Our companion guide to “Queer sex slang,” this brief synopsis of online dating sites wasn’t all that hard to compile. Knowing about each of the sites and their benefits, features and quirks — that was a challenge. How can you really know the dynamics of a site if you’ve never used it? We’ll let our readers chime in on their experiences with each of the sites below. Use our comment section to add your own review, whether negative or positive.

To our lesbian and bisexual women friends and readers: The staff here at the paper, even our lovely female staff members, had no clue when it came to online dating for women. Even the friends we talked to said they didn’t know of any good ones. Help us fill in the gap, ladies. Comment below or send us an email at editor@q-notes.com, and we’ll see we get something up just especially for you.

Premium sites

There are several sites that require paid memberships to get the best of their features. Here are the two most well-known.

ManHunt.net — Owned by Online Buddies, Inc., ManHunt has completely eclipsed other online hook-up sites for men. Features include instant messaging. Members can filter their search results according to race, age, location, interests and more Paying members can send and receive an unlimited number of emails and view full-sized and adult photos of other members.

Gay.com — Once the mack daddy of all gay online dating and chat, Gay.com’s popularity has seemed to wane with the continued, downward trend of its parent company’s profit margin. When Gay.com unveiled new software and features for its chat and instant messaging, it took weeks to get the kinks out and members bolted. In many cities, the chatrooms are used for just that: chat. Other sites offer more “get on, get off” pleasures nowadays. Paying members can see all photos uploaded by other members and enter chatrooms that are full.

Free sites

Adam4Adam.com — Almost exactly like ManHunt.net, Adam4Adam comes with most of its “sister” site’s features, minus the instant messaging. Completely free, Adam4Adam is popular with younger crowds. The site also has a large African-American presence. Just as with ManHunt, members can filter their search results according to race, age, location, interests and more.

Craigslist — User beware. There isn’t a week that goes by that some news about a Craigslist theft, attempted murder or killing doesn’t make the headlines. Craigslist might be a great way for super-closeted guys to meet, or folks who want a little more anonymity. The site has sections for gay men, lesbians and, yes, the always virtuous, “family values”-oriented heterosexuals (cough).

DList — A favorite with younger, buffer twink guys. Features include the obligatory messaging and chat, MySpace-like profiles and articles and features on sex, life, art, film and music.

Special interest

SilverDaddies.com — A special place for mature and older gay men and the young men who love them. SilverDaddies.com offers everything you’d expect out of a hook-up site, including photos, messaging/email and chat. Members who contribute to the site gain access to premium features, including: seeing visitors to your profile, saving a “favorite profiles” list, defining who can contact you, unlimited messages, access to all profile photos, message blocking, private notes. Premium members also get access to SilverDaddies’ “light version” — meant for use in public places, the light site doesn’t show the SilverDaddies logo or explicit photos.

Bear411.com — They claim they’re they number one bear site on the internet. With thousands of members always online and more than 137,000 total members, they likely are. Bear411.com is just for — yup, you guessed it: Bears and the guys who want them. Members can sign up and post the profiles for free. Features include chat, messaging/email and video chat. Special VIP Priority Access ($78 per year, or $48 for six months), includes premium features such as extended search criteria, expanded contact list, travel profiles, unlimited profile updates, view full profile photos and more.

RealJock.com — From what I hear, RealJock.com isn’t all that much of a hook-up site. Gay jocks and athletes flock to the website for chat and message boards, discuss workouts, physical training and more. All the friends I’ve seen use the site spend hours at a time discussing workouts, politics or whatever is on their mind at the time on the site’s numerous forums.

More adult flair

Some sites push the envelope on “adult” dating and chat.

GayWatch.com — It seems a little like a blast from the past. The user interface is simple and they try to recreate a MySpace-type feel and look. It doesn’t work. The site’s biggest draw isn’t the dating, chatting or hooking up — it’s the free porn. Some of it is homemade, most of it is stripped versions of studio porn. Sooner or later they’ll likely be shut down, but until then you can view all the free porn you want.

Rentboy.com and Badpuppy.com — If dating isn’t your thing, and you much prefer to find special company for just one night, Rentboy and Badpuppy are your sites. Hop online to find the perfect guy… beware: Prostitution is illegal in most states.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.