How we access the interwebs in order to find potential bed warmers has evolved since the birth of consumer internet, and it can be quite confusing trying to navigate the sea of ads, profiles, apps and awkward selfies.
Here’s a rundown of the biggest services out there. A general rule of thumb is always exercise caution — terrible things have and do happen. But since we know the horror stories aren’t going to quell guys’ lust for satisfaction, here’s a roadmap to help guide you through the experience.
The original survivors:
These services have been around and prevailed into the modern digital age where many of their cohorts did not (remember AOL & Gay.com chat rooms? neither do we).
Who you’ll find: There’s a little bit of everything, but generally one trait cuts through the diversity — everyone’s trying to get laid. The graphic porn advertisements (who else would want their brand plastered to the site?) really set the tone. Bears, twinks, daddies, escorts (there’s a special profile for sex workers), you name it. Everybody’s looking for somebody, but not necessarily to love.
Likelihood it will get you laid: very high
What to keep in mind: It almost goes without saying, but there are some salty characters haunting A4A. Be skeptical and always second guess. Especially when you’ve just returned home from the bars and it’s 3 a.m. That’s not to say hot connections can’t be made, but use your judgement, queen. In large cities there is enough critical mass that you’ll probably find some appealing prospects. Also the mobile version will frustrate you.
Who you’ll find: Generally an older (30/40/50+) crowd who worships muscle — their own and other people’s. Bigger is most definitely better with this set. They also tend to cut to the chase and aren’t so interested in chit chat. They’d rather hear about your jockstrap fetish than your love of French cuisine.
Likelihood it will get you laid: very high
What to keep in mind: There are still lots of guys on the site, but it definitely has an early 2000s feel to it. The user interface is clumsy and the withheld premium features are annoying — ain’t nobody want to pay for that. But if beefy dudes are your thing, by all means dive right in. These guys recently bought the mobile app Jack’d, so perhaps some forward-thinking improvements are on the way?
Who you’ll find: Human sexuality is a mysterious, eye-opening and at times frightening thing. And you will find examples of all of it on Craigslist. There’s the guys casting out fetishes that they’d be too embarrassed to disclose even on an Adam4Adam profile hoping someone takes the bait, the married and/or closeted guys wanting taboo action, and lots and lots of tweakers.
Likelihood it will get you laid: moderate
What to keep in mind: A few things about Craig and his list: there’s really only one reason people continue to use this technologically ancient form of online hookup, and that is the fact that it’s the definitive virtual sexual cesspool. Exercise extreme caution if you ever manage to make it past the flakey e-mail exchange phase. Hooking up with strangers is always going to drastically increase your chances of contracting an STI, but with the Craigslist crowd it’s an almost guaranteed event. It’s your body, your choices. Make good ones.
Online hookups 2.0:
The next wave of hook-up facilitators took advantage of improved technology in ways we never would have imagined, changing the lexicon of the gay community and altering the ways in which we socialize. Some even blame them for weakening our bar culture.
Who you’ll find: See: The Seven Most Annoying Grindr Guys And Two Who Might Change Your Life
Likelihood it’ll get you laid: moderate/low
What to keep in mind: One major flaw is if you tend to open Grindr at home, you’ll see the same sorry bunch every time you log in, especially if you don’t live in a dense urban environment. It’s also rather annoying that push notifications are not included in the free version, so unless you want to fork over $5 a month, the only way to see if you have a message is to launch into the app.
Who you’ll find: All the guys who think Grindr is full of annoying twinks migrated to Scruff, where body hair is celebrated and flakiness is frowned upon. Age range is varied, but beard ownership is not. There’s also a set of guys who use it as a way of forming actual human connections, so don’t be surprised if you make a friend or two on your quest to get laid. That’s a good thing.
Likelihood it’ll get you laid: moderate/high
What to keep in mind: Where Grindr falls short in the feature department, Scruff picks up the slack. Don’t want to limit your search to distance proximity? You can search anywhere, including other cities. This comes in handy if you have travel plans and want to grease the wheels ahead of your arrival. Push notifications are also much appreciated.
Who you’ll find: A worldwide cross-section of male hormonal urge. Lots of neck-down shots, and lots of waist-down shots.
Likelihood it’ll get you laid: either zero or guaranteed (depending on how you look at it)
What to keep in mind: Everybody’s got a webcam now, so why not employ the same device you Skype Grandma with to get down with a total stranger on the other side of the planet? Depending on how much you value your online anonymity, these sites can be an exciting way to let off some steam with a zero percent chance of STIs. Just be prepared to hit “next” a lot.
Who you’ll find: Guys in your area who are interested in going on at least one actual “date” before jumping into bed.
Likelihood it’ll get you laid: low
What to keep in mind: OK Cupid distinguishes itself in that it’s a dating site, not a hookup site. While it’s quite popular, the very notion of dating — that is, carving out plans with a total stranger with the intent of “getting to know one another” in the hopes of future dates and/or eventual sex — can be an annoying challenge in our hectic lives. The logistics alone make Scruff and Grindr start to look more appealing. But if you’re at that point in your life where friendship and connection are priority numero uno, then start building up that profile.
The new kids on the block:
Grindr and Scruff were game changers, no denying that. Here are some apps that build on the proximity concept and continue to mold the ways our increasingly tech-savvy community connect.
Who you’ll find: Guys in your area looking for everything from a date to a quick fling. Skews to a younger, more gadget-oriented crowd.
Likelihood it’ll get you laid: moderate
What to keep in mind: On the sexual overtness scale, Tinder falls somewhere between Grindr and OK Cupid. The clever interface allows you to (sometimes compulsively) swipe people’s profiles into two categories: like and nope. Only after two people have “liked” each other can you start to message one another. One nice thing (or maybe not for you) is that it removes the anonymity factor of the “headless torso” type profile. Everybody’s faces are on full display, giving the app a much less creepy vibe than some of its cousins.
Who you’ll find: Who knows?! Both apps operate under similar principles — anonymous users post messages, and more anonymous users comment on those messages. Simple as that. Neither one is a “hookup app” per se, but where there’s a will there’s a way.
Likelihood it’ll get you laid: TBD
What to keep in mind: These apps are finding an unlikely niche in hookup culture. Let’s look at Secret to see how:
Secret taps into your personal network and connects you with your friends, acquaintances and neighbors. Nobody knows who anybody is, though, so people are free to express what might embarrass them in real life. And low and behold, a lot of the content is sexual. But with the help of anonymous messaging services like Anonyfish and Wickr, users connect through their hidden identities and meet up in person.
So, for example, someone might post this:
Then in the comments, interested parties provide their (also anonymous) handles on Wickr or Anonyfish and the chats get one step closer to becoming a reality.
While we can’t even begin to fathom what the future of online hookups will look like, it seems pretty clear that it’s only going to get weirder and weirder.