13 reality dating shows that are full of steamy romances, toxic mind games and shocking plot twists that will keep you hooked

by Marcus Leong

Trashy reality TV shows and reality dating shows are a huge guilty pleasure for a lot of us. There’s just something entertaining about watching a bunch of strangers have at it while the cameras roll that just hooks us in. 

Add in the element of love and everything just becomes even more exciting – think Single’s Inferno and Love Island. If you loved watching those shows, here are 13 steamy and emotionally-charged reality dating shows to add to your watch list. 

1. EXchange (Transit Love) 

Reality dating shows
Photo: My Drama List

The basis of this show is about a group of exes meeting new people and finding love. If you thought moving on from your ex was hard enough, try watching them fall in love with someone else right before your eyes – yikes. 

Honestly, watching this made me feel like I was playing Angel vs Devil. There were some couples that I was really hoping would stay together and there were others whom I wished would just break up. 


Reality dating shows
Photo: IMDB

REA(L) LOVE is a pretty underrated Japanese reality show. It features 18 contestants – 10 men and 8 women – who are actively looking for love. Contestants will get to go on fun dates and go about their day during their free time. Except there’s a catch – everyone has a deep dark secret which no one knows about. 

Across nine episodes, you will uncover everyone’s secret – which will play a crucial role in the dynamics of their relationship. It is scandalous, steamy, yet super binge-worthy all at the same time. 

Available on Netflix. 

3. Love Catcher

Photo: My Drama List

Love is a game. But in Love Catcher, 10 participants will spend eight whole days together, with the opportunity to win a S$50,000 (KRW50,000,000) cash prize. Amongst them are people who are looking for love and others who are just here for the money. 

However, there’s a twist. The “money catchers” have to match themselves with the “love catchers”, while “love catchers” have to avoid finding their soulmate in the “money catchers”, or risk being booted out of the game.

Are you on team love or team money? We’ll let you decide. 

4. Bed on the Beach

Photo: My Drama List

Bed on the Beach is kinda like a raunchier version of Single’s Inferno (so fans of the hit series would probably enjoy this too). 

For starters, the house rules permit showing of skin and physical contact, so all “dating instincts” – whatever that means – are allowed. Most importantly, if two people want to do it, Jella House (where the show is shot) won’t say no. 

To make things even spicier, the couple who exhibits the “hottest” behaviour in their room will be rewarded with a fancy date. The show moves pretty fast so every scene is crucial to the ending – but I’m pretty sure you won’t have any trouble keeping your eyes off the screen.

Available on YouTube. 

5. Eden: Descendents of Instinct 

Reality dating shows
Photo: My Drama List

In Eden: Descendents of Instinct, eight dreamy contestants are made to spend six days together. Fuelled by their love instincts, their goal is to win at love while spending time on the beach – similar to Single’s Inferno. 

Since the show is shot mostly on the beach, you can expect the contestants to be showing a lot of skin. There are also plenty of challenges that will involve a lot of physical contact between contestants – like a lot. 

Brace yourselves for some very saucy and sensual slow-mo shots with suggestive subs like “softly… It’s too hard…” I’m surprised that the show even made it to air in South Korea. 

6. Change days 

Reality dating shows
Screencap from Netflix

If there’s anything that Change Days will teach you, it is that dating is hard even for good-looking people. Absolutely juicy from the get go, this series will let you in on four couples who are on the verge of breaking up. Laden with communication issues and mismatched personalities, among other issues, the couples embark on a short trip as a means to make things work or end things completely.

 During the trip, they may exchange partners or go out with their existing partners. This serves as a timely reminder that dating other people while your own relationship is on the rocks is never a good idea. But hey, at least it makes for good TV.  

Available on Netflix. 

7. FBOY Island

Photo: IMDB

The “FBOY” in FBOY Island is exactly what you think and know it to be. In this series, three ladies are ready to find love in a tropical paradise with 24 men – half of whom are nice guys and the other half are self-proclaimed FBOYs. 

If this wasn’t juicy enough, there’s a catch – everyone has a chance to win $100,000 – and it changes the whole game. But the real question is: can you guess who the F is who? The only hint I can give is that looks can be deceiving. 

8. The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On 

Reality dating shows
Photo: IMDB

From the creators of Love Is Blind comes The Ultimatum. As its name suggests, the couples featured have all come on the show as a last resort to either get the ring or move to splitsville.

Just like Change Days, the couples will get to mix around with the other members to find out if there is someone else more suited for them. They will then move in together for three weeks before making a decision that will change their lives forever. 

It’s a real will they or won’t they situation that will leave you screaming at the screen and gasping in shock – but well, love is blind, isn’t it? 

Available on Netflix. 

9. Terrace House 

Photo: IMDB

Terrace House has been a pretty popular Japanese dating show, having run for five seasons now. The series sees strangers gathered together to live under the same roof – a pretty fancy one might I add. 

Instead of pitting participants against each other, the members in Terrace House actually have to make an effort to go on dates and get to know one another better.

 While there’s hardly any drama – because Japanese are generally very polite and well-mannered – there are plenty of sweet moments that will tug at your heart strings and make all you singletons believe in love again. 

Available on Netflix.

10. Indian Matchmaking 

Photo: Netflix

“Hello? It’s 2023, who still does matchmaking?” Well, you’ll be surprised. While matchmaking might be less common these days, some Indian families still practice it. But as you might have guessed, matchmaking in the 21st century isn’t as easy as it is – especially for the matchmaker. 

Set in India and the US, this series explores the eye-opening world of matchmaking and follows several young matches on their first dates – a whole lotta awkwardness and entertainment ensue. 

Available on Netflix.

11. Office Romance 

Photo: My Drama List

Workplace romances, depending on how things play out, can make for a sweet love story or a HR nightmare. But unlike most offices that frown upon them, the contestants in Office Romance are given tasks that they will have to perform in pairs with the hopes that cupid might shoot his shot and romance will brew (along with other emotions). 

The plot thickens when these singletons find themselves catching feelings for the same person. Will their office romance end with a love story or will it end in heartbreak? Only one way to find out. 

12. The Future Diary 

Reality dating shows
Photo: IMDB

In this series, complete strangers meet for the very first time. Unlike your usual reality dating shows, they are handed a mysterious diary that details everything they will have to do over the course of their summer vacation. From holding hands to kisses on the cheek, everything is decided beforehand by the diary. Prepare yourselves for scenes that will make your heart flutter and question if the couple really are in love. 

The show does pose a pretty thought-provoking question:“would I still grow to love you, even if I know how it ends?” Oof. You better get some tissues ready because you’re going to need it. 

Available on Netflix.

13. Skip Dating

Screencap from Viu

Skip Dating might not be as trashy or raunchy as some of the others on this list but it sure makes for a good laugh. Unlike most reality dating shows that force contestants to live together under one roof, Skip Dating keeps things exciting by making it a one-day blind date — contestants are allowed to skip on each other if they don’t feel the spark.

I’m only a few episodes into this show and all I can say is, don’t look down on this show because there’s plenty of surprises and shocking twists that take place. 

There you have it — a curated list of reality dating shows will either make you blush, rage, cry or feel everything at once. Which of these shows are you most eager to watch?

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