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The Grindr notification sound is like a gay lullaby.
Nothing compares to the sensation you get as you feel the vibration and hear the iconic *floop* sound as a dude slips into your DMs. You rush to unlock your phone, perspiring with anticipation, and behold whatever juicy message awaits. Will it be a d!ck pic? A proposition for a one-night stand? Perhaps, a straight guy looking to experiment? No matter what it is, it’s bound to be “interesting”…
But Grindr isn’t for everyone. And there are many gay guys who don’t vibe with its cut-and-dry style of interaction. Maybe they prefer to have a coffee first before getting down ‘n’ dirty. Or perhaps, the core demographic on Grindr isn’t to their liking… Or it could be they don’t consider one-night stands to be a high priority. All in all, looking for the right dating app to suit your needs can be tricky.
Therefore, we’ve shopped around and pulled together a list of alternative dating apps to Grindr. Get downloading and find your own Mr. Right! On that note, make sure you also check out our comprehensive guide to staying safe when using gay dating apps.
To put it in dog show terms, while Grindr is the loud and scrappy chihuahua, Scruff is the massive St. Bernard who crashes onto the stage, bursting with energy and leaves a carpet of hair in his stride. Who doesn’t love that?
Scruffs caters to older and hairier gay men. So, if that ain’t your thing, then keep pushing.
Hot tip: You may want to avoid opening the app in public, as you’ll be presented with a mirage of NSFW profile images. Everything from bears to otters, to silver foxes and wolves, posing in explicit glory.
If you like what a gay guy has to show, give him a woof (love hearts are overrated anyway) and wait for him to woof back. Our favorite thing about this app is its location feature, where you can search for dudes in other cities and arrange accommodation ahead of your vacation time, making Scruff one of the handiest gay travel apps out there.
Shake your head all you like. But we couldn’t write about gay dating apps without mentioning the Mother of them all. Yes, it’s been around for eons, but it’s still widely used by gay guys across the globe.
It’s a much gentler option than Grindr, with not a d!ck pic to be seen! Most guys on there are looking to make friends and find dates, meaning hook-ups aren’t really people’s priority. That’s not to say they can’t happen, it’s just not the general vibe.
On your homepage, you’ll be presented with profile cards of gay guys in your area. Swipe left to pass on a guy, and swipe right if you fancy him. If you match, make dating plans… don’t be one of those silent types!
Premium features give you unlimited swipes, as well as the ability to take a sneak peek at guys who have liked you first.
Who wouldn’t want to join a gay dating app where the logo is a little teddy bear? Seby and I found it utterly adorable – and the gay guys on the app are every bit as cuddly and sweet!
Guys on GROWLr tend to be much more open-minded than on Grindr – and are accepting of ALL body types.
When you click in, you’ll be met with a dashboard of guys who are enticing, burly, hairy, beefy, and everything in between. Choose between local guys or dudes from all around the world – handy for making friends ahead of a trip to a new city.
Feeling bold? Why not start a live broadcast introduction of yourself to the world? Gay guys from your local area and around the world will be able to tune in and see what you have to offer.
The app also has an Event section, where users can check out local meetups in their area.
It’s hard to meet fellow queer people outside of a bar/club setting, making it nearly impossible for introverted folk to find that special someone.
Enter Hornet! A social/gay dating app designed for LGBTQ people to make all kinds of connections, whether it be to make friends, find a new roommate, or discover Mr. Right. We love using it whenever we travel to a new city to help broaden our social circle around the world.
If you’re stuck for ways to start a conversation, you can select an article from the app’s blog to talk about. They post tons of interesting stuff on gay culture and social commentary, like this one (by yours truly!) about tips for traveling with your toys.
It’s no wonder that Hornet is the number-one choice for queer daters in places like France, Turkey, Russia, and Brazil.
5. Mr. X
As far as we’re concerned, life begins at 30. And that’s especially true for gay guys who spent most of their adolescence/early-20s trapped in the closet.
Mr. X is exclusively for gay guys over 30 – whether they are looking for a new friend, a new lover… or just a quick shag!
Their tagline is “Real Men, No Attitude”- and boy, do they deliver on that mantra. For one, there are no Grindr divas in sight. No judgemental users with impossible body standards or ageism, just a community of open-hearted and open-minded gentlemen.
When you tap into the gay dating app, you’ll meet a dashboard of various profiles from guys in your area. You can press the X to learn more about them, the megaphone to invite them to start a conversation, or initiate a chat yourself.
A premium account allows you to see unlimited profiles, check out the guys who viewed you, and search by location.
Used by over 54 million guys from around the world, especially in China, Blued is a friendly, inclusive, and safe virtual space for gay guys to connect, hook-up, or find life partners.
It welcomes all types of gay men, whether you’re a twinkie, a bear, a daddy, a silver fox, or young cub, trans, cis, non-binary. Not a single person is made to feel left out!
You can livestream your day-to-day, video chat with friends, and share steamy pics. You can even make group chats… after all, more people equals more fun. At this rate, the only thing it can’t do is get you off by itself – though maybe one day it will find a way to!
Take advantage of the disappearing messages and private photo albums functions for (consensual) hot photo sharing. Strike your best pose or type up your filthiest message and enjoy a night of naughty texting with a prospective hook-up.
RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, Derrick Berry, talked about being in one. Judith Light portrayed a third of one on Netflix’s ‘The Politician’. It’s becoming clear that throuples and polyamory are to be the next social frontier!
And Feeld is the go-to dating app for people looking for a relationship that have 3 plus participants. Seby and I consider ourselves to be free-spirited and open-minded – and yet we’re nothing compared to the people on this app. Everyone on there is an adventurous soul and up for trying anything. So, if that sounds like you, get downloading.
Two-person couples shouldn’t feel discouraged from using it. There are tons of profiles of monogamous couples looking for a third person to help spice things up in the bedroom. That’s what Playing the Feeld is all about!
This dating app is free but going onto a premium tier allows you to add private photos to your profile and see who has liked you.
There is no denying that LGBTQ representation in the media is overwhelmingly white. Black, Asian, and fellow POC gay guys rarely see themselves portrayed in art – and it’s a big problem! Which is why apps like Jack’d have come out to spotlight the black and POC gay men of our community – we couldn’t applaud it louder.
5 million guys across 2,000 cities have joined the Jack’d community since it debuted on the dating scene.
Click into the gay dating app and you’ll find men in your area. You can wave at guys you fancy or jump headfirst into conversation (if you’re bold enough). Jack’d gives you a group of compatible profiles every day, which you can either choose to pass or smash – take that as literally as you like…
You can also create and share private photos and videos – perfect for spicing conversation up.
Let’s face it, we cis men get everything. This is why Lex is putting its foot down and saying ‘Nope’, this one’s just for the gals. And whether you’re lesbian, trans, asexual, non-binary, or intersex… you have a seat at Lex’s table.
On Lex, it’s not about what you look like. It’s about your voice, your humor, and your words! So, when you click into the dating app, you won’t see photos, but rather text posts. Users share about their day, their likes/dislikes, and interests in short posts, which people can choose to either like or follow up with a personal message.
Make friends, and lovers… maybe even find a new roommate… the possibilities on Lex are endless. Most of all, be comfortable. It’s the epitome of queer celebration – and despite the absence of cis men, it’s the most inclusive app we’ve ever found.
Do you routinely check up on your sun, moon, and ascendant star sign horoscopes? Do you lowkey judge someone when they don’t know their sign? Well, finally, there is a gay dating app that brings horoscope enthusiasts together.
On NUiT, you’ll find a community of people geeking out over their horoscope projections and discussing their birth charts. Speaking of, NUiT provides you with exceptionally detailed birth chart insights and synastry breakdowns, so you can always keep tabs on your universal destiny.
When you open the dating app, you’ll see a dashboard of people in your area. To like someone, give them a star and leave the rest up to faith. A good conversation starter is the obvious – ‘What’s your sign?’
Oh, and to our curious readers: I’m a Libra and Seby is a Gemini, which is considered very compatible – clearly the stars haven’t seen us arguing over what to get for dinner…
ROMEO – aka PlanetRomeo or GayRomeo, is one of the best gay apps to use if traveling around Europe. It's super popular, in some countries (like Germany, France, and Italy) even surpassing Grindr in terms of popularity.
ROMEO is also ideal for guys into more niche things in the bedroom, which is what makes it so unique (and perhaps why it's super popular in Germany!). The concept is the same as the other main gay dating apps – it's location-based mainly, you can send private chats, and of course, share your more revealing snaps!
This app is mainly targeted at gay and bi men and trans people. It started life in Berlin back in 2002 when it was mainly for German-speaking users across Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, but has since expanded internationally. What we love about ROMEO is its push towards health, even offering an online health advice service for its users.
For more inspiration:
- Here are the biggest and best gay pride events around the world that are definitely worth traveling for
- Make sure you look fabulous with these gay pride outfit ideas
- And don't head out without these must-have gay pride accessories
- Read what we rate as the most gay friendly countries in the world
- Check out which are the best gay beaches in the world
- Further gay travel inspo? Well you need to read our guide to the best gay vacation spots in the world