Kesiena Boom, M.S., is a sociologist and writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Manchester and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from Lund University.
Image by mbg creative x Lumina / Stocksy
October 14, 2022
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Dating apps can be rough on anyone. There’s only so many times you can text politely with someone you’re not feeling the spark with about having two brothers, growing up in Milwaukee, or cats versus dogs.
Some men feel that online dating is especially challenging for them, though, largely because they struggle to get as many interactions as they’d like. According to couples’ therapist Kyle Zrenchik, Ph.D., LMFT, ACS, straight men “typically have to work significantly harder to find their match, where women have to often weed through the suitors to find their match.”
Despite those challenges, dating apps can absolutely work for men with some patience and the right approach. According to James Harris, LPC, a therapist who specializes in men’s mental health, ultimately success on the apps often goes hand in hand with a hint of vulnerability and a little less flexing.
For men, seeking out meaningful relationships is also a worthwhile investment: “Having a loving partner is incredibly important for men, as it can make them less prone to depression, anxiety, and/or feelings of loneliness,” says therapist Sara Tick, LMFT. Research shows that relationships can be an important part of a person’s overall well-being, for men just as much as women.
To help make the process easier, we’ve rounded up the best dating apps for men to have the most success meeting interesting people and making connections.
How we picked:
A dating app is only as good as its members, so every option listed here has a decent number of active users to choose from.
Different men want different things out of dating apps, so we rounded up a variety of options that cater to various needs (from casual hookups to long-term relationships) as well as various identities, age groups, and more.
We reached out to dozens of experts to get the low-down on the best apps for men.
We combed through reviews from real men to figure out which apps were truly worth it.
mbg’s picks for best dating apps for men:
- Detailed matching system
- Compatibility scores for all your matches
- Strong history of creating successful relationships
- Can only list “man” or “woman” for your own gender & who you’re looking for
“eharmony is a top dating site for most folks, including men. It has a proven history of success, and they consistently improve their site and are well known for helping couples reach long-term relationships,” explains Zrenchik. “eharmony also claims to be responsible for 4% of marriages in the U.S.”
eharmony works well for men because their gender split is roughly 50/50, which means women aren’t overwhelmed by men sending them messages and are therefore more likely to respond. The site uses an in-depth questionnaire to match its users together, which helps take the guesswork out of dating.
You’ll have to pay to access eharmony, with prices ranging from $12/month to $60/month depending on your location and the plan you choose (six months, a year, or two years). However, the price ensures that everyone on the site is dedicated to looking for a real, long-term relationship. (Here’s our full eHarmony review if you’re curious.)
- Free version works well
- Questions give you good insight into people’s values
- Option to neither see or be seen by straight people
- Time-consuming to answer enough questions to generate a reliable compatibility score
OkCupid is a great place to find relationships for men who don’t fit into the hetero norm as well as any man who wants to connect with a more open-minded pool of matches. It has more men than women, notes certified sex therapist Aliyah Moore, Ph.D., and its member base skews toward queer much more than the more “mainstream” apps like Tinder. The site allows you to choose from a long list of genders and is generally a place that is affirming of alternative sexualities and identities, such as polyamory.
Whatever your identity is, OkCupid is based on answering tons of fun and thought-provoking questions that are then used to generate a compatibility score with other users. This helps to foster long-lasting bonds, as you can tell from the jump if someone’s values align with yours.
- Specifically targeted at older users
- A favorable gender ratio for men seeking women
- You don’t actually have to be 50+ to sign up
- Must pay to access the features that make it usable
Silver Singles is one of the few dating apps targeted at singles over 50, and therefore it’s great for older men who are looking for a similarly aged partner to enjoy their golden years with. It’s a particularly good option for men seeking women, as women begin to outnumber men as we age, so statistics are on your side. The site is easy to navigate and low on jargon and gimmicks. One review notes that matches are sent to you daily, so you don’t even have to browse!
All the features that you need to actually connect with someone need to be paid for, but you can sign up for free first to have a look around and decide if you want to continue to a subscription. You pay a lump sum of $25 for 12 months, $35 for six months, or $45 for three months.
- Easy to use
- Millions of active users
- Harder to stand out from the crowd due to the app’s popularity
Tinder is practically synonymous with online dating at this point, and there’s a reason for that. It works. The easy “swipe” action makes it ridiculously simple to find what you’re looking for, and most users are in the 20 to 35 age category. On Tinder, you can be verbose or straight to the point, find a wife or just a partner in crime for the next few weeks. Whatever you’re looking for, if you’re relatively young, you can probably find it on Tinder.
As a man, you will probably be expected to send the first message on Tinder, so brush up on something beyond “hey” and get swiping!
The free version of Tinder gives you access to everything you need to make matches and communicate, but you can pay to upgrade to their more premium features for between $10 and $40/month.
- Refreshingly sex-positive without being sleazy
- Option to link your profile with partners’ profiles
- A little bit buggy
- Not as many users as some of the bigger apps
“Men that prefer casual sex can identify as such on their profile so they don’t have to feel shamed for wanting something no-strings-attached,” says relationship coach Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, Ph.D. “My clients have found success on Feeld because they’ve found others who are sexually open and explorative.”
Feeld is free to download, and you can message people who you’ve matched with without subscribing. For a three-month subscription (approximately $30), you can get enhanced features such as being able to see who’s liked you or go incognito.
- Upfront & straight to the point
- Millions of active users
- Not for the faint of heart
Grindr is the OG gay and bi men’s hookup app. The concept is driven by geographical data, i.e., the app shows you everyone who is online and near you at any given moment—the idea being that you can easily arrange a no-fuss hookup in minutes. Of course, people also meet their future husbands and best friends on Grindr, but ultimately the app promises dick pics galore and the opportunity to conjure up sex like ordering Postmates. On Grindr, there is no need to be coy. State your preferences up front, select the “tribe” you belong to if you so desire (otter, bear, twink, etc.), and get to it.
You can sign up for Grindr Xtra or Grindr Unlimited to unlock a host of features, but honestly, you don’t really need to. Grindr boasts a 4.6/5 rating on the App Store, and one reviewer notes simply that “it gets the job done.”
- Attractive interface
- Owned by a reputable and experienced dating company, Match
- Not that many users yet
Stir is a newer dating app, specifically targeted at single parents. Dating as a single dad can be tough, and Stir allows you to feel safe in the knowledge that everyone else on the app is comfortable with the fact that you have kids and, in fact, sees it as a bonus! Stir, therefore, gives you the opportunity to relax and focus on putting your best foot forward rather than worrying about how to reveal that you have children. The app is free to download, and a subscription will cost you $90 for 3 months.
- Attractive interface
- Free version works great
- Don’t need to send the first message
- Can lose matches if the 24-hour timer runs out
- Not suited to men who like proactively messaging your matches
Bumble sets itself apart from other apps because it requires women who have matched with men to send the first message. This gives men who aren’t prone to taking the lead a safe, chill space to let women initiate.
“It takes some of the cultural pressure off of being the ‘man who needs to pursue the woman.’ This is 2022, and a woman can do the initiating as easily as a man can,” says Zrenchik. “It also will only match you with someone who you know is interested in return, which can take some of the initial risk of rejection out of play.”
Another Bumble feature is that matches are deleted if the first message isn’t sent within 24 hours, so it’s great for keeping time-wasting to a minimum. You’ll know from the start if someone is interested or not.
You can pay to unlock more features on Bumble, but the free version does everything you need. Bumble currently boasts a 4.2/5 rating on the App Store, which is based on over a million reviews.
Why is online dating so hard for guys?
According to sexologist Suzannah Weiss, it’s actually very common to have your messages ignored and to generally feel disillusioned when online dating, regardless of gender. That said, many men find online dating to be particularly difficult.
It’s a multifaceted problem, says Zrenchik. “Some of the obstacles that men struggle with are unrealistic expectations of what they are looking for in someone, not spending enough time in managing their profile so it looks sloppy or uncared for, and inaccurate or misleading profiles.”
Some vulnerability is also necessary for success on dating apps, says Harris, but it can be harder for men to access that vulnerability and ask for intimacy because they often feel stifled by traditional ideas of masculinity. “The skills that help you succeed at meeting and connecting with people in person are the same skills that help you find your perfect match online,” he adds.
Tips for dating app success as a man:
Spend time on your profile.
Don’t just whack up one poor-quality selfie and call it a day. Invest time in your profile and have someone (preferably a woman who is interested in dating men if you’re looking for women, or a man who is interested in men if you’re looking for men) review it before making it public. Choose quality and up-to-date photos that reflect who you are. Don’t use a picture with a messy background or clutter. It doesn’t need to be a professional headshot, but it should appear clean and honor what you currently look like, says Zrenchik.
This includes on your profile and when messaging with matches. Speak honestly and truthfully, but don’t overshare information until the time calls for it. For example, telling someone you want kids before the first date is not necessary because it can lead to too many assumptions about what that means, notes Zrenchik.
“When you connect with someone online, don’t become a pen pal. Transition off into a real live date to see if there’s actually a connection,” says Tick. “Too many people waste their time chatting online when they should be out dating!”
Try to keep in mind that dating as a straight woman can be intimidating and nerve-wracking. Try your hardest to be kind, considerate, and polite. Don’t send unsolicited sexual messages or photos. Don’t try to play games. Just be straightforward, warm, and honest.
Don’t sweat the numbers.
“Don’t think that it’s anything bad or unique about you if you reach out to many, many more people than ever respond,” Zrenchik reassures. “Remember, lots of people don’t even check their profile matches anymore. So, some of those contacts are ‘dead leads.'”
Which dating apps actually work for men?
eHarmony, OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr, and many other dating apps all have the ability to deliver positive results for men. What’s important is being upfront about what you’re looking for, honing your profile, and being courteous and open.
Which dating app has the highest success rate for men?
Grindr is probably the app with the highest hookup rate, and eHarmony is the best long-term success for men, claiming to be responsible for 4% of U.S. marriages.
Is Bumble better for guys?
Bumble is a great place for guys who appreciate flipping traditional gender roles on their heads. The fact that women have to message first cultivates a more secure and safe atmosphere on the app, which lends itself to more success for everyone.
Yes, it can be hard out there as a man on dating apps, but with a little consideration, online dating etiquette, and a well-honed profile, you can absolutely find a trove of first dates and more. Brush up on your flirting skills, take some new profile pics, and you’ll be well on your way.