This is part six of a seven part series on using OKCupid for the non-monogamous and others seeking polyamory or open relationships. It is cowritten with Molly Rene. This week: Extra Features of OKCupid.
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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Extra Features of OKCupid
So far, our guide has taught you everything you should need to use OKCupid to find sexy people for poly dating or hookups. However, the site has a lot more than just the surface features. Advanced features of OKCupid help you find more people and help you filter those who message you.
To access Settings, click the link on the left side of OKCupid’s website. It’s right next to your profile photo. The first page of options, Account, lets you choose how and when you get email notifications. You can click Profile Options to control some privacy options such as preventing those without OKCupid accounts from seeing your profile, or browsing anonymously so people don’t know when you view their profile. Just remember, unless you have a paid OKCupid account, anonymous browsing means you also can’t see when people visit your profile either.
By clicking on the IMs tab on the settings page, you can turn OKCupid’s built-in instant messaging feature on or off. You can also control who will be able to message you — limiting it to certain genders and orientations, locations, or match percentages. You can whitelist certain people so that they can always send you instant messages, or blacklist others who bore or annoy you. This only affects instant messages; to filter private messages, adjust your relationship preferences on your profile itself. Those who don’t match your desires are warned before messaging you.
OKCupid has a smartphone app available for both Apple iDevices and Android phones. Using this app you can access the website easily from a phone or tablet, but an added feature is Local. Local is much like the gay dating app Grindr — using GPS on your phone, it searches for other people online in your geographical area and lets you communicate. You can broadcast a message — for example, ‘Meet me at Joe’s Bar!’ — but even if you don’t choose to do so, you’ll still appear in a list of local users.
You can shut this off by going into the ap’s settings menu. On Android, the menu has two pages of options, so you have to bring up the menu, then swipe left, then choose Settings from the second page. The Local section of the Settings lets you turn off local searches, either temporarily (just for a day, for example) or more permanently.
I’ve experimented with the local feature a little by sending messages on nights when I was free or broadcasting my location while I was out somewhere on my own. I’ve never received any response.
With Pet’s help, I did verify that the feature works — she messaged me from her iPhone while I used my Android. Once you connect up to someone with Local, it lets you negotiate a place to meet or send direct messages to each other without revealing your real phone number or contact information. This features works, but might be more successful for other people or in other places.
One complaint about OKCupid is the limited choices it provides for gender, orientation, and availability. The only gender options are Male and Female; for orientation, Gay, Bi, or Straight; and for relationship status you can only be Single, Seeing Someone, Married, or Available. This leaves the transgender, queer and polyfidelitous person out of luck, to name just one. Compare this with FetLife, the kink social network, which offers dozens of options.
Until OKCupid becomes more open-minded about human diversity, an optional script provides a temporary fix. Called OKChoices, it gives you more options for self-identification. By adding a specially formatted statement about how you find to your profile (mine says ‘I identify as Queer and Polyamorous.’), you can choose from a long list of gender, orientation, and relationship status options. The problem is that unless your visitors also have the script installed, they won’t see anything different. Obviously, the more people who use OKChoices the more effective it becomes. You can install it with a button click on Google Chrome, but will need to first install the Greasemonkey plugin on Firefox. See OKChoices homepage for complete instructions.
Molly says: I’ve had much more success with the app in the US than in the Netherlands. I first used it when I was home in October and it was absolutely great in New York City and DC. Somewhat less impressive in the suburbs and there’s very few on it in the Netherlands. However, I think that is more indicative of OkCupid itself, and not of the app.
One feature I enjoy is the chat function. You can get to know people a bit before agreeing to meet them, to weed out the crazies. You can also turn on a feature which will have the app notify you if someone who is a very close match is within a certain distance of you. Great for meeting someone at the bar on a Friday night.
The app will also let you shut off locals for “Today” or for “Location.” For example, I have mine shut off while I’m at work. You can find this feature under “Settings.”
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.
Next week, we’ll conclude the series with a few final thoughts, and a peek at a couple other websites poly people can use.