When my friend came out as a lesbian, she was hesitant to try online dating. She worried about being judged, rejected, or just bad at attracting interesting women. She’d spent her early 20s in the closet and now felt like a novice starting over again as a lesbian. “I don’t know what the rules are,” she said.
Some people think the dating rule book is different for lesbians, but, really, dating is dating no matter the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person sitting across from you. Our dating experts see more similarities than differences between straight and lesbian dating cultures. We’re all just people.
Whatever your orientation, the whole point of dating is to build chemistry and connect on a personal level — and a dating site can give you easy access to your type of woman. For singles, like my friend, who feel unsure about how to approach women online, we’ve come up with nine lesbian-specific online dating tips that can point you in the right direction and get you chatting up lovely ladies in no time.
1. Choose a Dating Site That’s Good for Lesbian Singles
To be successful at online dating, you need to pick the right dating site for you. Maybe a sassy lesbian-only and no-boys-allowed platform seems just your style. The problem with such niche sites, though, is the membership is probably going to be sparse, and, especially if you live in a small town, finding an active user near you could be quite a challenge.
A mainstream dating site with an established base provides more opportunity to meet people, and most of the top dating platforms cultivate LGBTQ-friendly spaces. You can identify as a woman seeking women on a site like Match.com and get the same targeted dating experience of a niche dating pool — but with more date options.
If you’re looking for your lady love online, we recommend using the following top three lesbian-friendly dating platforms.
Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships
Match System: Search, plus daily match suggestions
Our Experts Say: “Gay and lesbian daters rave about Zoosk's integration with social networks and its popular smartphone app, which make it easy to meet LGBT singles on the go...” Full Review »
Browse Free: View Photos Now
|Gender Ratio||M: 48% | F: 52%*|
|Gender Ratio||M: 43% | F: 57%*|
Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships
Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more
Our Experts Say: “More than a million lesbian women in the US are looking for dates and relationships on Match, making it the best site for this audience...” Full Review »
Browse Free: View Photos Now
|Gender Ratio||M: 49% | F: 51%*|
Online and mobile dating is pretty much the fastest way to meet lesbian singles in your area. In a niche environment, you don’t have to play guessing games or waste time chatting up unavailable women. As Zara Barrie said in an article on Elite Daily, “With the great lack of queer spaces, if you want to get laid, you need to swallow your pride and swipe left and right.”
2. Be Specific in Your Bio
A generic dating profile will quickly and consistently sink your dating prospects. Women’s eyes glaze over common adjectives like “fun-loving” and “generous.” It’s just filler and not very personalized. We all love fun, OK? What lesbian daters are looking for is specifics — showing, not telling.
Instead of saying you like fun, for example, describe the fun things you like. “I light up the dance floor at the club and in my kitchen” is much more interesting than a dull list of traits.
3. Vary Up Your Photos
In online dating, photos are important. They just are. Like it or not, studies have shown that dating profiles with photos are nine times more likely to receive messages, which means more date options. It’s all too easy for women to make assumptions about you based on your pictures. As in “Oof, another bathroom selfie, this chick is so generic.”
“No matter how much time you spend polishing your profile, honing your IM banter, and perfecting your message introductions, it’s your picture that matters most.” — OKCupid’s 2009 study on profile pictures
To make your dating profile stand out, carefully select a variety of flattering photos (avoiding faraway shots) that show a bunch of different sides to you. For example, you can show your fun side with a selfie of you goofing off or show your adventurous side by posting a pic of your travels. In general, you want your profile pictures to highlight who you are and what you’ve experienced so the women browsing your profile get a full sense of everything that makes you you.
4. Dedicate Time to Online Dating Every Week
There’s no way around it — dating takes effort. Even online dating requires a bit of input. Sorry, no one has come up with a way to magically transport a hot girl to your doorstep. You have to go out and find her yourself. A dating site gives you the opportunity to make a lot of dates in a short period of time, but you get out of it what you put in.
If you’re never online, unresponsive, and generally lazy about it, you’re probably not going to have a good experience, regardless of what dating site or app you have a profile on. Dating means hustling, so we recommend setting time aside on a regular basis to update your profile, search for matches, and chat up anyone who catches your eye.
On a dating site, you have the power. You can use the search filters and messaging tools to find women who are your type and start a conversation. Sure, it takes time, but romance is an investment well worth making.
5. Tell the Site If You’re Receiving Male Matches (It Can Happen!)
Sometimes a guy can slip under the radar and end up in your list of potential matches. Gross, I know. The algorithm is trying its hardest, but, hey, things happen. Some mainstream dating websites may not have the filtering system down pat, so your feedback is important motivation for the team to get their act together for lesbian singles.
This is a problem in lesbian dating platforms as well. In 2013, HER Founder Robyn Exton estimated that about 10% of members on her lesbian-only app were actually men.
It’s rare, but if you see a male profile on an all-girl dating site or app, you should definitely report it so the administrators can investigate and take appropriate action (i.e. telling the dude to get lost). Lesbian-only dating websites take that sort of thing pretty seriously because they want to maintain a positive dating atmosphere — you know, where creepy guys don’t try to convince you to join a threesome or that lesbians are just confused and haven’t met the right man (Fun fact: Anyone making that argument is definitely NOT the right man!).
The bottom line is if you see a man in your inbox, your matches, or your searches, give the dating platform a heads up so the team can take care of the issue and make it more lesbian-friendly for everyone.
6. Ask the Women a Lot of Questions
Showing interest in someone is flattering, especially if your focus is on who your date is as a person and not what she looks like. How do you do that? Ask her questions. If you’re online dating, the first stages of your courtship will be through the site’s messaging system. That conversation will help her decide whether she wants to hear more from you and meet in person.
“DO ask her about herself. When she answers, ask follow-up questions that indicate your intent listening and the fact that you have a baseline IQ.” — tips on courting a lesbian by Sara H.
So you better work on your conversational game before joining a dating site. Asking questions is a great way to get the ball rolling and keep your crush’s attention by giving her a lot to say. According to scientific research, women are naturally more talkative than men. They enjoy sharing their experiences, ideas, insights, and viewpoints, so when you ask questions you give her a chance to connect with you.
You can find our suggestions for some good online dating questions here. Whatever your orientation, these questions will get your date thinking and talking in no time.
7. Don’t Rush Things
The fastest way to make a woman disappear on you is by chasing her too hard, too fast. Remember, until you meet her, you’re a stranger on the internet. And even after you’ve met in person, you can still go from the “This person seems nice” category to the “Omg, I’m in contact with a stalker — abort!” category in the span of one clingy text message.
I know sometimes it’s easy to fall head over heels for someone and become convinvcd that you have to spend every waking hour in contact with your new crush, but that kind of enthusiasm too early on is 100% going to freak her out. So, just chill. Maybe don’t call her the moment she gives you her phone number. Maybe don’t text her good morning a few hours after texting good night. Give her some space to get to know you before smothering her with so much attention.
Online dating is about checking out your options, so don’t be afraid to play the field and wait to see if anyone stands out.
8. Don’t Beat Around the Bush — Just Ask Her Out
Stay with me on this one. I know I just told you to take it slow, but there is a danger in taking it too slow. While you definitely don’t want to rush into a relationship, it’s not good to dawdle before a date either. All that online chemistry you feel could just be in your mind. You don’t know for sure until you take the plunge and ask her out in person.
Some lesbians worry about which person should do the asking and what the etiquette is. Here’s what we think: If you want to go on a date with her, you need to ask her. No games. Just ask. After a couple days of chatting, you should know whether you want to see more of her, so make a plan and make a date.
One more dating suggestion courtesy of the ButchWonders blog: “Don’t plan long first dates. No matter how awesome someone seems, or how articulate her emails are, you do not know her!”
9. Plan to Meet at the Date Location
When you’re making a date with someone online, you should always plan to meet at the coffee shop, restaurant, bookstore, poetry reading, political rally, or what-have-you. Do not ever ever ever get in a car with someone you just met. Or invite a random person into your car on a first date. Not cool.
Not only is sharing a ride not the safest first date plan, but it also cuts off escape route. If the date goes poorly, you can’t bail out immediately. Instead, you have to suffer through an awkward ride home. Assuming you aren’t kidnapped.
It just makes sense to arrive and leave separately. You don’t have to make a big deal out of it — after you and your date hammer out the wheres and whens, just say “Great, I’ll meet you there.” She’ll understand.
Also, remember where you choose to meet is also important. Public places are good. Shady locales are bad. The setting for your date speaks to the level of interest you have. Coffee or drinks is more casual, whereas dinner or an activity is more serious. According to a lesbian blogger on WTF Bitches, “Dinner is usually reserved for those [women] I believe I need to impress with my foodie skills.”
Now You Know “the Rules” for Lesbian Dating — Go Date!
For some singles, joining a dating site is like plunging into the unknown. They don’t know what to expect or what the rules are. If you’re in need of a little direction, our simple tips for single lesbians can help you navigate online dating and find a date that much quicker.
Whether you’re butch, femme, or any other type of lesbian dater, you can use a dating site to meet thousands of single women in your area.
A lesbian single named Mary Belge said she went on 12 dates a year with women she met online and highly recommends going online to find a date. “Nothing terribly tragic has happened,” she said, “and I’ve even made a few friends, had a little romance, and gotten some good stories to tell.”