Online dating as a lesbian, for the most part, still involves having your space invaded by straight people.

The heteronormative weirdness got so alienating that lesbians began turning to TikTok as a means of meeting other single lesbians — turns out, it’s a damn good matchmaker.

But it’s unrealistic to expect a social media app to work like a dating app for everyone. (It’s hard for some of us to comprehend, but not everyone spends every free minute on TikTok.) Lesbians who have exhausted their local romantic options are still going to want to see who else is out there in time for cuffing season.

For much of current history, some people have acted as though lesbians didn’t exist outside of porn and Ellen DeGeneres, while jokes swirled about how girls only turned to dating women if they had a bad experience with a man. (Yikes.)

Even in 2023, these tone-deaf assumptions still find a way to rain on the lesbian online dating experience. If it’s not a man appearing in your feed when you specifically marked that you’re searching for women, it’s matching with a woman just to be hit with the classic “My boyfriend and I are looking for a threesome.”

There’s one big problem: The apps targeted toward the straights are still where most of the queer users are, too. Though women-only apps like HER are gaining traction fast, they can still be a bit of a ghost town…or a scammer’s paradise. You just have to decide whether you’d rather deal with the quirks of Tinder and have more options to swipe through or be fine with coming across the same profile three times as long as it’s not a man.

A note on what didn’t make the list

A decent number of dating sites and apps specifically for lesbians do exist, but most are plagued with the same issues: Either their sole purpose is to sexualize lesbians and aren’t really meant for genuine connection at all, or their lax security protocols make it way too easy for ill-intentioned men to sign up pretending to be women. (Creeps are drawn to porn-y names like Pink Flirt.) If you’re wondering why we left most of those so-called female-only apps out, that’s why.

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