Hidden Gems of Online Dating Apps
I’m a creature of comfort. I find something I like in a dating app and I stick with it. New and shiny isn’t always better. However, I climbed out from under my Tinder rock to offer you an inside look at some of the newer dating apps because sometimes, newer can be better. Here’s my breakdown of each experience. Take the quiz and read on so you can choose which is right for you.
A little context about my dating apps
I have been on the free version of Tinder, on and off, for close to a decade. I used it to look for just about everything and have been successful in finding dates (some eh, some wonderful), hookups, and one absolutely incredible friendship. Fun fact, I even found my husband on it once but Tinder didn’t connect us until after we got married (go figure!).
As a queer woman, I’ve also tried using HER a couple of times. I found it frustrating that you couldn’t write a bio, in addition to the regular requests to pay. Therefore, I chose to look at dating apps that allow you to participate in a real way using the free version and with at least a little space for a bio.
Feeld – My favorite for consensual/ethical non-monogamy
If you engage in CNM/ENM, whether you’re into swinging, opening your relationship, or are polyamorous, this is one of the dating apps to try. Feeld describes itself as a dating app for the curious. You have more than 20 sexualities and gender identities to choose from and can date together with your partner. I find it straight, gender expansive, and queer friendly.
One of my FAVORITE features is that in addition to swiping yes/no, you can choose not to make a decision and simply hold off on a profile as you continue to move through your list. Sometimes I don’t know how I feel in the moment and this takes away the pressure of knowing right away. You have multiple privacy options, including an option where only matches can see pictures. You also have the option of keeping your profile hidden so that it is only visible to those who you show interest in. If you are searching as part of a couple, you have your own profile, but you can have it connected with your partner. This way, people can click on both people to learn more about each individual.
This app is very glitchy. I would get frustrated and type responses in notes and then copy and paste them into the app after restarting it.
While I know it exists on other apps, I’ve never experienced people unmatching with me before. I felt like it happened regularly here and unless you memorize all the names, you really have no idea who unmatched since you can’t view their profile. This felt a bit jarring.
#Open – Best app for clarity & consent
This app takes consent beyond the yes/no level and I love it! This app connects ethically non-monogamous people and their partners. There’s a spot for hard limits, as well as preferences of who you would like to see/be seen by. Additionally, pronouns, relationship status, and relationship type (monogamous, polyamorous, etc.) are clearly listed and labeled at the bottom of each profile (if people have filled those parts out).
It centers consent! The app requires that new users accept their community values before beginning and you can always look them up within the app if you forget them. Also, you can have multiple profiles, one as an individual and one with a partner. You can specify both what you are looking for and what you are open to (I like to think of these as your hell yeses and your maybe/possible yeses). The icing on the cake is that everything is clear and generally well-labeled.
It kept making me sign in via a code sent to my phone. This may just be a glitch, but it was annoying. Another confusing factor is the amount of buttons. It might take some time to get used to the app.
Lex – Great for queer community building & chatting
For those who like to build an online community and connect over topic boards, this is one of the dating apps that might be a great fit. Connect with others through posts and find out what’s happening in the queer community.
Meet your potential soulmate in the “Missed Connections” section where you describe a situation in which you saw someone but didn’t seal the deal. These are super sweet and most sound like the beginning of a romance film. Community Rooms/Group Chats are great for creating group connections based upon interests.
I am combining these because, even more so than other apps, it all depends upon personality preferences. Gender, sexual orientation, and relationship status are taken out of the picture. The only question asked is pronouns. If you’d like to add anything else, it goes in your 150-character bio.
Plus, there’s no scrolling profiles (at least from what I can tell). You are making an intentional decision to message someone or comment on their post. For some, this can calm the overwhelming feeling that comes with mindlessly matching. For others, this could create a blockage.
Lex admin announcements pop up as you vertically scroll the message board. Also, you only get one picture. As a lover of pictures, I prefer to have the option to add more.
Pure App – For the funky artist vibe
The app opens with art flying toward you – giving it a funky artist vibe. After entering some basic information, you create an advertisement for what you are seeking, add photos, and then turn-ons from pre-selected categories.
For those who don’t want to add photos, you can use the funky art pieces as an avatar. Another fun addition is one button is dedicated to “Devil’s Bones Game,” which begins with sending an audio message to a random person in the hopes of creating a connection. However, I wasn’t feeling adventurous enough to play. There is no swiping per se. You scroll down and if you like someone, you mark that you like them. You can add sexy photos to your gallery to share with people once you’ve matched (a plus for privacy).
I don’t love the way ads/profiles are presented. It’s a vertical scroll-based design, so each horizontal line is an ad/profile and you can swipe through the parts of an ad or scroll up and down to see different accounts. When someone likes you and sends a message, you can like back or give a thumbs down. But I would like the additional option to reject with a message. Right now, you can’t change gender.
Dating apps profiles
While I am still a fan of Tinder, I am glad I gave some of these dating apps a shot! I will definitely continue visiting, especially Feeld and Hashtagopen, which feel like a safe space to be as a polyamorous queer! Which will you try?