7 Tips for Using Gay Hookup Apps Like a Pro

I’d much rather cruise in a top-down convertible than on gay “dating” apps, but it has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve used apps like Grindr since I was seventeen, and over time I started mastering the art of virtual communication. The goal became less about getting some and more about marketing myself in a way that would create mass appeal from the gay men in my area. With this idea in mind, I decided to make a list of tips that will help make your online cruising experience a little less unbearable.

1. Learn how to deal with rejection


This is a healthy skill to develop, and it’s a true sign of maturity. We’ve all been there. You see a really hot guy and you want to strike up a conversation. Your goal may not even be to hook up; maybe you’re just looking for a friend or a simple chat because you’re bored. But the guy on the other end doesn’t return the same feels. It happens and it’s not the end of the world, nor is it a reflection of who you are and what you have to offer.

For starters, everyone is not going to want to sleep with you or be your friend. That’s just the cold, hard truth. If it eats you up and negatively impacts your self-esteem, then it’s time to reassess the situation. Make a list of all of your good qualities, remind yourself of the things you are the best at, and remember all of your accomplishments – not just in the sexual world, but at work, school, or other areas of life.

2. Rethink your approach

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Maybe you’re being rejected because your approach is all wrong? No one likes receiving a dull “hello” anymore, especially as a message. It may seem like a simple enough greeting, but if anything I’ll just assume what you really mean is “Hey, are you available to have sex at the moment?” Read his profile and learn a little about him before you hit the send button. Does he like to read? Start the conversation by suggesting a good book that you enjoy. If he doesn’t answer, then he’s just not into you, bro.

Also, don’t assume everyone is looking for sex. Again, read his profile. Most of the apps have options for what he’s looking for. Sex may not be his priority at all. It can be quite bothersome when you’re genuinely looking to date or just chat and someone pops into your inbox with “U got xxx pics?” or “You a top, vers, or bottom?” It’s like a horned up gnat that won’t stop buzzing all in your face. Don’t be that desperate guy. No one likes him.

3. Your profile picture is like a billboard on a highway

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And that highway is traversed by all of the gay men in your immediate vicinity. How is the advertisement that is you being projected to the virtual gay world? I’ve come across endless profiles whose users put forth an image that is not conducive with what they write in their 250 character bios. You can’t seriously say you’re looking for friends when your ass is spread out for the camera, and I can see your entire anatomy. What type of friends are you looking for?!

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Find your angle and lighting, and try not to use so many filters. Don’t look so angry; smile for Christ sake, and if you hate your smile or you look like a brooding serial killer, then try turning your head and taking a pic looking off into the distance. Mix it up and don’t be afraid to show your face because it’s ultimately what he’ll see anyway if he agrees to meet up with you.

Also no landscapes or memes, please. People want to see you! If you’re DL then that’s another story. I guess your abs or a random lamp in your room will do?

4. Don’t be an asshole

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What makes an asshole? Basically, anyone who uses the first amendment to support saying racist remarks like “No Blacks” or those who feel no remorse body-shaming others who don’t slave away at the gym. No one wants to log into an app, a virtual safe space if you will, and be reminded of their differences or perceived shortcomings when they’re just trying to connect with others like them. I’m not saying Grindr is supposed to be a politically correct atmosphere packed with SJWs, but it also shouldn’t be a place for microaggression, internalized homophobia, and insensitivity.

Take all of that crap to your therapist’s office next Tuesday.

5. Learn to say “no” without explaining yourself


Your ass is sore and he’s badgering you to still come out and let him fuck you = say “no.” You couldn’t meet up last week, and he wants you to stop by even though you’re in bed watching Netflix = say “no.” You’re super hot and bothered, he’s the only one answering at that time of the night, but he only fucks raw and you’re too scared to go through with it = say “no.” Just say it!

6. Cut the strings

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If you’re using the apps strictly for sex, then that means you’re DTF and DTF only. Don’t expect him to keep messaging you after, want to take you out on a date, or exclusively sleep with you and no one else. That’s not going to happen. Everyone on the app who wants sex wants just that – sex. They don’t want to be bridled by feelings or emotional attachments. For some, that may be a problem but for others, it’s the easiest way to release their inhibitions and truly enjoy their sexual experiences. Not everyone is going to be on the same page as you, and Manhunt.com is not the best place to strike up a long-lasting romance.

If you find yourself getting attached to some of your hook ups, then entertain the idea that you probably want a boyfriend and not a one-night stand. That’s not a terrible thing; the terrible thing would be not trying for one. Don’t sell yourself short. The great thing the apps offer is variety. You’re bound to connect with someone on a deeper level than a 15-minute sex session.

7. Don’t be afraid to delete them.

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And don’t be disappointed in yourself if you re-download them. You’re human, dude. You crave connection with other people. There’s nothing wrong with wanting some attention every now and then. But if you see that the apps are taking a toll on your mental health, then it may be time to cut ’em loose. There are tons of studies about how gay hookup apps cause depression, self-image issues, impulsivity, and result in gay men wasting hours online looking for sex. Just in general, you shouldn’t be glued to your phone. Get out and see the world.

Meeting people in real life can be a lot more rewarding than hiding behind your phone or tablet. There’s an entire world out there, and not every gay man who’s worth meeting is going to be on these apps. Some of the coolest gays I’ve had the pleasure of coming into contact with were in gay bars, clubs, at my school, or at events catered to gay men in my area. Don’t let the security and comfort of the virtual world that’s been created for us deter you from actually stepping out into the real one.


Any other suggestions for navigating the gay app world? Leave ‘em below!


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