Moving to a new city or working at a new job where you don’t know anybody can seriously be depressing, especially if you’re already introverted as it is. What are you supposed to do? Go sit at the bar by yourself? And talk to strangers?
Then comes the lightbulb idea: You can make friends online! If online dating is so popular and successful, there’s no way that there aren’t a few legit sites where you can make adult friends in your area with similar interests. Hmm, AdultFriendFinder.com sounds like the right ballpark.
So you’re on your lunch break at work, type in the URL, and the next thing you know, you’re frantically closing the tab and hoping nobody walked behind you for that split second.
Our point: AdultFriendFinder is not what it sounds like.
- 1 Friends with benefits and not a crumb of subtlety
- 2 This site is all about sex, clearly
- 3 Finding a match
- 4 It’s not all bad
- 5 Paid memberships are where things get… interesting
- 6 Good for: Very open-minded people looking to blow off steam
- 7 Bad for: People looking for a real relationship and the entire woke community
- 8 AFF could do so much more to make people take it seriously
- 9 The alternatives
- 10 The final verdict
- 11 Explore related content:
Friends with benefits and not a crumb of subtlety
Made quite obvious by the words blatantly plastered across the main page pictured above, AdultFriendFinder is where you can go to “join the world’s largest sex and swinger community.” (That photo is actually a video of a woman talking, so you may want to mute your computer or put on headphones before you click.)
AdultFriendFinder is one of the most well-known sites for finding quick sexual encounters, regular hookups, and literally anything else even remotely related to sex. The rowdy feed of matches, jumble of explicit photos, and stimulating calls-to-action offering all types of sex makes is heaven for anyone looking for a good time with no filter — and hell for someone who wouldn’t be caught dead clicking on a “There are hot singles in your area” ad.
Even if you’re not using it for real sex, it’s always nice to have spank bank material in your back pocket. Social distancing rules due to the coronavirus made this quite obvious. Sexting, nudes, and Pornhub searches all saw a spike since people started social distancing at home. If you don’t want to risk quarantine sex or aren’t finding people on your level of horniness on Tinder, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find someone who’s just as down as you are on AdultFriendFinder. You can find someone to sext via messaging or video (and maybe even plan to get it on IRL when it’s safe), watch live streams, or join niche group chats. Is it worth $20-something per month? Depends on how much fishy content you’re willing to overlook for a juicy sexting session.
We reached out to Kalyn Sanders, a business development executive at Friend Finder Networks, for updated AFF demographics. Right up there with Tinder’s monthly flock, AdultFriendFinder snags the attention of over 55 million visits around the world per month, on average. (To whet your appetite upon signup, the main landing page flashes a statistic like “103,001,735 active members,” but we’re not exactly sure what that means.) The majority of traffic originates from the United States, followed by visitors from the United Kingdom and Canada. SimilarWeb ranks the site in the top 160 of all sites in the U.S.
Specifics on the demographic that most people care about — the gender ratio — can be hard to track down. Sanders told us that “there’s a 2 to 1 ratio of single men vs. categories like single women, couples, and groups.” The split between men and women is an expected one for a lot of hookup-centric sites. At the end of the day, it’s a paradise for straight men, hit-or-miss for straight women and queer men, and likely an actual hellscape for queer women.
This site is all about sex, clearly
If you’re 100% over being grilled with relationship questions and the slow-and-steady pace on traditional dating sites like eharmony or Match, AdultFriendFinder is your golden ticket to instant communication. Registering takes literally 30 seconds — they require nothing from you aside from an email address, a username, a password, and an introduction. Your notifications will start pouring in even without adding any juicy info (because people see nothing wrong with hitting up a profile with a gray silhouette as a profile photo, apparently), but it’s probably best to add a few photos and a detailed description — both to up your chances of flirtation or finding someone who shares a super-specific fantasy, but also to signal to other users that you’re not a bot.
This a real screenshot from AdultFriendFinder.
It felt like the sexy 20 questions game that you’d play with your middle school crush when neither of you knew how to flirt.
After registering, there are a ton of ways to personalize your account (way more than you’d expect for a hookup site, honestly). The more you fill out, the more attractive your profile will be to new viewers. There are the basic physical appearance questions about eye and hair color, and since I identified as a woman, cup size was an option. (If you identify as a man, I’m sure you can guess what question they ask.)
Many self-proclaimed hookup seekers can probably admit that they’d still like to hook up with someone whom they’d also like to grab a beer with, especially if they plan on seeing that person multiple times. Those people will appreciate that AFF gives a compatibility score with each user you come across: a metric that rates how well you might mesh with someone in the bedroom based on how you answered questions about what turns you on, whether you’re dominant or submissive, and so on.
One of the funniest forms was the “Purity Test,” featuring 100 comically-awkward questions about how far you’re willing to go sexually. It felt like the sexy 20 questions game that you’d play with your middle school crush when neither of you knew how to flirt. Note that this is just helpful information for you personally — there’s no real matching strategy other than the basic info on physical appearances.
Finding a match
Like a traditional dating site, AdultFriendFinder gives you a collage of potential matches and will let you know who’s online or close distance-wise. These will be random right after you sign up, but you can opt to update your preferences to refine your results: Choose your preferred gender(s), age range, location and mile radius, race, sexual orientation, body type, and marital status.
You barely have to scroll before noticing that there’s no shortage of nudity. Depending on whether you set your preferences to men, women, or both, you’ll see all of that stuff up close, personal, swinging around, in action. You name it, it’ll pop up.
AdultFriendFinder is basically like a PornHub that you can interact with. We probably don’t have to say this, but AdultFriendFinder is NSFW and not safe to be on while kids are in the room. Some videos will be blurred out and read “Naughty video” until you upgrade to a Gold Membership, but trust me — you’ll get to see a lot, even with the free version.
The message section is set up similarly to a Gmail account, and you can mark things as read or important just as you would on a real email. You’ll receive some crude messages instantly (creeps on Tinder do the same thing), but some will be genuinely friendly.
It’s not all bad
Once you get past the in-your-face sexplosion of naked profile pictures, horny AIM-era profile names, and explicit videos, there are actually an impressive number of resources to help make your experience as satisfying as possible. Some will cost money even outside of the paid subscription, which is kinda dumb.
Aside from the NSFW content, the website is relatively straightforward (albeit ugly). Every feature is advertised in big letters, notifications are displayed clearly with labels, and you don’t really have to click around to find anything. This makes it super accessible for users of all ages, even those who aren’t tech-savvy and can’t even figure out Facebook. Buttons are all over the place, but you figure it out after messing around for a few minutes.
Activities range from direct messaging, sending virtual gifts, watching live videos of people in your feed, joining adult chat rooms that can get very niche, or entering photo contests.
AdultFriendFinder is like a PornHub that you can interact with.
Think of AdultFriendFinder as the dating site version of New York City — it never sleeps. You’ll find people who work the regular 9-5, people who work the night shift, and people in other time zones, so it’s nearly impossible to log on and not have a ton of people to talk to. You know, like that booty call who’s always awake when you text them.
Or at least that used to be the case… 10 years ago. What was once a hot site that a few Reddit users were quick to hype up is now one of the dating sites that Reddit users can’t help but diss — in the few instances that AFF is even being discussed at all. The Reddit community is diverse and open-minded, and if a dating site exists, someone on Reddit has used it and has an opinion on it. It’s notable that, on a site where online dating is such a mammoth topic of discussion, that AdultFriendFinder has rarely been mentioned since the early 2010s. When an innocent soul does ask if it’s legit, AFF usually gets dragged for sketchy pricing and being ridden with bots.
Paid memberships are where things get… interesting
You can do a decent amount of exploring without paying a cent: Limited messaging and emailing, visit and like most profiles, and enter some chat rooms. But just a few clicks on AdultFriendFinder can send you deep down the rabbit hole, and a lot of that juicier hidden content can only be unlocked with a paid membership (called the Gold membership) or by earning points.
Points are AdultFriendFinder’s non-monetary currency. If you’re a free member, you’ll have to earn points through on-site activity to unlock stuff that’s exclusive to paying members. It’s kind of like a game, with points acting like dollar bills at the strip club.
If you’re a guy looking for girls, a Gold membership is pretty much the standard. While researching on Reddit, we found a few women who said they won’t meet a guy unless he’s a Gold member. A Gold membership puts a little bit more credibility behind someone’s profile and makes the whole encounter feel a bit safer. It’s easier to believe that someone’s a real person if they’re a paying, active member of the site, and it’s nice to know that they’re taking it slightly seriously. Plus, if you see a picture or profile that looks like it’s 10 years old, it really might be — there are a ton of non-active, non-paying profiles from old members and escorts still lingering.
If you find yourself spending more quality time on the site than you expected, becoming a paid member is definitely something to consider. Once you’re paying, you basically become royalty on the site: Your profile will appear way higher in searches, you can use the most advanced searches, unlock profiles with private photo albums, check out video profiles, and message to your heart’s content. A general rule is that increased involvement and payment on your end generally equals more success on the website, as your constant activity and heightened search-ability makes it way easier for others to find you.
Prices for a Gold membership fluctuate but generally get cheaper the longer your subscription is: Get one month for $39.95, three months for $26.95 per month, or 12 months for $19.95 per month.
Good for: Very open-minded people looking to blow off steam
Stating the obvious, AdultFriendFinder a space for people who want to bang with no strings attached, people who are in a sexual rut, people who are tired of porn, and people who find sites like eharmony to be boring. Getting to know someone for weeks before meeting up can be exhausting, and sometimes, you just wanna skip the small talk and do the dirty with a random. It’s gonna get kinky out there, and that’s great for those who are dying to blow off steam and want someone who will respond well to a brusque, sexy message.
People are so active on this site that it’s impossible not to feel worshipped. Just seeing the notifications of users wanting to talk to you will make your heart flutter, and once you come across your first legit suitor, you’ll start to loosen up. Even if you’re left on read a few times, you’ll learn which opening lines and flirty comments work and which don’t. But since the site is aimed toward casual encounters and not serious relationships, the whole rejection thing isn’t nearly as prevalent.
As with all dating sites, catfishing is a big buzzkill. Your chances of being pursued are way higher if you have a lot of pictures of the same person (AKA you), videos, and a genuine profile that lets people know they’re not dealing with something sketchy. Even if you’ve had bad luck with online dating in the past, AdultFriendFinder is the place to be honest.
Bad for: People looking for a real relationship and the entire woke community
You know those warnings that thrill rides at amusement parks are required to put up that tell people who get dizzy easily or have heart problems to not get on the ride? AdultFriendFinder could use something like that. This site is not for the faint of heart — if you’re a cynic, conservative by any means, get sketched out easily, or simply aren’t a fan of dick pics, you’re probably going to hate it. Similarly, if you appreciate a well-crafted, aesthetically-pleasing website that feels safe — no matter how badly you want to have sex — one glance of the landing page likely signaled that it’s not for you.
AFF lets you identify as and search for a man, woman, a couple, or “TS/TV/TG.” We can only assume that those abbreviations are referring to highly-offensive, tone-deaf terms for the trans community — terms that any reputable dating site should know not to use. Unless AFF is fine with alienating all LGBTQ users and people who care about that community, it should learn what the hell pronouns are.
AdultFriendFinder is not the place to be if you’re trying to make friends, unless “with benefits” is tacked onto the end. Every inch of the site screams “this website is used to have sex,” and you should really listen to that.
As illustrated by the recent flood of artsy activism guides on Instagram, it’s clear what content appeals to young people on the internet: Something aesthetically-pleasing, sharable, and digestible. The “sharable” part doesn’t totally apply to online dating, but apps like Hinge and OkCupid closely follow this design trend by limiting the number of words (and ads) in each tab, steering clear of endless scrolling, and ensuring that important info isn’t cluttered with flashing clickbait.
For instance, Pure is a modern, no-strings-attached hookup app that appeals to your horny side with a single, witty statement about sex rather than bombarding you with boobs and “Have sex in NYC now!” claims. Anyone older than a millennial may be totally used to this pop-up ridden layout, which seemed to be popular in the early 2000s — but for younger folks, AFF’s chaotic approach is way too reminiscent of Omegle.
AFF could do so much more to make people take it seriously
The entire website looks like an ad about hot MILFs that pops up when you’re illegally streaming a movie. Seriously, it’s bad. Even though the website is technically legit, the pictures, word choice, and exclamation points everywhere scream “scam.” No, AdultFriendFinder, “98,897,765 Hot Photos” is not the way to make potential new users trust you.
We’re not knocking a quick hookup or no-strings-attached relations. This isn’t about morals. Genitals are quite literally in your face from the moment you make an account, and that’s just not cute. There are chiller ways to go about insinuating that this is a hookup website without feeling like you’re trapped in a sex dungeon with strangers.
I could not get past the fact that the entire site looks like it’s about to invite five viruses to your computer. We’re talking terrible graphics that look like they were made on Microsoft Paint and pictures of women who look like they’re from Pornhub in 2007. (That’s when AdultFriendFinder was officially sold and rebranded from its original parent company.) Reddit user Snoo53279 summed it up in a comment from July 2020: “The people on AFF are definitely real, but there is a huge smattering of bots that also get in the way so it can be a bit of a PITA to use.” If they’re not bots, they could be men posing as a couple to seem less threatening.
The parade of women on the landing page is questionable for two reasons. This shouldn’t even need to be clarified, but not everyone is looking for a woman. At the least, the advertising just isn’t inclusive — but this crosses into fetishization territory. The cherry on top is that the women in the photos (unsurprisingly) probably aren’t even members on the site, according to a disclaimer at the bottom of the landing page.
AdultFriendFinder’s overall outdated vibe goes past an aesthetic annoyance — it’s downright problematic at times. The “TS/TV/TGs” part of sign-up is nearly unforgivable, and we’d be scared to see some of the related rhetoric that AFF users feel comfortable spewing. Without even a dash of social awareness, it’s hard to see how anyone who’s not an out-of-touch straight cis man would feel comfortable on this site.
Attempting to navigate the shoddy design might just be enough to smother your horniness. Three main issues can make the site borderline unusable: It looks shady as hell, an alarming portion of the user base is made up of bots and spam accounts, and the user interface itself is outdated and rife with bugs.
Other Reddit users mention that the desktop web version won’t even load for them at random times — an especially frustrating roadblock for people who want to end their membership and stop monthly charges. A solution to the laggy web version might be to clear your cache or use the smartphone app instead, but your experience probably won’t get better there. AFF’s mobile page doesn’t even mention an Android app, and the link to the iPhone app brings up a “not available” pop-up in the App Store. For a site that claims to have over 50 million visitors each month, the lack of accessibility to a smartphone app is just plain odd — especially in 2021.
Adding to the sketchiness, a network hack in 2016 exposed around 412 million accounts, including “deleted” accounts that weren’t actually deleted from the database. If this is enough reason for you to fall back on Tinder for finding a friend with benefits, we don’t blame you. Signing up with a burner email and avoiding using your real name as a username are wise moves (just pick a naughty word and add 69 to the end, IDK), though keeping your personal information private is hard when credit cards are involved.
In 2007, AFF was involved in a lawsuit with the FTC over allegations that the site used malware to send explicit pop-up ads to computers owned by people who hadn’t signed up for the service. Though we haven’t seen reports like this recently, so we’re hoping those ridiculous ads you see are at least confined to people who actually use the site.
Surprisingly, AdultFriendFinder feels much more legit than competitors. While other hookup sites have names like FreeSnapMilfs.com, Fuckswipe.com, and Instabang.com, AdultFriendFinder will be the one you’d hate showing up in your Google search history the least. Most have the same general idea, which is to find sexual partners, have cybersex, etc, but with names like those, the authenticity is way too questionable. AdultFriendFinder boasts a much larger audience and has built credibility in a Tinder-saturated market where these blunt, friskier competitors may have trouble gaining trust.
No matter how in the mood you are, your hungry eyes may not be able to look past AFF’s heinous interface. We mentioned Pure earlier. The aesthetically-pleasing, hella-millennial UX design is simply more palatable than AFF and the blueprint of what a modern hookup app should be. Kind of like a Snapchat for sex, your uploaded selfies, personal info, and conversations will self destruct every 60 minutes. The app will send the hookup version of an Uber request to anyone else who’s close and ready to rumble, and you can choose what information to disclose from there.
Remember when we said AdultFriendFinder would be a nightmare for queer women? If you want an alternative, Feeld is an inclusive, very 2021 app dedicated to singles and couples looking for threesomes, foursomes, or however many people you want — minus the unicorn hunting and rampant fetishization that many non-hetero, non-monogamous people face on traditional hookup sites and apps.
The final verdict
AdultFriendFinder is a low-pressure way to find a friends-with-benefits situation without insulting anyone. Everyone is pretty much there for the same reason — and though it’ll feel pretty unorthodox if you’ve only ever used to Tinder to scope this type of thing out, AFF’s blunt advertising at least means you won’t have to explain that you’re not looking for a relationship. It’s niche-friendly, well-populated, and has a ton of interactive outlets to indulge your primal urges.
But that freedom comes with a price — the price being feeling like one of those people who falls for the ads that pop up before a free Pornhub video. It’s not that a site dedicated to sex and sexting is inherently scammy — it’s that AdultFriendFinder drowns you with explicit photos on profiles who might not even be real people while asking you to pay for a subscription with every click. Unfortunately, no matter how in the mood you are, some people aren’t cut out for the nothing-left-to-the-imagination approach with grammar mistakes all over the place. It wants to be sex-positive so badly, but the way sign-up talks about the trans community is the furthest thing from that.
The functionality and safety of the site and the mobile app aren’t where they need to be in 2021. If security measures were tightened, graphics and photos were cleaned up to feel more relevant, and decision-makers behind the scenes were given a lesson in inclusivity and pronouns/identities, AdultFriendFinder could be a handy tool to find attachment-free hookups and connect with a community that’s down for anything.
If you’re feeling brave, you can register for AdultFriendFinder here. Just don’t try this at work.