Polyamory and OKCupid
In my Ethical Slut Read-along, I talked briefly about OKCupid, calling it one of the best sites on the Internet for polyamorous dating. For several years, many friends and readers have been curious about my success at finding friends and lovers on this free dating site. My long-time relationship with Pet is just one of many lasting connections I have made through the site. It’s a great resource for anyone looking for intimate connections, but its features make it particularly interesting to those in open relationships and the non-monogamous.
This series will examine OKCupid’s features in detail, from setting up your profile through to sending your first messages. To add a woman’s perspective, I asked Molly Rene, a polyamorous blogger, to offer her thoughts. Like me she uses OkCupid to find cute boys and girls to spend time with, but idiots beware — especially clueless messages get reposted on her blog.
Though we hope the guide will be useful to everyone, we’re focusing on what makes OKCupid of special interest to those practicing polyamory. We’re using the terms polyamory, non-monogamy and open relationship interchangeably. Our advice will be useful for people in many different styles of non-traditional relationships.
This is a 7-part series, and we’ll post one part each week. At the end of the series, the entire guide will be available as a .pdf download. This guide is available under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial License, which means you can share it and repost it as long you do not profit from it in any way (including advertising), and you must give credit to authors Molly Rene and Kit O’Connell.
Table of Contents
- Introduction / What Is OKCupid?
- Writing a Dating Profile
- Answering Match Questions
- Finding People on OKCupid
- Meeting People on OKCupid
- Extra Features of OKCupid
- Conclusion: Finding Polyamorous Love
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Once upon a time, personals dating had a stigma attached to it — the only options were newspaper ads which were paid by the word, or incredibly awkward video dating. Even as the Internet began to provide alternatives, there was a widely held perception that only the most socially inept nerds made use of online dating. Now everyone is on the Internet, and it is no longer considered weird to tell your friends “we met online!”
Online dating has a particular appeal for the polyamorous for multiple reasons: because we are a sexual minority, it can be difficult to meet others open to our lifestyle. Additionally, a dating profile can ease the concern some people have over broaching the topic to potential lovers because our desire for non-monogamy is on display from the start. Unfortunately, many dating sites treat polyamory like cheating and ban us. Even if they don’t, there isn’t usually any way to mark yourself as polyamorous or find like-minded others.
OKCupid has become probably the most popular site for polyamorous online dating. Even though it is not exclusively for the non-monogamous, its unique personality matching system and openness to people in committed relationships makes it a perfect choice. I (Kit) first joined in 2004 so I thought I’d be well-qualified to share some tips; Molly is a blogger and writer who has earned a great deal of my respect. If you like, you can check out Kit’s OKCupid Profile or Molly’s OKCupid Profile.
What is OKCupid?
OKCupid is a free online dating site which uses a unique matching algorithm to assign every two people a compatibility rating, displayed as a percentage from 0% to 99%. The matching is based largely on the user’s response to questions, but these questions are not based on any standard personality quiz such as Meyers-Briggs. Instead, the database contains thousands of questions written and submitted by regular users. Based on common answers, the site tries to guess how compatible you’d be as a romantic match or as friends.
Unlike other “free” dating sites, you can communicate with other people freely; paying gives you a few extra features, but I’ve never done it. Another key advantage of OKCupid is that it allows people in existing relationships to have a profile. Every user can label themselves as Single, Seeing Someone, or Married — but if you also list yourself as looking for dates, then your status will instead be displayed as Available. This means everyone knows up front if you are involved already, in addition to whatever you might mention in the profile itself.
Molly says: I don’t feel OKC is as “serious” a dating site as Match or EHarmony. Users are much more open to flexible relationships and aren’t necessarily search for “the one.”
I agree with Kit about the pay features not being worth it. OKC will tell you who is viewing your profile so long as you have agreed to tell others when you view theirs. One of the main pay services is that you can still see who is viewing your profile while hiding who you are looking at.
OKC also has a free mobile app which works fairly well. It was recently updated to include a local feature which will show you who is online nearby; it’s a bit like Grindr. Finally, there is an instant messaging service available through the website which is basic, but effective if you prefer to chat within the OKC framework and instead of sharing your instant messenger handle.
Next week, learn how to make a great dating profile!
Copyright © 2011 Molly Rene and Kit O’Connell. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
This license applies only to this guide, not to other parts of this site unless otherwise noted.