The bisexual community has an inside joke that describes what it’s like to date as a bi person: People think it means double the options or double the fun, but it really just means double the rejection.
Self-deprecating jokes like this one are at the core of the Single People Club regardless of sexuality, but bisexual people do face extra roadblocks in the dating world.
Yes, online dating sucks for everyone, but the fact that there’s only a single dating site that technically caters specifically to bi people (and even then, we have mixed feelings about it) means that many are frequently swiping on people who don’t take bisexuality seriously.
The unique dating challenges that bi people face boil down to one rigid concept: being too gay for some and too straight for others. The “B” in LGBTQ+ makes up 50 percent of the queer community(Opens in a new tab), but it’s one of the least-acknowledged letters in the acronym. What makes the bi dating landscape — especially the online one — so tricky to maneuver?
Bisexuality is hyper-sexualized on heteronormative appsA frequent bisexual experience is one that all women face online, now heightened by the mere mention of “bi” in a dating app bio: men being creepy. Too many straight men have yet to grasp the concept that bisexuality is not a green light to ask a stranger how many girls they’ve been with or if she likes men or women better.
23-year-old Megan from Virginia told us via Facebook that she couldn’t even count the number of gross (slash ignorant) messages she’d received from men in reference to writing “bi” in her Tinder bio. “There were times when they would be like ‘Oh, you never seemed gay in high school’ or whatever, because gay is obviously a personality trait ????,” she said. “Like my sexuality wasn’t a real thing or it was just a fetish to these people.”
Even on Bicupid(Opens in a new tab), the aforementioned singular dating site made specifically for bi people, there are a lot of couples looking for bi-women to hook up with — it’s not necessarily wrong, but it plays into the assumption that a bi person’s dream is to have a threesome.
Catfishing is also an issue. Some men have such a rabid obsession with queer women that they’ll sign up for a dating site as a woman just to see an all-women swiping field. It’s a total privacy breach at the least, and certainly doesn’t boost your willingness to meet up with someone in real life. Many dating sites require some form of Facebook or ID verification these days, and in the case of Tinder, have built-in background checks as a feature of the app.
Queer dating apps aren’t always inviting, eitherDoes “gold star lesbian(Opens in a new tab)” ring a bell? The delineation is given to lesbians who have never slept with a man. Countless bisexual women have reported being ghosted after disclosing that they have been with a guy before, and profiles with “gold stars only” in the bio have popped up, too.
Then there’s the issue of bi people feeling invisible when they’re deemed too “straight passing,” which can often happen in queer spaces. This kind of invalidation contributes to many bisexual folks’ struggles of not feeling queer enough.
Why people think you should still put “bi” in your dating app bioAdding those two simple letters to your bio will draw some unwanted attention, and it’s going to be a pain in the ass. But in the long run, it’ll also act like an asshole filter(Opens in a new tab) to weed out people who try to put sexual orientation into a box.
The idea that being bisexual is just a pit stop to being “fully-blown gay” — or that it means that you’re attracted to everyone you see — probably aren’t thoughts you’d prefer a partner to have. The easiest way to ensure that you won’t be left heartbroken over someone not accepting your sexuality? Let them know from the jump.
One writer for Tinder’s blog(Opens in a new tab) mentions that, despite his number of matches dropping once he put “bi” in his profile, he found more meaningful connections with open-minded men and women and had a more positive experience in general: “For the first time in my life, women wanted to date me for something that others ostracized. I felt empowered and optimistic about my romantic future.”
“Coming out” over and over again is unfair. But doing so right off the bat also acts as an early screening for people who identify as bi but say they wouldn’t date another bi person(Opens in a new tab) — something that a lot of bi men experience from bi women.
Your Best Bet
Free version: Yes One month of OkCupid Basic: $34.99 Three months of OkCupid Basic: $69.99 ($23.33 per month) Six months of OkCupid Basic: $104.94 ($17.49 per month) One month of OkCupid Premium: $44.99 Three months of OkCupid Premium: $89.97 ($29.99 per month) Six months of OkCupid Premium: $146.94 ($24.49 per month) Read our full review of OkCupid.
For young, liberal voters, politics aren’t just a “well if we agree, it’s great” thing when looking for a partner — it’s the make or break for a solid foundation. OkCupid’s 2017 redesign is more than just millennial aesthetics: It’s geared toward ensuring that you don’t end up on a date with someone who doesn’t pay attention. The addition of 12 gender identities and 20 sexual orientations also makes it a safer space for non-binary and queer individuals to find love while using the pronouns that fit them.
The way that OkCupid targets more open-minded, sex-positive users seems to be translating to the experience that bi people have on the site. Megan from VA noticed that, compared to Tinder and Hinge, she received the least amount of gross messages from guys about her sexual experiences. Though she found her current partner on Tinder, she liked OkCupid the most:
“I like that the profiles were longer and I could see how they answered some questions that could be important to me before I even messaged them. That meant that if I didn’t agree with someone on a make or break issue to me, I could just not message them before putting the time into talking to them and learning that later.”
Politics aren’t the only compatibility factor here. OKCupid has in-depth user bios, but profile building isn’t long or tedious at all. You’ll even get to see the percentage of how much you have in common with other daters based on the questions you both answer. It’s an algorithm that OKC has been perfecting since their launch and we love them for that.
For those looking for sex
Best For Finding Queer Women
Free version: Yes One month of HER Premium: $14.99 Six months of HER Premium: $59.99 ($9.99 per month) 12 months of HER Premium: $89.99 ($7.49 per month) HER, an award-winning app made for queer women by queer women, is the perfect place to go if you’re tired of the only queer woman you know being your ex girlfriend.
The app that wants to “introduce you to every lesbian you’ve ever wanted to meet” makes good on that promise with over 10 million registered users worldwide. And this app isn’t just for women — it also welcomes non-binary and gender fluid folks, as well as trans men. Basically, it’s designed to be a queer space free of cis men.
In the summer of 2019, HER revamped its minimalistic profiles to let users get more creative in categories like gender, sexuality, pronouns, diet preferences, and star signs, as well as a “What does this mean?” field in the sex, gender, and pronoun categories to create a more well-rounded understanding of identity. There’s also a space for a text bio where you can showcase your sense of humor and describe what type of relationship you’re looking for (which does include a polyamorous option). The app also has groups like “newly out,” “in a relationship/finding friends,” and “travelers” to help you find your people.
While it does have a problem with some bot profiles, HER’s built-in features, from the profile identifiers to the community tab, ultimately make it one of the most open and inclusive apps for queer folks.
Best For Focusing On Personality
Free version: Yes Hinge+: Starting at $29.99 per month HingeX: Starting at $49.99 per month People looking to at least go on a few dates with the same person instead of everything turning into a friends with benefits situation was a major blind spot for dating sites — until Hinge blew up. The premise and user base might be in the Tinder and Bumble realm, but Hinge’s unique profile criteria and (Opens in a new tab)algorithm based on (Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab)that criteria(Opens in a new tab) set the scene for matches with (Opens in a new tab)real-life potential(Opens in a new tab). Some 90 percent said the first date was great and 72 percent said they’d be down for a second date.
Known for its (in)famous slogan, “the dating app design to be deleted,” Hinge actually has a ton of features that are meant to let you actually get to know someone. Cheesy questionnaires have been swapped for over 100 hundred prompts, which are neatly organized into categories like “About me,” “Storytime,” “Self-Care,” and “LGBTQ+”. In addition to the three written prompts, you can also include one video prompt, one prompt poll, and one voice prompt on your profile — basically, there are a ton of ways to get to show off your personality, and see that of others too. Plus, Hinge ditches the swipe model and requires users to like a particular part of someone’s profile, which means putting some time into your profile can actually pay off.
Olivia from Texas told us why she prefers Hinge over other apps:
“I feel like because they place such a heavy emphasis on your personality with all the question prompts it helps it feel more romantic, which is more palatable to people who were raised to believe that the only way to meet people is some kind of meet-cute or something.”
She also mentioned that she finds way more real bi girls than unicorn hunters on Hinge.
When filling out your profile, you have your pick of 21 sexualities, plus the “Not listed” and “Prefer not to say options.” Hinge also offers one of the most extensive sections for sharing dating intentions (i.e. “Short-term relationship, open to long”), and includes options for non-monogamy.
Beyond helping users make connections, Hinge also makes an effort to help its LGBTQ user base feel supported, offering a queer-specific dating guide.
Best For Threesomes (sans Unicorn Hunting)
Free version: Yes One month of Feeld Majestic: $14.99 Three months of Feeld Majestic: $29.99 ($10 per month) Bisexual people certainly aren’t against using a dating app to get laid — they’d just prefer that it’s not through the assumptions of a straight person. Created by a non-hetero and non-monogamous couple, Feeld is a dating app for couples and singles to find threesomes, foursomes, or however many people you want. (This isn’t the first dating site to focus on non-monogamous sex, but it is the first to do it in a way that doesn’t look like a scammy billboard ad.) Because more-than-two sex is the entire point of the app, most people are honest about what they’re looking for — AKA no need to lie about unicorn hunting.
Sex positivity is the name of the game here, and not like the vulgar, dicks-everywhere kind that you’d see on AdultFriendFinder. Here, you can get specific about boundaries, find people with the same kinks, and say you’re least interested in “cis het men” in your bio without people questioning you(Opens in a new tab). And while “sit on my face” is the sexiest opening line that horny Tinder can think of, people on Feeld are generally chill, respectful, and can talk about sex without frothing at the mouth.
LGBTQ folks appreciate Feeld because it appreciates them. The app offers more than 20 sexual and gender identities and there’s a comforting understanding between users about what those identities mean. According to the company’s own stats, 35 percent of users are on the app with a partner and 45 percent identify as something other than heterosexual.
Best If You’re Just Coming Out
Free version: Yes One month of Tinder Plus: $9.99 Six months of Tinder Plus: $29.99 ($5 per month) 12 months of Tinder Plus: $39.99 ($3.33 per month) One month of Tinder Gold: $29.99 Six months of Tinder Gold: $89.99 ($15 per month) 12 months of Tinder Gold: $119.99 ($10 per month) One month of Tinder Platinum: $39.99 Six months of Tinder Platinum: $119.99 ($20 per month) 12 months of Tinder Platinum: $149.99 ($12.50 per month) A shit show, a hot mess, a nightmare — all things our interviewees used to describe being bisexual on Tinder. Every bi woman we talked to immediately brought up being scouted by other female users (who were, of course, straight and in a relationship) just looking to find a third for a threesome, the real kicker being that most of them conveniently don’t mention their motive right away. And because Tinder doesn’t require a Facebook account to sign up, there’s essentially no stopping a man from pretending to be a girl.
But you can’t deny Tinder’s role in connecting queer people who may not have signed up for a dating app otherwise. Despite an onslaught of gross opening lines from men who were simply blown away by the “bi” in her bio, Megan from VA found her current partner on Tinder.
Tinder is also helping people come out as bisexual or learn to navigate same-sex flirting for the first time. The now-ubiquitous swiping function gets shit for being shallow, but (Opens in a new tab)The Cut spoke to two people(Opens in a new tab) who said that the low-stakes vibe (less pressure than hitting up your first gay bar) made it easy to explore what they’d been thinking about after years of one gender exclusively: setting preferences to both men and women.
Since June 2019, Tinder’s orientation options have included bisexual, asexual, pansexual, and six more. Users can decide whether or not that’s made public and can also opt to be shown people of the same orientation first. (37 gender identity options were also added a few years ago.) Problematic daters can still work around this if they’re that devoted, but it’s an appreciated step toward making Tinder a safer space for LGBTQ users.
Best Tinder Alternative
One week of Premium: $17.99 One month of Premium: $32.99 Three months of Premium: $66.99 ($22.33 per month) Lifetime of Premium: $199.99 Bumble made a name for itself with it’s “women send the first message” model, which though a tad on the heteronormative side (either person can chat first with same-sex matches), can kind of help deter any creepy dudes away from bi women.
Without the chat feature applying to same-sex couples, Bumble does become a pretty similar experience to Tinder, minus a thing or two. Matches also go dead after 24-hours of no first messages — that means if you don’t send a first message or your match fails to respond to your first message within 24 hours, the time for talk is over. You can extend that time with Premium features, but for those trying to actually a conversation, and even a meeting going, this certainly helps keep your match queue streamlined.
In terms of the specific Bumble bi experience, it is easy to look at people of all genders at the same time. However, profiles don’t come with a tag to signify your own sexual orientation, so if you want people to know your bi, you’ll have to throw it in your bio or through one of the prompts. Still, Bumble is one of the most popular dating apps in the game, so the chances you’ll find someone are decently high. And if you’re looking for queer pals, Bumble BFF does have some LGBTQ-focused profile tags.
Best For Finding Queer Men
Free version: Yes One month of Grindr XTRA: $19.99 Three months of Grindr XTRA: $39.99 ($13.33 per month) 12 months of Grindr XTRA: $99.99 ($8.33 per month) One month of Grindr Unlimited: $39.99 Three months of Grindr Unlimited: $79.99 ($26.66 per month) 12 months of Grindr Unlimited: $239.99 ($19.99 per month) With Chappy shutting down(Opens in a new tab) in Feb. 2019, there aren’t many apps specifically for gay or bisexual men that aren’t some iteration of Grindr’s ab pic and dick pic-filled feed. But even after a decade of the same horny agenda(Opens in a new tab), Grindr remains a go-to for instantaneous location-based hookups for gay and bi men.
Going into it, bisexual men probably have an idea of what’s coming on Grindr: nudity, pushy messages asking for nudity, and though it says it’s an app for all queer people, probably not many women. But finding and meeting up with men on Tinder or OkCupid isn’t always quick, especially if you’re in a small town with a meager queer community. Whether it’s your first time with a guy and you want someone experienced or you’re the experienced once simply looking for a quick hookup with a man, it’s nice to have Grindr in your back pocket.
That’s not to say it’s not at all for relationships — one of my good friends met his current boyfriend on Grindr(Opens in a new tab) — but on a surface level, it’s ideal for quick, casual encounters. However, the Grindr for Equality(Opens in a new tab) campaign takes the app past being a simple hookup facilitator by advocating for sexual health and the safety of LGBTQ people in unsafe countries.
The main complaint from bisexual people about Grindr isn’t that it’s aggressively horny or 99 percent men. It’s the biphobia. This entire thread of Reddit users(Opens in a new tab) have experienced it in some way, describing the disappointment they feel from not being supported by their LGBTQ community and getting messages like “vaginas are gross” at the first mention of being bisexual or anything that’s not strictly gay. Grindr is technically advertised toward LGBTQ women as well, but because of the atmosphere on the app, they’re few and far between(Opens in a new tab).
Proceed with caution
One month of Premium: $29.95 Three months of Premium: $59.95 ($19.98 per month) Six months of Premium: $95.95 ($15.99 per month) Don’t get us wrong, we were thrilled to find out that Bicupid(Opens in a new tab), a dating site made specifically for members of the bi community, even exists. The reality of using the site, however, was lackluster.
For starters, the desktop interface looks feels a tad on the outdated side, but it’s not the design that gives off an odd vibe. On the homepage, the site boasts that it’s the “largest and most effective dating site for bisexuals, hookups, threesomes & swingers.” We’re down for some sex positivity, but it would be a nice to see a bi-centric dating site that’s just about dating, and not about having sex with people of more than one gender at the same time. Unfortunately, this marketing appears to have attracted many a unicorn-hunting couple, and within a single day, we received a decent amount of spam in our messaging inbox.
That’s not to say it’s all bad, though. There are bi-users looking for relationships, and community tabs that let you meet more people through ways other than swiping. For most of the functions though, you will have to pay for a premium membership, which with the state this site is in, we don’t feel is entirely justified. Chances are, you’ll have better luck on a site like OkCupid for a relationship or Feeld if you’re looking for a hookup, but if you want to try your luck on Bicupid, it’s there for you to check out.
To make sure you’re getting only the best dating app recs, we regularly log on to the popular apps and spend time poking around to see how their features perform in action. Whenever there’s a new app on the scene, we make sure to give it a download and test it out.
We also scour online forums to see what the general consensus is around apps, looking at which ones people seem to gravitate toward and which ones people are ditching. Whenever possible, we interview dating app users from a variety of backgrounds to get a sense of what most users are feeling.
For this roundup, we considered any features that were particularly useful for bisexual users, including sexual orientation tags, large user bases (so you don’t see the same three people over and over), and any profile prompts that specifically speak to the experience of dating as a bi person. For any apps that lean more hetero-centric, we carefully weighed the pros and cons of what they offered for bi-users to make our recommendations.
Frequently Asked Questions One of the most antiquated stereotypes about bisexual people is that they’re always down to fuck and down for polyamory. “Unicorn” is a term used to describe a bisexual person (usually a woman) who sleeps with heterosexual couples. In online dating, unicorn hunting is when a straight, taken female user toggles that she’s “looking for women” — not genuinely looking for a girl to get to know romantically, but rather for a girl interested in a threesome with her and her boyfriend or husband or whoever. Of course, they don’t mention this until later.
No one is saying that threesomes are bad. Reddit users who have experienced this mention that they don’t have a problem with “ethical non-monogamy.” They have a problem with being tricked into it. (There aren’t any great apps for polyamory either, but this is why Feeld(opens in a new tab) exists.)
Do bisexual people get dealt a shitty hand on dating apps? Yes. Does that mean meeting someone special online is impossible? Hell no. A 2017 study cited in the MIT Technology Review found that people who meet online are more likely to be compatible and have a higher chance of a healthy marriage if they decide to get hitched. Further, a 2019 study done at Stanford found that nearly two-thirds of modern same-sex couples meet online.
It sucks that there’s no great dating apps specifically devoted to bi individuals and other singles who respect what it means to be bi — yet. However, this also means that a good portion of other single bi folks are probably on those popular dating apps that you’ve considered. At least you know the user base is there. Many of these apps have taken steps toward inclusive features that can narrow your dating pool: OkCupid(opens in a new tab) pulls out the left-leaning people with compatibility based on questions about social issues and politics, and Tinder’s addition of 37 custom sexual orientations lets you opt to be shown matches that identify the same way you do.
Leah is a shopping reporter at Mashable, where she covers shopping trends, gift ideas, and products that make life easier. She graduated from Penn State University in 2012 and is watching horror movies or “The Office” when she’s not shopping online herself. You can follow her on Twitter at @notleah(Opens in a new tab).