Craigslist Gay Meet Up: 10 Best Alternatives in 2023

Doublelist Team

November 20, 2023 9 minutes read
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One thing many of us will agree about is that dating is not easy. And the dating world can be more challenging for LGBTQ+ folks. Although the rise of online dating has made things a little easier, the fact remains that dating is daunting. However, some dating platforms, like Craigslist Personals, have always helped make the dating experience less stressful for queer people. Now that Craigslist gay meet-up is no more, what other options do queer men have?

Thankfully, there are now many great alternatives for gay dating and meet-ups. This article will review 10 top Craigslist Personals alternatives for gay men seeking serious relationships or casual sex.

Man in bed with a cucumber

What Happened to Craigslist Gay Meet-Up?

Craigslist launched in 1995 as one of the first major online platforms for classified ads and forums. This online market has been popular for over 20 years, with users in various countries worldwide. It caters to people offering and seeking local ads for jobs, housing, items for sale, and, until recently, personal ads.

The personals section was a go-to for many LGBTQ+ individuals to find companionship and explore their sexuality. Many gay men would post personal ads seeking all sorts of relationships, from one-night stands to long-term love. However, it became controversial for facilitating sex work and sex trafficking ads.

In 2018, US Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). These bills stated that platforms like Craigslist would be liable for their users’ content related to sex trafficking and prostitution.

In response, Craigslist chose to take down its personals section entirely rather than face potential legal issues. This abrupt shutdown left many users of the personals section, including gay men, distressed. But the good news is that new dating platforms have risen to fill the gap that Craigslist Personals’ shutdown left.

Top 10 Craigslist Meetup Gay Alternatives in 2023

With Craigslist’s shutdown of the personals section, the LGBTQ+ community lost one of its central hubs for making connections. But there are other specialized gay dating apps and LGBTQ+-friendly mainstream apps to turn to instead. Here are the top 10 alternative websites for gay Craigslist meet-ups and dating in 2023:

eHarmony — Best for Relationships

If you’re a gay man looking for a serious, long-term relationship, eHarmony is one of your best options. The site uses a compatibility matching system to find users’ highly suitable matches. It does this by quizzing users about their personality traits and interests, which helps match people with similar interests.

Although eHarmony is not exclusively a gay dating app, it has expanded its reach to LGBTQ+ singles. It has one of the largest user bases of any dating site, with over 5 million active users. So you’ll get a diverse pool of potential matches.

The site uses a guided communication feature to help matches break the ice and get to talking. So, you don’t have to worry about how to start a conversation with a match or what to talk about. Overall, eHarmony creates an atmosphere suited for gay men seeking a real connection.


OkCupid — Best for Finding Liberals

OkCupid is a free dating app popular for being liberal and open to diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. It caters to progressive and liberal gay singles looking to meet matches with similar views on social and political issues. The app offers over 20 gender and sexual identity options, so you’re sure to feel represented.

OkCupid users also answer reflective questions about their ethics, politics, habits, and sexuality. This helps facilitate connections between compatible people with shared principles and interests. For instance, if you stand against smoking, you can choose to only match with non-smokers.

Grindr — Most Popular Gay Dating App

We don’t think there is any gay dating app as popular as Grindr is. With over 4 million active users, Grindr connects men within the LGBTQ community worldwide. This large user base will find you a match for whatever you want, whether casual hookups or serious commitments.

Grindr uses a location-based matching system to show you potential matches near you. You can chat, exchange pics, and meet up easily. While it has a reputation for facilitating more casual encounters, many gay men also use Grindr to seek relationships.

Overall, it is a convenient and popular way for gay men to expand their dating pool beyond friends of friends.

AdultFriendFinder — Best for Hookups

AdultFriendFinder (AFF) is a vast online dating community popular with singles and couples looking for casual flings and casual hookups. Though it is not exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community, it’s an open and nonjudgmental environment.

AFF offers features to help users interact in various forms, from live-streaming webcams to group forums to private messaging. There are also niche groups to join based on specific interests. For instance, you can join a kink community or a forum for singles in your area.

For gay men seeking no-strings-attached fun, AFF provides a direct but discreet way to explore your desires. Just beware of some fake profiles and exercise caution when meeting people.


NUiT — Best Astrology Dating App

All gay astrology enthusiasts who think star signs are essential in ensuring compatibility should consider NUiT. NUiT bills itself as the first astrology-based dating app. It offers astrological compatibility info for potential matches to gain insight into their natural connection.

The app has lots of gender identity and sexual orientation options, so it’s welcoming for gay and queer men. It also lets LGBTQ+ users filter out straight people to find dates within the community.

For gay singles who consider star sign compatibility a must, NUiT is the perfect app to find someone like you.

Scruff — Best Free Features

Scruff is a top-rated gay dating and social app with over 15 million worldwide users. It is a popular option for gay men seeking casual dates or serious relationships. The app allows you to search for and connect with like-minded men in your area or around the world. So, you can find both local and long-distance relationships on Scruff.

While a paid membership plan unlocks more filtering and priority options, the free plan still offers excellent features. You can set up a profile and use Scruff’s basic communication features for free. You can view millions of profiles, send Woofs to show interest, and chat with mutual matches.

Hinge — Best for Genuine Connections

Hinge distinguishes itself from many shallow swiping apps by facilitating genuine connections. It uses prompts and personal info to facilitate more serious, personality-driven user connections. The app asks insightful questions about ethics, habits, interests, politics, and more to understand matches’ authentic selves. This helps match users with people who share their ideas and interests.

Hinge also caters well to LGBTQ+ daters, with nonbinary gender options and the ability to choose your pronouns. Gay men seeking substance over strict physical standards should sign up on Hinge.

Gaystrst — Best for Casual Flings

Gaystrst bills itself as a casual gay dating site. It aims to provide an open, non-judgmental platform for men seeking intimacy with other men, whether gay, bi, or curious.

The site attracts an adventurous, open-minded crowd seeking flings with no strings attached. Users can post hot profile pictures to find attractive users who are DTF. There are also options to search based on specific preferences and fetishes.

Match — Best for Discreet Affairs

Match has offered millions of singles great dating experiences since 1995. It is a mainstream dating platform that appeals to gay men seeking meaningful connections in a discreet, judgment-free zone.

Match offers privacy features to ensure that users feel safe enough to explore their options on the app. For instance, it allows gay users to keep their profiles visible only to other queer members. You can also choose what type of profile you want to match with.

The site has time-tested tools that help matches know each other well before meeting IRL. For gay men seeking an affair with discretion, Match has the features and community to make it happen. All you need to do is sign up!

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Tinder — Best for Plenty Options

Last but not least is Tinder, the popular dating app that revolutionized online dating. With tens of millions of users worldwide, Tinder offers one of your area’s largest pools of potential matches.

The app connects you with others based on location and selected gender(s) without publishing detailed profile info. It has a simple interface that makes swiping fun and almost addictive.

While most users seek casual dating, Tinder is still helpful for gay men seeking serious relationships near them. Just remember that the large volume of choices can be overwhelming.

Swiping Right: Online Dating Safety Tips for Gay Men

There is no denying that online dating opens up opportunities for us to explore our sexualities and find companionship. However, we should also take precautions for our safety because online dating scams are now common. Here are some safety tips for gay men navigating the online dating space:

  • Avoid sharing personal details like your contact or workplace on your profile. Keep things vague at first until you’re sure of your safety.
  • Verify your matches’ identities before meeting to reduce catfishing risk. A simple video chat can go a long way.
  • Tell a friend when and where to meet an online match in person.
  • Meet first in public places, and don’t go home with them until you’ve gotten to know them.
  • Watch for signs of dishonesty or predatory behavior. Don’t be afraid to cut ties if you catch these red flags in their behavior.
  • Use common sense precautions with your drink, phone, and wallet on a first date like you would with anyone new.
  • Don’t send money or financial information to matches who give unlikely stories and ask for help. This is a common scamming tactic.

If you take the precautions above, you can rest assured of a fun dating experience. Remember to use the safety tools dating platforms put in place, too.

DoubleList: The Best Craigslist Gay Meet-Up Replacement

The disappearance of Craigslist gay personals left a big gap that just any dating app may be unable to fill. We recommend DoubleList to people seeking the best Craigslist gay meet-up replacement.

Doublelist launched in 2018 to directly replace Craigslist’s personals section after it shut down. The site mimics the Craigslist format, so nostalgic Craigslist Personals users can remember the good old days. It allows users to post and browse classified personal ads grouped by location. Like Craigslist, it allows romantic connections and casual dating encounters between all genders.

Create a DoubleList account today for the closest thing to the old Craigslist gay meet-up.

Unlock your wildest fantasies and connect with locals today!

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