Every online dating app has its own vibe — and the best hookup apps for college students have the energy of an all-day and all-day night house party. Everyone is in a flirtatious mood, and it doesn’t take long for conversations to lead to the bedroom.
A popular hookup app can tutor young adults in the ways of love and romance. Plenty of sex-positive spaces give online daters the freedom to study local dating profiles and test out new pickup lines. They may even find themselves acing a date that leads to a casual hookup.
Here’s a summary and review of the top hookup apps that welcome college-aged singles of all experience levels, orientations, and backgrounds.
Best Overall Hookup Apps for College Students
Generation Z has embraced technology at every turn, and that’s particularly true in the dating scene. Nearly half of young people in the U.S. say they have tried online dating. It is a go-to wingman for 20-something singles seeking no-strings-attached sex and romantic relationships.
If you swing more on the casual side of the spectrum, then the following casual dating apps and sites will have your back.
- Discreetly arranges one-night stands and extramarital affairs
- More than 54 million profiles worldwide
- Travel-friendly features for seeking matches in other cities
Ashley Madison is an affairs dating app that can definitely lead to some steamy casual encounters on and off campus. The site features a good mix of married and single people who are in a sexy mood.
Since 2001, Ashley Madison has discreetly made romantic matches and facilitated sexually charged conversations. Its membership base ranges in age, sexual orientation, and relationship status, but they share similar interests and a high sex drive. About 60% of Ashley Madison members in a survey said they joined the dating site to spice up their sex lives.
You will probably not be taking any romantic partner you meet on Ashley Madison home to meet the parents, but you may want to book some private time in the bedroom to explore your secret desires together.
- A global network of naughty singles over 18
- Ability to blur nude and explicit content, if desired
- Advanced search filters and one-on-one messaging
BeNaughty has all the bells and whistles of a casual sex site. Photo swiping? Check. Advanced search filters? Check. Free communication options? Check.
All female users can send unlimited messages for free on BeNaughty. The paid subscription (which costs less than $1 a day) is available to men who want to chat up sexy ladies online and add private photos to their gallery. This freemium model allows for engaging conversations between single adults without opening the floodgates to online spam and sexual harassment.
College students are in high demand on BeNaughty. As we discuss in our full review, BeNaughty has over 13 million users in the U.S. and abroad, and the vast majority of BeNaughty users are experienced daters in search of casual sex.
- One of the largest adults-only sex communities
- Free and fast registration process
- Dating forums and live chats foster live flirtation
Adult Friend Finder is a time-tested sex site that launched in 1996 — aka before today’s college kids were born. Over the years, AFF has grown into the world’s largest sex and swinger community. The mobile-friendly site has over 104 million profiles and 98 million photos for AFF users to browse.
As long as you’re over 18, you can create an Adult Friend Finder account (no downloading necessary) and view X-rated content, including naked photos. Adult Friend Finder doesn’t mess around when it comes to hooking singles up with a potential partner. Its private chat options facilitate intimate conversations between premium users, and it has video chat tools to help seal the deal.
- A casual personals site for singles, couples, and groups
- Profiles have suggestive photos and strip tease videos
- Chat live via a two-way webcam or private messaging
Much like AFF, FriendFinder-X is a little too racy for Google Play or the App Store, so you will have to open your web browser to access this casual dating site on your smartphone. College students can be honest about their kinks and fantasies on this free-wheeling, sex-driven website.
FriendFinder-X conducts local searches by ZIP code, state, or province to ensure every online romance has a chance to turn into something real. A young woman has an advantage on FriendFinder-X because she is in high demand and can afford to be a little choosy about her potential partner.
- A massive user base of over 70 million dating profiles
- Send a free private message or Flirtcast to get something going
- Exchange nude pics or adult videos with a Flirt member you trust
Flirt.com is a hookup website, not a hookup app, but our experts feel it deserves a mention on this list because it offers 100% free chatting to all female users. That eliminates a lot of roadblocks in the online dating scene.
All it takes is a valid email address to create an account on Flirt.com. Users do not need to provide their real names, and they can also skip uploading a profile picture to remain totally anonymous. However, Flirt.com only allows users with pictures to communicate, so college kids had better get their favorite selfie ready.
- The dating app of choice for millions of sexually active singles
- Accelerating the dating process through swiping
- Has led to over 60 billion mutual matches
Tinder is a great dating app for blowing off steam and enjoying a fun distraction from the daily grind of college life. Since its launch in 2012, the Tinder app has become a global phenomenon and created more than 55 billion matches in 190 countries.
As the dating app that invented swiping, Tinder has done a lot to support hookup culture. Its fast-paced matching system can help young singles come into their own and find compatible dates in their area.
College towns are among the most swipe-happy cities in the U.S. for a good reason. Over half of Tinder users are under 25 years old. The dating app appeals to young people who want to play the field and explore all types of romantic relationships — when they’re not studying for finals, of course.
- Free private messaging available to all members
- Users can state that they're seeking hookups on their profiles
- Responsible for 50,000 dates per week
OkCupid began in 2004 as the passion project of four Harvard math majors who wanted to find the formula for love. Today, it is one of the most popular dating services on the market. According to its internal stats, OkCupid is responsible for over 91 million matches and 1.2 million dates a year.
College students can choose their own adventure on this free dating app. The OkCupid profile has 22 gender options and 12 orientation options available, and users can also specify what types of connections they want (new friends, hookups, short-term dating, or long-term dating).
OkCupid maintains an open-ended space for voicing your opinion and creating romantic relationships online and IRL. The dating platform offers free communication between mutual matches, and it has an in-depth personality test to inform its compatibility ratings.
- Free instant messages for all singles
- Over 150 million members in 20 countries
- The MeetMe section highlights local hotties
Plenty of Fish is a popular dating app for local singles looking for a potential match. The POF community has over 150 million members total, and it sees about 4 million daily active users.
Many college kids choose Plenty of Fish as their online dating wingman because it is totally and completely free. As soon as you download POF from Google Play or the App Store, you can set up a free profile and use free communication tools to flirt with anyone you fancy. No subscriptions or mutual matching required.
Whether they’re interested in a casual hookup or a serious relationship, Plenty of Fish can help individuals find a romantic partner who meets their dating criteria.
Best LGBT Hookup Apps for College Students
In the U.S., the younger generation is leading the way in terms of LGBTQ+ acceptance and diversity. Young people are more likely to identify as queer or nonbinary than older people are, and more youths are coming out every day. The median age for coming out as LGBTQ+ is 20.
Some college students have known their orientation since childhood but only now feel free to act on it. Some are questioning their sexuality for the first time. Wherever you stand on the rainbow spectrum, these gay and lesbian dating apps can hook you up with a date.
- A massive men-only sex and swinger community
- Browse profiles and send private messages to your favorites
- Profiles feature erotic videos and sexually explicit blogs
MenNation has been around for decades, and it features millions of gay personal ads for casual sex and affairs. It’s free to join this gay dating website, but the basic membership does not include live chat or video chat tools. For that, men need to up their game with a gold membership.
Anything goes on MenNation. Men can post dick pictures, write erotic blog posts, and view all kinds of graphic content from their computer or smartphone. The website is mobile-friendly and can deliver sexy content to users wherever they are.
Pro tip: If you’d rather not meet gay singles who attend your university, you can type in the ZIP codes for neighboring areas or your hometown, and MenNation will generate a curated list of viable dates that may otherwise have escaped your notice.
- Create a free profile in less than a minute
- Search filters can identify attractive singles and couples in the area
- Strip tease videos, revealing photos, and other adult content
LesbianPersonals has positioned itself as a female-friendly sex site where girl-on-girl action is always on the table and part of the conversation. The platform has signup options for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women as well as straight couples, lesbian couples, and polyamorous groups seeking a female companion.
Single women are the main attraction on LesbianPersonals. The lesbian hookup site uses a variety of match and chat tools to facilitate romantic conversations, sexual encounters, and threesomes. It even has a live model stream that features sexually liberated women who know what they’re doing in the bedroom.
- Sexually active men can create free profiles
- Matching system uses GPS information to find local dates
- Millions of prospects available in 192 countries
Since 2009, Grindr has supported gay hookup culture by offering real-time location-based matching. This gay dating app can help young men find date options on their college campus, at their local bar, or anywhere they go.
Grindr prioritizes dating profiles that are close in proximity, and its users typically aren’t shy about arranging a casual hookup. A gay man can explore a lot of romantic options by swiping, matching, and chatting on this free dating app. As one Grindr user said on Reddit, “Grindr is a jungle. You never really know.”
- Welcomes women of all orientations
- Moderators patrol the app 24/7
- Location-based matches and events
Finally, HER may not market itself as a lesbian hookup app, but that’s exactly what it is for some single women in the LGBTQ+ community. The HER dating app has over 5 million members worldwide, and not all of them are super eager to settle down and get serious.
HER connects lesbian, bisexual, queer, and trans women from all walks of life. The community rules promise no judgment and urge women to be respectful of each other. HER does not allow members to post nude photos, but it doesn’t censor sexually explicit language. Every HER member is a full-grown woman, and they can curse or solicit sex on the platform as long as they aren’t being jerks about it.
How Do I Know How to Choose the Best Hookup App for College Students?
Choosing the best hookup app is a little like choosing college classes — you can do some research and read reviews, but in the end you just have to go with your gut and follow your passion. Any popular dating app can supply enough matches, photos, and chats to keep you occupied, so it really comes down to what your budget is and what type of romantic partner you desire.
You can ask your college friends which apps they’ve enjoyed using, but remember that you may not have the exact same results. Your online dating experience is whatever you make it, and the app you choose isn’t as important as the attitude you bring to it.
How Do Hookup Apps for College Students Actually Work?
It doesn’t take much studying or prior experience to figure out how hookup apps work. They tend to keep things simple. First, you download the app, then you set up an online dating profile, and then you start swiping and sending likes or messages to potential dates. The apps may have search filters or match preferences to target compatible matches in the dating pool, but it’s usually best to start by casting a wide net and seeing what’s out there.
Remember that not all dating apps offer totally free communication. Some only allow women to chat for free. Others limit the number of messages a single person can send per day. And premium dating sites often don’t allow any free chatting to take place.
Can You Search by Age and Education on Hookup Apps?
One of the benefits of online dating is all the information it gives you about another person. You can learn the basics about a stranger simply by reading a dating profile. Online daters often know each other’s college majors, religious beliefs, political views, and career aspirations before they even say hello, and that means new couples can skip awkward moments of small talk and get right to the good stuff.
It’s easier to assess compatibility when a dating site or app has age, education, and other lifestyle filters. But not every dating service has these filters. Hookup apps tend to focus more on appearance than personal history, so you’re more likely to see filters by height than education.
Lucky for those of you in college towns, a simple age filter (say between 18 and 25) will yield a good number of well-educated and ambitious college students seeking a hot date.
Are Hookup Apps for College Students Safe to Use?
Yes, hookup apps are generally safe to use — as long as you’re using protection and keeping an eye out for creeps, stalkers, and liars.
The good news is that young singles have grown up on the internet, so they’re more prepared than previous generations to spot fake profiles and fend off scammers. Many of them feel comfortable forming friendships or relationships online because that’s what they have done all their lives. According to a recent survey, 62% of young adults agree that online dating is a safe way to meet new people.
Studying dating violence statistics and implementing proactive safety measures can help singles avoid potentially bad situations. For instance, it’s a good idea to arrange a first date at a public location (bar, coffee shop, park, etc.) to feel each other out on neutral territory. That way, you can establish trust and chemistry before going to the bedroom.
You should always do a little background research on a potential date before you agree to meet in person. No need to hire a private investigator — a quick search on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or even Twitter can do the trick. A social media search can let you know if you and your date have mutual friends or similar interests, and it can let you know that person is the real deal, not a scammer.
Note: We do not recommend Facebook stalking a single person you met online. Unless you want to freak that person out and get yourself blocked. The point of doing a background check isn’t to learn every dirty secret, view every family photo, or read every blog post. You just need to verify your date’s authenticity, and then you can ask any further questions in person on your first date.
Is Tinder Really Free? What is Tinder Plus?
The Tinder app offers free matching and chatting to all members, but it also has some premium features available through its paid subscription plans — Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold. When a Tinder user upgrades to Tinder Plus, he or she can send unlimited likes, click rewind on their swipe list, and swipe on potential matches in different cities, states, and countries.
Tinder Gold comes with all the same premium features as Tinder Plus. The only difference is Tinder Gold members receive a curated Top Picks list and can see who has liked their dating profile before they swipe yes or no.
Are There Any Relationship Dating Apps or Dating Sites for College Students?
Not all college dating sites are geared toward casual sex. Some are in it for the long haul. In the last few years, a growing number of newlyweds have met on an online dating app or site. The Knot even declared online dating to be the most popular way to meet a spouse.
It’s possible to find love on Tinder, but that’s not where young people have seen the most success. Match.com has the best track record when it comes to inspiring long-term relationships and marriages. Match has a sophisticated algorithm that identifies similar interests and lifestyles to predict mutual compatibility.
- In-depth matching appeals to women with high standards
- Video chat tools help online daters establish a rapport
- An established singles network in 50 countries worldwide
If you’re serious about meeting a potential partner, but you’re living on a college budget, you should check out free dating apps with a reputation for sparking relationships.
Three women launched Coffee Meets Bagel in 2012 to encourage singles to make an authentic connection. The free dating app limits the number of likes a single person can send in a day to make sure online daters slow down and give each potential match the time it deserves.
Hinge is also free to download, and all free members can swipe and communicate on the dating app. Its motto is “designed to be deleted” because the Hinge team wants to put an end to endless swiping. Hinge profiles feature three written prompts, six photos, and basic demographic information, so it’s a great way to get to know a person on a deeper level.
Of course, if you really want to get moving in the dating scene, it may be worth investing in a more mature and time-tested dating platform. That’s where eharmony can come in handy. The eharmony algorithm has drawn from psychology and science to help singles form a healthy relationship with their perfect match.
- Designed to satisfy marriage-minded single women
- In-depth compatibility quiz generates high-quality matches
- Personalized Match Preferences on gender, age, income, religion, education, and more
Dating sites for relationships tend to attract a more mature crowd, but that could be exactly what a serious-minded college student needs. The single people on these sites are over the hit-it-and-quit-it routine. They want to settle down with the right person, and they are willing to take more time getting to know new online matches.
Young Adults Can Swipe on a Hookup App & Ace a First Date
Your college years are a great time to explore exciting opportunities and figure out what you want in your life. It’s a time for trying new things, meeting new people, changing your opinion, and forging new paths. A hookup app can help young singles grow and find themselves by pursuing romantic options on and off campus.
We’ve ranked several successful hookup apps that broke the curve in terms of audience size and match rate. These dating platforms provide an open playing field for flirtatious singles, and the rest is up to you. Don’t be afraid to experiment in the online dating scene and create dating profiles on multiple apps to see what’s right for you. Romance is out there — you just need the right tools to find it. Good luck!