There are a lot of dating websites out there — and I mean a lot. Even the most dedicated online dater doesn’t have time to even look at half of them, let alone actively use more than one or two. So how do you decide which sites are worth your time and which ones, well, aren’t? We’ll give you a little insight in this LavaLife review.
Let me put in the legwork for you. I spend my time trying out as many dating sites as I can so you can spend more time on the legit ones and avoid the scams. This month, I’ve been diving deep into Lava Life and this is my experience.
Let’s start with a high-level overview of the site. As usual, I’m using AFF as a baseline for comparison since it’s probably the most well-known and reliable hookup site out there.
Our team rates each site objectively based on many hours of independent research, the features each site offers, and how it compares with other sites. The ratings are the opinion of our editors and their extensive experience.
|Quality of Women|
Our opinion of how attractive the typical woman is that uses this site and how easy they are to connect with compared to other sites.
How many people are using this site to actually meet people compared to other sites.
How easy is this site to use and how quickly can an average person begin meeting people compared to other sites.
|Privacy & Safety|
Does this site take proper precautions to safeguard its members, their identity, and their data.
Our opinion of how easily an average person will be able to achieve their dating goals with this site compared to other sites.
Will the time and money spent using this site pay off for an average person based on the opinions and experience of our editors.
My experience with hookup sites has been that they usually fall into one of two categories. The first is your basic dating and hookup site, designed to match up single men and women. The second is the more niche site, often targeted at a specific kink or community.
Lava Life is the first kind — no kinks or explicit profile photos here, just your ordinary women seeking a man to date or hook up with.
But how many of those women are real and how many actually want to hook up? Well, there’s the catch.
If you’ve used a dating or hookup site before, nothing on Lava Life will surprise you. Some other less-than-effective websites have a lot of bells and whistles to distract users from the fact that they aren’t meeting any real women, like photo galleries, videos and group chat features.
Lava Life doesn’t have any of that, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. On the negative side, if you aren’t getting dates — which you probably aren’t — there isn’t a whole lot to keep you on the site. On the positive side, this makes it a whole lot easier to see it for what it is, which is your run-of-the-mill empty, ineffective hookup site.
After spending some time lately on some websites with truly awful designs, Lava Life was like a breath of fresh air. Clean interface, neutral background, not too cluttered. Unfortunately, it’s not just the design that was sparse — looking beneath the surface, there really wasn’t much happening on the website at all.
Unlike a few other websites I’ve used, there wasn’t much to Lava Life beyond the basic premise of “search for women, send messages, arrange to hook up.” This would have been fine if there were enough women to message or any chance of hooking up with them.
I found a lot fewer women on Lava Life than I expected and had to expand my search radius pretty far out to find enough women to message. I probably ended up messaging every woman within 200 miles since there were maybe a dozen women under 40 in the general radius of my major city.
Even after that, the site was more or less a ghost town. There weren’t many posts on the discussion forum and a lot of the ones that were there were filled with the usual complaints about scammers and fake profiles. Even the “success stories” category of the blog was conspicuously empty, which I found morbidly amusing.
Probably the best thing about Lava Life is that it automatically applies a 7-day trial subscription to all new accounts, no credit card details required. This sounded great to me — except that for my first week on the site, I experienced a wave of technical errors, including being automatically logged out every five minutes and not being able to receive my email confirmation link.
Luckily, chat support was able to sort out that issue and even comped me another week of paid time to make up for the delay. All in all, I was pretty happy with the automated tech support, not least because it was hands down the most human interaction I experienced during the entire time I spent on the site.
Lava Life doesn’t have anything to offer that other dating and hookup sites don’t. What it does have to offer also isn’t done particularly well. There aren’t many women with profiles on the site and even fewer that seem legit. The forums are either empty or filled with people wondering why they can’t get a date and even the women who “liked” me first didn’t respond to messages. All of that make this a very easy recommendation: Lava Life is not worth your time.
Now contrast this with AFF. As one of the biggest hookup sites in the world, AFF is full of users who are eager to respond, set up a date and meet up. You can be incredibly specific about what you’re looking for and you’ll still find at least a handful of women you can message.
Bear in mind that as with any site, women won’t always reply to your message. But with AFF, your odds are much better than on the other sites we’ve tried. Combine this with the fact that AFF has a free trial and you can forget all about LavaLife.
LavaLife was a nice-looking site and I appreciated the free trial, but it didn’t have much else going for it.
The first thing I noticed about LavaLife was that there weren’t many women. I initially set my search radius to the default 50 miles but had to widen it significantly just to find a decent number of women to message.
The second thing I noticed was that a lot of the profiles seemed really fake. Some were easier to spot than others — as it all too common on many dating sites, there were a lot of profiles that just didn’t make sense, like a weirdly high number of women claiming to be almost 7 feet tall, or women whose profile information says they’re 30 but their bio says they’re 35.
There were also a few bios with literally paragraphs of the same copied and pasted information but with different names and photos.
I’d love to be able to tell you that there were a few diamonds in the rough, some real women scattered among the hordes of fakes. But even the profiles that seemed real could have been fakes. Unfortunately, I never got to have anything even vaguely resembling a conversation with a real woman, so I can’t say I’m too optimistic about your chances of finding one here.
The design of Lava Life is clean and simple, which I liked. There are no intrusive ads, flashing banners or eye-bleeding color scheme. All the important links are on the menus at the top of every page, including shortcuts to your profile and inbox as well as the blog and discussion forums.
The search interface is easy to use, as is the messaging system. Clicking on your inbox opens a pop-up section rather than reloading an entirely new page, which is good if you want to check your messages without navigating away from what you’re doing.
The search function does what it needs to without being overwhelming. As a relatively mainstream dating site, there are options to search by fields like appearance, background and lifestyle, but not by kink or interest. You can also choose the kind of connection you’re looking for, including casual dates, relationship, long term, hookup and friends.
The messaging interface on LavaLife was easy to use, which is about the best thing I can say about it. You can choose to send messages directly from the search results, from a user’s profile or from your inbox, all without having to navigate onto a new page. This makes it easy to send a lot of messages in a short time if you’re playing the numbers game — which I was, not that it helped.
One thing I didn’t like is that there’s no easy way to tell what women you have and haven’t messaged without digging through your outbox and nothing to stop you from messaging the same woman multiple times. Women may appreciate persistence, but they’re usually not too keen on men who can’t remember that they’ve already sent an opening message.
Unfortunately, that’s about as far as I got to dig into the messaging process, because I didn’t have a single back and forth conversation with another user in the weeks I was on the site. I messaged women with similar interests, women who were currently online and women who had already liked my profile, but none of it made a difference. The only response I got was from a single user out of more than 50 women and that led swiftly nowhere.
The short answer: very little. With a free membership, you can search for users and view their profiles. You can like and favorite other users. But you can’t send messages or read any that you receive. You can also read through existing blog articles and forum posts. But you can’t post on the forums yourself.
This is all fairly restrictive, if standard, but a big plus is the free 7-day trial membership users are given upon account creation. This at least lets you try out the paid features and talk to other users before deciding if it’s worth spending money on a subscription.
I always look for ads when I’m using a dating site and not just because they’re annoying and intrusive. Paid ads are usually a red flag that a website is less than legit, while affiliate links can tell you a lot about the kind of website it is by the network it belongs to. The only ads on LavaLife are to “remind” free users to subscribe, which is a step up from the usual dodgy site.
All new LavaLife members are given a free 7-day trial membership. If you choose to continue your subscription, you’ll need to pay for one, three or six months in advance.
Here are some quick answers to frequently asked questions about LavaLife.
LavaLife is a dating and hookup website designed for singles of all ages. It doesn’t appear to have a lot of active users and there isn’t much activity on the discussion boards or through direct conversations.
To log into LavaLife, click the “login” button in the middle of the screen on the home page. If you don’t have an account, you can create one by clicking “sign up” and filling in a basic profile.
For some legit alternatives to Lava Life, check out our review of the best hookup apps and websites.
You can search for users on LavaLife for free but need a paid subscription in order to send or receive messages. You can like or favorite other users’ profiles and can see users who have liked you. Free users can read the site blog and posts on the discussion forum, but can’t respond to posts or start a new topic.
Paid users can send messages, start new discussion topics and view activity on their profile. New users to the site are given a free 7-day trial subscription that allows access to paid features. After a week, those accounts revert back to their free status and require a paid subscription to continue using the site.
To cancel your LavaLife membership, go to “my account” in the drop-down menu and click on the “my subscription” tab. Clicking on “change my subscription” will allow you to manage your membership settings.
You can choose to deactivate or permanently delete your LavaLife account. Deactivating your account will immediately hide your profile from being viewed by other users but will retain your information privately in case you choose to reactivate it later.
To deactivate or delete your account, click on “my account” and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Click on the link to deactivate or delete your account, then choose “deactivate” or “delete” depending on which option you want.
LavaLife memberships are available in one, three, or six-month subscriptions, paid in advance. New users are given a one-week trial subscription in order to try out the paid features of the site for free.
One month: $19.99/month
Three months: $16.66/month ($49.99)
Six months: $14.99/month ($89.99)
If you’re looking for a legit dating site, LavaLife is not it. The site has a lot of fake-looking profiles and very little visible activity from users.
I wouldn’t call LavaLife a scam, but that doesn’t mean it’s an effective dating website. If you’re looking for a reliable dating or hookup site, you’re much better off going with AFF.
To message a user, click on the envelope icon underneath their picture or choose “send her a message” from their full profile. You can also respond to messages directly from the messaging interface, which can be accessed by clicking the envelope icon in the top right-hand corner of every page.
You can perform a basic search by choosing what kind of relationship, age range and location you’re looking for in the drop down menu on the top of the landing page, or choose “advanced search” to filter by categories including ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, body type and income.