I have been asked about the various dating sites I’ve been on in the past. I’m reviewing them in relative order of usefulness. I was looking for a man who was around 35-55, intelligent (which has included the range from GED to PhD), liberal, kinky, monogamous and a switch/dominant. I don’t match well with highly religious people either. Race, size, appearance– all of those are irrelevant to me.
Fetlife.com: Fetlife says over and over again that it’s not a dating site, yet a very large percentage of people on Fetlife are looking for sexual partners, either short-term or long-term. Fetlife was one of the most productive places for me when I was looking for partners. There are still some horribly slimy, nasty men on there, but I also found quite a few really nice guys. The friend who convinced me to join told me I would find more fat-accepting men on there. Yes and no. There was definitely a lot more acceptance about people being different, but there was still outright fat prejudice on there. Almost all of Fetlife can be used for free which is a major bonus. Most major cities have personals boards (or sometimes multiple boards) to post ads looking for a partner.
AdultFriendFinder.com: Yes, really! I had billing issues with them, so they lose major points for that, but as a woman, AFF was a goldmine. I’ve seen the ratio estimated as 12:1 or 16:1 men:women depending on the market you’re in. I definitely found that to be true. Men are so used to spambots on there that they are shocked when they find a real live woman who isn’t charging for sex. I found some sizeist men on there, but most of the men were so desperate for sex they didn’t care about body size. They were also willing to compromise on things that guys on other sites weren’t open to compromising on. I actually found some great men on there. One downside is that half the men use a dick pic for their profile picture which gets really old really fast. There is a filter to allow you to block some or all nudity, though, something I actually did because I got so tired of seeing dick pics everytime I logged in. If you want to message with someone, you really do need to upgrade to their paid plan, and then they start with annoying pop-ups to get you to renew beginning the day after you joined!
OkCupid.com: This is the most popular mainstream dating site in my area. I talked with a lot of men on OKC, but more often than not, I ran into fat prejudice among those local men I talked to. Men who were in other parts of the country were often less prejudiced, though I certainly encountered prejudice anywhere I looked. Every single man I dated over the past few years had an active profile on OKC whether I met him on that site or not. I have very mixed feelings about OKC because it really is the lifeblood of online dating in my area, but I also had less success here than other places. There are also a lot of really awful guys here because it’s possible to use all the important features of the site without paying, but I found as a woman I liked having some of its features to block out some of the crap on the site. The majority of my dating bloopers came from OKC because so many of the men were of low quality.
DatingKinky.com: This was a newcomer to the online dating market in the past year, looking to fulfill the needs that Fetlife didn’t quite meet. It was dealing with growing pains from being so new. The owner of the site was very receptive to talking to members, and she was working hard on upgrades. However, I ran out of patience with men who were less than desirable. The local market was very limited, and I was tired of seeing the picture of one of my exes since I couldn’t hide his picture at that time (though they were working on adding that feature). The paid version wasn’t in existence yet, but the trial version of the paid version didn’t really add enough filters to the messaging that I wanted. I got tired of 18 year olds from Nebraska wanting to sext with me!
Match.com: If you talk about the struggles of online dating in the modern era with a married person, they will without doubt ask if you’ve tried Match. At that point, I ask A) if they’ve tried Match and B) what year it was when they tried Match? Most of them say they’ve never been on it, but they’ve heard it’s a great dating site and their third cousin twice removed found her husband on Match about ten years ago. Match may have once been the leader in online dating, and it may still be great in some markets, but in my area, Match is dead. You have to pay to use the site’s messaging features. However, men do not message on Match as demonstrated by the fact that I had absolutely zero men message me on Match in six months. I messaged men and got very few results. I never got past one or two messages with any particular man. Half of the men on Match are also on OKC. The financial requirement to message means that most of the men are more career-oriented men, and that removes some of the scuzziness of other sites. However, for me, Match was a huge waste of money.
Chemistry.com: This is a sister site of Match.com. I hated it with a passion. I think it was designed for cell phones, and I was using it on a desktop. It seemed like it was structured around random algorithms and hookups. Most of the men seemed to be much younger. I felt like the old fogy who didn’t belong, and I quickly got off of it.
Conscious Dating Network: The Conscious Dating Network is a group of sites which all share the same database. Most of the sites are all aimed at the more natural living, liberal leaning, spiritual but not religious people. The sites in the network include Spiritual Singles, Planet Earth Singles, Natural Awakenings Singles, and many more. However, some of the sites have nothing to do with those qualities. People can buy a site using their own web domain, and by giving the Conscious Dating Network part of their profits, they share the database, thus being able to increase the numbers on their niche dating market. It’s a model I’m not fond of, but I see why it makes sense from a money and marketing point of view. Unfortunately, one of the sites in the network was one in India, so I would get messages from a lot of men in India who had no intention of moving to the US (and I am not moving to India). As with many of the other smaller sites, most of these men were on OKCupid, and many I already knew in real life. Many were looking for tantric flings or polyamorous lovers. There were a lot of very big egos on the site. They weren’t my type.
eHarmony.com: Um, yeah. This name will come up, but it’s one I avoided. eHarmony has a screening process to become a member of their site. Anyone I knew who is similar to me who had applied had been rejected because they weren’t mainstream enough, normal enough or good enough looking. I decided I didn’t need rejection from a dating site on top of rejection from men on dating sites. Besides, I wasn’t interested in eHarmony’s process of matching people up rather than letting people have access to their whole database. There’s something that chemistry determines that a database can never calculate. I skipped this site completely.
POF.com: <<<shudder>>> This is one of the grosser dating sites for the local area. Because one can use it without paying, the population leans toward the lowest common denominator. I was totally unimpressed by the men of this site. Dysfunctional seems to be a polite word to sum them up.
DharmaMatch.com: This is a very minor site and I wouldn’t mention it at all except I want to put my opinion out there since I couldn’t find many honest reviews about it when I Googled. This site is a zombie. It’s alive but it’s very much dead. The code works. You can register. You can pay. But no one checks it out. In a full month on the site, not one single person checked out my profile. I made the mistake of paying $20 for a one month subscription (which I canceled immediately so there would be no further autobilling) to message the one guy out of 15 local guys who had a lot in common with me. He never checked his messages or even logged on in that month because there are no push notifications for this site. I messaged the help link on the site to ask about the lack of inactivity and I never heard back. Don’t waste your time or money with this one.
Tinder.com: Ha! Did I mention I was fat and ugly? I wasn’t looking for a one night stand, either. I knew that on a site where appearance is everything that I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. This is one site I never ventured onto.
BBWPersonalsPlus: Given that I knew I wasn’t going to find a man on Tinder, I decided to try a site for men who liked plus-sized women. I lasted only a few days on this site. Unfortunately, the majority of men who like plus-sized men tend to be less literate and less educated than the population of men I am attracted to. After way too many messages that seemed as though the users had never taken a spelling or grammar class, I ran for the hills.