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Best dating sites for women: Female-focused dating apps which put you first

Best dating sites for women: Female-focused dating apps which put you first
(Image credit: ShutterStock)

It’s 2020, which means we don’t take any nonsense from men on dating sites. The best dating sites for women will put you in the driver’s seat and help you find exactly what you’re looking for while keeping you safe. 

For many women, a dating app is a way to find out important information about a potential match before you swipe. Unlike meeting in a bar or in the office, the best online dating sites will allow you to make quick decisions about someone’s political stances, professional field, and even star sign, before even starting a conversation. 

In our guide to the best dating sites for women, you’ll find some great apps for professionals, seniors, those seeking serious relationships, and those looking for fun. Of course, there’s some overlap between this and our guide to the best gay dating sites and the best senior dating sites, but if either of these applies to you, we’ve got some great options for you here, too.

In choosing the best dating sites for women we looked closely at the safety and support measures in place, and the ways in which these apps give female users control. Success rate is also a major factor - to increase your chances of finding a great match, having a large user base can be important. Some of the sites in our lineup are free, but many have paid options which offer you perks such as unlimited swiping.


1. Bumble: Best free dating app for women

Best dating sites for women

(Image credit: Bumble)

Bumble

The dating app which puts women first

Platform: App | Membership: Free and paid

Marketed as a 'feminist' dating app
Women message their matches first
Features to allow users to connect on platonic and professional levels
Gender identity and sexual orientation options aren't as varied as on other apps
Matches disappear after 24 hours if women decide not to message

Bumble is marketed as a feminist dating app, primarily because its features put women in charge. Essentially, the app works in the same way a swiping app like Tinder does, but only women can message their matches first. 

This hypothetically reduces the amount of unwanted explicit messages, and women can decide who they really want to message. However, many users report that a large number of their messages to men go unanswered and hypothesize that perhaps Bumble is an app that boosts many men's ego: to many, the number of messages they receive from women reflects their attractiveness and desirability. 

The app seems catered specifically to straight women. While gay women and men can join the app, in that case, it wouldn't function any differently than Tinder. That being said, the relationship-centered app does have a more respectful atmosphere, and it takes reports of harassment very seriously.

Gay men can also hypothetically join the app, but it's widely agreed that it wouldn't be much of an advantage over joining a more popular app like Tinder or Grindr.  

Best dating sites for women

2. Hinge: Best dating app for women seeking a relationship 

Best dating sites for women

(Image credit: Hinge)

Hinge

The dating app for women that's designed to be deleted

Platform: App | Membership: Free and paid

The app provides prompts and questions to help generate a meaningful conversation
Explicitly designed to help users find love
Limited number of potential matches a day

Most women agree that Hinge is perhaps one of the best dating apps available to women looking for a meaningful connection. Almost every aspect about the app discourages "mindless swiping" on potential matches. Instead, the app only gives you a certain number of potential matches a day, so you need to think twice before saying 'yes' or 'no' on a profile. 

When you create your profile, you're prompted to answer relatively in-depth questions about yourself instead of simply writing a bio from scratch. Potential matches will initiate a conversation by commenting on your answers to these questions or by commenting on one of your photos. This makes it easier to strike up a meaningful connection right off the bat. 

Finally, many women feel safer on Hinge because some potential matches are pulled from a pool of friends of your friends - meaning that there's already a connection between the two of you. 

If need be, you can ask the mutual friend about your match, or know that you at least share something in common: you maybe went to the same college, have overlapping circles of friends, or even live in the same neighborhood. With the tagline, "Designed to be Deleted," both women and men know where to turn to find a meaningful match. 

Best dating sites for women

3. The League: Best dating site for professional women 

Best dating sites for women

(Image credit: The League)

The League

The 'elite' app for professional women looking for connections.

Platform: App and online | Membership: Paid

For professional women looking for fellow professionals
Uses Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to verify users, reducing the potential for bots and fake accounts
Can be seen as 'elitist'
Getting off the waitlist can take a few weeks

If you're willing to pay for it, The League is a dating app that does all the work for you. You’ll need active Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to log in, and you'll be assessed based on the information you've provided on these profiles, such as your education and professional career. 

On top of that, you have to fill out an application and then are placed on a waiting list for an undetermined period of time that varies by the city you live in. Once you’re a member, you’ll have access to a personal concierge who does a lot of the work for you and helps curate your profile.

Part of what draws some people to The League is the ability to be extremely picky about the kind of people you want to match with. You can filter not only by age and location but also by race or even education. Then every day at 5 pm you'll get to see five matches and decide whether to like them or not. 

Each user profile displays photos, location, height, age, education, career, and hobbies. If both users like each other, you can strike up a conversation on the app's messaging feature. If you want more than your allotted five matches, you'll need to upgrade your membership, which costs more. The League also hosts events and group hangouts for users who feel more comfortable meeting people that way.

The downside to this app is its built-in elitism. It's meant to feel exclusive, and the language used in the marketing materials isn't exactly warm and fuzzy. For example, one of the website's tagline is, "We do the scouting and the vetting, you do the matching and the petting." Still, if an exclusive and upscale dating app experience is what you’re looking for, The League could be for you.

Best dating sites for women

4. Wingman: Best dating app for female safety 

Best dating sites for women

(Image credit: wingman)

Wingman

A dating app where friends have your back.

Platform: App | Membership: Free

Friends create a profile for you and introduce you to a date
2 levels of vetting: a friend and yourself
Not a huge user base

The Wingman app may not be the most popular option for online dating, but it takes matchmaking into the 21st century. With this app, you can create a dating profile for your friend and tell the world how amazing they are. Along with selecting the most flattering photos of your friend, you get to write their bio. 

It can be hard to self-promote and this app eliminates that problem. Once you set up a profile, the app is pretty similar to Tinder; you simply swipe through user profiles to find folks you think might be compatible with your friend. 

Like the profile you created, those you flip through are monitored and used by the friends of the person actually going on the date. If they think it’s a match that might work, you can facilitate a conversation or a meet-up.

With Wingman, there’s no need for any more embarrassing blind dates. This also means if things don’t go well at first, your friend never has to know about their online dating fail and can simply look for more fish in the sea. 

The app is free to download, but you need to verify yourself as a wingman to get your friend set up. It went live in 2017 and is currently available for both Android and iOS. However, there isn't a desktop version.

Best dating sites for women

5. Match.com: Best dating site for women over 50 

Best dating sites for women

(Image credit: Match.com)

Match.com

A popular dating site with a great reputation and large user base.

Membership: Free and paid | Platform: App and desktop

A great track record of making matches
Users of all ages looking for love
Most features are paid

For women over 50 looking to meet someone special, Match.com is a brilliant choice.  The site has a great track record and established base of users of all ages. It's one of the OG dating sites, and it matches people based on questionnaires and user profiles. 

Although it's free to sign up, the best features on Match.com require a membership. This is worth it if you're new to the dating game though, because this service has a lot of safety features and customer support, as well as the option to meet friends, companions, and both casual and serious relationships. 

Like apps such as Hinge, Match.com allows you to add personal interests and potential talking points with new matches. This makes it easier to break the ice and find common ground, which can lead to great relationships.

Best dating sites for women

6. Badoo: Best app for casual dating  

(Image credit: Badoo)

Badoo

Meet plenty of singles on this popular dating app.

Membership: Free and paid | Platform: App

Attraction guaranteed
Popular app
Great for casual fun

Owned by the same company as Bumble, you’re likely to find a date among Badoo’s more than 400 million users. It is a little different than the dating apps we reviewed. Instead of uploading your own information, you also get the option to select a photo of a celebrity or famous person. The app then shows you other users who look similar. Your pool of potential dates will probably be smaller because of this, but you'll definitely find them attractive. You then scroll through those user profiles and decide whether to "like" them or pass. You can see each user's age, interests, and several photos. If a user you've liked likes you back, you can then message each other and decide whether you want to meet up. More than 350 million messages are sent via the app every day, and there are 300,000 new daily signups, making it incredibly popular.

If you're looking for a deeper connection, this app probably isn't for you, as it's based purely on physical traits. This means you might not really connect with a person despite liking how they look. On the other hand, it could be a lot of fun going out for dinner with someone who looks like the celebrity you've always had a crush on.

Best dating sites for women

7. Now: Best dating app for busy women 

Best dating sites for women

(Image credit: Now)

Now

Best for busy women looking to date on the fly

Platform: App | Membership: Free and paid

Matches you with people based on your schedule and availability
Great for easily scheduling dates
Not the best app for a meaningful connection
Chats only visible for 2 hours after last interaction

If you’re tired of the back and forth of trying to schedule a date that works with your busy schedule, check out Now, an app built specifically to make that easier. Available in the Apple App Store and Google Play, it matches you with people based on your schedules. 

This probably isn't the best app for finding a meaningful connection, as it's based solely on you having free time simultaneously with another user, but it's a good way to schedule a lot of dates and have a lot of fun. 

The app is free and works based on your location, so you can use it to find dates while you're traveling. You need a Facebook profile to link to your dating profile, and the app asks you to outline your intentions and hobbies in its dashboard. That’s also where you select an activity and a time frame and see if any other users are interested in meeting up with you for the date.

Now has a messaging feature, but chats are only visible for two hours if you and another user stop talking. You get four free access keys when you sign up, which increases your chances of meeting new people. If you want more, they're available for purchase. When you buy a Gold Key, you get unlimited access to all of the app's premium features for 60 hours.

Best dating sites for women

Female-friendly dating

Best dating sites for women

(Image credit: Getty)

We’d like to think that online dating has come a long way. You can report users for harassment, and ward off unsolicited images or attention, and be the one to make the first move when you do find someone you like. However, according to a report by Pew Research Center, a third of women said they have been called an offensive name on a dating app, with 46% receiving unwanted explicit images and messages and 11% even receiving threats of physical violence. You can check out our tips on how to stay safe when online dating to stay aware, but using a female-friendly dating site is a great first step.  

Seeking an arrangement?  

Although it doesn’t count as a mainstream dating site, we couldn’t give you an extensive guide to online dating without mentioning sugar babies. This term is slang – usually for younger women who use online dating services to match with older, wealthier men who provide them with financial support in some way. This has become an increasingly popular way for young people to help ease the burden of student loan debt.

For instance, the date for pay website SeekingArrangement released a report in March 2019 that found that there are more than 2.7 million students in the United States who have used the website to help pay for college. 

Broken down by college, Georgia State University is the fastest growing sugar baby school. With websites like SeekingArrangement, users are on the same page in terms of what each party is seeking: one is there for companionship and the ability to help take care of someone while the other is there for companionship as well as financial stability.

SeekingArrangement is skewed toward young women seeking older men, though there are other websites and apps available as well. While the name of WhatsYourPrice might seem a little too on the nose, it has options available for both men and women to bid on potential dates. 

Happy Matches has a plethora of options for women seeking to financially support someone, as does Sugar Elite. However, it does cost money to use many of these services.