The Queerty Guide To Hooking Up Online

Screen-Shot-2014-05-24-at-2.18.17-PM-360x240How 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 & 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?

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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.

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Web Cams: Chat Random, CamToGays

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.

okcupid gay

OK Cupid

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.

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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.


Secret + Whisper

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:

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Or this:

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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.

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  • buffnightwing

    I really wish people would include their body and FACE picture together. I have to see someones eyes and face to know what I’m getting. Very tired of all the chest shots with no head or body.

    I can’t wait for the next generation of apps. Woo Hoo!

  • swellster

    Maybe I am an old school dinosaur but I miss the chat rooms. Not that I am looking. I met my now husband of 12 years on AOL. We chatted for days and then went on a few dates and finally decided to be together. We were finally able to get married in San Francisco this past December. I can’t imagine being single in this day and age. THe bars are dead, chat rooms are dead, and the only thing you are left with are direct hook ups. It seems sad to me.

  • BlackBanshee

    Hmmm. Whatever happened to Jack’d? Growlr? Planet Romeo? BGClive? Hornet? Last three mentioned are huge in Europe and the rest.

  • BlackBanshee

    Hmmm. Whatever happened to Jack’d? Growlr? Planet Romeo? BGClive? Hornet? Last three mentioned are huge in Europe and the rest.

  • friscoguy

    People are not hooking up on line (for the most part)anyone who has spent any time on those sites knows that. They are fun though to kill time, get adored with no commitment and look at “hot” guys.

  • morvi

    Brilliant article – does show the author know what is talking about – I have seen many with no clue.

    This article, as most reviews fail to consider outside US (Planet Romeo, Gaydar. …)

    Maybe a separate review of WWW and App is due.

  • vive

    @friscoguy: “People are not hooking up on line (for the most part)anyone who has spent any time on those sites knows that.”

    You are mostly correct, though it may depend on the location. Where I live many people are permanently online but don’t hook up much – why would they if it’s just the same 50 faces always, most of whom look like they escaped from an institution? I have met people this way but you need to spend so much time endlessly chatting on it that I mostly just give up and either go watch some porn or go to the bathhouse when I am really horny. Maybe things are different in cities where there are large concentrations of gay guys.

  • jezuzchrist

    Why no mention of the rapid rise in HIV diagnosis among the young gay men using these apps, according to the CDC. Instead of helping the community, it seems you just want to help the spread this virus. I think gay men should stay off of these sites and learn to meet guys for dates. Wait til the CDC releases the HIV rates for 2012 and 2013.

  • buffnightwing

    LOTS of people hook up online. LOL

  • vive

    @buffnightwing, maybe in your location, yes, but despite having met the person I am currently dating on Scruff, I have to agree with friscoguy that online is a pain inn the ass for hooking up compared to, say, a bathhouse. In a bathhouse ai can usually find a hot guy (or more than one) in a half hour. Online you can spend all day corresponding with 20 different guys and still end up with nothing, because well, they are also each chatting with 20 other guys simultaneously, and most are just on there for an ego boost, whereas in a bathhouse guys are there because they are available.

  • vive

    Having said that, I think they are actually not too bad for dating IME. IT’s just that because of the time investment needed and patience required they suck for “hooking up” compared to quicker alternatives.

  • Dxley

    Two things you’re most likely to get from a guy you meet on any of these apps: a DRINK and an STD. A real monogamous relationship? Well, would you look for a polar bear in an African desert?

  • jezuzchrist

    @Dxley: Exactly. Should be renamed to “The Queerty Guide To Catching An STD”

  • vive

    @Dxley, since pretty much everyone is online nowadays, you are probably as likely (or not, depending on precautions) to get those things from people you meet offline. (Does anybody still meet people offline though, except for the rare exception?)

  • Black Pegasus

    This was actually quite interesting to read, however it seems all of these mediums share one commonality that was frequently mentioned in the article: Use CAUTION.

    Aside from the slight differences in apps and websites, most of the “hook up” and “dating” rituals will be found in all of them.
    They key to getting a hot fawk online is developing your own niche and sticking with it.

  • vive

    @Black Pegasus, could you expand on the niche comment please? (Not that I need the advice right now, but who knows, I may again in future.)

  • Black Pegasus

    @vive: perhaps I should have said “method” instead of niche.

    To expand, I mean using techniques that might have worked for you in the past – no matter which medium you’re using to secure the hookup. My friend lands hot guys all the time and he has a zero pic policy. He tells them he’s ultra discreet, business professional, blah blah and he will never send a pic. somehow they find value in that shyt lol. He says it works best with military and married dudes. They seem to believe if you don’t have a pic floating around you’re somehow less of a whore thus making you more desirable lol..
    But in general, I would refine my approach and stick to it. Most of the guys on these sites/apps are flakes, the key is sorting thru the BS to find that guy who you can share a meeting of the mind (or body) with :-)

  • buffnightwing

    When you were 20 did you worry about STD’s? NO. Most guys haven’t even had a decent sex ed class in school. Where oh where are they supposed to find this info? On grinder? LOLOLOLOL

    When you are 20 your dick rules everything. I got a few STD’s here and there, but it did not stop me. Geez, I had to jerk off like 5 times a day when I was younger. It’s like a fucking curse almost.

  • vive

    @buffnightwing, I knew quite a lot about STDs at 20 actually, but I read a lot. That was when HiV was still a death sentence and very very scary. Didn’t even have sex until I was 23.

  • Midtownny1

    I remember the telephone chat lines and it wasn’t even that long ago. Goes to show you how technology changes so quickly. At work staff wonder what people did without cell phones and I say that we used Morris code.

  • MarcoMania

    What about the vampire? The guys whose age has not changed for 15+ years. I’m became older than some of these type of guys. LOL!

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