Online dating tips that will actually work

gay men date online
Opening your mind may be just as important as updating your profile for online dating. / Fusebox

No one likes rejection. If you are single, you may want to meet people to hang out, kiss, have casual sex or to otherwise get romantically involved. It can be frustrating if you don’t get enough replies — or worse yet: responses that make you wish you could grab a can of Raid to get rid of the creeps. Fret not. Better online dates are within your reach.

Let this research give you hope that you will meet someone. The U.S. Census Bureau says there are 103 million unmarried American adults. Almost half that total are singles — 44 percent— which means there is more than enough nookie to go around. Hell, if you are interested dating nonmonogamous couples too, your field of eligibles just got even bigger.

According to Pew Research Internet Project, 38 percent of people who are currently “single and looking” have used online dating sites or mobile hookup apps and more than 23 percent of online daters said they clicked or swiped to find their current spouse or long-term partner. With numbers like these, finding your right mate is just a matter of time. Be patient.

Whether you look for lust on Match, Adam4Adam, Tinder, BlackPeopleMeet, JDate or any of the myriad apps and  dating spaces out there, these tips will help you write a profile that makes people notice.

“Don’t yuck my yum!” 

Sex educators use this phrase as a reminder that sexual practices are diverse. What you think is disgusting others might think is delicious. Maybe sploshing (eating food off another person) is your thing — or you have to take to Google to know what it means. In either case, apply this philosophy online. If you find someone who’s not quite what you’re looking for, move on. But remember, it could be your loss or theirs. Whatever you decide, don’t judge them. You, too, are someone else’s castoff.

Do’s and don’ts:

• DO focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Instead of saying “don’t bother writing me if [fill in the blank],” explain who should write you, what you are looking for and what kinds of fun you want to have with potential partners.

• DON’T limit yourself. Online dating offers a wonderful opportunity to explore new territory. Go younger or older, ethnically darker or lighter. Cast your net a mile (or 5!) farther than your current commute takes you.

• DON’T be boring. Write more than one-sentence openers like “What’s up?” or “Your hot!” (sic.) Use correct grammar and spelling. Be the same multifaceted, engaging human being online that you are offline.

• DO put your best face forward. Ask a friend to give you honest, straightforward advice about the photos you posted on your profile. Adjust or replace accordingly.

— Twanna A. Hines is an award–winning educator and sex columnist. She has contributed to CNN, NPR, Sirius, Lifetime, Mashable, Nerve, Fast Company magazine, CBC (Canadian National Radio), Paris Première (French television) and Al Jazeera. She’s online at FUNKY BROWN CHICK®, and you can follow her on Twitter @funkybrownchick. Send your deepest love queries to


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