How to make a dating profile that attracts the right lovers
We live in an age of dating apps, hook-up sites and separated social interaction (2020 to 2021 more than ever) and the plethora of options for where to find exactly who and what you are looking for has never been greater.
Want to find a soul mate? There’s an app for that. Want to date casually? There’s an app for that. Looking to find kinksters to explore your BDSM fantasies? Cool friendship groups with shared interests? People to invite to a swinger party? One off hook-ups? To cheat discretely on your spouse? To find fellow polyamorists? Aromantics? People of your religion? One-off sex meets? Tall people? Big, beautiful women? People with the same STD status as you? Looking for a unicorn as a couple, or bull for your cuckold fantasies?
You need to start with more general advice which includes:
- Showing your best self
- What should you include (or avoid) on your profile?
- How to choose the best app for what you are looking for
Showing your best self
The art of describing oneself alluringly or selecting the right photos is, indeed, a learned skill. At first, it is tempting to leave everything blank. How on earth do you write yourself a CV as a prospective sexual partner? Knowing what is attractive about yourself and expressing it without sounding like a narcissist, loser or sex fiend is a tightrope. Nonetheless, it is necessary to put something. Your profile is your shop window. It is the first thing people will see, and they will often spend less than a second deciding whether to look at more.
What should you include (or avoid) on your profile?
The nature of how you angle your presentation will depend on the site, its rules and restrictions, what you want and what you are willing to share. There is, perhaps, no perfect formula. Yet there are some things to avoid, some things to certainly include, and some things to consider.
Regardless of which apps you are using, there are a few things that are universally true:
Make the pictures good, plentiful and diverse.
Show yourself looking good in a lot of ways. At the beach, in a suit, with friends, at a party. If you want a less sexually based meet-up, photos of you with a pet, playing an instrument, having fun at a festival or abroad, reading a book, the inside of your house, cooking or doing your favourite hobby are great, make you look interesting and give them something to message you about. Make sure they actually look like you. Some good lighting, a great pose or an artsy monochrome filter beats skin smoother apps any day.
Always write some text.
It doesn’t have to go on forever, but many people, especially women, will swipe left without it. It’s common for cam girls, catfish and people just looking to promote their band/book/business. Leaving it empty gives people nothing to go on, makes you look lazy at best, shallow at worst, and misses a great opportunity to tell a joke or present common interests for them to find.
Don’t list every book, game or film you’ve ever seen.
A few favourites are fine. What shows the flavour of you best? Focus more on the free text and less on the list.
Avoid making negative statements in your text.
A huge, detailed list of what you expect from someone, or statements like ‘no drama, get lost if you are up yourself’ just make you look like a jerk who has been rejected a lot. Rephrase anything that sounds like an apology or a bad backstory. Nobody needs to know about your ex or that you are insecure about your toes. Whatever you are, whatever you have, own it, rock it with confidence, and people who love that very thing will find you. ‘Wheel chair sex-god’ or ‘Adonis pocket-rocket’ are the kind of phrases that show you are okay with yourself, have a sense of humour, and totally over any insecurities. That’s what people love!
Don’t go too broad and vague in your presentation of yourself.
People like types! Dress up a little, be the Rockstar, be the gent. Be the girl-next door, be the confident siren. You can tell the story of a future fantasy with your words and photos. Even if someone logs on looking for something else entirely, sometimes they will be drawn unexpectedly to the energy you present them.
Don’t tell ridiculous lies.
Photos from 20 years ago, 3 stone difference in weight, lies about height, career, hair, marital status or what you are seeking are rapidly going to be noticed. Not only is it irritating for people who find these specific features important, you’ll miss out on everyone who will be attracted to you as you are, right now, in the honest version of you. It says you are not comfortable with yourself, and that’s always unattractive. View yourself instead as a product you are going to sell. How can you best present it so the customers don’t return it demanding a refund? What is awesome about you? What is sexy about you? If you aren’t sure, ask a friend to help. They will see you objectively and are probably a lot kinder to you than you are to yourself.
Look at your filter settings.
Are you really getting no matches? Or have you just set it to bisexual women age 18-25 within a 5km radius with brown eyes? Open your mind and filters a little and you’ll meet lots of great people who didn’t tick every box but tick a lot of others you never even considered.
How to choose the best app for what you are looking for
From the broad to the incredibly niche, there is an app for almost everything. This may seem wonderful, but it also means there are a couple of drawbacks:
Spreading your net too wide across too many apps becomes a lot of life admin to log in and keep up with matches and chats. When your prospective social life feels like a full-time job, you’ll rapidly burnout.
You’ll often find mostly the same people on a number of apps, including those that are of a very different nature. You may recognise the pictures, but the write up anyone has on Bumble versus Fabswingers versus Fetlife is likely to be very different. If you don’t have a consistent profile and aims in different places, make sure you are ok with people connecting the two.
Some apps are more successful and widely used in certain regions than others. You may feel like you have found the perfect one to match your tastes, but if you have no matches nearby you’ll find it limiting and frustrating.
Many apps require you to pay to have anything more than the most minimal functionality. Going to the trouble of making a profile and searching matches is irritating if you then find you can’t reply to messages without paying.
Consider, broadly, what sort of situation you are seeking. Do you just want to explore your kinkier side? Are you looking for a partner? Or are you looking to hook up quickly? The people on apps have different expectations, but the app itself will tell you what sort of market it is aiming for. The interaction style on them will be fairly different depending on what you choose.
Attracting a heterosexual man as a woman
Try: Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Fabswingers, Happn, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk, Badoo
Men are, by and large, visual creatures. For the typical male, swiping activity is a low-quality threshold: Indeed it is very common to match with nearly every man, as a woman, and then have them delete you or not chat to you later. There are a few reasons for this:
- Men often swipe yes on many people, simply because it boosts their ego to have positive feedback. This can sometimes include people they aren’t attracted to and wouldn’t want to meet in real life.
- Men often just look at the very first picture, don’t read the profile write up or check whether your interests and what you are seeking match
- Men are sometimes not ready to meet in real life but may go on the sites to have the buzz of feeling attractive to women again, even if they already have a long-term partner, and have no plan to actually meet.
If you want to attract a heterosexual man, focus on your photo, especially your first photo. Avoid obscuring bunny ears filters and overly-smoothed pictures. You can get away with a great deal more doctoring than you can with a woman, and this is generally best focussed in the direction of that which is considered conventionally attractive (youth, waist to hip ratio, large bust) unless you are on a site that specialises in the fetishization of a different body type. Include a face picture and a photo that shows the outline of your body shape.
Keep your text brief, and (unless the app is focussed otherwise) cute, happy, flirty and girl-next door, to get the most interest.
Attracting a heterosexual woman as a man
Try: Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Zoosk, Plenty of Fish
Unlike men, women do read text. They will look at the photos first, but also want to check what you write. They will look for use of English, spelling and grammar, both as a sign of education and intelligence, and to judge whether you are lazy. Always include some text about yourself, spell check it and try to sound interesting, light-hearted and respectable. Even (and especially) on the more sexually-based sites, men who can present as a gentleman will stand out above the others.
Women tend to swipe right a lot less, looking at all the photos and reading the text before choosing. They may also check whether your question answers match (on sites like OKC that provide this option) and look at your location, occupation and height.
On the hook-up sites, using a picture of your pride and joy is unlikely to be as alluring and unusual as you imagine. Indeed, it may seem like a great way to ensure your anonymity while showing your best feature, but it doesn’t really work that way. Everyone else had the same idea, and most women are more interested in the whole package than your actual package, establishing whether you appear attractive, safe, fun and skilled in the bedroom before starting a conversation.
Attracting a homosexual/bisexual man as a man
*note: These tips have been gleaned from 3 bisexual men I know, as being a woman I don’t have personal experience of this.
Try: Grindr, Scruff, Chappy
For a sexual hookup, make sure you have good photos. Use something normal looking, but that shows off your body, like a topless picture at the beach. You don’t need a dick pic, some will just swipe away. If there’s a good photo, then be honest and straight to the point, but not rude. For example, ‘I’m looking for X and I’m a top/bottom.’ Showing a femboy or supermasc type, or any other term (Fem, twink, masc, bear, otter, leather) helps to attract people who know what they like.
Although men are visual, it’s still a great idea to write something about yourself. It shows effort and gives you the chance to showcase interests or hobbies you may have in common. Even if the plan is just sex, it’s nice to have some connection on a more intellectual level. Otherwise, it’s just sex followed by awkward silences.
Giving a reasonably detailed location, STD status, face and upper body pics, and photos of yourself with other people or in the outside world helps. Being clear about what you are actually up for doing in a hookup also helps to attract like-minded souls.
Though men tend to get away with being rather more direct with each other sexually than any other dating app combination, being presumptuous can be a big turn off for most.
Attracting a homosexual/bisexual woman as a woman
Try: Her, Pinkcupid, Zoe, Spicy
One of the main things to do on a mixed sexuality site is to fly the flag! Add a rainbow flag or clarify that you are interested in women near the start of the write up. Add some nice photos of you looking different and doing different things. In your write up clarify what sort of situation you are hoping for and the activities (both sexual and/or regular) that you are hoping for. Clarify that you aren’t looking for someone for a threesome with your boyfriend. There are a huge number of partnered women on sites who say they are single and bisexual but just looking to capture a unicorn. Both gay and bisexual women are, in general, quite tired of it. If you want that, then go to a site that specifies that. And specify that in your profile. Misrepresenting yourself is a huge waste of everyone’s time.
It’s a good idea to avoid filters where it obscures how you actually look. Being overly made up can also be a turn off – women want to see the real person, and we already know all the tricks, so you aren’t fooling anybody! The duck-face pose is also best avoided- it makes you look fake and like you are just after attention.
Never underestimate the power of the smile! Getting a good smile in a photo can be tricky, so practice and take a lot. Smile with your eyes. The odd funny photo to show you don’t take yourself too seriously works wonders. Equally, photos at interesting places or doing interesting things that show what you are into makes for better conversation starters than a photo series that focusses entirely on how you look. You can mix up your photo styles to show a variety of day looks and party looks to display your range.
In the text, over-use of emojis can be a turn off. It makes it look like you can’t hold an intelligent conversation. Leaving a profile bare apart from photos shows a lack of effort and implies that you have nothing interesting to say. Don’t just rely on your looks! You’ll turn off the demi-sexuals and sapiosexuals if you only present as an attractive body. Witty comments, or showing a piece of your personality, are gold. For example, ‘I offer a spider removal service’.
Sharing interests in a profile helps people see if they align with their own. Anyone who talks about their passion always gets attention. Whether it’s music, art, or political, showing your fire is sure to win attention.
Attracting a couple as a man or woman
Try: OKC, Feeld, 3Fun, Fabswingers, SDC
If you are a man or woman looking to meet or play with a couple, select your site carefully and be very sure and clear about what you are hoping for. Do you want a one off? Occasional playmates? Are you looking to date a couple in an ongoing and more personal, polyamorous way? The three options are very different, both in the experience you will receive, and in the way you need to present yourself.
- If you are a polyamorist, use the right terms to clarify your identity and the relationship status you are hoping for. If people ask you what the terms mean, you know they aren’t ready for you yet or not looking for the same thing. Key words to include: Solo-poly, triad, relationship anarchist, nesting partner, kitchen table poly, couple privilege, metamour, compersion, hierarchy. Clarify whether you expect to have individual relationships with both partners or if are looking to date them as a unit. It will save you a lot of trouble, misunderstanding and heartache. Polyamorists who have put in the work will notice the words, and it’s almost a secret code that shows you are likeminded.
- If you are looking to casually date a couple, feel free to set out your expectations. You are the rare and beautiful unicorn (or bull) and can clarify exactly what your expectations will be in terms of commitment, contact, sexual activity, location, spend and treatment. Couples will often be quite forthright about their own expectations, and you can see whether these match what you are looking for. To attract a couple, show your playful and sensual side in both your photos and text, and clarify that you are open to this.
- If you are looking to meet a couple for a one off, it’s best to try a hook-up or swinger site, though you’ll likely get plenty of offers elsewhere. You will have plenty of interest, just be clear about what you are into and willing to do, have really nice (and rather saucy) photos to attract their interest and show your body shape, style and preferably at least a reasonable suggestion of your face, even if you don’t want to be undeniably recognisable.
Attracting a gender non- binary person
This is a huge and very diverse set of people, in their wishes, tastes and presentations. If you want to attract an enby (or gender non-binary person) it’s often a good idea to go on one of the more inclusive apps, that allows for a variety of different gender identity selections. You can specify in your profile that you are open to or looking to meet people who are gender fluid, two-spirit, gender non-conforming or similar, but due to the highly individual nature of sexuality and attraction, it is difficult to provide a blanket answer that will attract all or even most people. Ultimately, be yourself, show yourself to your best advantage, fly the flag of inclusion, avoid sounding like it’s fetishization and be gentle but clear about what you are looking for. Try search functions to narrow down your matches, so you can message.
Attracting a unicorn as a couple
Try: Feeld, 3Fun
Firstly, be on the right app! Though you can try the more generalist apps, you’ll have a lot more success going to one set up for what you want. Be prepared for a huge amount of competition- couples seeking a unicorn are in the majority, and the unicorns (single bisexual women who will see couples) can be very selective. If you’ve set out on this adventure, it’s likely you’ve discussed what you want at length with each other. Avoid creating an impossible wish-list of do’s and don’ts: focus instead on what you can offer her. Show really good photos of you, both together and apart, with faces, body types and height, and clarify the kind of situation you are looking for (whether an ongoing relationship, occasional playmate or one-off experience) and talk about the kind of experience and connection you want to have with her, not necessarily just in the sexual sense. Give her some background about you- your hobbies, work, and non-sexual interests, so you seem like interesting people. Avoid detailing your relationship at length- it never needs more than a sentence. Instead think about creating a dream evening, or ongoing situation that she will tap into. If you view it as an opportunity to make her feel special, treated and empowered, you’ll stand out every time. Almost no other couple will.
Attracting a kinky playmate
Try: Fetlife, Whiplr, KinkD, Feeld
Though you can try this on generalist dating apps, it’s much better to go to the appropriate places. There are a number of kink and BDSM apps, which variously act like Facebook or Tinder, to either meet individuals or grow your own community and network of friends. It’s a great idea to do some learning before you try, as there are a lot of words and attitudes which can catch you out. The community is strong, it’s all about trust, consent and learning skills, and if you go in thinking you can wing it you’ll rapidly be caught out. Your photos should generally show the kind of kinks you are into, but it’s also helpful if some give a reasonable idea of what you look like. Most apps give you the opportunity to list a huge variety of kink interests, and how into them you really are. Present yourself honestly. If you want to be a dominant, but lack experience, don’t try to pull it off with bravado. Say it’s an interest and you want to experience more. Likewise, if you identify as a submissive but are not sure about your limits and what you want to try, don’t be afraid to state that you are learning. The kink community is very supportive of those who enter with honesty and an open mind, and very harsh with those who don’t. It’s a great opportunity to show off your outfits and toys in the photos, which help the kinksters get a better understanding of you and find things in common.
All in all, what comes across best is someone happy with themselves, with a rough idea of what they want and who they are looking for. Making that into the perfect profile can take some practice, but all the apps let you update your text and photos. The more often you log in, the more people will see you. It’s not just a numbers game, but putting yourself out there and being strong enough to know that not every like is going to be a match, or end up with your fairy-tale situation, is a big part of it. In 2021, as the world prepares to reopen and people start to think about meeting new people, dating and trying new adventures, there has never been a better time to brush up your profile and show the world why you are wonderful.