With the plethora of dating apps available, it may be difficult to decide which is the one for you. Perhaps you don’t like the casual hetero vibe of Tinder; maybe the time limit on Bumble stresses you out or Hinge feels too serious. Or maybe you just want more queer-centered apps to explore other than Grindr or Lex. Could Feeld be the answer? Feeld aims to be an inclusive and safe space for queer people, nonmonogamous couples, and people with a wide variety of kinks. It covers virtually the whole spectrum of why someone would use a dating app. As a seasoned (and at times jaded) dating app user, I wanted to see what Feeld was all about.
When you open the app, you see gifs of suggestive scenarios. It feels much more serious compared to the bright colors of Tinder & Bumble and more sensual than the corporate gray of Hinge. It’s like you’re about to enter a seductive and potentially dangerous (in a fun way) space.
When you create an account, it asks you to choose a gender. Unlike the other major apps, it has a wide selection of genders to choose from. The complete list (in alphabetical order) is: Agender, Androgynous, Bigender, Gender Fluid, Gender Nonconforming, Genderqueer, Gender Questioning, Intersex, Man, Non-binary, Other, Pangender, Transfeminine, Transmasculine, Trans person, Trans Man, Trans Non-binary, Trans Woman, Two-Spirit and Woman.
I wanted to put Woman and Nonbinary, but surprisingly, you can’t select multiple options. This was difficult for me, because I had to analyze how exactly I wanted to label my gender in this specific scenario … how I wanted to be perceived by others on the app. I pondered this for a bit, switching between Bigender, Genderqueer, and Gender Questioning. Ultimately, I decided on Bigender.
The next screen prompts you to choose a sexual identity. Easy, Bisexual! Bigender Bisexual … has a nice ring to it. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the equally vast list of sexualities they have to choose from: Androgynosexual, Androsexual, Asexual, Autosexual, Bisexual, Bi-curious, Demisexual, Gay, GrayA, Gynosexual, Heteroflexible, Homoflexible, Lesbian. Objectumsexual, Omnisexual, Pansexual, Polysexual, Queer, Skoliosexual, and Straight. There were a few sexualities on the list that I hadn’t heard of, but thankfully Feeld’s website has a glossary of definitions for all the gender, sexuality, and desires choices.
The next question: “What are you looking for?” In my case, it automatically selected every option (maybe because I selected Bisexual) but excluded couples (Man + Woman couple, Man + Man couple, Woman + Woman couple). I decided to include couples just to see all the possible options on the app. In the “What are your desires?” section, it inquiries about what relationship type you want, your preferences for threeways and group sex, and your kinks.
Then on to adding photos. You can only upload six photos on your profile — no nudity! Then I got introduced to the paid membership, where you can add private photos that only you and your “connections” can see (I did not pay for the app and this feature wasn’t super relevant to me). After you upload photos, you are prompted to join the paid membership again. I declined and then received a blurb about consent, which was nice to see — although I found that some people still posted nude photos on their profile, despite the guidelines and blurb about consent.
A fun feature that is almost immediately offered to you is to jointly search with your partner. While swiping I noticed that if you use this feature, your partner shows up on your profile and people can click on them to see their profile as well. This is a useful feature for this sort of app, but I think it would be great on any app if someone is in a nonmonogamous relationship. I acknowledge that although nonmonogamy has become more accepted, it is generally still frowned upon among the general public.
The first person I saw on the app was a 40-year-old straight white man — absolutely not! I immediately went to my settings to change my age range. The default range is 18 to 63, up to 250 miles away. Although it’s surprising that they don’t ask you for your age or distance preferences in the beginning, you can easily correct it. I changed the range to 23 to 29 and up to six miles away. I wasn’t prompted to write a bio either, so I went back to add both a bio and interests to my profile. You can also change your location very easily and free of charge. More on that later.
The second day using the app, I opened it to find the same group of people I’d seen the previous night. This is when I realized that the swiping function is different from apps like Tinder. Swiping just lets you browse through your options, but you’re not making any definitive decisions unless you actively “like” or “dislike” the profiles.
I eventually got bored of swiping in Atlanta and decided to try the location feature to change my location to New York. Unfortunately, depending on when you use it, the majority of the profiles could also be people who changed their location. The first time I used the feature, it was mostly filled with people who did not actually live there or were not physically there. You can tell, because instead of the location just saying “New York,” it says, “Exploring New York, US.” But another day I used the feature, it was composed mostly of people who actually lived there, so it just depends.
One thing I didn’t enjoy is that I don’t receive notifications for anything other than “pings” (comparable to “super likes” on Tinder) and messages, not new matches. A note on pings: again, I had my age range set from 23 to 29, and yet a straight 35-year-old man and a straight 40-year-old man both “pinged” me, one of whom had paid for the premium membership. It made me mildly uncomfortable that they’re able to do that; I feel like I should be excluded from their feed if they’re outside my age range.
In my five days on the app, I only made eight matches, three of whom messaged me and most of whom were in New York, not Atlanta. When my location was set to Atlanta, I saw some of the same people I’ve seen on other dating apps and many people I haven’t seen on any of the other dating apps. Unfortunately, I still found that very few people on the app were my type. The overall selection is significantly better than Tinder, for example, but not much better than Hinge.
I spoke to some friends about their experiences with the app and their general perceptions were similar to mine despite them having years of experience with the app. They stated that the selection wasn’t the best, the conversations were dry, and that there simply aren’t enough people using the app. The main benefit we all found was the much higher concentration of queer people and the wide variety of identity markers and kinks. I may continue to use the app for a bit longer, but overall, it could use some improvements and would definitely benefit from a higher user base.