a prospective partner.

Consider following that formula in your own profile, and always look for opportunities to shed light on your dating intentions and priorities.

11. Don’t Be Afraid of That Four-Letter Word

If you’re looking to lock down something serious, then you might want to sneak “love” into your profile somewhere. Surprisingly, wearing your heart on your sleeve can be to your advantage.

After examining 1.2 million profiles, PlentyofFish discovered that people who used this word in their bios were the most successful at engaging in committed relationships. Men also appeared to benefit from words like “romantic” and “relationship,” too.

12. Highlight Your Travels

Whether from a bachelor weekend in Boston or backpacking around Switzerland, make sure to use a photo from that trip in your profile. A

2017 Hinge study found that travel photos receive 30 percent more likes than the average photo, and research from Match Group found that 74 percent of women want a partner who shares their travel interests. It makes sense, too, given that jet-setting can make a person appear worldly and adventurous.

Fun fact: According to Hinge’s data, for men, a photo in Munich garnered a whopping 210 percent more likes than the average photo, while a photo in Portland, Oregon, racked up 56 percent more likes.

13. Mind Your Grammar

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a casual hookup or a serious relationship, you may want to proofread your dating app bio.

A 2019 study published in the “Journal of Social and Personal Relationships” found that spelling and grammar errors such as writing ‘teh’ instead of ‘the,’ and using upper case letters in the wrong places, could be detrimental to your odds of getting more matches. Researchers believe this may be because such errors suggest laziness and lack of attention to detail.

It doesn’t take long to run your bio through spell check. Considering it could seriously boost your odds, it seems to be well worth the effort.

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How to Approach Sleeping Over at Her Place Like a Gentleman

The Best Way to Handle Staying the Night for the First Time

For one reason or another, dates tend to happen at night. 

While some people might try to have a daytime first date over coffee or a walk in the park, the dominant cultural script we have for dates (dinner, movie, bar) is one that begins some time after 5 p.m. and winds its way through the course of the evening. 

Meaning, if you’re having sex with your date, it’s probably late at night. And there’s a good chance that may lead to one person sleeping over after the hookup. 

Now, in some cases your date will be sleeping over at your place, but especially for men dating women, they’re often invited over to their date’s place rather than vice-versa. 

Why? Well, many women will feel more comfortable in their own home. Being alone with a man they don’t know very well yet can be a bit scary, and having the interaction play out on their turf is more likely to set them at ease. (Also, let’s be real, most single guys don’t have very appealing living situations.)

Regardless, that first sleepover — whether it’s happening the night of the first date, the first hookup, or later on — can make or break a fledgling romance. 

Out on the town and dressed nicely, people might be able to put up a bit of a façade, but in a more domestic setting, fresh from having sex, it’s easy to let your guard down and show the real you — and if that’s not someone your date is into, things could be over in a hurry. 

In order to help you pull off a relatively mistake-free first sleepover, here are some dos, don’ts and expert tips from a selection of dating coaches and psychologists. 

1. What to Do When Sleeping Over for the First Time

The most important thing to keep in mind when sleeping over with a date is that their experience matters, too — and how they feel about things could impact whether you ever see each other again or not. 

“It’s not just about you and what you’re hoping for,” says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of “Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding Love Today.” “Your date will also have expectations, and they may not be compatible with yours. If you’re hoping for a relationship, what you do tonight (and after) can make or break the deal.”

To that end, Tessina suggests being generally kind and courteous. 

“Be amiable, but not overeager,” she says. If you’re dating a woman, you have to consider that she might not be used to having a man in her space. “Women are often feeling fragile on this first sleepover, so take it easy. Mind your manners.”

She also adds that if you’re invited over directly, rather than after going out together — such as being hosted for a romantic dinner, perhaps as a second or third date — that bringing flowers isn’t a bad idea. However, whether that’s the case will depend on your age — younger generations might be weirded out by such an overt display of traditional courtship. 

Meanwhile, Connell Barrett, the founder of Dating Transformation and a dating coach with The League, says you should try to take the sleepover seriously — even if the relationship isn’t yet. 

“The morning after, you want to make your date feel great about the decision they made — to take you into their bed, to be intimate,” he says. “While you’re not in a relationship yet, treat them like your partner, not a hook-up. Whisper sweet nothings, spoon, talk, tell them how great last night was.” 

However, the best way to get an idea of how to be the perfect houseguest? According to Jor-El Caraballo, a relationship therapist and co-creator of Viva Wellness, it’s not to make too many assumptions. 

“Ask, ask, ask,” Caraballo says. “Every person desires different things, so there is no one ‘right’ way to show someone that you’re a gentleman.”

“As a general rule, it’s nice to be polite and treat people with courtesy, but if it’s not genuine and coming from your heart, chances are your date can feel that,” he says. “Either they’ll dislike that and let you know or won’t consider your gentlemanly efforts important and just move on. The golden rule — ‘treat someone how you want to be treated’ — is a good place to start, and with periodically checking in for affirmative cues you can be sure that you’re on the path toward making a good impression.”

2. What Not to Do When Sleeping Over for the First Time

When it comes to things to avoid, there are also a handful of those to consider. For starters, it’s important not to treat the experience with a ‘been there, done that’ mentality, says Barrett. 

“A big mistake is treating it in a casual, transactional manner,” he notes. “Don’t bounce at the crack of down with no more than a curt ‘bye.’ That makes the other person feel used and means you likely won’t be spending a second night at their place.”

As for concrete specifics to consider, Tessina notes that creating a mess and having poor bathroom hygiene are big don’ts, particularly for a female date. 

“Be tidy in her place. Don’t leave your stuff all over,” she says. “If you use the bathroom or shower, make sure you leave it neat.”

Caraballo agrees that a guy’s use of a woman’s washroom can be a tricky hurdle to clear. 

“Don’t leave the toilet seat up,” he advises. 

As well, if your date has roommates or lives with family, it’s important to be conscious of that. 

“Ask how you should behave in accordance with their house rules (maybe don’t walk around to the bathroom in the middle of the night, etc.),” Caraballo suggests. 

Another good tip is to not be too demanding or over-assertive. You might be used to sleeping in a certain way, but in a new space, it’s a good idea to let your date set the tone in terms of how things function. 

Of course, you can make requests — think something like “Is it cool if we leave the fan on? I get overheated easily at night” — but being insistent or simply doing what you want may leave your host feeling uncomfortable or annoyed. 

As before, the guiding principle here is courtesy. Regardless of whether it’s a cramped apartment or a sprawling multi-story house, their home is their space and inviting you there is a bit of a gamble — so treat it (and them) with respect. 

3. Coming on Too Strong vs. Seeming Too Distant

One potential conundrum of sleeping over for the first time is that it can be a very intimate moment. 

Sleeping in the same bed with someone implies a certain amount of trust, and it’s something that we traditionally associate with married or long-term couples. However, if you’re just starting to date, you likely don’t know each other very well — and that can make for an awkward mismatch. 

If you lean into being romantic and affectionate, it might send the other person a signal that you’re very serious about them, even if you aren’t; alternately, if you intentionally put the brakes on things like post-coital cuddling and pillow talk, they might think you’re rude, distant or uninterested. 

The best way to deal with that uncertainty, according to Caraballo, is to be communicative, rather than overconfident about what your date is looking for. 

“I think the biggest mistakes guys (and really anyone) can make is making assumptions about what’s supposed to happen or not happen next,” he says. “While I know many people frown at the idea of being explicit in communication, it’s always helpful to check in with your partner to make sure that they’re feeling comfortable and that you know what their expectations are and if you can meet them.”

Barrett agrees that being open to communication is important — and notes that you should focus on ensuring your host doesn’t feel like you’re just using them for sex. 

“Be present to how your date’s feeling and don’t overdo this, but let them know that even though this is casual, it’s about more than sex. They want to know you like them for who they are.” 

4. How to Handle Leaving in the Morning

One of the most important aspects of a post-hookup sleepover is how it ends. 

Why? Well, that’s the last time you’ll see each other for a little while — it could be just a few hours or it could be weeks. Or, if things go badly, it could be for good. 

If your time together has been going well but you botch the ending, that could leave an unpleasant aftertaste in your host’s mouth, as it were, and change their perspective on how they feel things really went. But by the same token, if the hookup was only so-so, you can still potentially turn things around by nailing your departure. 

Tessina suggests planning for the morning after the night before — that way you have some kind of plan — rather than just deciding what to do when you wake up. 

“If you have to leave at a certain time, let your date know the night before,” she says. “Don’t just rush out.”

Barrett agrees that discussing the morning strategy before you fall asleep is a good move. 

“If you’re not sure you’ll want to lounge away the morning with your date, the night before, say that you’re meeting a friend in the morning,” he advises. “This way, if you both want to have a long, lazy sleep-in and spend more time together, you can always say you moved the appointment. And if you’d rather get going sooner, you can bounce without any bad feelings.”

That being said, if things are going well, Tessina suggests sticking around for anything your host offers, like coffee or breakfast, and potentially re-initiating some of last night’s physical affection, like kissing or hugging, and telling them you had a great time the night before — unless you didn’t.

“If it wasn’t wonderful for either of you, then say something like ‘I guess that didn’t go so well,’” she advises. 

Caraballo suggests taking what, if anything, you know about your date’s personality into consideration when you wake up the next morning and are wondering how to proceed. 

“This is highly subjective, and obviously pretty tricky territory,” he says. “If you haven’t talked about the morning plans before the sun rises, I think the best bet is to be honest in your exit.” 

What does that imply, exactly? 

“Do what feels right for you, and consider what feels like a reasonable and ethically compassionate exit, given the interaction,” Caraballo explains. “Does your date seem like someone who you appreciate a simple note left? What about a wake-up kiss? It all depends on the mood, but take the circumstances into consideration.”

One thing Barrett cautions against in particular is staying too long — a scenario which can make people too shy to ask you to leave or feel trapped in their own home, especially if they weren’t expecting you to be there initially.

“Don’t overstay your welcome,” he advises. “Your date might have things to do. Ask them first thing in the morning, ‘What’s your day looking like?’ They may have somewhere to be. If they don’t and you want to enjoy more time with them, suggest taking them out for brunch, coffee or doughnuts.”

Even if you don’t go out somewhere together, ending on a high note is a good idea, Barrett adds. 

“Leave your date feeling great,” he says. “If you want to see them again, tell them.”

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How to Have Dating Success No Matter What You Look Like

Here’s How Ugly Guys, Average Guys and Handsome Guys Can Find Love

From birth, women are told they need to be beautiful. They’re confronted by the message everywhere they look — fashion billboards, magazine covers, movies and music videos. 

The idea even worms its way into decidedly non-visual media, taking the form in books that describe female protagonists’ beauty, love songs that go on about how beautiful the singer’s lover is and the compliments people pay little girls.

RELATED: This Subtle Sexist Double-Standard Might Be Ruining Your Dating Chances

But even though that shallow view of women is undoubtedly not equally placed on young boys growing up, that doesn’t mean that men aren’t conscious of their looks at all. While it might be easier for a guy to dress sloppily or groom himself little if at all, many men internalize messages of how to look growing up, and come out of it feeling ugly. 

That feeling of inferiority, whether it’s about your looks or about anything else, can really hamper your ability to find romantic success. Not because of how you actually look, however, but because if you’re expecting other people to treat you badly, you’ll be starting every date and flirtatious conversation off on the wrong foot. 

But no matter what you look like, it’s possible to have dating success. The most charming average-looking guy will have way more success on the dating scene than a devastatingly handsome guy with a deeply unpleasant personality, and a so-called ugly guy who makes the people he’s with feel great will be much more attractive to lots of people than a decent-looking guy who treats everyone he dates like garbage. 

Don’t believe me? To prove it, we spoke to a dating coach and two psychologists about the relative unimportance of looks when it comes to dating success. 


It’s Time to Stop Overestimating the Importance of Looks


“Men put way too much importance on their looks, especially straight guys,” says Connell Barrett, a dating coach with The League and the founder of DatingTransformation.com. “We project our world view onto women. Men prioritize visual beauty, so we assume women do the same. But women are more attracted to behavior, confidence and intelligence. Good looks are a nice bonus to women, but a guy can [be ugly or handsome], as long as he makes his date feel good vibes. For most women, physical attractiveness doesn’t crack top 10.”

This focus on looks is rarely a case of men patting themselves on the back for being handsome. In fact, many men who could be considered traditionally handsome still view their looks as underwhelming or disappointing. 

“It’s not just average-looking men [worrying about their looks],” notes Barrett. “Many objectively handsome guys fight this fear because they don’t have six-pack abs or runway-model looks.”

All that anxiety doesn’t add up to much, according to Jor-El Caraballo, a relationship therapist and co-creator of Viva Wellness.

“I generally think that (straight) men overestimate the importance of looks with dating,” he says. “While there is no definition of success that’s objective, I do think that men could work on being more compassionate with themselves and focus on what they do bring to the table rather than what they think they are lacking. This will help them appear more confident and self-aware, and those are very attractive qualities.”

What to Focus on Instead of Your Looks

“There’s so much media focus on looks that we all get the impression that looks are most important,” says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of “Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding Love Today.” 

Instead, she suggests men consider focusing more on their grooming habits. “While styles change, being clean and tidy is always attractive. There’s a grunge look being advertised now, but don’t be too gritty. Clean up your act, wear some acceptable clothing, and look your best.”

If you’re already well-groomed but you still feel like your looks put you at a disadvantage, there are tons of other things people look for in a male partner, regardless of their gender. 

“A man can do many things to become more attractive,” states Barrett. “He can develop his sense of humor because everyone loves to laugh. He can become a better, more present listener because everyone loves to be heard. He can communicate in a more expressive, less filtered way because a man who ‘tells it like it is’ is magnetic.”

Even outside of self-improvement, a simple mental switch can help you feel more confident. According to Barrett, a guy who’s struggling to feel handsome should “focus on and feature the traits that make him a great catch — the fact that he, say, speaks three languages or has a cool job or makes amazing guacamole.”


How to Have Dating Success No Matter What You Look Like


How to Have Dating Success If You’re Insecure About Your Looks

Step one to overcoming a feeling of ugliness in the dating game? Working on your confidence.

“Insecurity about looks is kryptonite for a guy’s dating success,” says Barrett. “If you’re out on a date and burdened by thoughts of ‘I’m not good looking,’ then you’re toast.”

How much fun would you have if you could tell your date was super insecure about their looks? Probably not much. Instead, try to re-frame what the focus is, highlighting what makes you attractive rather than what you feel makes you unattractive. 

“Play to your strengths,” he adds. “Tell great stories. Crack jokes. Be vulnerable. Find commonalities. Learn to flirt. Become a better man and showcase your real, vulnerable, always-improving self.”

Tessina argues that connection is the real place that attraction manifests itself, and connection can develop with no real regard to looks. 

“You’re at your most attractive when you’re a good listener, who clearly cares about what your date is saying,” she says. “Show interest. Don’t let nerves cause you to talk non-stop. Give them a lot of chances to tell you who they are and what they like.”

And even if you’re insecure about some aspect of your body you definitely can’t change, whether you’re too short or too tall, too heavy or too slight, you can put a new spin on how you come across with the right style and grooming choices. 

RELATED: What to Wear on a First Date, Revealed

“In dating, your looks don’t matter, but your look matters,” says Barrett. “You can’t change your face without a surgeon’s knife, but you can upgrade your style today. Buy shirts and pants that look fitter for your body, wear quality shoes, get a great haircut. Dressing sharp makes you feel more confident, and when you’re more confident, you’re more attractive.” 

If you’re not sure where to start, consider asking for help from someone whose fashion sense you respect, or by asking salespeople in clothing stores what they’d recommend. 

Regardless, if you’re willing to put in a little effort in that department, it can totally revolutionize your look (and your confidence) without much time or even money. 

How to Have Dating Success If You Feel Like You Look Average

Feeling like you’re average-looking can feel like a death sentence for your dating chances. 

But even if you don’t feel like your looks are holding you back, feeling stuck in the middle can sap you of your confidence in a heartbeat — particularly in a modern dating culture that can feel completely looks-obsessed at times. 

However, according to some anecdotal data, what really resonates in dating app photos isn’t your looks so much as how happy you look. 

“With Tinder and the apps, the attractiveness of your photos largely corresponds to the emotions you convey in the shots,” notes Barrett. “I’ve run countless tests on Photofeeler, and pictures that show a man smiling or laughing rate twice or even three times as attractive as the shots where the guys do a smoldering, [runway model]-type pose. To be more attractive on Tinder and get more matches, dress great, look into the lens and smile.”

Tessina, for her part, notes that average-looking guys can take their attractiveness up a notch by being strong conversationalists.

“Don’t sound average,” she advises. “Have some conversational topics that will interest a woman. Make sure she knows you care about who she is, not just how she looks.”

How to Have Dating Success If You’re Confident in Your Looks

Compared to all the less visually fortunate men out there, handsome guys might think they’ve got it made on the dating scene, but as noted above, looks aren’t the be-all and end-all of attraction. 

Barrett, for one, cautions handsome guys not to get so cocky about their looks alone to get them dates. 

“Think of it like this,” he says. “Jerry Seinfeld said that famous comedians get a ‘grace period’ at the start of a performance, but after a few minutes the audience says, ‘OK, time for you to deliver.’ In the same way, great-looking guys can’t rest on the laurels of their looks. They still have to connect, to flirt, to be interested, to be authentic, and be the best men they can be.”

Good looks might cause people to seek you out in greater numbers, particularly on looks-focused apps like Tinder, but love (and even good dates) is more than just a numbers game. 

If you’re handsome as hell but feel lonely all the time or struggle to get matches or good conversations on online dating sites and apps, trying to unhook your expectations and approach from your looks and focusing on what you can bring in terms of your personality and developing true connections will do you a world of good when it comes to your love life — just as it will for guys who feel like they’re ugly. 

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4 Dating Tips for Shy Guys and Introverts That Can Totally Change the Game

An Introvert’s Guide to Dating

With such an overwhelming number of apps and unfortunately real phenomenons like ghosting, zombieing and kittenfishing in existence, dating has become more stressful than satisfying. Add something like introversion to the mix and it can prove even more difficult. Sure, introverts can make phenomenal partners, but the excess stimuli in the outside world combined with the already anxiety-producing nature of dating can leave them feeling super drained.

“The inherent stress of being social puts pressure on the introvert because they feel the need to be ‘on’ during the date,” says Fran Greene, licensed clinical social worker and author of “The Secret Rules of Flirting.”

RELATED: Where (and How) to Meet Women Outside of Bars & Clubs

Dating requires you to be in tune with someone else’s needs and desires rather than focused inward. Not to mention, being open about sharing your own inner thoughts and feelings is essential — both of which can be difficult as an introvert.

“Dating can be particularly challenging if you struggle to talk about yourself and aren’t sure how to highlight your best qualities,” explains Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching. “It can feel super invasive to get asked questions you don’t normally share until much later.”

Luckily, you don’t have to dread dating just because you’re an introvert. Just heed the following tips to ensure smooth sailing from the get-go.


Dating Tips for Shy Guys and Introverts


1. Set a Time Limit for the Date

While extroverts get their energy by being around others, introverts re-energize themselves while being alone. That means that limiting your time on a date is crucial to prevent yourself from feeling depleted.

“Don’t plan a marathon date that is going to exhaust you,” says Greene.

As much as you may think having early evening drinks at a bar, heading to a restaurant for dinner and then going to see a show will impress someone, it’s very likely to take a lot out of you (which means you won’t exactly be the best version of yourself on the date).

Instead, choose one thing to do together. It’s better to give 100 percent of yourself and less of your time than to overextend yourself and end up feeling drained.

2. Go Beyond the Expected

Meeting up for drinks may be the norm nowadays, but it can put a lot of pressure on you to keep the conversation flowing. Without an activity or something else to focus on, you’re left with little material.

“Do something that keeps it fun and active so you don’t feel you have to be the entertainment,” says Martinez. “You want to try to keep things light until you’re feeling more comfortable. It’s about striking a balance between have surface-level conversations and ones that are more intimate and give insight into who you are.”

That’s not to say you can’t meet in your typical social setting, of course, but consider doing so on the third or fourth date. Until you’ve established a sense of security, you may want to consider going bowling, scoping out an exhibit or seeing some live music at a cozy venue — all of which provide plenty to talk about.

3. Choose Activities That Keep You in Your Comfort Zone

While you may enjoy taking the reins with planning dates, at some point or another, you may find yourself in a situation where your date takes the initiative. If that’s the case, always make sure to check in with yourself to gauge what feels do-able.

“Don’t try to impress your date by saying yes to something that is going to be uncomfortable for you,” says Greene. “It’s okay to be honest (to a degree) and tell your date you prefer quieter surroundings and that you do not thrive in crowds. You may have to compromise a bit, but you won’t waste your energy pretending to want to be at a music festival with 30,000 other people and then secretly wanting to escape instantaneously.”

The idea is to select environments and activities that make you feel as comfortable as possible so that you can enjoy the experience more, and so you’re more likely to engage than to withdraw.

According to Greene, a few ideal dates for an introvert include going to a movie or other performance during off-peak times, sticking with very small gatherings and parties and having coffee, drinks or dinner at places with a quiet, intimate vibe.

4. Give Yourself Permission to Bail

There may be times that you start to feel overwhelmed on a date. In those situations, you shouldn’t sacrifice your well-being just to avoid disappointing someone you don’t know very well. Similar to the first point about hinting that you’re on a clock, Martinez notes that the best way to avoid these scenarios is to set up a finite amount of time for the date from the get-go.

“Let them know that you have other plans or something to do after your date,” she explains. “If you’re enjoying yourself, you can always ‘change’ those plans later.”

While this handy little strategy is highly effective at the beginning of a relationship, you’ll eventually want to be honest with your date about feeling overwhelmed.

“Give them a chance to navigate this with you,” she adds.

And if your date can’t handle your introverted ways? Well, they’re simply not a good match. Greene adds that it’s always better to cut a date short than to let it drag on while you’re feeling tired or uncomfortable.

“If your date gets the feeling that you are trying to escape, your chances of another date are not likely,” she notes. “It’s always best to end a date on a high note.”

Dating as an introvert may have its challenges, but don’t forget that you have so much to offer any potential love interests. Introverts are known for being excellent listeners who are highly in touch with their emotions and needs, and who can cultivate super deep and meaningful relationships.

Keep all of that in mind while you’re navigating the dating world, and you’re sure to attract someone who not only accepts your introverted ways but sees them as a major perk.

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Being a Gentleman Will Help You on the Dating Scene

Here’s Why Being Chivalrous Is Always the Best Way to Act

The Dating Nerd is a shadowy figure whose whereabouts and identifying details remain unknown. What we do know is that he is really, really good at dating. He’s been on more dates than you can shake a lengthy bar tab at, and he’s here to help the average guy step his dating game up a notch — or several.

The Question

Hi Dating Nerd,

A female friend tore me a new one recently because she says I’m a jerk to the girls I date. She listed off a bunch of things I’d done on dates with some of her friends or girls she knew (not paying for meals, not paying for cabs, talking too much apparently, openly asking if the girl wanted to hook up), and said I was behaving like a scumbag. This caught me by surprise — I feel like it’s no different from what every other guy out there is doing. Am I wrong? Is she right? Won’t I come off weird and loser-ish if I’m super nice and don’t assert myself? 

– Disappointed Danny

The Answer

Danny, Danny, Danny. 

This may sound crazy, but perhaps the single biggest favor you could pay your future self right now is to learn how to be a gentleman.

Gentlemanly values have been experiencing a slow and steady decline over the past several decades, if not centuries. Things like chivalry went from held in high esteem to OK at best to unnecessarily fallen to the wayside. If you were to give a random woman your arm to try and help her out of a car at this very moment, you’d be met with a significant amount of skepticism — to say nothing of throwing your coat over a puddle so she could walk through without getting wet. 

Today, it’s far more common for women to experience shabby treatment from men. Getting ghosted, getting roached, getting unwanted dick pics, short flings that disappear as soon as you develop any feelings for the other person — that’s the modern dating experience in a nutshell for a lot of people who date dudes. 

If you’re not interested in treating your matches well, that probably suits you just fine. Chances are you’re unlikely to be noticeably worse than the next guy, and most people will be so burnt out by previous bad treatment that they won’t be expecting much by the time you roll around. 

However, the paucity of good dating behavior in contemporary singles culture has a flip side, and if you’re willing to put in even a little bit of effort towards being gentlemanly, you stand out in a serious way. 

These days, you’re not competing against kings, princes, male models and rock stars. Your rivals are Kyle, who’s trying to get more Tinder matches than every other guy in his frat before Friday, and Jon, who knows more porn stars by name than actual women. 

Have you ever heard the old canard, “People won’t remember what you said, and they won’t remember what you did, but they’ll remember how you made them feel?” Well, that’s what being a gentleman is all about: making people feel good. 

Next time you’re on a date, suggest a time and place. Ask your date questions and make her feel like the star of a one-night, two-actor show. Pay for everything you both do, and appreciate your time together no matter what happens at the end.

In short, you’re going to be a gentleman. 

Why, you might ask? Well, in one shot, you’re doing a few different things. 

For starters, you’re elevating the level of dating behavior, even if microscopically, for the whole culture. We fix this environment where we’re all horrible to each other by putting ourselves on the line, acting with kindness and grace rather than with naked self-interest.

Secondly, you’re treating her right. You’re not treating her like an audience for your blathering, and you’re not treating her like a vending machine for sex. You’re treating her like a person. Whatever she thinks about your looks, your musculature or your car, I guarantee she’s more interested in how it feels to sit across from you. And if it feels good, she’s going to want more of it.

Thirdly, look, the date might not fall the way you want. When a first date sputters out, it’s not fun for either party. But here’s the thing — if you were a consummate gentleman from point A to point Z, that attitude will carry over to your future outings. 

If you treat your next date like trash and make her regret the day she ever agreed to meet up with you? Well, you’re only doing your part to worsen the dating culture for everyone. You’re absolutely destroying your chances, and you’re more or less guaranteeing that no one will want to give you so much as a second look. 

So take your pick. Being a douchebag might be easier — but don’t you think being a gentleman has a happier ending? You tell me, Danny. 

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How to Know If You’re in Love

Not Sure If You’re in Love or Not? Here’s How to Know for Sure

What does it mean to be in love with someone, when you really get down to it? 

You might picture stereotypical scenes from romantic movies or lyrics from songs about love, people claiming they can’t live without the other person or they think about the other person constantly, but there’s more to being in love than just experiencing romantic desire and passion for someone else. 

What Does ‘Being in Love’ Mean?

“Deep romantic feelings are only part of the picture,” says dating coach Connell Barrett. “You also have a strong need to contribute to that person’s life — to make them happy, to give them kindness and compassion, to help keep them safe. You also want to grow with them. In short, being in love is about needing to give to and grow with someone you have strong romantic feelings for.”

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of “Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding Love Today,” agrees that wanting to share your full lives is a big aspect of being in love with someone.

“Being in love means wanting to share life with a partner, wanting to make that partner happy, caring about your partner’s feelings and wants, and feeling good about being together,” she says. 

In short, being in love with someone is a combination of different feelings — a strong desire to see and spend time with someone, not just in one specific way but in many different ways, not just in the short term but in the long-term as well. 

Being in love with someone is about feeling that you’ve met your perfect match — someone who’s deeply right for you, someone you’ll care for no matter what. 

The Difference Between Loving Someone and Being ‘In Love’

Of course, you might be curious about what differentiates simply loving someone from being ‘in love’ with them — and that’s a fair question. Is “I love you” different from “I’m in love with you?” And if so, why do we say the first to people we love as well as to people we’re in love with?

Some people might not necessarily draw a distinct line between the two concepts, but generally speaking, people understand that you can love someone without being in love with them — that we reserve ‘in love’ for one person only, someone we love in a romantic and passionate way.

“We love all kinds of people: parents, children, dear friends, good buddies, beloved mentors,” says Tessina. “However, being in love means wanting to share all aspects of life with that partner: living together, making love, building a life for the two of you (and maybe a family) feeling especially close to one person, closer than anyone else you love.” 

Part of that dynamic, Tessina notes, is the idea that the two of you could conceivably turn your long-term relationship into spending your entire lives together. 

“Your parents and children will grow away from you as you or they grow up,” she notes. “Your friends may move, get married, or otherwise be unavailable. The person you’re in love with and you intend to be with each other always, and you’re willing to work to make sure the relationship grows and thrives.”

What drives that desire for it to just be the two of you? Barrett argues that it’s simple: passion. 

“When you’re in love, you’re fueled by a strong passion for that person,” he says. “It feels like being possessed. That’s what a great relationship is: love and passion. Without that desire, you’re like very close friends. You may love them, but you’re not in love.”

While that passion is primarily emotional, often it can take the form of physical (that is, sexual) passion. 

“You want to be intimate with someone you’re in love with; kiss them, cuddle them, and have sex with them,” says Engle. “As simple as this sounds, ‘love’ vs. ‘in love’ basically boils down to romance and, unless you’re on the asexual spectrum, sex.”

Signs That You’re in Love With Someone

So how do you recognize that you’re really, truly in love with someone? Of course, there’s no simple way to do this. It will feel slightly different for every person and every couple, and there’s no simple set of things you can check off to show you that you’re in love. 

RELATED: What Does True Love Feel Like? We Found Out

However, there are some signs that might be useful in determining if your feelings really do qualify as being in love. 

“If you can picture a future with your partner, and there’s no one else you can picture that future with, that’s probably love,” says Tessina. 

It may also present itself as a feeling of nervousness or giddiness, initially. 

“The old phrase ‘butterflies in your stomach’ to describe love is actually pretty accurate,” says SKYN Condoms’ Sex & Intimacy Expert, certified sex coach, sexologist and author Gigi Engle. “This is short-term anxiety that feels exciting — kind of like being on a roller coaster. When you first fall in love, your brain is flooded with dopamine and oxytocin, which feels amazing. This is what cultivates sexual and romantic attraction.”

“Another sign is when your mind is obsessively thinking about the person,” Engle says. “Obviously in some cases this can be unhealthy — such as, if this isn’t someone you’re actually dating or potentially dating — but, when we’re in love our minds are awash with feel-good chemicals. We’re looking for that next hit of the good stuff: oxytocin, or the ‘love hormone.’ This is why being in love feels so good, and why we can’t seem to get our minds off our partner.”

Barrett agrees that thinking about someone a lot is definitely part of the package. 

“It starts with a feeling of euphoria, being in a new, exciting world,” says Barrett, comparing the feeling to the point in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ when the movie goes from monochromatic to full color. “That person in your thoughts constantly, making you giddy just to think of them.”

“You’re very interested in the things that they like,” he adds. “You check your phone a lot to see if they’ve messaged you.” And likely, he notes, you’ll be spending a lot of time being physically affectionate — whether that’s sex or things like holding hands, kissing, hugging, or simply lounging in each other’s arms. 

However, lots of these factors can be present in the early stages of a relationship — truly being in love is when these feelings last long enough to start thinking of what your life together will be like. 

“You want to plan the future with them in the picture — the trips you’ll take, the dog you’ll get, the house you’ll buy,” Barrett says. 

Signs That You’re Not in Love With Someone

OK, so maybe the above signs weren’t totally conclusive for you. What about when you’re not in love? Are there any surefire signs of that to help you sort out your feelings? 

RELATED: The Top 10 Signs That You’re in Love, Revealed

For starters, Tessina suggests, imagine if you could never have sex again — or your sex life would all but dry up. Would that change how you felt about your partner in a drastic way or would you want to stick with them?  

“If your main interest in your partner is sex, that’s not the same as love,” she says.

For Barrett, sex is less of a factor. He thinks if you’re not in love with someone, you’ll forget about them completely as soon as they’re not around. 

“The biggest sign you’re not in love with someone is that they’re not on your mind when you’re not with them,” he says. “You may like them, enjoy them, have great sex with them. But if you’re not thinking about them often, you’re not in love.”

“Another big indicator? They back out of something you’ve planned to do together — and you’re relieved,” he says. “And if you don’t day-dream about the things you share with this person, then you’ve either lost that lovin’ feeling — or you never had it to begin with.”

“You can be dating someone, find them fun and cute, and still not be in love with them,” says Engle. “Maybe you are enjoying playing the field or aren’t in a place in your life to get serious with someone. That’s OK too.”

“Really, if you want to know if there’s a future, envision yourself in a long-term, monogamous (assuming you’re monogamous) relationship, and see how that makes you feel,” she advises. “Are you scared or anxious? If it doesn’t make you happy or excited, it’s probably not love.”

Tessina agrees. “If you feel neutral about the relationship, and not committed to it, you’re not in love. If you don’t make each other happy, that’s not love.”

How to Handle It If Only One of You Is in Love

What about situations where two people are dating but only one of them feels like they’re in love with the other? 

Is the relationship doomed to failure or can you make it work? Of course, there’s no guaranteed way of knowing, but some factors can make it more or less likely that you’ll be able to work things out. The first thing you should know is that you shouldn’t panic. 

“It really depends on the context of the situation,” says Engle, as to whether things are salvageable or not. “If your partner says they love you and you aren’t ‘there’ yet, that’s OK.”

“Not everyone falls in love at the same time, despite what the movies will tell you about fairytale romances,” she notes. “You might just need a little extra time to get to that place. As long as you see the potential for things getting to love, you’re doing alright.”

“You have to be open and communicative with your partner about this,” Engle advises. “Let them know that you see the relationship moving forward and that really excites you, but you just aren’t ready for ‘I love you’ yet. It will probably hurt their feelings, but you have to be honest with yourself about these things and not say something you don’t mean.” 

What about if you’re the person who’s in love, but your partner isn’t? That can be a trickier place to be from an emotional standpoint. Tessina advocates giving them some space to figure out how they really feel.

“The first thing to try is backing off a little, to see if the person is just taking you for granted because you’re making it too easy,” she says. “If the other person comes forward when you back off, then it might be possible to balance out the relationship. If not, the relationship may always be one-sided, and it’s probably better to let go and find someone else.” 

Barrett agrees that sometimes, a relationship where only one person is in love just won’t be workable in the long-term. 

“When only one person is in love, that’s often the death knell for a relationship,” he says. “You can have an honest, heart-to-heart conversation to find out what might be missing for the person who’s not in love. Maybe there’s something you can work on.”

“But it takes two to have a great, passionate, loving relationship,” he says. “If only one of you feels that way, and it doesn’t seem like the other person’s feelings will change, end it. Life is too short to live it without real love.” 

How to Talk About ‘Being in Love’ With Your Partner

If you’re not sure how to bring that heart-to-heart conversation up, that’s normal. Love is a big, intense feeling, and the fear that your emotions might not be reciprocated can cause even the bravest people to clam up. So first things first, don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling to open up about things. 

“There is a beauty to vulnerability when it comes to being open about falling in love,” says Engle. “The best thing you can do is go for it, if it’s what you really feel. If you want to be more cautious, starting with,

 ‘I think I could see myself falling in love with you’ 

is a good first toe in the water. This way you get to gauge out where your partner is emotionally and move from there.”

She advises that you keep the conversation small and real, however — rather than shooting to be romantic. 

RELATED: Why Grand Romantic Gestures Are Bad Ideas

“No grand public gestures,” Engle insists. “This will probably freak your partner out and could lead to an embarrassing situation for both of you. If you want to do something cute and romantic, send them roses after the ‘I love you’ has happened. You don’t want to put pressure on someone to say something they don’t mean.”

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How to Navigate Football Season When Your Partner Hates Sports

Does Dating Someone Who Doesn’t Share Your Love for Game Day Warrant a Breakup?

Stating that autumn is one of the most wonderful times of the year is hardly a controversial opinion. From the changing colors of the leaves and all things pumpkin spice to costume parties around every turn, it’s easy to see why people love when the calendar flips to September and October. Here in the U.S., of course, we have another time-honored tradition that makes the fall season that much more special: football.

RELATED: How to Break Up With Someone Nicely

Saturdays and Sundays in the fall are practically holy days in American households across the nation — and no, not the get-down-on-your-knees-and-pray kind of holy. By one count, 73 percent of men and 55 percent of women watch NFL games on television, while millions more attend the contests in person every season.

That means roughly two out of every three Americans tune in to the NFL each weekend. Those numbers mean that if you’re a guy interested in finding a football-loving partner, you have pretty solid odds. But what happens if you don’t? What happens if you meet your significant other during the offseason, but when it comes time for kickoff, they refuse to sit down and watch a game with you?

If the two of you have other things in common, there are ways to stay happy without every weekend inevitably leading to a standoff over how to spend your time.

First off, if you’re with someone who doesn’t like sports, just know there is a zero percent chance you’ll be able to watch every single game you want — unless your plan involves becoming single again, that is. If your desire is to press onward with this individual, that’s a fact you simply have to accept.

Second, there is no magic wand you can wave to make your significant other care as much about football as you do. If they haven’t grown to appreciate the sport by now, it’s unlikely that your repeated attempts to sit them down in front of the television on Sundays are going to uproot their deeply entrenched beliefs that the game is either boring, pointless or just too aggressive for their liking.

The road to bettering your relationship, or at least making sure it doesn’t go off the rails, during those precious four to five months that football graces the television starts with one word: moderation. While you may want to watch 20-plus hours of football on the weekend, doing so will result in no favors where your partner is concerned. In fact, that behavior is more likely to result in you spending the night cold and alone on the couch.

“The assumption today is that you will watch any football possible,” wrote “The Wall Street Journal” columnist Jason Gay in a thinkpiece published a few years ago. “Not only will you watch it, you need to watch it, because it is the highlight of your weekend and the fiber of your being, as essential to your happiness as sunlight and chicken fingers and maybe actually more than the sunlight. Your attention is not so much courted as it is expected.”

In reality, we know the world won’t end if we miss some of the big game to spend a bit of time with our significant other. Relationships always call for a little bit of sacrifice, and getting away from the television for a while is a healthy habit to get into. Plus, they created sports highlights for a reason, you know?

The second thing to focus on is gratitude. Maybe it sounds a little weird to say “thank you” to your partner for putting up with your football addiction, but if they’re sitting down to watch a game with you when it pains them to do so, you have to realize that they’re making a small sacrifice for you. Buckling in for a three-hour affair that they absolutely abhor is likely not the way they prefer to spend their time, so simply acknowledging their willingness to do will you do some good.

As for the way to truly seal the deal, ensuring football season doesn’t leave your relationship in shambles? Be extra conscientious of the things you’re doing with your partner while the game isn’t on. That’s when you need to be paying attention to your partner as much as you can — partly to show them that no, sports aren’t the only thing you care about, and partly to store up some brownie points when kickoff comes back around.

Take your significant other out for a midweek date, cook dinner together one night or watch a show or movie they enjoy. The more your partner feels valued and connected to you throughout the week, the better chance they’ll be more accepting of your football fanaticism on the weekend … even if they still have trouble getting into the game themselves.

Speaking of getting into the game, there are a couple things you can do to get your disinterested partner more involved on game day. Thomas Edwards Jr., founder of The Professional Wingman, says getting them in the mix during football season just takes a little bit of planning.

“If you’d really like for your significant other to be a part of the experience, you can incentivize them,”says Edwards. “For example, if you’re a guy who likes to watch sports with the boys, have your boys invite their girlfriends and that’ll make yours more excited to join you.”

Basically, you should make game day more of a social event. For some, that means the actual game is the main event, while for others, the excitement comes more from spending time with friends or loved ones, sharing a smorgasbord of game day treats with one another, and basking in the party-esque vibes of the day.

If you just can’t seem to get your partner on board whatsoever, or if it seems that your viewing preferences will never exactly align, Edwards notes that’s no reason to cause concern in regards to the future of your relationship.

“Your viewing preferences are no different than your hobbies or interests,” he says. “Sometimes, they are different from your partner’s, and that’s okay — especially when individualism and ‘me time’ in a relationship are needed.”

For this same reason, Edwards also thinks we don’t necessarily need to seek out partners that are as wild about football or other sports as we are.

“If you really want to have a partner who’s as obsessed as you, awesome,” he says. “If you’d rather keep your fanaticism to yourself and have your partner be wild about ‘Jane the Virgin,’ that’s fine, too.”

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Dating With an STI Can Be Difficult – These Sites Can Help


Best Dating Sites for People With Herpes

Positive Singles
MPwH
H-Mates

Dating can be hard in the first place, and approaching it with an STI certainly doesn't make it any easier. It’s one of those things you have to disclose despite there never really being a good time for it. In fact, the idea of breaking down your own walls and sharing something so sensitive, not to mention something that inevitably comes with a backstory, may make dating seem difficult or even impossible.

Even with endless knowledge at our fingertips, many still still lack widespread knowledge of STIs — specifically, herpes. For those who don’t understand the incurable but highly preventable herpes virus, the idea of dating someone with it may seem like an automatic no, when there’s actually a lot more to it than you were taught in your sex ed class.

RELATED: Worried You Might Have Caught Something? These Are the Best At-Home STD Tests

First of all, HSV (herpes simplex virus) is more common than you probably think. It’s estimated that about half of the population has HSV-1, or what is widely understood as oral herpes spread just from oral contact. Beyond that, about one out of every six people age 14 to 49 have HSV-2, the latter which usually falls into the ‘traditional’ category of an STD. This strain is more often spread by more intimate sexual activities.

More important than how many people have the virus is the lifestyle that comes along with it. Just because someone has herpes does not mean he or she cannot date, or that they are tarnished in some way. An STI can be spread during an individual's first sexual encounter or simply because a past partner was not honest about their condition. Despite the outdated stigma our society carries around, having herpes in no way signifies the infected individual is dirty or promiscuous.

Dating with herpes may require more communication, self-restraint and creative intimacy, but it’s far from impossible. If you have HSV-2, it's important to be honest and tell your partner about the virus at an appropriate time. It shouldn’t be the first sentence that comes out of your mouth, but it also shouldn’t be the last before you jump into bed when passion can overtake rational thinking. 

RELATED: If You're Worried About Catching Something, This New Invention Will Help

Luckily, the Internet breaks down some of the self and society-imposed barriers that come along with dating with herpes, providing a transparent medium to interact and get to know others without so much worry about ignorant judgment or responses. When you discover the world of online dating for people with herpes, you’ll find that the comfort and security of being behind a screen allows you to easily open up about your specific condition, and be upfront and blunt more effortlessly than you are likely to be face-to-face. The virus becomes less important and who you are as an individual —your personality, quirks, likes and dislikes — are elevated.

The sites below, catered to those with herpes, provide a communal feeling for its users. Just being on them may do wonders to increase your confidence in offline dating, too. More importantly, niche sites designed for people with herpes streamline the process of getting over the STD-talk road bump, allowing for fun, meaningful connections with others while remaining both safe and honest. When it comes down to it, if you have the virus, there’s really no reason not to explore such sites. Go ahead and save yourself some time in your dating life as you read on to discover the best dating sites for people with herpes.

Positive Singles

Debatably the most well-known dating site for people with STDs, Positive Singles has an impressive 1.5 million membership base and counting. The dating site may be so attractive to individuals because it focuses on matching you not just based on your medical condition, but based on other, more standard compatibility factors such as your interests, lifestyle preferences, and even star sign. Beyond the non-bias matching system, Positive Singles has a host of other features some casual hookup sites don't. 

Positive Singles provides both transparency and privacy, with highlights such as the ability to see who has viewed your profile, the option to browse anonymously, detailed privacy settings that allow you to hide your profile based on a specific set of rules you create, a setting to hide areas of your profile (including the type of STD you have), and even the option to require a special password to open the app on your mobile phone. It also goes above and beyond to provide an immersive online dating experience complete with a 15-question profile section listing your answers, as well as the answers you’d like your match to have. There are also profile verification options, a Tinder-style swiping section, and even free one-on-one dating advisors — which usually alone cost more than any standard dating site membership. While it doesn’t constantly remind you that you are on a niche dating site (in a good way), it does provide some helpful resources and support including a care location directory, Q&A section, forums, and more.

Learn more at Positive Singles and read our full review here

MPwH

MPwH, which stands for ‘Meet People With Herpes,’ claims to be the original dating site for people with the virus. The inviting site is available for members with all sorts of relationships statuses, including those who are married and in a committed relationship, but is restricted for people only with HSV-1 or HSV-2. Profiles list what type of the virus you have, but it’s only a small field amongst over 25 other profile fields, including multiple choice and open ended questions. There’s also a reassuring profile verification option, along with a handful of privacy settings you can customize to your liking.

The herpes-only dating site feels and works much more like a traditional dating site, and is filled with an abundance of features that allow your personality to dominate your online presence. Video introductions and private albums allow you to make your experience on the site truly unique. You can sign up for a free membership and use about half of the features on the site, or upgrade to a paid membership to unlock over 30 additional features. It's not a big issue if you don't pay, but if you want to really get detailed in your searching or see others’ interest in you, such as who liked your profile, the upgraded membership is worth the price tag.

Learn more at MPwH

H-Mates

H-Mates screenshot

H-Mates is dedicated to connecting people with STDs for anything from friendships to serious dating. The site has a rather detailed sign-up form that looks much like one from its founding date of 2004. It has all the features of a basic dating site and operates just like one. There isn’t a ton going on behind the scenes here, with H-Mates providing more of a supportive online community where real connections can be formed. The site is not solely dedicated to people with herpes, but there is a profile field that lets you select the types of members you are looking to meet based on the type of STD(s) they have.

The options for self expression are impressive here, with the ability to upload an unlimited number of profile pictures (and a video introduction). You can browse and search to discover others, but there are a few other matchmaking features available after answering various types of questionnaires. You also get all the typical online dating ways of interacting, and even some rather unique ones, such as sending virtual kisses. The niche site doesn’t have the most modern interface or advanced matching algorithm, but it is 100 percent free to use. Going along with the ‘supportive’ theme of the site, H-Mates does accept donations, giving you access to premium features. With no paid membership, it somewhat equals the playing field for all members.

Learn more at H-Mates

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The Top Dating Sites You Need to Try If You're LGBTQ+


Best Gay and LGBTQ+ Dating Sites

OkCupid
Adam4Adam
Grindr
Scruff
GayFriendFinder
Chappy
Tinder
Growlr

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.

According to a study conducted by HuffPost on the online dating behavior of 4,000 gay men, over 49 percent of users are between the ages of 25-39. Basically, if you’re a millennial, this is one of the best options for connecting with another gay man in a completely casual way. Of all the men surveyed, 79 percent stated that after using an app, they found a lasting and fulfilling relationship (whether is was a friendship, romance or friends with benefits), while 21 percent said they did not find love, only lust. You can take away that from purely a numbers perspective, men seeking men (or women seeking women!) would benefit from having an online profile.

RELATED: What to Do When Your Friend Comes Out to You – A Gay Man's Perspective

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.

The Best Dating Apps for Men in the LGBTQ+ Community

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.

Price: Free (A-List packages range from $32.99 to $119.99)

Pros & Cons of OkCupid

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

Check out OkCupid

Read our full OkCupid review

Adam4Adam

Adam4Adam screenshot

 

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.

Price: Free (VIP Memberships range from $5.49 to $104.99)

Pros & Cons of Adam4Adam

Pros:

Full range of services for free

Easy to navigate

Offers users vast filtering options

Cons:

High volume of fake profiles

Interface

Security concerns

Check out Adam4Adam

Read our full Adam4Adam review

Grindr

Grindr screenshot

 

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.

Price: Free (Xtra memberships range from $22.99 to $92.99)

Pros & Cons of Grindr

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

Check out Grindr

Read our full Grindr review

Scruff

Scruff screenshot

 

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.

Price: Free (Scruff PRO memberships range from $11.99 to $99.99)

Pros & Cons of Scruff

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

Check out Scruff

GayFriendFinder

GayFriendFinder screenshot

 

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 & Cons of GayFriendFinder

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

Check out GayFriendFinder

Read our full GayFriendFinder review

Chappy

Chappy screenshot

Owned and operated by Bumble, Chappy proudly bills itself as “the space for gay connections.” The social connection app is on a mission to end stereotypes concerning gay men and dating, doing so through four unique connection opportunities: “All Dating”  (open to any type of connection), “Casual” (sex or FWB, basically), “Commitment” (looking for a relationship) and “Friends” (no pressure). Other than these connection filters, the app operates just as Bumble does, using the familiar swiping method to make matches. It’s nice to see a company that's finally catering to the gay community and not as an afterthought by offering a safe, judgement-free space. 

Price: Free

Pros & Cons of Chappy

Pros:

A Bumble-like app full of gay users

Easy to indicate what (and who) you’re looking for

More people seeking relationships

Cons:

Prompts can come across as excessive

No direct matching algorithm

Still new, not many users

Check out Chappy

Tinder

Tinder screenshot

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. 

Price: Free (Tinder Plus purchases range from $1.39 to $27.99)

Pros & Cons of Tinder

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

Check out Tinder

Read our full Tinder review

Growlr

Growlr screenshot

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. 

Price: Free (Growlr PRO Memberships range from $5.49 to $13.99)

Pros & Cons of Growlr

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

Check out Growlr

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