"Preferred gender" option for hosting

We started to discuss it here, but I was told it deserves a separate topic :slight_smile:

So as @Jesse explained to me, the main concern is that it can help to use the website for dating. I see the point, but actually “preferred gender: female” on a guy’s page is a huge red flag in itself and is quite handy in that sense. I mean, if he doesn’t have it, how will I know I shouldn’t stay with him? :sweat_smile:

Also, maybe I’m wrong, but I feel the main users of the feature are still girls who only host girls. In India, Turkey, South Korea almost all female hosts had it that way, and I’d guess it’s true for a lot more countries in Asia and the Middle East (at least).

Apparently, there are thoughts of having a “show my profile to women only” option, but I feel that’s overkill. There’s a really big difference between not hosting men and not even showing your profile to men. Say, I don’t want to host guys but I’m ok with meeting up - and what should I choose?

Or does it mean “in host search results, show my profile to women only”? Then yeah, sounds helpful. Could be actually the same “preferred gender” question or smth like that, but only available to women and only having “any” and “female only” options. And if you choose “female only”, you are not shown to guys in the search.

Maybe even have this feature for everyone, but only have the choice between “any” and your own gender? Though in the terms of security it’s pretty much of no use for men, I know a friend’s friend, a strict Muslim guy, who only hosts other guys.

So what do you think about all this?

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I must have missed the earlier discussions about this.
I see no problem at all having full control of who can see (and not see) your profile.
We are after all now living with all these new laws on online privacy.

You can make it a bit more neutral and practical at the same time:
same gender only” option, both for who can be a guest and/or who can see a profile.

It certainly avoids the awkward “man only hosts women” kind of profile.


Sorry, here’s the link to the initial discussion.

In general, I don’t have a problem with it either. But I wouldn’t like it to be the only option to express that I only want to host women, you know.

In any case, I do love the “same gender only” idea! Sounds much more neutral and calm

Doesn’t have to be- as long as it’s just a written preference. If men with selected preference for females would still be willing to host other males I don’t see this to be a red flag at all. I also have male gay friends and they do prefer to host or be hosted by females simply because they get along with females better.

The red flag in my opinion would be if the man’s profile was set to be only seen by women. Then it raises the question. Same for women who would want to have their profiles be seen by men only.

I love this!! Seems like a great tool for those who can’t host the opposite gender (cultural reasons etc.)

Now the tricky thing. As this “preferred gender” option is discussed mainly to prevent dating: how do we want to deal with gay people who want to intentionally use Couchers for dating? “Same gender only” suddenly becomes a red flag.

If we want to prevent dating, we must take in consideration not just people’s gender but their sexual orientation as well which I am not sure how possible it would be with bi-sexual or pansexual people.

Lastly, this gender topic makes me think: Is Couchers inclusive? I do not remember what gender options I had when creating my profile, I only know that I can choose my pronouns and that I can have my gender label changed by admins. Do we only have male/female option or non-binery/genderqueer as well?


I actually was thinking about the same thing. And that would be the problem for men now

Well that’s the beauty of it, everyone can decide how red that flag is for them personally :grinning: I wouldn’t try my luck and check if that person is nice or not

Fair enough! And I agree with you @phaula. If any person makes you uncomfortable because of his or her preferences, there should be no debate whether you should or shouldn’t stay with them. We should always connect with people who make us feel safe.

But just for the record you were quoting my opinion on men who “prefer” females yet host both, females AND males.

To explain what I meant:

Some of my male CouchSurfing friends chose “preferred gender: female” and for them the word “prefer” really means “tend to choose” and nothing else. They would still host males if they got a good request from them. But if they got two requests at the same time, one from a female and one from a male, they would go with a female because this was their personal choice: I have asked my CS male friends why they prefer to host females and they usually said they are cleaner, nicer and trouble-free guests (not always true, right :smiley: ) But in general they had nothing against hosting men. They just didn’t think that “I prefer to host” would be only interpreted as “I exclusively host”.

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Yeah, I understand. Well, I’d still choose a guy who didn’t state any preferences, but then again, to each their own.

I thought this choice did influence who your profile was shown to though. Was it just a statement then?

On Couchsurfing it was a statement. You could still receive a request from your non-preferred gender. On Couchers I have no idea. At the moment there is no gender preference at all.

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Got it.

I start feeling that a good way to go about this is actually having a “preferred gender” feature just the way it was on CS AND an option “show my profile to women only” for girls.

Basically the “only show my profile” thing will help to filter out any requests/messages/replies to open trips from men if needed, and the “preferred gender” can be still used in all the various ways mentioned above.

I think the reverse option isn’t needed for men because I can’t think of a situation it really could benefit them. On the opposite, as @michaela said, it could be used for gay dating. And I reckon for guys it would be a much bigger safety issue than for girls.

And I guess the “only show my profile” option shouldn’t be under home preferences but rather in profile settings, since it’s not only about hosting.

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I think there was smth like “other”, but not very sure too

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ladies, don’t overcomplicate things :upside_down_face:

in the end some good common sense is always needed,
you just can’t create a 100% safe system.


:+1: :+1: :+1: :+1:

LOL, I was just thinking out loud. I do not suppose this was a big safety issue on CS and that it would be an issue here (hope I am not wrong :smiley: ) If you followed my thoughts you might as well think that things would be getting ridiculous if we were able to choose not only what gender but what sexual preference we accept (we would all had to fill out our sexual orientation in order to do so). The thing is we won’t be able to completely make this a safe platform for all and I acknowledge that the main focus should be on the most vulnerable group on hospitality exchange platforms- which are women.

When you were mentioning strict Muslim guys only hosting other guys. I guess things like this could only be a gender preference mentioned on their profile (home section) without necessarily hiding profiles (as this doesn’t seem like a safety issue).

In actuality the team is leaning toward having the ability to “hide (profile, event, hangout, etc) from men” option only, because doing it any other way excludes non-binary folk.

In our early discussions about this we felt this approach would cover all the necessary bases: it allows women and non binary people to interact only with other women and non binary people if that is their choice. Users should be able to turn this option on an off as they choose for reasons ranging from preference to safety to absolute necessity (as in, strict societal rules about male/female interaction or the case of someone being stalked online etc).

I don’t think having a “preferred gender” option adds anything if there’s already a way to hide your profile from males. All it does then is give users more ways to discriminate.


Yeah, I got carried away :joy: Anyway, that was exactly my thought that it will only overcomplicate things unnesessarily.

Well, it does add a lot. There were so many situations mentioned in this thread. However, the main reason for me to have it is still super simple - hiding profile is overkill and using a steam-hammer to crack nuts. Why should I block all men if all I want is to state that I prefer to host women?

If it’s important to you and you want to state it- state it. You can write it down in House rules/Additional information/About my home like anything else you want to have on your profile.


Well, that’s much more of a statement, if you see what I mean. I can also write about smoking, drinking, parking and stuff, but somehow they do have checkboxes? :grinning: Anyway, I wasn’t talking about myself personally, and yeah, people can write it of course. I just don’t understand how is it a bad thing, while there were quite a lot of examples of how it’s a good one.

Sorry for cutting this quote a bit short… I just think that this aspect is interesting when reflecting about why we should care and which options we should provide. Are we on a general mission to prevent dating? Do we need to think about this in general terms? (Who could use the platform to date whom?) Or are we trying to respond to a more specific scenario?

To me it seems there’s mainly one scenario, men preying on young women, that dominated Couchsurfing™ as a platform and that is likely to introduce a toxic culture to Couchers.org as well when unchecked. I think we need first and foremost solutions against this scenario and can worry about a wider picture when it becomes an issue.


I think these things are better as checkboxes because there optional things people can choose about themselves and things they may/may not have or need.

Although I’m heading into the philosophical and probably controversial, gender isn’t a characteristic people have control over, and to me it doesn’t seem right to have checkboxes about it.

If it’s important to you and you want to state it- state it. You can write it down in House rules/Additional information/About my home like anything else you want to have on your profile.

Completely agree. It’s like saying you only want to host people around your age or who are from certain countries. While people do that and it’s a bit in opposition to the culture of cultural exchange, it’s up to that person to specify their preferences about what kind of people they host in their profile. I wouldn’t want to encourage people to choose “preferred age” or “preferred nationality,” for example, and I don’t think gender is much different in this regard.

On a separate note, I’ve spoken with the team about having a kind of popup when you write a request if the person you’re writing to doesn’t usually accept request from people like you. I.e., “Heads up! This host rarely accepts men,” or “Heads up, this host hasn’t accepted someone from Brazil before,” just to add some kind of customized expectation. The host wouldn’t see these popups but it may give the requester some insight as to whether or not their request will be accepted or if they should write something different in their request :slight_smile: It’s not a very popular idea or anything but personally I’d love it as a way to know if I should bother requesting that person’s couch :smiley:

“Heads up, this host has only ever accepted women under 25…” LOL

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Idk, I feel having

will actually create the impression of having

Like if you have checkboxes “hide from men” everywhere, doesn’t it actually cause a thought that this must be a really dangerous place? For me Couchsurfing was a great community that I can trust, not a community of “men preying on women”. I mean, I don’t want to sound like “come on, there’s no such problem”, but I feel that’s an overreaction - and there’s no milder option left to go about it.

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