LGBT Online Dating Statistics [2022]: Is It Safe & Useful?

In this article, we’ve answered every question you need to know about LGBT online dating, LGBT dating apps, how they’re used, and more. Let’s dive in:  

lgbt online dating

Online dating has become increasingly popular over the past few years, both in straight and gay communities alike. 

But are there significant differences between the two? Are LGBT dating apps safe, effective, and widely used

Top LGBT Online Dating Statistics You Should Know:

  • Online dating can help people with a small pool of potential partners – such as those seeking same-sex partners – to find a match.
  • 65% of same-sex couples met online in 2017, compared to just 39% for heterosexual couples.
  • 49.2% report using GDAs (Gay Dating Apps) mainly to meet people to have sex with.
  • 28% of LGB adults who are married, living with a partner, or in a committed relationship say they met their current partner online.
  • 56% of the LGBT community have dated someone they met online.
  • 56% of LGB online daters have received a sexually explicit message or image they did not ask for.
  • 90% of LGB online daters think it’s common for people to receive sexually explicit messages or images they did not ask for.
  • Grindr was the most popular dating app among gay singles, with 74% of those asked saying they were on the app.

What Is LGBT Online Dating Like?

LGBTQ people face several challenges in the online dating space, especially because fewer of them fit into simply defined groups. Most apps that are designed for cisgender straight people are difficult or impossible to use for LGBTQ people to use due to limited options.

  • Online dating can help people with a small pool of potential partners – such as those seeking same-sex partners – to find a match. (Pew Research, 2020)1
  • The biggest issues with dating apps are the extremely limited ways that most allow users to identify their gender and orientation — as well as their preferences regarding both. (Astroglide, n.d.)2
    • The appeal of online dating is that it allows users to search by specific parameters to find compatible people.
    • For people whose gender identity and sexual orientation are more complex than the options provided, the search functionality becomes virtually useless.
  • Many websites use fake profiles to scam users or pretend to be more popular than they really are – so be sure to use a reputable app. (Social Catfish, 2020)3
    • The LGBTQ community faces this challenge more often due to the focus of many apps on cis straight people. Less popular apps are more prevalent in the gay community.

How Do LGBT Dating Apps Work?

Apps dedicated to LGBT people are similar to those dedicated to straight people, but there are a few differences. Here’s what we know:

  • Creating a profile on most gay dating sites is free, regardless of their focus. 
  • Some dating platforms ask people to upload a photo first for verification purposes. Generally, you should choose a well-lit picture that prominently features your face for these kinds of apps.
  • LGBT dating apps often help users find those with similar interests, including hookups, dates, long-term relationships, etc. However, most recommend setting up a dating profile to specifically include what you’re looking for to match with those of similar interests.
  • Gay dating sites can be a great way to connect with those who are just interested in fun dates or those looking for a relationship. As long as you indicate what you’re looking for, most of these apps will do a good job of connecting you with those of similar interests.
  • Most gay dating sites and apps have built-in options to connect with dates while you travel, allowing you to connect with potential partners during vacations. (Dating Scout, n.d.)4

How Is LGBT Online Dating Any Different?

While there are many similarities between straight and LGBT dating apps, there are also a few stark differences between the apps and how users portray themselves on them. Here are the stats:

  • One of the biggest differences is in the appearance of users on the sites: (Psychology Today, 2019)5 
    • Gay men are more likely to appear very interested in the types of clothes they wear on LGBT dating apps.
    • A surprisingly large number of gay men appeared with marsupials or holding balloons on these sites.
    • One study speculates that this may be because the men are attempting to convey that they see online dating as a fun pursuit or that they are trying to put across the image of them being fun.
  • Here are some other interesting features and differences in the profiles of gay and lesbian users: (Psychology Today, 2019)5
    • Gay men and lesbian women appear with their tongues out more often on LGBT dating apps, which may be in an attempt to convey a fun attitude.
    • The profiles of gay men are generally more lightly dressed than straight men.
    • Gay men smile more often in dating profile pictures compared to straight men.
    • Lesbian women use pictures wearing caps and hats more often than straight women on dating apps.
    • Lesbian women also have more tattoos and piercings in their profiles than straight women.
  • Expressing a desire to travel, or having experience traveling, can be seen as attractive as a way to portray a sense of adventure. (Psychology Today, 2019)5
    • There is also a high number of LGBT daters in locations such as Brazil, Denmark, and Hong Kong.
    • A large number of LGBT daters feature Disney parks in their profiles.

General LGBT Online Dating Statistics

Online dating in the LGBT community has a few distinct differences compared to straight dating. Here are some of the most interesting stats about online LGBT dating:

  • 65% of same-sex couples met online in 2017, compared to just 39% for heterosexual couples. (Rosenfield, M., 2019)6
  • 71.2% of gay participants said they log onto GDAs (gay dating apps) at least once per day, with most logging on between 2 and 4 times per day. (Psychology of Sexuality, 2019)7
    • 49.2% report using GDAs mainly to meet people to have sex with.
    • GDAs seem to cater to the sexual desires of MSM (males having sex with males) without necessarily having a negative impact on their lives.

  • 55% of LGB adults report using an online dating site or app at some point. This is roughly twice the ratio of straight adults (28%) who say the same. (Pew Research, 2020)1
    • 28% of LGB adults who are married, living with a partner, or in a committed relationship say they met their current partner online.
      • Compared with 11% of partnered straight adults.
    • 37% of LGB adults looking for a partner are currently online dating, compared to 24% of straight people who are single and looking.
  • 56% of people who are LGBT have stated that they have found fake or misleading profiles on dating apps. (Social Catfish, 2020)3
    • Only 16% of LGBT online daters said that none of their dates misrepresented their age, height, or weight.
    • 62% of users said that their dates had misrepresented this information a little bit.
      • 19% of users said that they misrepresented this information a lot.
    • 31% of LGBT people admitted to misrepresenting their information on these sites, and 69% of users said they did not misrepresent any information.
  • 3 in 10 gay men said they had lied about their age, height, or weight on their app profiles. (Social Catfish, 2020)3
  • Grindr was the most popular dating app among gay singles, with 74% of those asked saying they were on the app. (Global Dating Insights, 2016)8
    • The less popular apps include:
      •  Scruff (31%)
      • Hornet (27%)
      • Tinder (27%)
      • Jack’d (24%)
      • Planet Romeo (23%).
    • 86% of Scruff and Hornet users, 82% of those on Jack’d, 87% of Tinder users, and 76% of people on Planet Romeo were also on Grindr.

Percentage of LGBT People Using Dating Apps

How common is online and app-based dating in the LGBTQ community? According to this data, it’s pretty common, widely used, and used often. Here are the stats:

  • Most LGBT singles are more likely to use dating apps to find a significant other because it’s easier to find someone with the same sexuality online instead of trying to guess in public places. (Social Catfish, 2020)3
    • 56% of the LGBT community have dated someone they met online.
    • 65% of people from the transgender community have dated someone that they met online.
  • Nearly 20% of online daters identify as gay and seeking a same-sex partner in the U.S. (Psychology Today, 2019)5
    • Only 4% of the general population report being gay or lesbian.
  • Here are what users rated the most satisfactory dating app: (Global Dating Insights, 2016)8
    • Planet Romeo had an overall satisfaction rating of 75%
    • Blued came in at a close second with 74%
    • Scruff had an overall satisfaction rating of 72% 
    • And Growlr had an overall satisfaction rating of 72%.
      • Just 20% of people paid to use these dating apps – 80% were using the free services offered by the platforms.
  • 31% of Grindr users said they go on a date at least once a month, followed by: (Global Dating Insights, 2016)8
    • 29% on Growlr
    • 25% on Planet Romeo
    • 22% on Scruff
    • 22% on Hornet
  • 27% of people on these apps said they had at least one short-term relationship with someone they had met through any of the gay dating apps they use. (Global Dating Insights, 2016)8
  • 15% have had at least one long-term relationship
  • 6% have had both short- and long-term relationships. (Global Dating Insights, 2016)8
  • 52% said they have never had a relationship with anyone they had met via an app. (Global Dating Insights, 2016)8

Is LGBT Online Dating Safe?

One of the biggest concerns about online dating is safety. With very few ways to verify who you’re talking to on the other end of an app – it can be a bit scary. Here’s what people in the LGBT community think about safety on dating apps.

  • 65% of people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual say their experience was very or somewhat positive on dating apps. (Pew Research, 2020)1
    • Only 56% of straight online daters say their experiences were positive overall.
  • 78% of LGB online daters feel that dating sites and apps are a very safe or somewhat safe way to meet people. (Pew Research, 2020)1
    • This is higher than the 69% share of straight online daters who say the same.
  • Three-quarters of LGB people who have experienced some form of harassing behaviors on dating sites still say it’s a very or somewhat safe way to meet someone. (Pew Research, 2020)1
    • 64% of straight online daters who have been harassed agree.

Harassment, Abuse, and Conflicts in LGBT Online Dating

How common is abuse and harassment in the online LGBT dating world? Here’s what studies have found:

  • 69% of online LGB daters say they have experienced at least one form of harassment on LGBT dating sites and apps, compared with 52% of their straight counterparts.
    • 56% of LGB online daters have received a sexually explicit message or image they did not ask for.
      • Only 32% of straight online daters say the same.
    • 48% of LGB online daters say that someone has continued to contact them after they said they weren’t interested
      • Only 35% of straight people say the same.
    • 41% of LGB online daters say someone has called them an offensive name on one of these sites or apps.
      • This is 16 percentage points higher than the share of straight online daters (25%) who say the same.
    • 17% of LGB online daters say that someone on a dating site or app has threatened to harm them physically.
      • This is more than double the share of straight online daters who say this has happened to them (7%).
    • 71% of LGB adults who have ever online dated think harassment and bullying are common problems on dating sites and apps. Only 61% of straight people on these apps think the same.
    • 90% of LGB online daters think it’s common for people to receive sexually explicit messages or images they did not ask for. (Pew Research, 2020)1
      • 80% of straight online daters say the same.
      • This is common even among online daters who report that they have never received an unasked-for explicit image or message themselves: 82% of LGB and 73% of straight online daters who have not experienced this say it’s very or somewhat common on dating sites and apps.
  • 56% of those polled said they had encountered fake and misleading profiles and profile descriptions on the gay dating apps they used. (Global Dating Insights, 2016)8
  • 35% of people said they had experienced abuse and harassment on online dating apps. (Global Dating Insights, 2016)8
  • 21% said they had “experienced situations where their sexual limits had not been respected” by a guy they had met via an app when they met in person. (Global Dating Insights, 2016)8
    • 5% of people reported being physically threatened on a date.

How to Avoid Fake Profiles in LGBT Dating Apps?

Fake profiles on LGBTQ dating apps are very common. Here are some of the ways you can spot a fake one to avoid being catfished or harassed by a bot: (Social Catfish, 2020)3

  • Check to see if their photos seem real.
    • If photos seem too good to be true, or there are very few photos, it’s a red flag. Most users upload multiple images that are not always professionally taken.

  • Run a reverse image search on their profile photos.
    • Scammers and fake profiles often use stock images or images they’ve found on other people’s social media. A reverse image search is a quick way to determine if the photos you see on the profile belong to someone else.

  • Never give out any personal information.
    • Personal information like your social security info, bank info, credit card, etc., has no reason to be shared on a dating app. Most also recommend your first in-person meeting be in public, not at your home address. 

  • Ask for social media accounts to reference.
    • Most people have various forms of social media and share their profiles willingly. It might be a red flag if someone says they aren’t active on ANY social media.

  • Be hesitant to meet up too quickly.
    • People looking to take advantage of you will often try to meet in person or move too quickly.

Tips to be Successful on LGBT Dating Apps

Want to get more dates on LGBT dating apps? Here are the tips from experts: (Dating Scout, n.d.)4

  • Your profile is the most important piece: 
    • On dating sites, profiles are everything. Be sure to share enough that potential dates know what you’re interested in, but not so much that you become an open book. Be creative but make sure there’s still room to get to know you. 
    • Leave a question in your bio to encourage matches to message you. 

  • Check your photos.
    • Photos are one of the most important parts of the profile. Be sure you’re the highlight – don’t add too many group photos. 
    • Your photos should represent your personality and attractiveness. 

  • Don’t have too many details.
    • Personal details about yourself should be mysterious. Don’t share everything until you’re sure you’re talking to a real connection. Don’t fall victim to identity thieves and scammers!

  • Be yourself
    • Online dating is even more fun when you are unapologetically you. Embrace your uniqueness and quirks. Talk in the way you normally would when you meet a potential match.

  • Make memories and have fun.
    • If you’re going to meet, there’s no need to get flashy and expensive. Instead, enjoy each other’s company at a restaurant or coffee shop you love. Do a fun activity you’ve both wanted to try so you connect with each other better. 

  • Keep safe!
    • If you’ve been talking to and dating someone for a while, things are bound to get more intimate. Be safe, come prepared, and communicate with your partner. They’ll appreciate it too! 

Best LGBT Dating Apps in 2022

There are a variety of dating apps for LGBT people, all serving different purposes. Some are better for hookups and casual relationships, others are great for finding a long-term partner, and some are good for just meeting new friends! 

Here are 2022’s best LGBT dating apps: (Chicago Reader, 2022)9

Best for Fun Dates and Casual Hookups

Men Nation

Men Nation is great for gay single men looking for casual dates and hookups. With over 100 million GBTQ men from different parts of the world, you’re bound to find a partner who is interested in whatever you are. Men that use this website are open-minded and ready to have a fun, genuine conversation, regardless of their location or preferences.


Best Website Turned to App

Adam4Adam

Adam4Adam is similar to Grindr but has been around for much longer and has been a pioneer for the gay online dating scene. Most people use it for casual and sexual encounters. You can also meet a romantic match if that’s what you are searching for.


Best for Enhanced Matchmaking

eHarmony

eHarmony is great for gay singles looking for serious relationships. They’ve been around since 2000 and were originally designed for straight Christians. Over the years, eHarmony has become more inclusive and now accepts the LGBTQ+ community.


Best For Gay Cubs And Bears

Scruff

Scruff is great for men in the GTBQ community looking for diverse types of men. It is one of the top-rated gay dating apps and uses geolocation to show matches near you. It allows you to tick off one or multiple communities you are open to when searching, including bear, bisexual, cub, daddy, discreet, drag, jock, military, muscle, otter, poz, trans, and much more.


Best for Lesbians / Gay women

HER

HER is the best gay dating app for queer women. Unfortunately, men consistently bother queer women on dating apps. Even if you set your preferences to only women, there is a chance your match might not be interested.


Best For Sex And Casual Hookups

Grindr

Grindr is by far the most popular gay dating app in the world. Even straight people have heard of it. Grindr is used in over 200 countries globally to find gay sex right away. Grindr has gained a reputation for hooking up and casual sex and has become the go-to app for it.


Best Heterosexual App That Is LGBTQ+ Inclusive

OkCupid

OkCupid is great for gay singles that want to use a trustworthy dating app that is LGBTQ+ inclusive. OkCupid has been around since 2004, has 30 million users, and has made many positive updates to cater to a broader range of people. It was originally designed for straight folks but has developed a strong following of LGBTQ+ people over the past few years. There are many different pronouns and sexualities to choose from, giving you optimal choices that will meet your needs.


Best For Substantial Relationships

Hinge

Hinge is great for the younger LGBTQ+ community. It’s focused more on finding real romance and actual relationships. The Hinge motto is “designed to be deleted.” In terms of LGBTQ+ folk, this app is for long-term dating and relationships.


Best For Queer And Nonbinary Folks

Lex

Lex is great for queer and nonbinary people who are looking for like-minds. Lex is a unique experience altogether without the picture focus of other apps. It prides itself on an early 2000s interface with a Craigslist-style design to post your profile.


Best For Diversity

Jack’d

Men Nation is great for gay single men looking for casual dates and hookups. With over 100 million GBTQ men from different parts of the world, you’re bound to find a partner who is interested in whatever you are. Men that use this website are open-minded and ready to have a fun, genuine conversation, regardless of their location or preferences.


FAQs about LGBT Dating Apps

Here are some of the most common questions and answers about LGBT dating apps: (Healthy Framework, n.d.)10

  • Should I join more than one LGBT dating app?
    • Join more than one LGBT dating app if you want to expand your search radius. You don’t necessarily have to join multiple apps to meet the right person, though. It’s all up to personal preference.
  • Are LGBT dating apps expensive?
    • LGBT dating apps range from being completely free to up to $30/month. It varies based on the app you choose and the level of membership you purchase.
  • Are LGBT dating apps age restricted?
    • Most LGBT dating apps require users to be 18 or older before signing up.
  • What if I don’t want my dating app linked to my email account?
    • If you want to avoid linking a dating app to your email address, you can create a new free email account to use instead. Make sure you create the new email account before signing up so you can receive activation links.

Conclusion

LGBT dating can be complicated and challenging, but with the rise of online dating apps, that challenge has been diminished slightly. More than half of all LGBT people use online dating to find new partners, both for flings and long-term relationships, and many enjoy the experience. So if you’re in the market for a partner, be sure to check some of them out and give it a shot!

For more interesting sex studies and statistics, head over to our guide here.

Footnotes

  1. Pew Research, 2020. A study of 4,860 respondents, including the LGB community aged 18 to 65+ years old. Methodology link: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/02/06/online-dating-methodology-2/
  2. Astroglide, n.d. An article on Everything You Need to Know About Queer and Gay Dating Apps.
  3. Social Catfish, 2020. An article on Are LGBT Dating Apps Safe?: The Dangers of Online Dating.
  4. Dating Scout, n.d. An article on the best gay dating sites 2022 in the U.S.
  5. Psychology Today, 2019. An article on Is LGBT Online Dating Different?
  6. Rosenfield, M., 2019. A study of 2,495 answers in HCMST 2009 and an additional 2,997 from HCMST 2017.
  7. Psychology of Sexuality, 2019. A study of 191 men living in London (73.8%), followed by 7.9% living in ‘another city in England.’
  8. Global Dating Insights, 2016. An article featuring a study of 2,023 respondents via an online survey over October and November.
  9. Chicago Reader, 2022. An article on the 20 Best LGBTQ+ Dating Sites and Apps
  10. Healthy Framework, n.d. An article on LGBT dating apps.
Dainis Graveris

Dainis Graveris

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