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OkCupid review: is it the best dating site for men?

Online dating is a tough business. When you start out, there’s a mountain of sites to choose from; knowing where to start can be intimidating to say the least.

OkCupid (OKC) stands out because it is one of the biggest dating sites out there. It's has 30 million active users, with a million logging in every day. So, even if you think there’s only a million to one chance someone will date you, in theory, there’s a man/woman/omnisexual on here for you.

Sound promising? Well, strangely, it's actually one of the immediate problems with OKC. The site as an absolute hive of polyamorous kinksters, furries and other assorted people at the odd end of the dating site pool. It seems that the world's more extreme sexual daters have found safety in the OKC numbers game and gathered in one place to pester each other.

The reason lies in OKC's modus operandi. When you sign up to the site, as well as drafting the normal essay about how great you are and uploading four out of focus photographs from that period in 2006 when you were hot, you answer a raft of multiple choice questions. These range from the fairly ordinary (“Could you date a smoker?”) to the exceptionally weird (“What are your opinions on Eugenics?”).

The questions are picked at random from a list of tens of thousands. You have to answer 50 to begin with, so the site can build a picture of what you are. Thereafter, the more questions you answer, the more likelihood the OKC algorithm will find you a match. What this means is, with not much thought, you can fairly easily sculpt your profile to find, for example, a gay eugenics pipe smoker.

The profusion of kinky folk can get fairly terrifying at times, especially if, like me, your sexual appetites are fairly tame.

One woman sent me an email with a five point list of things she wanted to do to me. Long story short, it involved going to her sex dungeon and being locked in a cage while she choked me and her husband relieved himself on me.

The message ended in the most English way imaginable: "Do let me know if that sounds like your cup of tea". I politely declined. Call me a prude, but urine-soaked homoerotic strangulation is not my cup of tea at all.

The other reason all these people are on OKC is, of course, that the site is free to join. And it's here where you encounter the second major drawback.

Wait, I hear you say. Free is bad? Well, yes, in my experience of online dating, free is very definitely bad. Free sites are packed full with spammers and scammers and people looking for casual sex. Even if that latter category sounds appealing to you, remember that people blithely (or desperately) looking for a squeeze between the sheets can put more earnest daters off.

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