Niki Davis


Hi, I’m Niki Davis a consent and sexuality educator and Bushwick Daily’s Bedroom Coach. Every other humpday, I’ll answer your sex and relationship questions. Submit your questions to [email protected] or slide them into my DMs @nikidavisf.

Q:  Since you run a sex podcast, maybe you could give me some advice regarding how to get a woman to write back on Tinder? I’m a straight dude.

A:  Thank you for writing in! This is a common question for people of all sexual identities and genders. Although, some of my advice would be different depending who the query is from. I usually use tinder for entertainment while commuting or that toilet downtime, but I have recently began contemplating taking it a little bit more seriously. Research consistently shows gender differences in Tinder usage where straight men are significantly more likely to swipe right indiscriminately (on around 70 percent of profiles), whereas women are more likely to take the time to assess each profile and only swipe right with partners that they are actually interested in (around 27 percent of matches).  The good news for you is that once a woman matches with you, she is likely to have given it at least a moment of thought and is at least potentially interested in you, if you don’t blow it. Below are some tips to get a response on your first message.

1. Spelling is key. I can’t recall the number of people that said, “Wuddup Nikki?”, “Hey Nickey” or “How you doin’ Nicki?” My name is spelled Niki and it’s at the top of the same page, that people are writing to me on. Messing it up shows that the person isn’t willing to put two seconds of care into their message. Unless they are the sexiest, coolest looking person ever, I will not respond.

2. Use real words not, “Hiii Wat u doin l8r 4 hppy hr? Cum 2 bk – c u there?” OkCupid studied which words were least likely to lead to a response and they include “u, ur, luv and wat.” If someone isn’t willing to put in the time to write out a full word it seems unlikely that they will want to put in the time to get to know someone – or even know where the clitoris is. Of course, this could be completely false in some cases, but the whole basis of Tinder is using limited information to judge a person and using netspeak does not give a good first impression.  

3. Getting too sexual too fast. I’m all for honesty, and yes, I understand that many people use Tinder for casual hookups, and yes, I have had sexually explicit conversations with strangers on Tinder. However, I highly advise against saying anything sexual on your first message. Women are often slower to warm up during a hookup, so a lot of women will require a warm up before you go: “here’s my cock.” The exact same picture of a cock or description of what that cock wants to be doing can either turn me on or gross me out depending on the context. Part of this may be because women are less visually aroused than men, so an aimless cock without a story may not do much for most of us. However, if that cock has made some good jokes and shown a genuine interest in what we have to say, then a picture of it may be exactly what we want. It’s all about timing and correctly reading the situation.

4. Write a medium length message. Short messages like, “Hi,” “wuddup,” and “How’s it going?” are boring and don’t really open up the conversation. At the same time, long messages are overwhelming and also often don’t yield a response. For me, I often plan to answer the long messages later, but never get to it, and am slightly suspicious why this person put THAT MUCH effort into talking to an internet stranger, before a back and forth has even started.

5. Don’t perpetuate stereotypes about what you think women want to hear, this one is my biggest pet peeve. I have gotten a lot of initial messages where men talk about how into relationships, marriage and babies they are. For example, messages that say that I am “wifey material” (yes, this happens a lot) are problematic to me. I haven’t figured out if I want a family yet and by assuming that all women are monolithic creatures, who only want marriage and babies, shows the writer assumes women are one-dimensional. I envision one of those dudes, who meets up with a fascinating woman,but all he does is talk about himself. 

6. I always notice when someone’s first message is at 3 a.m.  Sometimes it’s not as obvious as a “you up?”, but when someone messages me at 3 a.m. it is an immediate red flag. I am very picky about who I sleep with, and the fact that this person is horny and appears down for a stranger to come fuck them is a turn off. I myself have definitely sent drunk messages to strangers in the middle of the night, but as we are judging based on a limited amount of information, consider the timing of your messages.

8. Comment on something interesting in their profile. A lot of people showcase things they like and are therefore interested in talking about them. Engaging in that is likely to lead to a response. I love Star Trek and have a “live long and prosper” emoji on my profile, so a question I would ALWAYS answer is, “Which captain would you want to command your starship?” (Correct answer: Captain Sisko). My profile links a Fela Kuti song and shows that I’m interested in traveling, dive bars, graffiti and sexuality research (I have my sex podcast linked). As a result, engaging me in any of these topics will likely lead to a response. No, not by saying “need some new material for your sex podcast?”, but by sharing knowledge (hey, there’s really cool graffiti on x street), showing shared interest (have you read X book on sexuality?), or asking a relevant question (I just moved here, where the honky tonk at? Perhaps you would like to show me?) is likely to lead to a response. 

If you put in a little bit of effort, write personal questions, and not be a creep, you are guaranteed to get more responses on Tinder. Hopefully this will help you find what you are looking for 😉

@nikidavisf is a full time consent educator and does private sex and relationship coaching sessions. The focus of her Masters was positive sexuality and she has lectured at NYU, The United Nations and many other venues on the subjects of sexual communication, sexual assault intervention and support, and human sexuality.

Cover image courtesy of Pixabay, all others by author.

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