"Preferred gender" option for hosting

@Emily well, you say you are going to have options to hide anything you want from men, but at the same time that gender is same as age and country of origin and irrelevant for hosting. Isn’t there a controversion?

Idk, if it’s such an awful thing to have preferred gender on your profile, is it possible to make an option “women only” (for women only:)) in the home section, so your profile is only shown to girls in the host search? But it won’t be appear on the page itself

We have a non-binary option as well, inclusivity is a big value of ours!

I see this point and why you wouldn’t select this option, but I think there’s something to be said for accessibility here. We think only about 20% of couch surfers across all the platforms are women, and we need to find a way to improve on that. I would make a generalization and say most of the female couch surfers I’ve met are quite confident people who are generally more risk-tolerant, but how do we open it up to women that aren’t? The popularity of Host a Sister, I think, proved that there was a need for a female-only couch surfing experience. I think if we don’t provide that, we risk shutting people out.

We could try designing this system in a way that doesn’t make the platform seem dangerous, but rather as providing a more comfortable experience, especially for new female users. Maybe we can even see it as a stepping stone to the wider experience.

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I’m not so sure about this. In the last 2 years pre pandemic lots of male cs friends stopped surfing because they were being preyed on by gay men, and stopped using hangouts and events for the same reason. We even had a surfer raped by his male host (whom presented himself as straight). Several also started hosting only women because guests would hit on them. So: there are also valid reasons and concerns that make men only host women, dating it’s not the only one. And looking at past guests is not an accurate base for judging either: I’ve hosted mostly men just because mostvof the requests I got from woman were ‘hi can you host me bye’ kinda messages. We should also educate people to write proper requests. Most women get hosted easily so they write low quality requests. Who do you think is going to accept that kind of request? Yeah: a predator.

I think this has became a wider problem, and needs a solution that goes deeper that filtering by gender. Doing only that it’s not going to fix it. Nothing is stopping predators from marking their gender as ‘other’ and access the profiles that are not shown to men. If predators take the time to make a profile as a woman in tinder to try to match with LGBT women, why wouldn’t they do the same in Couchers?


should make reading this page very visible when sending requests on Couchers

(post deleted by author)


Oh, I get the idea now.

But how do you see that? These options kinda say - ‘Girls, we know, all men are dangerous. Here’s a tool to deal with it.’

And in general, trying to create a website for everyone but also exclusively for women at the same time… Idk, how achievable is that? And how needed? If you want a female-only experience, you just choose females only to host and stay with, and you are all good.

So I agree with @anon14140932 that it’s better to have more education and fewer restrictions. And, I’d add, an ability to flag an account that looks like set up for dating?

But, I do see how one(!) general button hiding the profile from men can be useful.
So here’s a situation I had. I went to India to study. Before going, I created an open trip saying that I’m not looking for a host, but would be glad to meet up, and also asked some questions about the city.

I received tons of answers. Among them was one that actually answered the question about places. One answer from a girl. All the other dozens of answers were from men saying how glad they would be to host me. Quite some were actually writing from other cities saying I should come and stay with them. All in a particular over-friendly and over-sweet kind of tone.

Well, in that situation I wouldn’t mind blocking all the men and getting just the one response from the girl. And I’d guess the local girls wouldn’t mind that option too. I also guess there are situations much worse than a full inbox of over-sweet messages.

And I still want to add smth on the “preferred gender” option :joy:

Yea, sure. But why not make it easier for people?

Not hosting men at all is not a big thing in many countries, I agree. I also choose people by their requests, profiles, and references, not gender. It is a thing in Asia and Muslim countries though. I already said, I saw almost all girls there put “preferred gender - female”. And not (necessarily) because they find all men dangerous. It can be against religion, neighbors can talk, relatives can disapprove, etc etc.

Now, there are quite a lot of people in Asia and in Muslim countries :joy: So, a lot of girls who might want to state their preferences (but not to ban all the men!). Much more than people who really want to state their drinking habits, I guess. Yet, we HAVE to state our position on drinking but don’t have an easy one-click option for gender preferences.

I got that male-female choice is discriminative, and kinda unnecessary too. Ok, why there can’t be an “only women” option for girls? Why make people explain themselves, or ignore the requests and feel rude?

Ok, after the Town Hall event I see what’s been stirring controversy :joy:

So at least I am not against the “hide your profile” option. I just think there should be both:

  • a button to hide your profile from the other gender in profile settings
  • and another button for women to put “only women” in their home preferences just as a statement

I see both the options of showing only to someone and allowing to select only same gender are dangerous.
I would see good to put the thre option “men welcome”“women welcome” and “others welcome” as options searcheable, but no more.
The profile should be visible to anyone.
Otherwise figure this case: arrive two guests toghether a man and a woman, the latter one has set visible to woman only in its profile.
The man send the request, you accept. with him is fine, with her so and so. You then receive a negative reference from the woman, claiming that you had not followed her requirements as she wrote in her profile (that you could not have read).

That’s a really weird situation for me! Like the man doesn’t mention he’s travelling with a woman? And doesn’t show her the host’s profile? And then they turn up together out of the blue and the host is at fault?
Also, you had not followed her requirements?? Since when do hosts follow surfers’ requirements?
And how would she leave the reference if she didn’t send you a request?

That one is a possibility if there is the possibility to hide profiles.
I did not say that the men did not mention that is traveling with another peros. just that you knew that only one person had a profile and could give a reference.
then pop up a reference from someone that you diod not know had a profile.
Background: I have had sometimes groups where i knew in advance that one of the persons in the group would have not been the best fit, but on average would have a win-win for everyone, and arranged that only the person sending the request would have left a reference.
Once happened that also one of the other people had a profile, and left a negative reference telling that i was too much tired to accept guests (I had received the request at 1740 the same day, and i told to the requestor that i could host last minute, but not much more - infact i had a good reference by the person that had arranged … and bad from her companions )

This is trying to reply to a lot of things that have been said on this thread, so sorry for not quoting someone in particular.

What if we follow a slightly less transparent but more effective strategy that meets both our inclusivity and safety goals, by programming certain capabilities into the app without verbalizing and trying to rationalize them? For example:

  1. Allow users whose gender is “Woman” to make an event “women-only,” or allow their profiles to “only be visible to women” (instead of the potentially scary wording “hide from men.”) However, the “women only” restriction will (silently) still include Non-Binary (NB) people, who we don’t want to exclude. We can include NB individuals without having to explicitly write it out, because the inclusion of NB folks is a value that we take for granted. In the future, we could also parallel that option so that NB users can make an event LGBTQ+ targeted.

  2. Make the “Request to Surf with this user” button only appear if a host is (a) Accepting Guests AND (b) accepting guests of your gender. So if someone (e.g. a man) comes across a profile that doesn’t want to host people of their gender, they automatically don’t see a Request button. But they don’t know whether they have been blocked because of their gender or just because the user is generally unable to host. This way we keep all profiles public* without enabling requests that the host doesn’t want to be receiving.

*unless the “only show my profile to women” option is enabled

On a different topic, I feel like the above conversation has inadvertently assumed that the only people who would want to (mis?)use Couchers.org for dating are predatory men. But women aren’t necessarily innocent on that matter, at least in principle?!. All these protective measures don’t really stop a woman from seeking out male and female users to hook up with or date. So, if Couchers.org wants to discourage dating (does it?) what are some other measures that can be/have been taken?


What if women can choose to be available to host “anyone” or “women and NB”, men can choose “anyone” or “men and NB”, and NB people can choose “anyone”, “men and NB” or “women and NB”?

Of course the argument against this is “what about predatory gay men?” but imo this is enough of an edge case that it’s worth it, and those people would be a problem anyway - having the extra option doesn’t make it worse.

Fun fact: we don’t have anyone here who personally wants the hiding option, do we?

People just keep repeating that there are women who need it. Maybe it would make sense to invite those women to the discussion and ask why? If they had a bad experience with a guy with empty/weird profile, that’s one thing, a bad experience with smb with a totally cool profile and good references - another (a bit hard to imagine for me, honestly). If they were receiving so many annoying messages that blocking all men started to look like a good idea - third. Or maybe they are just rad fem😂

Which problem exactly is that option supposed to solve?


Having hosted plenty of people through CS and also otherwise when spontaneously meeting them before anyone even thought about such apps, as well as been offered spontaneous hospitality in a number of occasions I fail to see the problem here.

There are predators out there, they can be males on males, females on females, females on males or males on females, and a number of other combinations of predatory behaviour. There also are males (as here already mentioned about some “devout Muslim” who would feel utterly uncomfortable to host any female, or in some cultures where it is rather alien that a girl would host a guy coucher. End of the day, we are all responsible for our actions, and using some common sense in screening out requests and offers doesn’t harm anyone. There should be just enough info on the site about possible misbehaviour and its consequences.

As a host I have a slight preference to female guests, for instance I can easily accept 3 girls but more unlikely to accept 3 guys as a host. Also girls generally tidier and more considerate, though that applies on me only if the profile is weak or request not very informative. So requests with weak text and low information value profiles I am more likely to accept if from girls than from guys - if otherwise no alarm bells ring. Otherwise no preference. If someone travels with kid(s), then I am also very happy to host as many do not host kids at all, and I have small kids of my own.

Putting all nuanced preferences in the profile and/or making it easy to opt out certain groups of people categorically is not something I would consider a wise thing to do. Or it could be done, but it should come with a price, like if you opt out males/females from seeing your own profile, then you shouldn’t be able to see male/female profiles, either. That would guarantee that people would do it with a reason, and not “just in case”. But having a “preferred gender to host” is fine to me, though I would never apply that option myself, as the preference difference is only minor and valid certain cases/conditions only.


I am a straight guy and I prefer to host females. Why? Because I like females. I have plenty of female friends that I never had sex with. I find it disconcerting that these platforms for travelers assume all men are creeps. If someone is going to spend the night at my place, go sightseeing with me, drink with me later in the day, and lounge around in their pajamas or undies in my home, I would rather it be a female traveler who I could be friends with. That is my choice. If women don’t like it and rather stay with a female or gay host, that is their choice.

We should all have a right to our preference. We should also know as much about a host/guest before deciding to stay with that person. It is best to get things out in the open before hand on all social networking sites. Nobody wants a surprise. I have no shame in saying that I like women and I prefer to host them. Women can then choose to stay with me or not. Here is a fact: When I was on CS, I hosted many women and had all positive reviews and great times. Some of them even made moves on me! Of course, no one will believe that because everything thinks all guys looking to host women are creepy. So sad.

I vote YES for a “preferred gender option.”

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I want it! I would probably use it off and on. I am also advocating for women who have never used CS, don’t think it will ever be safe, and do not even want to participate in a forum where there are men. We’ve chatted about this a bit but the concept we are trying to address is “survivorship bias,” wherein the women who have put up with/survived/tolerate the weird stuff men do and say on online platforms are the only ones with a voice. Just because they don’t want to speak up for themselves doesn’t mean we shouldn’t find a way for them to participate, I guess.



I actually didn’t mean that.

What I want to say - it’s good to know the reasons exactly so there are other options to deal with it, and hiding the profile is for emergencies. I can imagine situations where it can be needed, but I don’t think it should be used to state your preferences or because you don’t know how to choose a good host.


Yeah, it surprised me too, until I saw the way some men interacted with female posters here on our forums, and how much it turned some women off from voicing their ideas. It doesn’t bother me as much, but not all women feel comfortable sharing their ideas on the internet :smiley: Luckily we are doing better I think providing a safe space for people of all backgrounds to engage, but every now and then there’s hostility that probably wouldn’t exist if users could hide their content from specific groups altogether.

I see two big problems in this discussion: one is that what you are writing would force anyone to put its gender as NB since it is the one that gives you more opportunities, the second that limiting is discriminatory.
so you can put it but put no simit on source-destinatiin, so anyone must be able, regardeless of declared personal geneder, to choose any possible option for preferred gender.

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