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10 Reasons Online Dating Rocks for Lesbians and Bisexual Women

10 Reasons Online Dating Rocks for Lesbians and Bisexual Women

10 Reasons Online Dating Rocks for Lesbians and Bisexual Women

If you're queer, online can be a great way to meet people even in the most unprepossessing places...

So I recently moved from Major Capital City to much smaller Northern Rural City, and one of the things that’s struck me is how different attitudes are to online stuff up here. Everyone outside the universities seems to think online dating is full of serial killers. Some people in their 20s and 30s don’t even have computers. Some people with queer networks – which are much smaller – seem to have built them in person rather than online, which is a bit alien to me. (I tend to bond with people through social networks - if you can’t deal with FB/twitter me being a mouthy queer liberal activist, this isn’t going to work anyway.) Here are 10 reasons why online dating is great, no matter where you come from…
 
1)You can communicate your personality
Okay, maybe less so on Tinder. But on something like OKCupid or more niche services like HER (Dattch), Pinkcupid, Pinksofa et al, you have space to communicate who you are and where you’re coming from. The chances of you meeting someone who’s into that are much greater when it’s obvious and upfront than when you’re just meeting people in clubs or bars and they turn out to be secretly racist or Republican (that does happen. There are articles about it and everything.)
 
2)     You can be open about your sexuality and/or your identity
…in a lot of its aspects, if you want to. There are specialist networks for kinksters and goths and metalheads and doctors and ‘uniform dating’ and for people of every conceivable subculture or religion or ethnic background, although some of those aren’t exactly bi-friendly even if they have a girls-dating-girls option for lesbian-identified folks. But queer-friendly online dating is kinda self-selecting – you’re unlikely to meet someone, feel a spark and then have them declare they’re het if you meet them in a space explicitly dedicated to women interested in dating women.
 

 
3)You can make it clear what you’re looking for
If what you really want is a soft femme bi cat lover, you can say that. If you’re not bothered about gender presentation but after a goth or a nurse or a comics geek or an animal-loving horse riding blonde, you can flag that up. I’d suggest that online as in real life it’s not necessarily a great idea to rule people out if they don’t match an extensive list of exacting criteria – people and chemistry and bonds can surprise you – but it’s much easier to set out the basis you’re negotiating from online than it is in the messy, slippery world of everyday social interaction with people whose sexual preferences, let alone tastes, you’re not sure of. 
 
4)You can filter who sees you 

Even on non-queer specific dating sites like OKCupid, you can choose not to show your profile to men if you want to. The vast majority of online harassment and creepy come-ons I’ve been subjected to online have come from men, and even as a bi girl I’ve habitually hidden my profile from guys because the few gems (great as they were) just weren’t worth the unsolicited dick pics and requests for blow jobs and ‘hey ur hot, wanna meet?’ Urgh. Whereas if you’re out in non-queer-specific places in meatspace, men assume you’re on the market the whole fucking time, and it’s pretty awful.

 

 
5)It's a great place to build your confidence
If you’ve just had a shitty breakup or don’t feel very experienced at dating (or at dating women) online dating is a great way to build your confidence. You can practice chatting to people, figuring out who you find attractive, build some chemistry, and then venture into IRL spaces if you want to. Apart from anything else, online dating is often a good way to meet people, full stop, and reinforce how full of possibilities the world is. 

 

6)You can make it clear what your baselines are
If you’re looking for a monogamous long-term relationship and not up for casual dating, most dating sites will put that at the top of your profile. Likewise if you’re poly and already with someone, or only looking for casual stuff, or whatever – it’s pretty easy to state that and make it obvious. This also helps weed out people who don’t read the profile at all, but again, in my experience, those people are usually cis het guys and it happens a lot less if you’re a woman dating women!
 

 

7) You can weed out creeps, dickheads and idiots without ever having to interact with them in meatspace

The block button is a glorious thing. HER (Dattch) does not in fact have a block button, possibly because of the previous point about harassment being a largely male-related problem, but this does occasionally oblige you to see pictures of your ex and her new girlfriend, which is also not great. Fortunately, most dating sites and apps do, and they are a godsend. One click and they disappear forever – and you never have to interact with them in person!
 
8) Many of us do a lot of our self-fashioning online these days 

Lots of people negotiate their identities online in one way or another, what with social networking and Pinterest and blogging and yadda yadda yah. Online dating is simply an extension of that, and one that enables you to express yourself directly and openly (or keep certain bits hidden, if for example you like to keep your professional and personal lives separate). Obviously, the transition from online to meatspace can therefore be a bit loaded, but given appropriate safety precautions (tell someone where you are, how long you’ll be, when you’ll get back, and arrange a Rescue Me! code) no more so than meeting any new friend-of-a-friend in a datey way for the first time.

 

 

9)  You meet friends as well as lovers

Hand on my heart, I may have only had a few successful-ish dating relationships from online dating, but I have LOADS of friends, and I’ve got closer to some people I’d met vaguely in real life because I encountered them in online dating. It’s just another way of making and developing connections with people, romantic ones or otherwise. 

 
10)It’s a great way to get to know people in a new place – or new people even in somewhere you’ve lived for a while
That’s the thing about the virtual world – it overlaps with the real one, but it doesn’t always resemble it. Even if your place of residence seems depressingly full of heteronormativity, online dating apps and their ilk often reveal a simmering subculture of subversion and, well, queer folk there for the meeting. Lots of the people I met online dating were new in town, shared common interests or had a similar sense of humor, and although we’d never have crossed paths in everyday life online dating apps enabled us to connect. We mostly didn’t date, but some people are still good friends. 
 
 
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Sasha Garwood