Vanity Fair, Tinder is the harbinger of today's hookup-fueled "dating apocalypse." But the truth of the matter is, hooking up isn't anything new (and may in fact be hardwired into our genetics). And as for Tinder, sure, it can be used for swiftly finding a one-night stand, but there are plenty of other apps that are better suited for that task.
If your life is too busy to squeeze in the time-consuming intricacies of a longer-term relationship, or you're just looking for a little low-stakes fun tonight, you need a quick, surefire way to find a quality fling. Dance clubs and dive bars may have worked in the '90s, but now, even if you’re out, your phone is a much easier way to find someone to "watch Netflix and chill" with (especially someone you won’t regret tomorrow). And the great thing is, whether you prefer chatting extensively with your new crush first or a little fantasy in your play, there are diverse options to suit your every whim and desire.
When you need to find a hookup, like, yesterday, you should hit up one of these 26 awesome apps.
This story originally ran August 20, 2015.
Tonight Tonight cuts to the chase. The purpose of the app (free on iOS), which was founded by a former OkCupid employee, is to get people off their phones and on an IRL date. Just tap a button by 6 p.m. to indicate you're interested in going out that night. The app shows you others who are also interested in going out. Select people you'd like to meet and Tonight sets things up for you, even going so far as to pick a cool spot to meet. It doesn't get much easier than that. The sole downside is that the app is currently only live in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Wild Wild is an aptly named app for someone seeking a no strings attached situation. The free app lets you browse anonymously and has photo verification so you know if your match is real or not — catfishers beware. The best feature for someone wanting a hookup is the filter search tool, which lets you find others who are on the app with the same goal in mind.
Once If you're tired of incessant swiping, Once (free for iOS) might be up your alley. The app's matchmakers will pick matches they think you'll like and send you a handpicked few everyday at noon. You take it from there. If you want to give the matchmaker a clue about who really gets you excited you can pair your Fitbit with the app — a heartbeat spike indicates your interest.
Feeld Feeld cryptically describes itself as "A private space where you can meet couples or singles with minds that breathe freedom. A field for you to discover your sexuality and explore it by yourself, with your other half or with any human you'd like." If your curiosity is piqued, you'll have to take a leap of faith with this app: Users aren't required to use their real names, though all members are Facebook-verified. You can, however, choose to be hidden from friends, ensuring at least some level of privacy. Get matched with people around you and start a chat, where you can send messages that disappear after being viewed.
Casualx For those who feel like they encounter too many relationship-minded people on Tinder, Casualx is billing itself as the answer. The app's bold slogan is "Tinder minus marriage-minded daters." Given Casualx's more risqué selling point, there are additional safety features built in, such as a pattern lock that only you know the sequence to unlock. The app also promises that it reviews each profile manually which may be feasible with smaller numbers of users, but has us questioning what it will do as it grows larger.
Beacon Beacon isn't a dating app per say, but it can be used like one. Unlike most other apps that have you log in through Facebook, Beacon has you log in with your Twitter account. You can create "events" — see if others want to meet up for a drink or pool for a Lyft — and then either limit the invite to mutual Twitter followers or make it public. The app is a leap of faith since you don't know who will join your event (it's also very new, so its pool of users doesn't seem very big yet), but it might be worth a try if you're burnt out on other options.
Photo: App Store.
Mingle2 Instead of swiping, Mingle2 has users tap a heart to indicate that they like someone. You can also "nudge" someone, which is similar to when you'd "poke" your crush on Facebook in ninth grade. If you want a "premium" dating experience, a one-month package isn't cheap at $14.99, but comes with perks including read receipts — so you don't have to wonder if someone actually read your message or not — and invisible browsing.
Photo: App Store.
Hitch Hitch (free, iOS and Android) is centered around shared interests. Start off by making a profile as you would on any other dating app. Then, check out trending conversations among people located nearby and join discussions centered around specific categories, such as travel and events, food, and fashion and lifestyle. Meet someone in a group that you want to chat one-on-one? Just reach out to get the conversation started.
Klique If you'd prefer to meet your date in a group setting, go with Klique. After matching with someone, the app lets each person bring other friends (who are also on the app) into the conversation so that you can all make plans together — and your friends can weigh in on your date.
Clover If you want versatility, download Clover (1 month/$19.99, iOS). The app lets you swipe for a match in typical Tinder fashion, but also gives you the option of having it set up a date for you, taking out all the annoying, never-ending messages. You can also filter by relationship intention or pick one of the in-person mixers that other app members have indicated they're going to.
Photo: Hook Up Dating.
Hook Up Dating Hook Up Dating calls it like it is. The app (free on iOS) is similar to others in that you create an "Ad profile" with photos (you can set them to private or public), and your first name and age. From there, you can send messages or "winks" (similar to likes) to other members and wait for the replies to roll in.
Whim Don't feel like texting back and forth? Whim (free on iOS) is the answer: The app gets rid of the kind of endless communication that can go on for days. Just create a profile and enter which days that week are good for you. When you match with a potential date, Whim will pick a time and place that works for both of you. All you have to do is show up — no messaging required.
Zipskee Traveling solo is something most women should try at least once. But if you're also looking for some action, you may want some help meeting the local flavors — and for that you need a local. While this isn't a dating app, Zipskee (free on iOS) will pair you with a local guide on your trip to show you around. Your male or female guide should know the spots you should hit so you can meet someone worthwhile while you're in town.
Photo: Courtesy StudOrDud.
Stud Or Dud Despite its name, this app actually has nothing to do with sorting potential dates based on physical attractiveness. If you want to make sure the bae you're hooking up with doesn't have a shady past, you can use Stud or Dud (free on iOS) to quickly look up publicly available information about their identity. The app can show you whether they have a job, whether they're married, and whether they've been to court for various issues. If you're paranoid the guy you just met might be an axe murderer, this app should help you rest easy.
Photo: Courtesy VingMe, Inc.
Mimitate Want to keep it casual and just Netflix and chill? That is what Mimitate (free on iOS and Android) is all about. Heres' how it works: Guys take a selfie of themselves and share what they're watching on Netflix. Ladies, if you're interested, respond back with a selfie imitating their face, and if you're down for that title. From there, you can meet up to watch the show…or just have it on in the background.
Photo: Courtesy Down.
Down Down (free on iOS and Android) serves you up 10 local matches each day based on your location. If you're looking for a date, you can specify that, and if you're just looking to get down, well, you can specify that, too. The app boasts more than four million users globally, so hopefully you'll find someone worth your time — and ready to get down.
Photo: Courtesy Disckreet.
Disckreet Disckreet ($3 on iOS) is definitely a super-useful app: It acts as a password-protected locker for all your sexy photos. And if you're looking to find a hookup for tonight, tomorrow, or this weekend, let's be real, you've probably got a few choice photos that show off your bits. If you've got a partner you constantly sext with, you can keep both of your photos locked up in here, only accessible when you both enter your passcodes. And your photos aren't just stored behind two passcodes — they're also encrypted.
Photo: Courtesy Happn.
Happn You and a cutie on the subway locked eyes for a smoldering second before you had to run off and catch the express. Fret not; you may be able to find him or her on Happn (free on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone). In this app, you can browse singles and see how many times you've crossed paths (and where). It's a bit like Craigslist's Missed Connections, but way less desperate-sounding.
Photo: Courtesy Blendr.
Blendr Open up Blendr (free on iOS and Android) when you’re sitting at the bar, rather than on your couch. This chatting app for hetero singles uses your location to find matches near you. With 200 million users, there are a lot of potential matches to be made for no-strings-attached fun — and its bevy of male users aren’t shy about reaching out and chatting you up. Unlike many dating apps, you don’t need to provide a lot of personal details to get going on Blendr: just a photo and some basic information — you don’t need to input anything personal if you don’t want to, or even your real name. The app, which is powered by the social network Badoo and made by the same folks who created the gay-male hookup app Grindr, requires a monthly or yearly subscription ($70 for a full year, $40 for six months, $30 for three, and $13 for one month).
Photo: Courtesy Pure.
Pure Pure (free on iOS and Android) cuts to the chase: It’s about meeting with someone for a hookup, right now. All you have to do to get started with the app is upload a selfie. Then, once you and another user both like each other’s profiles, the two of you can begin chatting to figure out the details, or decide to move on. The app initiates a one-hour chat limit in order to eliminate annoying noncommittal conversations that drag on and on. According to the app’s description: “We promote a sex-positive attitude, free of judgment and the weight of social constraints.” Amen!
Photo: Courtesy Whiplr.
Whiplr If you’re more of a Rocky Road type than a vanilla, download Whiplr (free on iOS and Android), an app for finding others based on sharing similar kinks and fetishes. The app is anonymous and private, and lets you select what types of play you’re into (and what you want your partner to be into) before you start chatting. All content shared in the app can be deleted, so if you send a nude to someone, then decide, “Eh, not so much,” you can delete it from their phone — well, as long as they didn’t take a screen grab. You can pay for a monthly subscription if you start using Whiplr a lot, but its initial free search and chatting preferences are decently robust, including starting up to 10 chat sessions a day, browsing 100 profiles at a time, and swiping through 25 profiles a day.
Photo: Courtesy HER.
Her Her (free on iOS) is a dating and social network app exclusively for lesbian and queer women. Unlike some of these other apps, which prize anonymity (that may be good for you, but bad if you want to guarantee the person you’re meeting is who she says she is), this app features verified accounts. It also includes more of a community, with a timeline on your profile for sharing photos and comments, and it serves up links and articles relating to lesbian news and culture. But just because it aims to provide a more social network-style experience doesn’t mean there aren’t like-minded ladies out there just looking for some quick action. Several early users of Her (the app just launched in July) were surprised by the number of bisexual, queer, and lesbian women in their community.
Photo: Courtesy Tinder.
Tinder A number of women have found their soul mate on Tinder (free on iOS and Android), but it’s super-quick swiping-based interface is also perfect if you’re looking for a connection that needs to suffice only for tonight (as infamously chronicled in ). After signing up, which requires a Facebook login, you swipe right to Like one of Tinder’s suggested profiles, or swipe left to Pass. If the other person also likes your photo, you’re matched, and can start chatting. The app has made more than 6 billion matches so far. You may even match up with someone famous — the app recently introduced verified profiles for celebs and public figures.
Vanity Fair’s recent feature on hookup culture
Photo: Courtesy OKCupid.
OKCupid Dating-site staple OKC (free on iOS and Android) is designed with lots of questionnaires and matching algorithms so that you find someone you’d actually be interested in spending time with. But if you’re up front in your profile about your wants and needs, you can also have hookup success. Set your preferences so that you’re looking for new friends, short-term dating, and casual sex; keep your questionnaire answers on the short side; and for optional questions, answer as many of the sex-related ones as you can, so you’re matched with someone who’s compatible to your personal desires. OKCupid also has an Apple Watch app that can show you matches who are nearby. You can use the app for free, or upgrade for extra features starting at $10 a month or $40 a year.
Photo: Courtesy Badoo.
Badoo Badoo works kind of like Happn — you have the option to start chatting with people nearby and people you've bumped into — but its user base is reportedly bigger than Tinder, Happn, and OkCupid combined. This means you have more luck finding instant love at the club (or coffee shop) on the app than you do anywhere else, especially if you're traveling abroad. Badoo also recently acquired Lulu, a similar see-who's-nearby app, boosting its user base.
TikiTalk TikiTalk, a "social discovery" app created in Los Angeles, is pretty genius. You select your interests, for example, going to raves, and see people within a mile radius who share similar points of amusement. Like many other social apps out there, TikiTalk can absolutely be used for dating, but the option to start a chat with someone by asking "Netflix and chill?" takes it into the hookup zone. You know what it means, we know what it means — everyone knows what it means.
Photo: Courtesy Apple Store.
MeetMe MeetMe (free for iOS and Android) uses your location to help you find "friends" nearby, whether you want someone to chat with or hook up with later that night. The app makes it easy to find people with similar interests thanks to the "Discuss" tab, which lets you choose among categories including movies, music, and partying. Make plans to see the new romantic comedy, or hit up the free outdoor concert nearby.
Photo: Courtesy veat-app.com.
Veat Miss the good old days when you would meet people in person and actually hear their voices right off the bat? The Veat app makes your swipes that much more more real. Instead of photos, each person uploads seven-second video profiles. Yes, they're short, but the recordings give you a better sense of someone's mannerisms and tone. Use the app for finding friends, planning dates, or making a match for a one-night stand.