Due to a chaotic life and chronic shyness, I’ve been using dating sites for years. I’ve found there are a lot of duds out there, but in the pile of shit there are some diamonds. I’ve met some wonderful men, some good men, some bad men and some alarmingly ugly (in personality as well as looks) men. That’s going to happen no matter what dating site you’re on. However, I’ve found there are some trends in the dating sites and some things to look out for. Here’s my list of a few sites (more to be added later) and my opinion of them.

1. Lava Life  http://www.lavalife.ca/
Lava Life is perhaps one of the more famous ones out there. It offers three different levels of dating; dating, romantic and intimate encounters. The dating is for those just looking to casually date and not get involved in anything serious. Romantic is for those with more permanent plans and intimate encounters is about sex. Lava Life also offers get togethers in real life and a party line, an instant messaging system where users can talk to other users on the system. The problem I see with Lava Life are a few. First, the fee paid is not like other systems where you pay one fee for so many months and get access to different things. Instead, you pay a fee and then you get credits. You pay 6 credits to send a message, another 6 if you want to instant message someone (your credits don’t get returned if they don’t respond which happens quite often). As a result of this system, credits  can get eaten away very quickly and if you don’t have the credits it’s impossible to connect with other users. Another problem is that users on this system tend to like their game playing. The men I’ve encountered in all three levels have their minds on sex and that’s about it. They have learned to say what women want to hear in order to get what they want. From what I understand a large number of the women on the system are “professionals” wanting to get men to their website or send money so they can come visit.

2. OK Cupid http://www.okcupid.com/home
This is a free website and users have access to messages, IM (instant messaging) and even polls and personality tests. Herein lies the problem; true personality tests are designed by those who know what they’re doing and what they’re looking for. Psychologists use personality tests for a reason. Ok Cupid uses personality tests as a game. Users design the tests for other users and are given credit for doing so. The more tests the user takes, the higher his or her scoring and the more face time their profile gets. Very little emphasis is given to photos, self-descriptions or any sort of expansion on who the person is. Very often photos include partial faces such as eyes, noses or lips. I have even seen one of an ear. This leads me to think; “wonderful, this person thinks this is artistic and creative, but really it’s annoying.” If you want to find the diamond in the rough on here, you have to search fairly hard.

3. Plenty of Fish http://www.plentyoffish.com
   PoF and I have a love-hate relationship. PoF began as a free service but it’s creator has quickly discovered there’s money to be made. While non-paying users still have access to the basics, paying users get more profile time and other privileges. PoF makes connecting easy but then you run across the problem of the users. Oh and customer service is non-existant on PoF so it’s a bit like the wild west out here.
   I can only speak about the male population on here and what I’ve seen so far is less than impressive. The pictures look good; well-muscled men with half-naked bodies. That’s good. Now the personalities…. um… ugh. Work out some more, boys, ’cause that bod isn’t covering up that attitude. I don’t think I’ve run across such a large group of men who believe themselves to be the ultimate in women’s fantasies in a long time. I’m a plus-sized woman and don’t try to hide or pretty up that fact. Only on PoF have I received such comments as “you should be grateful to have my attention” and, my favorite “I’m not interested if  you don’t put out.” There are some diamonds in the rough on here and they are true gems. However, they’re well hidden. The strange thing about PoF is that you will run across hordes and hordes of these personality-challenged men and find one guy who’s really decent. When you do find the decent guy, though, it’s not a show or an act; he really is a nice guy. Weird.

4. Cougar Life http://cougarlife.com
    Here’s another one of life’s oddities. Cougar life is designed for the older woman who wants a younger man. Some are looking for casual dating, others are looking for something more serious and most just want sex. However, not all the men on here are younger. For some reason, 50 plus year old men think cougars want them. Personally, I don’t have the heart to break the news to them.
     Cougar Life does have paid memberships but the user does not necessarily need to be a paying member. Non-paying members can get in touch with paying members. However, one member in the exchange needs to be a paying member (okay, how’s that for a convoluted paragraph? I think I’ve outdone myself).

5. Adult Friend Finder http://www.adultfriendfinder.com/
Welcome to the rabbit hole, my friends. This site is simple; the users on here are looking for sex. Some are also looking for relationships, but those are few and far between. Most pictures on the site advertise sexual prowress so be prepared to look at tits, pussies, cocks, asses and other body parts. If you’re looking for sex, be it a fetish or swinging or an ongoing casual sexual relationship, this is the site for you. If you’re looking for a permanent, Christian relationship…. um…. don’t let the door hit you on the way out. The people on here are very open and honest about what it is they’re on there for. Respect them for having the guts to be honest. While AFF does have a paid membership that allows users access to certain privileges, it is not necessary to have a membership. They have an IM service that also has video capabilities (some users enjoy this service much, much more than others).

6. Ashley Madison http://www.ashleymadison.com
This site advertises that it’s for the married set however, there are many singles on this site as well. The people on this site are largely looking for affairs as there is something lacking at home. A user does not have to publically post his or her picture, but can allow private access to their picture gallery as they choose. I have found the users on this site to be largely honest if discreet people. This site does monitor complaints vigorously so I have had very few problems with this site.

As I come across more dating sites I’ll post more opinions of them. If you hear of a dating site you want featured here, let me know and I’ll go take a peek at it.