We’ve nearly made it the most relationship-centric day of the year, but year-round, casual dating, hookup culture, and no-strings-attached relationships deserve their flowers too. In this new era of dating, hookup apps are on just about everyone’s smartphone. And for good reason. You watch TV on demand (thank you Netflix) and your food can be ordered and delivered to your door while you sit on the couch (hello DoorDash), so why would finding a potential hookup partner be any different?
UPDATE: Dec. 7, 2023, 2:33 p.m. EST We are in the process of reevaluating Feeld’s place among our recommendations after the app’s recent update arrived with bugs and location-related safety concerns.
What is hookup culture?
The phrase “hookup culture” refers to casual sex or uncommitted sexual encounters — you know, good old-fashioned consensual sex just for the sake of it.
Way back when, before dating apps became a thing, people would rely on chance encounters or social gatherings (mainly parties or bars) to meet someone new to have a casual fling with. But now, with the huge pool of dating and hookup apps available, we’ve found ourselves firmly in what we’d like to call our hookup culture era, and finding a partner is as easy as swiping right on a profile photo.
The dedicated hookup app is a gateway to hot instant gratification, and the coolest thing is that you can decide where to find your fling and how much or little you’d like to know about the person before getting down and dirty.
What makes a good hookup app?
The best hookup apps don’t have to be a one-and-done situation. Sure, things can be kept as anonymous as taking a nameless person home from the bar, but there’s also nothing wrong with ensuring that the person getting to see you naked doesn’t have the world’s worst sense of humor. Plus, getting along well with a hookup, even if you’re not looking for anything serious or exclusive, can help if you are looking for a regular friends-with-benefits situation.
Though many of these hookup apps make it obvious that people are looking for *that,* people on more generalized dating apps can avoid a lot of messiness if a heads-up about intentions is given within the first few DMs. Many apps even include an option to mark what you’re looking for so your intentions can be clear from the get-go.
How do I find people to hook up with?
Basically, there’s no one “best hookup app” you can use to find guaranteed partners, but you’ll probably also want to skip any apps that feature a 10-minute questionnaire about romance and future families or ones that require expensive subscriptions intended for people who want long-term relationships.
Photos are also a huge factor in good hookup apps. Some apps and dating sites hide people’s pics unless you have a paid subscription, and we don’t really love that — for physical attraction reasons and safety reasons. Apps that show the full view of someone’s profile are the way to go.
Whether you want to pay for a hookup app is totally up to you, but we will say Tinder and Hinge have great free versions. You can likely find a hookup by the weekend without paying a cent.
Whether you’re looking for casual sex or are simply looking to exchange nudes, here are our picks for the best hookup apps right now: