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? 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 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.
What is AdultFriendFinder?
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 it 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. During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, sexting, nudes, and Pornhub searches all saw a spike thanks to the vast number of people who started social distancing at home. Those who didn't want to risk quarantine sex or weren't finding people on their level of horniness on Tinder were pretty much guaranteed to get their rocks off somehow via AdultFriendFinder.
On AFF, you can find someone to sext via messaging or video (and plan to get it on IRL, if that's what you're looking for), 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 few statistics, including "98,897,765 hot photos" and "3,375,049 connections," but we're not exactly sure what that means.) Most traffic originates from the United States, followed by visitors from the United Kingdom and Canada. SimilarWeb ranks the site as the 19th most-visited adult site 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 two to one ratio of single men versus 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 LGBTQ men, and likely an actual hellscape for LGBTQ women.
AFF lets you identify as and search for a man, woman, a couple, or trans. Despite trying to be a sex-positive site with blog posts, groups, a sex academy, and more, its language for the LGBTQ community has historically been anything but inclusive or positive. Previously, the AFF sign-up page listed "TG/TV/TS" as the "trans" gender selection — we'll let you infer what those stand for. Though, we will admit, this language has improved recently with more gender options that are appropriately labeled.
Is AdultFriendFinder worth it?
If you're 100 percent 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 — it requires 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, and also to signal to other users that you're not a bot.
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 they'd also like to grab a beer with, especially if they plan to see 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.
The site also features a personality test and a "My Kinks" form where you can select whether or not you're "curious about, into, or can't live without" a certain kink (e.g., anal, bondage, role play, etc.). It also lets you choose whether you're a voyeur, the giver, or the receiver.
One weird thing about the Personality Type test is that it asks several questions about whether or not you enjoy shopping at discount stores — not really sure what that's about. It also asks whether or not "a quiet time for prayer should be allowed in school." You can choose "strongly disagree, somewhat disagree, somewhat agree, or strongly agree."
Once you finish the personality test (20 questions), you can opt to have your Personality Type show up on your profile or have it hidden. It will also show you which personality types complement yours.
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. If you'd rather not see the site's raunchier side, it offers a "no nudity" option, but I still wouldn't trust this filter enough to be online in a family setting or at work. 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 kind of 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 and tips, 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 to 5, people who work the night shift, and people in other time zones, so it's nearly impossible to log on and not have 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. It's notable that, on a site where online dating is such a mammoth topic of discussion, AdultFriendFinder has rarely been mentioned in a positive light since the early 2010s. The Reddit community is diverse and open-minded; if a dating site exists, someone on Reddit has used it and has an opinion. When an innocent soul does ask if it's legit, AFF usually gets dragged for sketchy pricing and being riddled with bots.
However, some Reddit members have praised AFF as a site for men meeting men. Even so, the site's still buggy and isn't exactly great for meeting real people who aren't, as one Reddit user so eloquently put it, "busted and unstable."
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.
A Gold membership is pretty much the standard if you're a guy looking for girls. While researching on Reddit, we found a few women who said they wouldn'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.
AdultFriendFinder also gives members the option to confirm their identity with ConfirmID. If you do this, the site promises to give you two weeks of Gold for free. The ConfirmID works by entering your legal first and last name, home address, gender, and date of birth and uploading a copy of your driver's license, passport, or other government-issued ID.
If you spend more quality time on the site than 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 searchability make it 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 $27.95, three months for $20.95 per month, or 12 months for $14.95 per month. The three-month membership is billed quarterly, while the 12-month membership is billed annually. With a Gold membership, free members cannot contact you, but they can still see your profile.
You can also purchase profile highlights designed to make your profile stand out. They're $9.95 per month or $8.95 per month for a three-month run (billed quarterly). Although it's not super clear how these highlights work, the site promises your profile will "get noticed first in search and browse results" and that your emails will appear highlighted. It also notes that highlights are "colorful and attention-grabbing."
Good for: Very open-minded people looking to blow off steam
Stating the obvious, AdultFriendFinder is 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 boring. Getting to know someone for weeks before meeting up can be exhausting, and sometimes, you want to 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 desired. You'll probably get a flood of message notifications, 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 socially-conscious 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 aren't a fan of dick pics, you'll probably 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 at the landing page likely signals that it's not for you.
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 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 of 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 lack of inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ community 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 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, but your experience probably won't improve. 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 2023.
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 (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 its 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: 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 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 gay and bi women? If you want an alternative, Feeld is an inclusive, very modern 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 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 is feeling like one of those people who fall 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 that 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 language the site has used in reference to 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 2023. 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.
This isn't a dating or hookup site we would personally use, but if you're feeling brave, you can register for AdultFriendFinder here. Just don't try this at work.