If you’ve gotten frisky in the twenty-first century, you’ve used an app to get it on at least once. And as we nosedive into the ‘20s, there’s almost no avoiding it. New options crop up every day, and dating apps are less taboo than ever. In fact, it’s par for the course, and people get married thanks to the wonderful (awful) world of online dating all the time. And love it or hate it, Tinder horror stories are practically a rite of passage in the dating world.
It goes without saying that not all dating apps are up to par. Having spent the past few months reviewing them professionally, I’ve scoured dozens of apps and sites, gathering the data on which ones are a waste of space, and which ones let you actually meet cuties online.
I’ll level with you. The gross majority of sites I’ve reviewed seem hellbent on stressing us out, stealing our money with signup fees, or otherwise blocking us from the connections we’re so keen to make. All too often, a hookup app is either a cesspool for creeps pestering us for yet another nude, or a dating pool swimming with catfish eager to bait us with pictures from over five years ago (or of a different human entirely). But all hope isn’t lost – there are three apps worth the time of day that aren’t Tinder or Bumble.
The odds are in your favor for one of these apps to hook you up with a honey this week.
Hud has one mission: to connect available folks for some no-strings fun. Short for “Hook Up Dating,” Hud wants to be the go-to app for those of us who have no desire to put a ring on it. Here, you don’t have to wade through hopefuls hearing wedding bells just to get a little hanky panky.
This couple-friendly hook-up app skips the often-exhausting endless swiping of Tinder, OKCupid, and Bumble. Instead, you can scroll through users without committing to liking or disliking anyone right off the bat. Just be mindful: unlimited matches aren’t free, so the Tinder-approach of liking everyone blindly doesn’t cut it here.
Like most hookup sites, the more you fill out on your profile, the better Hud will work for you. With a handy list of date ideas to select from, you’ll know straight away what kind of things to do with your potential squeeze before going home together – essential for establishing some early sparks.
Hud isn’t here to make sure your dates are loaded with romance and adventure; they want to get you laid, plain and simple. That’s why they air out all the dirty deets with a titillating feature most other dating sites don’t offer: a section called “My Bedroom.”
This fiery part of your profile gives you a chance to give a thumbs up or down to twenty-four popular kinks and bedroom favorites. They run the range of tamer content like hair pulling or dirty talk, but also feature gasp-worthy pleasures like wax, whipping, water sports, group fun, and foot worship.
I love this part of Hud. If you’re into latex and choking and that fantasy cutie you’re eyeing is as vanilla as a cupcake, you don’t have to worry about either of you ending the night disappointed. This feature is essential for those of us looking to get right down to business – no matter what we’re into.
My favorite thing about Hud hands down is that they agree with me when I say that casual sex is a no-go if it isn’t safe. That’s why they partnered with the aptly-named SAFE, a site that helps you stay on top of your regular STD and STI screenings. Together, SAFE and Hud have created a nifty SAFE badge for your profile that lets others know you’ve been tested in the past few months.
By upping access to these low-cost screenings, Hud saves all of us sex-positive honeys from stress and uncertainty, and having the safe-sex conversation built into the page makes it easier to crack open the topic. Scared of talking about safe sex and STDs? It gets easier the more often you have the talk. If you’re nervous about totally ruining the mood, read up on how to have that conversation. Each time you do it, you’ll feel less awkward, and if you can’t have the conversation, maybe you should step back from having sex until you’re ready.
You already know that Hud only offers a limited amount of likes for free – and that’s where premium kicks in. On top of unlimited matches, you enjoy a handful of additional perks:
I don’t have to tell you that bonuses on dating apps don’t come cheap. Because Hud is a lesser-known app, their prices are higher than some of their competitors:
With prices like those, try out the free version for awhile first – you’ll still get plenty of functionality. If you’re sold, go for premium. Just keep an eye out for those pesky automatic renewals of your premium membership.
Any app that sounds this great has to have an asterisk, right? Unfortunately for many of us, Hud has a big one. There are only two “genders” to choose from, when what they mean is sex. While they then offer a list of thirteen gender identifiers including genderqueer, FTM, nonbinary, and two spirit (you can choose two), I feel like this app sorely needs a queer person on their board to help them iron these details out. It’s clear that Hud is trying, but they’ve really missed the mark here.
This oversight is a major blow to an app that is made for millennials and (18+) Gen Zers. We’re increasingly identifying as neither cisgender nor straight, and an app that hopes to compete in this modern playing field has some serious catching up to do.
Especially when you realize that’s not the only way they’re disconnected to our changing relationships with sexuality and gender: on Hud, you can only be attracted to one of four options at a time: couples, men, women, or “everybody.” Although switching is easy, it’s an unnecessary hurdle for those of us who have a diverse palate sexually.
Overall, Hud has the foundations for a great app to help you enjoy safe(r) sex. As they expand, Hud has to improve their functions for the queer community if they hope to get us all on board. For now, I’ll stick to badgering them and writing articles on what they can do better.
When I first dipped my toes into the world of threesomes and polyamory, Feeld had my back. This app is made for those of us looking to unleash our desires – especially the ones we’ve been told to keep under wraps like kinks and our sexual orientation.
A top-notch app for locals looking to get it on in the real world, Feeld is a confidential spot to find experimental and dynamic folks eager to hook up. And it works. What makes it so successful? Unlike Hud, Feeld is radically inclusive. According to their site, they “believe nothing is more unpredictable or less binary than human desire.” If there’s a sexier way to describe an app’s approach to sexuality, let me know.
With an emphasis on kinkiness, polyamory, orgies, and threesomes, you’ll be able to find the kind of hookup you’ve only fantasized about – no matter what. If you’re worried you’re too vanilla, too over the hill, or too queer for a standard hookup app, Feeld will make you feel right at home.
Think of Feeld as a sexier, less crowded Tinder. After you announce your gender and sexual orientation, you have unlimited checkboxes to tick on which kinds of folks you’d like to see as you browse. With this almost limitless customization, you can get naughty in whatever configuration you’ve always wanted, from getting your first orgy invite to finding the perfect dom for your Friday night.
From there, the app is your classic Tinder-inspired deal: swipe to match, then think of a clever opening line for that ever-important first message. If you’re worried about your boss catching you on here, try the Incognito Feature, which renders you invisible to anyone you haven’t liked. Ball’s in your court, baby.
I’m a sucker for a bargain, and Feeld is a real find; it works wonders free of charge. That being said, Majestic Membership is worth the plunge (take my word for it). In addition to giving you access to that Incognito Feature, Majestic Membership gives you...
Although it’s much cheaper than Hud, Feeld does cost a pretty penny. After the week-long free trial, expect to pay $15.99 per month. If you know you’ll like it, save money by spending $31.99 on a three-month subscription, getting a whole month free.
My advice? Try the month-long membership, get oriented with everything the site has to offer, and meet those first few dreamboats by scoping out who’s liked you. Once you’re confident in your Feeld game, play for free.
Just like Hud, Feeld isn’t a flawless site. Similar to most casual dating apps that aren’t Tinder, it’s easy to find someone...if you live in a major metropolitan area. Towns and rural spots don’t have many people to choose from, so keep your expectations low if you live in a sleepy neck of the woods.
That’s not all. As much as I love this app, it is Glitch City. Don’t be surprised when users you’ve rejected pop back up in your feed. Other times, you may just fail to get a notification. Worst of all, I’ve been signed out before and had to recreate my entire profile. Thankfully, Feeld releases updates all the time to work out those kinks you don’t want to see in a hookup app.
Despite these hiccups, this app is a dream come true. Make your profile and get ready to have fun – just look out for those unicorn emojis.
This app offers something fresh, something new, something you haven’t seen before – well, almost. By returning to basics, Lex is a personals app that fills the space that want ads left behind – with a twist.
This highly promising new app is for the rest of us: “lesbian, bisexual, asexual, & queer...womxn & trans, genderqueer, intersex, two spirit, & nonbinary” folks looking for lovers, friends, and those special places in between.
This sweet and unique app got its start as an Instagram formerly known as @_personals_ (now just called @lex.app). This personals Instagram posted queer want ads for $5 a pop. The idea got so much traction that even when the page offered a 48-hour window once a month to submit posts, they’d receive 500 in that time. With over 64,000 Instagram followers, the app is now blissfully free for us to enjoy, thanks to a Kickstarter in 2018 that turned this old-school idea into the hottest new dating app around.
Pictures take the backseat here, so don’t worry about scrolling through your finest selfies yet. Instead, at signup, get ready to hand over your phone number or Instagram; using social media to get connected always makes me wary, but to try this app out and get some hands-on experience, I did it anyway.
The rules on Lex are simple: no transphobia, racism, ableism, fatphobia, or hate speech of any kind. Here, connecting to get sexy (or just play Dungeons & Dragons) reigns supreme – no matter who you are and what you look like. In this sexy space, radical inclusivity wins.
To make your profile, share your first name and your pronouns; you have four options and can choose as many as you want. After a few more verification steps, you’re in. No profile to worry about, no selfie angles to perfect – just your name, your pronouns, and whatever ads you feel brave enough to post and answer.
All in all, this site looks more like the OG Craigslist Personals that peppered the corners of our minds until recently. Only this time, they’re even better. Queer focused and picture-free, the app’s simple concept is here to help you have fun without the stress of commitment or nailing that perfect bio.
An ad is brief; just a handful of sentences is enough to get you up and running. Post an ISO ad where you share your ultimate desires. The lack of a picture helps you feel anonymous, and users are free to act boldly. Wants are as varied as wildflowers here and it’s not uncommon to scroll and see one person looking for someone to play video games with, and the next looking for a high-femme dom to step on them in neon pleasers.
Posting a fresh ad isn’t your only option, either. If you met a queer cutie at the coffee shop, a park, or out dancing, and didn’t catch their digits, you can always cross your fingers that they have Lex too and post a Missed Connection. These special kinds of posts are all in bright blue, making them a snap to spot.
Unless they’re flagged, all posts are totally free and stay up for thirty days. Other users can either like what you’ve written (don’t worry, you can access a list of likes) or be bold and send a message in response to your ad.
There are no pictures on the ads, although your username does link back to your Instagram. Regardless, as Vogue mentioned in their article about the app, Lex wants you to read, not swipe. I gotta say, in such a fast-paced world, enjoying some simplicity (even if you’re looking to just get laid this weekend) is a refreshing reprieve from our selfie-focused world.
Once you sign up, you get to scroll endlessly through the posts to find the perfect cuties waiting for people to respond to their personals. There are no pictures, no swiping, and no matches. It’s all about that want ad of yours, so write your own or dive in and reply to a personal that piques your interest – just like back in the day in the papers, and later on Craigslist. Keeping in step with that simple vibe, there are only three ways to filter your searches:
Often, you can find people posting who are in town for a brief stretch, looking for some other queer honeys to canoodle with to make their business trip or visit home more bearable.
Of course, if Hud and Feeld had problems, a new app like Lex would too, right?
Since it only debuted in November 2019, the concentration of cuties is imbalanced. Most of these posts come from New York City – for now. But Lex is gaining traction. People are posting new ads daily, and with high profile names like Vogue doing write-ups on it, it’s not long til this app finds its way to the mainstream in every thirsty queer babe’s life.
And despite what they say, it’s not image free. While I don’t think this is necessarily a con, it does make the illusion of anonymity flimsy when someone can just pop over to your Instagram and see your latest latte post. I don’t know about you, but I may be more shy voicing my kinkiest and most far-flung urges if someone could match a face to it with just a click.
For some, the idea that it’s not exclusively a dating app is a little confusing as well. But what makes it work is that so far, users have been very direct about what they’re into. There’s no shame, either, so if someone’s looking for a platonic board game pal, you can keep scrolling until you find someone who’s after exactly what you’re dishing out.
Finally, while this last point is a bonus for some of us, it’s important to be totally clear: this app is not for cisgender dudes. It’s a queer, trans*, and womxn-focused haven. If you’re a cis dude looking to expand your horizons, Feeld is the place for you. For the rest of us, Lex is a thrilling new playground where we can live freely and enjoy each other’s bodies and bounties all night long.
If Feeld, Hud, and Lex just aren’t your jam, there’s always old faithful. For better or worse, Tinder is in almost everyone’s back pocket as a source for casual hookups on the go. But first, try your luck with these three apps; you may just get lucky tonight. To make sure you’re feeling your sexiest, try your hand at selling some used panties and use those proceeds for some top-notch new ones. That way, you can really wow the new cutie on Lex who wants to share nudes, the hookup you met on Hud who’s all about your foot fetish, or the couple on Feeld who hosts some legendary orgies. All three apps deliver your ultimate fantasies, and no matter who you are, you’ll find your sexy home on one of them. So you do you, get that hookup, and land a night you won’t forget. Just make sure your opening message sizzles.