Last Updated on September 29, 2022
Getting a date is hard. But it can be especially tricky if you are sober. You can’t use the go-to opener of “Let’s grab a drink,” and say goodbye to using alcohol as a social lubricant.
If you are sober, you may want to meet other sober people who understand what you’ve been through. You may want to find a match who won’t feel uncomfortable with your sobriety and won’t try and tempt you back off the wagon.
But now we have ways of solving problems like this that we never used to — thanks to technology. An array of quick-match dating sites have made specific dating requests a whole lot easier.
No dating site can make dating easy. But many dating sites allow you to make clear certain qualities about yourself clear, as well as publicize desires and prerequisites, right from the get-go. Using a dating site gives you a chance to locate those people that will be a good match.
So, what we are going to do is go over the seven best “sober” dating sites. That means dating sites that let you indicate that you do not intend to drink. This is a valuable layer of design, as just putting that information forward can say a lot about you and what you want.
Don’t have time to read the complete article? Checkout our favorite picks below.
1st - Ashley Madison
2nd - Adult FriendFinder
3rd - Bang Locals
Best Sober Dating Sites
1. eHarmony – Best Overall Dating Site
Let’s start by examining the site everyone already knows about—eHarmony. In particular, though, we are going to look at what eHarmony does right that makes it the gold standard.
The main selling point of eHarmony is that it incentivizes people to be real. This is no easy task on the internet. The site uses its profile construction to guide people toward expressing themselves. But it is not just a matter of getting them to talk about themselves. There’s more.
When you set up a profile, you do not just fill in a text field with an essay about yourself. Interests are broken down into tags, and users with similar tags are connected with higher priority. In short, the more legitimate you are, the more eHarmony rewards you with matches.
Of course, there is more to it than that. eHarmony has a hidden “match-making rating” feature that makes sure that toxic personalities get fewer matches and friendly people get more. As a result, you are far less likely to run into bots and jerks here than anywhere else.
- Rewards you for being yourself
- Lots of components under the hood to help you find people
- Offers tips and tricks for what to say, how to act, and where to go to meet people
- Huge population of users
- Tag system connects like-minded people
- Match-making infrastructure keeps you from dealing with dead ends
- The match-making system can backfire if you fail too much
- Being yourself is antithetical to some people’s desires on dating sites
2. Ashley Madison – Best Dating Site for Escapism
Ashley Madison is a well-known dating site for people who are married. That sounds like a niche, but it can actually serve anyone if you know how to navigate the site properly. The gimmick of Ashley Madison is that everyone on it is expected to be married or in a relationship.
You can still use Ashley Madison if you are single. The trick is to put on a little act. Create a persona for yourself to act out in order to get what you want. This isn’t a dating site for people looking to be honest or build a real relationship. Those things can happen, but they’re unlikely.
Ashley Madison is a dating site for people who want to escape from the real world and indulge in the fantasy of an affair. Not the safest, healthy, or wise thing to do. But undeniably fun.
- Focused on discretion
- Provides comprehensive profiles
- Offers tons of matches
- Everyone on the site wants something, no one is dawdling
- Easy to reinvent yourself due to the veil of secrecy
- Great interface for sorting through and finding matches
- Has its risks
- Requires you to either be married or lie
3. MaiOtaku – Best Dating Site for Anime Fans
It does not take a sociologist to identify a relationship between anime fans and people with social issues. More often than not, those social issues seem insurmountable, but they really come down to a lack of people who communicate on the same wavelength as you.
MaiOtaku is not the first dating app to focus on a particular interest, but it is actually rather close. It was founded in 2011, back when there was more of a stigma against online dating than there currently is. This matches up with the decreased stigma towards its interest of choice.
The niche MaiOtaku chooses to focus on is anime. Naturally, manga and Korean dramas are secondary interests it supports, as are creative hobbies like drawing and writing. In short, it is a dating site designed for the great indoors. And it has definitely stood the test of time as a result.
You can interact with MaiOtaku in a number of ways. Most commonly, you list your favorite genres and shows, as well as what you are watching, and find people with similar interests to talk to. You can also look for people currently watching a show to enjoy it with.
- Perhaps the only dating site willing and able to focus on the anime niche
- Features social network tools besides dating
- Find people to watch and talk about anime with
- Has a great history of satisfying people’s social desires
- Offers dating to a crowd that is usually bad at it
- Goes beyond just anime as well
- Does not always give you matches that are nearby
- You are bound to run into strange people
4. Adult Friend Finder – Best Dating Site for Hookups
Nine times out of ten, people are on a dating site for hookups. This is true even for people who are not there because they want a hookup. No one likes to admit it, but some people (according to data collected by the sites) go to these sites to try to turn hookups into relationships.
More often than not, you are either a person looking for a hookup or talking to a person who is. And you know what? That’s not a bad thing. Yet, for some reason, only Adult Friend Finder is really looking to satisfy that demographic by providing connections between those people.
While hookups are clearly the end of the service, simplicity is the means. Adult Friend Finder has some of the most to-the-point profile creation and interface design. That means it’s easy to sort through matches and find people who have similar goals as you do.
Since the intent of Adult Friend Finder is to get you connected to people you can have a physical experience with, you will see a person before you learn about them. And what you learn about them will not be terribly deep. This makes sense, of course.
It is strange to think of hookups as a niche since so many people are on dating sites just for that. But due to that focus, Adult Friend Finder really doesn’t waste any effort connecting people over things other than physical attractiveness and how to spend one date.
As a result, it can feel a little lacking. But it also has some of the best reviews of any site.
- Shows you people in your area at very early stages in account creation
- Focuses on appearances and people nearby
- The goals are stated in the marketing, so everyone is there for the same thing
- Great for what it is there for
- Reviews testify to its effectiveness
- Been around for a while when most hookup sites have been uncovered as scams
- Has a few bots on it
- You better be ready to chat with some barely literate people
5. OkCupid – Best Dating Site for Long-Term Relationships
It must be said that most people who are on dating sites are not there looking to get married. Few are even looking for a relationship. There is a term in game theory called the “metagame,” which applies as much to dating as it applies to the sports it was meant to analyze.
The idea is that there is a “dominant strategy” in a game. In the case of dating, the dominant strategy is hookups. But Ok Cupid seeks to change that by bringing the focus onto relationships.
They do this by making most of the profile options and search options about relationships. This means that most people are going to go in with the expectation that the other person is looking for a relationship and that they should be as well.
You might be keen on an obstacle that Ok Cupid is dealing with here: Why is the metagame of most dating sites hookups? Because most people want hookups regardless of what their dating site tells them to do. In a way, Ok Cupid is designed around human nature, not for it.
Still, it can satisfy a niche and has a larger userbase than you might expect, making it easy to recommend to at least try out.
- Lots of ways to express what you want
- On the flip side, you get a good idea of what other people want
- Has a high number of success stories
- Geared towards a niche that is underrepresented
- Statistically, one of the better sites for long-term relationships
- Connects social media accounts for authenticity
- That niche is not for everyone
- Reviews indicate it’s bad for hookups
6. Bang Locals – Best Anonymous Site
Something that has come up a lot in dating sites has been social media integration. You do not always have to have your Facebook or Google account visibly linked to your profile, but you do need to prove that you are a real person and not a bot. Social media integration helps with that.
The problem is that it means that somewhere on the site, there is data placing your actual identity next to the profile you put forward. And you know what? That is a risk.
Bang Locals helps you circumvent that risk by keeping personal identification down to a minimum. You can be anyone you want to be on this site. And should the site have a data breach, you do not have to worry about your real identity being discovered or stolen.
Also, as the name implies, the site caters to people looking for quick fun. You are given a good selection of people to chat with right when you sign up but be aware that these are not always in your area. You will have to get a premium account to narrow your search very much.
- An interface built for putting people in your path
- A clear goal that it helps you work towards
- A safety barrier to keep your personal life separate from your dating life
- Easy to use
- Knows what you want
- Highly secure
- Some features behind a paywall
- Holds your hand a little too much
7. Only Farmers – Best Dating Site for Rural Areas
You think we’re joking. And indeed, many people joke about Only Farmers. It is a dating originally meant for farmers that eventually expanded out to anyone in the countryside. Due to that small niche combined with its admittedly amusing name, it is hard to take seriously.
And yet, at the same time, it is easy to see why it might not only exist but flourish. Think about it: If you are living on a farm, how do you meet people off the farm? Anyone who has flown over Kansas is familiar with the patchwork patterns formed by the different, massive farms out there.
If you live or work on one of those, then you can be miles away from anyone who isn’t your coworkers or family. What is communication technology for, besides bridging that gap?
It does this with a highly modern interface and a great set of tools for finding people—and by that, we mean literally finding them in the countryside.
- Employs landmarks and other tools for location organization
- Connects over both work and interests
- Weeds out people that are too far away
- Great for people who are in isolated communities
- Brings separate towns together
- Let’s you sort by interests
- Obviously restricted to rural areas
- Necessarily bad for hookups
Do Dating Sites Cost Money?
This is the most common question, as it is the most common method for determining whether something is a scam or not. The way most dating sites will work is that they will have a free version, usually with ads somewhere on the page, and then a more feature-heavy paid version.
You can usually get what you want out of the free version of a site, so do not pay unless you have already had success on an app and expect to be using it frequently.
What Should You Avoid on a Dating Site?
Avoid giving out specific personal information like your address or workplace. Your real name and phone number are also risks, but they are somewhat more necessary risks to take on.
Do Dating Sites Work?
Simply put, dating sites have a pretty good success rate. They do not work for everyone all of the time, but there is a lot of human error which can explain that.
What to Consider When Looking for a Dating Site
It is totally possible for you to bark up the wrong tree and waste your time on a dating site that does not give you what you want, even if you find someone. So, let’s go over what to think about before you actually commit any energy to one of these sites.
Do you want to get to know people? Are you looking for someone in your area? Do their interests matter? These are all questions that will determine how the actual process of sorting through matches goes. Some dating sites sort by different information than others
Similarly, people will have different intentions about how these interactions will go. Some people look for hookups; others want to get married. Some just want friends. Think about what you want, and pick a dating site that synergizes with that desire.
There are a wide variety of dating sites in the world, from more general purpose sites like eHarmony to playgrounds with interesting reputations like Ashley Madison. Some dating sites are even focused on niche interests, such as MaiOtaku and Only Farmers.
Whatever you pick, be sure not to spend money unless you’re already having fun. Be careful not to share too much information. But most importantly, know what you are looking for. If you go to a hookup site expecting to find your soulmate, then you will end up disappointed.