May 29, 2023

Best dating sites for women 2020: How to find the connection you deserve

“Fun” probably isn’t the word that anyone would use to describe dating. But women face extra challenges that can turn online dating into a hellscape. While avoiding creeps completely isn’t likely, choosing a dating app full of people who share your goals can help prevent heartache.

Best for most women

Match

Find your soulmate without that lovey-dovey pressure with Match’s new design that make it easy to tell who’s serious.

Best for queer women

HER

Avoid creeps and fetishization on this queer women-only app that aims to be a safe space and a matchmaker.

All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Being a woman on the internet is hard. At times, scary and exhausting, too.

From online harassment, to cyberstalking, to Twitter reply guys, letting women exist in peace is, apparently, a very hard concept to grasp. The chance of such unsettling experiences feels doubled for a woman on a dating app, where others often assume that a dating app profile means that one is willfully subjecting themselves to creepy comments. The onslaught of men grasping at straws for attention with messages saying “think they saw you somewhere” or asking for nudes as their opening line is an online dating specialty. Queer women on dating apps face all of these same challenges, plus an extra shop of horrors run by fetishization, ignorant cis straight people, and the feeling of not being queer enough.

Does it feel easier to shoot your shot by simply using a hot selfie on your Instagram story as bait and hoping your crush replies? I mean, that’s a classic tactic that’ll never die. But at the end of the day — unless you and said crush are already in some sort of flirtationship and already follow each other on social media — finding love, a hookup, or someone to grab a drink with could happen a lot faster with the right dating app than waiting to meet someone at work or on a blind date.

This means not deleting and re-downloading Tinder after every breakup or every time you ghost (or get ghosted by) your current entanglement. 

Tinder can truly be a great place to meet genuine people who are open to getting serious, to find a reliable friend with benefits, or to get a good-old-fashioned confidence boost from seeing “It’s a match!” every time you hand out a right swipe. But if you’re frustrated with horny jerks disguising themselves as relationship seekers or relationship seekers who can’t handle it when you say you’re just looking for a hookup, opting for a dating site more finely-tuned to what you’re looking for means you’ll spend less time dealing with people who aren’t looking for the same thing. 

Maybe you can’t stand starting every conversation from scratch or just absolutely do not want to end up on a date with someone who doesn’t care about voting. Instead of a rushed bio, dating apps that show someone’s hobbies, favorite movies, career goals, or even political views before even talking to them opens up a wealth of clever ice breakers, and ensures that you aren’t going into things blindly. 

WATCH: How to go on a virtual date during the coronavirus pandemic

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Dating apps are trying to make things safer IRL

Meeting someone from the internet in person for the first time is nerve-wracking for anyone. But for women, it can dredge up the same fear that occurs when walking alone past a big group of men. 

Match Group is making strides toward a safer dating experience: In Jan. 2020, Tinder unveiled the new features coming out of its partnership with Noonlight, a safety app that tracks the location of users and notifies authorities if there are concerns. Before heading out on a date, Tinder users can log info about where they’re going and who they’re meeting, as well as hit a panic button to alert authorities if there’s an emergency. (Match Group plans to roll out the same features for its other apps, like Hinge and OkCupid, later.) 

In Sept. 2020, Match launched Date, just one among a slew of other smart features that push meaningful connections along. Date lets you learn more about your match’s social distancing preferences before considering them further. This comes just months after the initial lockdown when some men on dating apps began to harass women to hang out during a pandemic.

What are the best dating sites for women?

Here are the best dating sites and apps for single women looking for a date, a movie buddy, a friend with benefits, or a romantic commitment. 


Ability to choose personality traits you’re seeking • Easy to tell who’s serious about finding a real relationship • Even number of men and women • Find love in six months or get six months free • Free users can now message their “Top Picks”
Sifting through so many users takes work • Notifications for EVERYTHING • Prices change too often • No support for non-binary users
If you sign up for Match, be ready for it to work — so fast that you might not use most of your subscription.

Match

Find your soulmate without that lovey-dovey pressure with Match’s new design that make it easy to tell who’s serious.

  • Free version:
    Yes
  • Three months of Premium:
    $19.99/month
  • Six months of Premium:
    $17.99/month
  • One year of Premium:
    $15.99/month
Any woman thinking seriously about getting serious in a relationship has thought about Match at least once. Its decades in the business bring constantly-evolving insight to the table for singles looking for that spark. But if you’re expecting a corny questionnaire and ancient graphics reflective of the fact that it was born in the 90s, think again.
One of Match’s shining points of consistency over the years is its well-populated but balanced user base. There’s a near-even split between men and women, users who don’t have kids and users who do have kids, and a pretty stacked feed of people to match with even if you’re looking for love in a less-populated area.
Match (no more “.com”) has totally reconstructed its questionnaire to be less of a tedious interrogation and more of a conversational probe into how you’d react to realistic situations — both with a partner and, say, a neighbor who needs help at 3. a.m. The probe into your daily habits and values (plus the ability to mark traits that are deal breakers) ensures that Match sets you up with someone whose ideal lifestyle matches yours. The meshing of playfulness and rational thinking downs the pressure of signing up for a paid dating site.
The site’s push to appeal to a younger crowd goes past the clean app redesign. AskMatch, a free dating advice service that lets you pick the brain of a dating coach, can be thanked for a wave of positive reviews on the App Store. In 2020, Match launched Vibe Check, a social distancing-era video call feature that aims to give new matches the closest thing possible to a first date. (This is also a smart way to ensure that the person on the other end is legit.) Users can now talk to their Top Picks without a paid subscription — a free feature that’s sure to make up some people’s minds. 


High success rate speaks for itself • People sign up because they’re ready to settle down • Questionnaire makes you think about what you need to work on • Less tedious and corny than it used to be • Super user-friendly
Historically not LGBTQ-friendly • No support for non-binary users
If you’re dying to settle down with the one, eharmony’s proven success in marriage is worth the premium cost.

eharmony

What’s smothering to casual daters is right up the alley of marriage-minded millennials, now with a modern refresh.

  • Free version:
    Yes
  • Six months of Premium:
    $59.50/month
  • One year of Premium:
    $35.90/month
  • Two years of Premium:
    $25.90/month
Ever see a commercial for eharmony and wonder if a dating site that corny actually works? Oddly enough, it does. A spokesperson for the site says it’s been used by 54 million people, apparently being responsible for 4 percent of U.S. marriages. Does that automatically mean you’re going to walk down the aisle within the first year? Maybe not, but it at least narrows your options to singles who are looking to be exclusive, meet the family, or move in together.
What was once a doozy of a sign-up process is now short, sweet, and free of the weird religious questions that held it back from being a heavy hitter for the younger crowd. The comprehensive questionnaire covers 32 dimensions (up from 29) of what makes a happy relationship. Instead of blatantly asking if you get mad easily or if you’re emotionally stable, eharmony may ask how you handle apologizing after a fight or if a certain action would piss you off. These hypotheticals draw more natural responses, and a few other fun ones are thrown in to cover hobbies, traveling, and other factors that make good ice breakers.
It’s not the mushy deep dive that it was a few years ago, but eharmony is still so confident in its matchmaking skills that you’ll get three months for free if you don’t find a boo within the first three months.
It should be noted that eharmony hasn’t always been a welcoming place to members of the LGBTQ+ community. Following a 2010 lawsuit, their gay and lesbian spin-off site Compatibility Partners has been folded into eharmony’s overall site, but users on Reddit as recently as 2019 say that it still seems geared more toward straight people. 


Niche corners like “newly out” or “travelers” • Users encouraged to advertise the type of relationship they’re looking for • Opportunity for local LGBTQ+ community involvement • Dedicated spot for pronouns in bio
Lots of users complaining about being single • Biphobia reported • Same users keep popping up
A rapidly-growing space for queer women to make real connections while avoiding unicorn hunters and drooling men.

HER

Avoid creeps and fetishization on this queer women-only app that aims to be a safe space and a matchmaker.

  • Free version:
    Yes
  • One month of Premium:
    $14.99
  • Six months of Premium:
    $11.99/month
  • One year of Premium:
    $7.49/month
Between creepy men pretending to be women, entitled men thinking you care about their lesbian fetish, and straight girls looking for a third for a threesome with her and her boyfriend, most heteronormative dating sites don’t give queer women a great shot at finding a relationship. HER, an award-winning app made for queer women by queer women, is the place to try if you’re tired of the only lesbian you know being your ex.
As the user base of over four million grows at a steady pace (especially in cities), HER could widen your dating pool beyond the people you already know IRL. In 2019, HER revamped its profiles to let users get more creative in categories like gender, sexuality, pronouns, diet preferences (like veganism), and star signs, as well as a “What does this mean?” field in the sex, gender, and pronoun categories to offer a more well-rounded understanding of identity. There’s also a space for a text bio where you can showcase your sense of humor or describe what kind of relationship you’re looking for, as well as more niche corners like “newly out,” “in a relationship,” and “travelers.”
HER goes past introducing queer women in the context of dating or hooking up. Users can also get involved in local LGBTQ events, read LGBTQ news, and make friends through its social-media like feed.


Eliminates “dead” matches • Bumble Boost lets you rematch with an expired match
Time limit could be too high-pressure for some • You’ll see a lot of the same people as Tinder
With women making moves and matches expiring after a day, Bumble gets you considering matches more seriously.

Bumble

Women are required to make the first move, so it’s great for ladies tired of being bombarded by creepy dudes.

  • Free version:
    Yes
  • One week of Boost:
    $8.99
  • One month of Boost:
    $24.99
  • Three months of Boost:
    $16.66/month
  • Six months of Boost:
    $13.33/month
  • Lifetime Boost:
    $119.99
In an attempt to correct one of the common complaints of dating apps — that women get spammed with tons of creepy messages — women are required to message first with Bumble. It pushes some women out of their comfort zone, but like Tinder, you’ll at least know that someone also swiped right on you before making a move. It also takes the pressure off of dudes who feel like they need to start the conversation every time. (We knew you were gonna ask, so yes, with same-sex matches either party can start things off.) 
Matches expire after 24 hours so you can’t agonize over that opening line for too long, and your match list won’t be filled with people you forgot you matched with 57 weeks ago. This is clearly not the ideal setup for someone who wants to sit back and wait for the algorithm to have five hotties waiting each time the app is opened.
You’ll see pictures and short bios of potential matches in your area and can swipe depending on whether you’re interested. It’s a pretty close mock of Tinder, except for the fact that Bumble relieves the anxiety of accidentally swiping left on a hottie by letting you backtrack. Bumble also offers a BFF feature to find strictly platonic friends and a LinkedIn-ish networking feature called Bizz in attempts to remind everyone that it’s not just a hookup app.
Filtering by zodiac sign is also a thing as of 2019. The internet is divided over whether this will actually help you find people you’d get along with, as the feature only incorporates sun signs and anyone with basic astrology knowledge knows that sun signs aren’t a tell-all. However, if someone just went through a messy breakup with a Virgo, they have the right to not want to mess with a Virgo for a while. 


Expands compatibility to those with similar political views • Dedicated space in bio for preferred pronouns • Hip and genuinely fun to navigate • Shows compatibility percentage for each new person
Best features aren’t free (but still affordable) • Not great in small towns
One of the original dating sites that’s dedicated to adapting, looks great, and offers multi-faceted matches.

OkCupid

Informed millennials dig OKC’s focus on the nexus between political views and meshing romantically.

  • Free version:
    Yes
  • OkCupid basic:
    $19.99/month
  • OkCupid premium:
    $29.99/month
Is your worst nightmare going on a date with someone super hot just to find out they don’t care about women’s issues? OkCupid understands that the hottest, coolest person in the world isn’t that hot or cool if they’re tone-deaf when it comes to the current social justice climate.
Users can illuminate the issues they hold dear and weed out people they’d want to argue with by answering deal-breakers like “Would you date someone who keeps a gun in the house?” or “Should the government require children be vaccinated for preventable diseases?” As one of the most inclusive dating sites on the market by far, OkCupid is known for its decision to let all users choose their pronouns. In June 2020, the site introduced the option to add a Black Lives Matter badge to your profile. Per OkCupid’s own stats, liberal women and people who plan on voting have significantly better luck on the site.
Of course, politics aren’t the only determining factor in romance. OKCupid has in-depth user bios, derived from questions that are smart, on the cusp of modern dating, and dive into your love language without crossing the cliché line. OKC slaps a compatibility percentage on the profile of every person you come across to give a quick idea of the answers you had in common (or lack thereof). It’s an algorithm that OKC has been perfecting and evolving since its launch in 2004.


Limited scrolling rather than endless swiping • Unique profile criteria like political affiliation and stance on marijuana • High statistics for second dates • Large and growing user base • Less chance of vulgar pick-up lines from men
Filtering by height no longer a free feature • Have to pay for unlimited matches
Young people’s new favorite app puts a hopeful, relationship-focused twist on instant gratification.

Hinge

This modern go-to app for millennials to find a date is chiller than Match but less “Wanna bang?” than Tinder.

  • Free version:
    Yes
  • One month of Preferred:
    $12.99
  • Three months of Preferred:
    $6.99/month
  • Six months of Preferred:
    $4.99/month
Having a profile on Tinder probably means you have one on Hinge and Bumble, too. The big three rapid-fire apps may seem interchangeable, but Hinge has an arsenal of unique profile criteria and a data-based algorithm that sets it apart from competitors who simply throw everyone in a 10-mile radius in your direction. 
The chance of a man asking if you’re DTF in within the first five minutes is never zero. They’re everywhere. But Hinge’s distinct calling to people who are looking for a relationship (or at least open to being cuffed) downs the likelihood of women being pursued with a poorly-placed peach emoji.
Despite the fact that we’re actively seeking out new dating apps to try, no one wants to be on these. Unless you’re in it for the booty calls, the whole point of online dating is to find your person so you can stop looking for your person. That’s the idea behind Hinge’s 2019 rebrand to “the dating app designed to be deleted.” It seems to be working in the real world: The “We met” feature that asks users how the first date went found that 72 percent said they’d be down for a second date. (If your date said anything offensive, you can report that to Hinge, too.)
There’s a common understanding among users that Hinge isn’t just for sex, but there’s no pressure to rush into a relationship either. Instead of cheesy questionnaires and spam emails about the 50 winks you were sent, Hinge uses personal prompts to find you anywhere from five to 15 matches per day. Prompts range from “The most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done” to “Two truths and a lie.” You can also explore a potential match’s height, college (if they went), political affiliation, stance on weed, and more, which are displayed as profile constants like age or gender. By covering so many bases before even messaging someone, Hinge lowers your chance of meeting someone you’d hate.


Great for women looking for a partner in the same job field • Recent update makes questionnaire more fun • More mature user base than competitors • Very specific age group target
Distance filter starts at 50 miles • Might get suggestions that don’t match your filters • Easy for users to lie about salaries • More expensive than eharmony • No support for non-binary users
Women who are established in their careers can look for love with someone who values the same things.

EliteSingles

Turned on by career goals? This site introduces working professionals over 30 looking for other successful singles.

  • Free version:
    Yes
  • Three months of Premium:
    $69.95/month
  • Six months of Premium:
    $53.95/month
  • One year of Premium:
    $39.95/month
A difference in work ethic and professional schedules can really throw a wrench into even the most head-over-heels relationships. For those unwilling to budge when it comes to their partner’s educational values and career goals, EliteSingles attempts to offer more specificity where eharmony and Match leave off. 
EliteSingles loves to brag that 82% of their members are college grads, and with most of its members between 33-50 years old, we can pretty surely say you won’t have to worry about accidentally coming across a fresh college graduate. College kids probably wouldn’t be down to pay $30 to $70 a month on a dating site anyway, and that high subscription price is just another giveaway that EliteSingles is targeted toward more established folks with a disposable income. 
Rather than being thrown into an endless pool of profiles, EliteSingles attempts to match you through the Five Factor Personality Test. Via 29 algorithms, the site will try to find singles to complement your attachment style, selfishness, and more stuff that you should try to be honest about. The boring parts are broken up by chill questions like “Do you like sleeping with the window open?” and “Which of these foods would you like the best?” It takes forever and a lot of the questions are fake deep, but how else do you expect to be successful on a dating site? 
Plus, you can take comfort in the fact that you won’t be dealing with fake or scam accounts, as EliteSingles manually verifies all accounts with an upscale fraud detection system. However, though you can technically filter potential matches by profession (for example, a teacher looking to date another teacher), it’s difficult for any dating site to track down every single person lying about their job or how much money they make.


No fancy algorithm, no mushy messages, no waiting • Artsy design and modern layout • Everything is deleted after 24 hours • Stellar App Store reviews • Actually has a dependable desktop version
Have to re-upload photos and re-type bios constantly • Price point is high for access to such a small user base • Definitely won’t be useful in less-populated areas • Possible catfish risk
Self-proclaimed “the hookup app,” the success of this hipster Snapchat for sex depends on the day.

Pure

The least obnoxious (and most hipster) hookup app out there that guarantees quick, attached-free booty calls.

  • Free version:
    Yes
  • One week:
    $14.99
  • One month:
    $29.99
Women freely expressing their sexuality online is a beautiful thing — one that can be soiled quickly by male entitlement. Whether you’re not comfortable with putting “sex only” in your Tinder bio for the locals to see or if you’re simply a practicer of non-attachment with the people you bang, Pure is a safer, hip solution.
App rules urge you to “pretend like you’re strangers afterwards,” making no-strings-attached the only name of the game here. This hella millennial app is a sex-positive, 18+ safe space that features some pretty cool art — the blueprint of the truly modern hookup app. Just be sure to communicate your boundaries in your bio.
Your selfies, bio, conversations, matches, and likes self destruct every 24 hours, promoting spur-of-the-moment, borderline anonymous hookups. No nudity is allowed and any photos sent in messages can’t be saved. (As the dry-humored comics on their website state, “Don’t talk about your problems. Problems are for therapists. Pure is for fun.”) The app will ask for your phone number, but that’s just to make sure you’re a real person. The app uses your geolocation and sends out the sex version of an Uber request, though the sparse user base might have your searches suggesting the same few people.
PURE gives all the feels of a sex-based site without the obnoxious naked parts and porn ads everywhere. (Cough *AdultFriendFinder* cough) Running into bots and people trying to make money is likely, but the spammy stuff isn’t nearly as rampant as traditional hookup sites.


Huge variety of people • Matchmaking based on subconscious swiping behavior
Potential to be hit with random fees • Too many spam or dead profiles • Profile views may be inflated if your activity is low • No support for non-binary users
Zoosk is boring but could expand your horizons if you’re tired of the same Match users popping up.

Zoosk

Matchmaking that learns from the profiles you like doesn’t make up for a rushed questionnaire and spammy feed.

  • Free version:
    Yes
  • One month of Premium:
    $29.95
  • Three months of Premium:
    $19.98/month
  • Six months of Premium:
    $12.49/month
What initially began as a Facebook app developed in 2007 has grown into a company with 35 million users in more than 80 countries. Rather than asking its users for dating questions, Zoosk picks dates for its users based on quick questions about physical appearance and religion, and then keeps tabs on who you talk to the most to get a better idea of what you’re after. There are a lot of flirty little ways to spark a conversation without having to actually give an opening line, but you’ll know next to nothing about the person going into it.
When Zoosk switched from a social media app to a legit dating site, it was more or less in a league of its own. Incorporating “liking” photos and having a similar look as a Facebook feed was super attractive to young, single people… in the early 2000s. The problem is that Zoosk hasn’t changed much since then. It’s plain, riddled with dead or fake profiles, and and there certainly aren’t any modern tweaks like OkCupid’s politics-related ice breakers or Match’s overhauled questionnaire.
Zoosk is free to sign up, but you’ll need a paid subscription to do basically anything. Not only is there a fee on the end of every message, but Reddit users complain about random charges to their account and ignored requests to cancel their subscriptions. The company also uses its own form of currency called “Zoosk coins” that are available for purchase. Daters can use these for features like adding a “boost” to their own profiles in search or sending another user a virtual gift like roses. The whole coin system feels less like romance and more like you’re playing some sort of pop-up ad game, but they’re there. 


No need to filter through immature daters • 3-7 matches per day instead of swiping
Pretty expensive • Lack of customer support • No support for non-binary users
The site with a fresh take on online dating for the 50+ crowd still isn’t very user-friendly.

Silver Singles

A site dedicated to this age group offers a comfort zone for daters who are experienced in life, but rusty in dating.

  • Free version:
    Yes
  • Three months of Premium:
    $44.95/month
  • Six months of Premium:
    $34.95/month
  • One year of Premium:
    $24.95/month
Dating over 50 means that, more than likely, this is your second or third attempt at love. When Match or eharmony’s user bases still pose too much of a never-married-with-no-kids crowd, SilverSingles is here to let you know that putting yourself back out there doesn’t have to be scary. 
You’re not alone: 50% of marriages in the US end in divorce. It’s no surprise that many men and women are finding themselves in the online dating world during their golden years. Because SilverSingles wants to ensure that your next relationship is your happily ever after, the sign-up process and questionnaires will take a good bit of time to asses the type of partner you are. The site will use your info to send you five of its best matches per day.
A sister site to EliteSingles, SilverSingles uses the same intense compatibility system that EliteSingles does, bringing in the popular big five personality traits to assess five levels of your being: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. If you’ve heard of Senior Singles Meet in the past, SilverSingles is that same site with a rebrand — so they’ve actually been working on mastering the five factor model in tandem with senior dating for about two decades.
Creeps are weeded out by a high-end verification process and you can report any user who’s acting suspicious or inappropriate.