For many people, dating can feel like one of the most challenging things in the entire world, to put it bluntly.
Modern-day technology has changed the game. The explosion of dating apps, from Tinder and eHarmony, offer seemingly endless options. But with this new convenience comes the stress of creating the perfect online dating profile, the tricky game of messaging a person you’ve never met, and a whole host of other complex issues. And, as if dating wasn’t hard enough already, the single people of the world now have to do it with the added stress of safely navigating a global pandemic.
But you are not alone! The dating world is challenging … which is why a bunch of helpful dating resources exist. It’s totally OK to seek out help from experts, books, advice columns, apps, podcasts, and more.
It can be hard to sort through all the bad dating advice out there and find the good stuff that can actually help you navigate your way to a successful relationship. That’s why we’ve compiled this list outlining 10 ways to find the best dating, sex, and relationship advice.
1. Therapy and dating advice apps
If you’re searching for some professional advice, or just looking for someone to open up to, consider using a therapy or dating advice app.
Mashable has researched seven of the best therapy apps available for download, which include Talkspace and 7 Cups. Other apps, like Relish, ReGain, and Mindsail, offer dating and relationship-focused coaching and counseling.
2. Online sex ed resources
Emotional intimacy is one thing, but for many people physically intimacy with a new person is daunting. It’s a big part of any romantic relationship, but it’s not something everyone has a lot of experience in. That’s why it’s important to have trusted sex ed resources on hand. Sex advice is especially beneficial for young people who might not feel comfortable asking others for help.
As part of Mashable’s Sex Ed 2.0 series, we published this list of 20 sex ed resources — from apps like Tabú and Real Talk to organizations such as Get Smart b4 U Get Sexy and TIA — that you can access online.
3. Advice columns
Sometimes the best dating advice comes from asking a seasoned advice-giver about your specific situation. Online columns are perfect for this approach. You can submit your own questions in hopes of receiving a response; you can also learn a lot just by reading responses to other people.
There are a bunch of great general and dating-specific advice columns out there. Here are a few to get you started.
4. Expert-run websites
Some people prefer a more expansive selection of resources that are specifically focused on the dating game. That’s where expert-run websites come in handy.
Often, individual therapists, authors, speakers, and or life/relationship coaches — such as Gigi Engel, Esther Perel, and Hayley Quinn — have websites that not only keep you up-to-date on their work, but also include online resources and blogs for you to check out. Psychology Today has a “Dating and Mating” category that focuses on “the social psychology of attraction and romantic relationships.”
You can also browse your favorite dating site or dating app for answers to your burning questions. Some apps, like Hinge, offer ideas on ways to make your online dating experience more enjoyable and also to make your dating profile more effective.
5. Texting services for teens
As part of Mashable’s Sex Ed 2.0 series, we also looked into helpful digital tools that teens can use to ask sex ed questions or seek guidance related to serious relationship topics, such as unplanned pregnancies. Here are three noteworthy services.
Image: screengrab / plannedparenthood.org
: This nonprofit organization works to help minors in Texas answer questions about how to access birth control or have an abortion. Jane’s Due Process also provides free attorneys to young people who need assistance with the abortion process.
: If you’re 13 or older, you can also reach out to Planned Parenthood’s chatbot, Roo, to privately ask questions about bodies, sex, and
relationships. Roo is available 24/7 to answer everything from “How do I tell someone I like them?” to “Does it hurt to have sex for the first time?” and more.
6. YouTube videos
If there’s an expert that you particularly admire, such as Esther Perel, try searching YouTube for some helpful videos. Perel, for example, has her own YouTube channel where she holds Q&A sessions, gives relationship advice, and more. But there are also a variety of videos, including several TED Talks, that feature her speaking on the site.
YouTube is full of relationship advice if you search for it. Here are a few suggestions.
Anna Akana: YouTuber, actress, comedian, and author Anna Akana has a fun channel that she uses to share relationship advice. She’s made videos to address everything from sexting and bad relationship behaviors to dating profiles and more.
Stephan Speaks: Dating/relationship expert and life coach Stephan Labossiere uses his YouTube channel to give advice on finding a life partner, intimacy, and dating.
Matthew Hussey: You may know Hussey as a dating coach, the author of Get the Guy, or a matchmaker from NBC’s 2013 series Ready for Love, but Hussey also has a YouTube channel where he regularly uploads videos full of tips and advice on dating, communicating, and more.
AMAZE: This animated YouTube series was created to answer questions from teens and help them learn about relationships and sex ed.
lacigreen: Online sex educator (and author of Sex Plus) Laci Green’s YouTube channel is here to break down and talk you through everything from masturbating and orgasms, to consent, genders, and more. Though Green announced a break from YouTube a few months ago, her videos remain and are a great starting point for anyone who wants to learn.
7. Dating advice podcasts
Reading advice columns or talking to other people about your personal life isn’t for everyone. If you prefer to sit back and listen to other people discuss their own experiences, give dating-related podcasts a try. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
8. Dating and relationship books
If you’d rather learn about online dating, sex, and how to have a better relationship offline, allow the internet to steer you in the direction of some helpful books on those topics. Here are some online suggestions for the best offline reading material. And remember, you can always dig through lists, like Amazon’s Dating Best Sellers, for additional guidance.
9. Sex, relationship, and dating advice subreddits
If you’re not looking for advice from actual experts, Reddit may be the perfect place for you. There are a bunch of subreddits — such as r/relationship_advice, r/relationships, r/dating_advice, r/dating, r/sex, and r/BreakUps —where you can converse with other Reddit users and share personal experiences or questions you have related to dating, sex, and relationships.
There are also more general advice subreddits like r/Advice, r/AskReddit, r/CasualConversation and r/TooAfraidToAsk where you can go to ask any questions you have. If you’re looking to discuss a specific topic that isn’t listed here, you can always search the platform, browse the directory, or hop into r/findareddit to ask for guidance.
10. A few unlikely sources
If you ever feel like you’ve reached complete dating scene overload and need to take a step back and regroup, try checking out some lighthearted, unlikely sources of wisdom.
See what astrology apps like Co-Star have to say about your love life; binge some dating-related TikToks; watch movies or TV shows that focus heavily on dating; search for some unqualified celebrity advice; or check out r/AmItheAsshole to focus on other people’s relationships and learn what not to do.
Whether you’re a single person who wants to enrich your dating life, someone looking to turn a first date into a second date or you’re a couple who fell in love at first sight and now need to turn it into a long-lasting and healthy relationship, there’s no shame in asking for help. Love takes some serious effort to maintain, and while these resources can go a long way, it’s important to take time for yourself, too, and remember not to stress. Good luck out there, everyone.