How to Be Sex Positive on Dating Apps Without Being Creepy
In case you missed it, a little thing called sex positivity is having a moment right now. Netflix series such as Sex Education and Bonding are showcasing a more open-minded and positive perspective on human sexuality, and the rise of platforms like OnlyFans, which now has over 170 million users worldwide, are legitimizing sex work, while destigmatizing kink.
Dating apps for people who are sex positive are also gaining popularity. Feeld, which describes itself as “one of the largest open-minded communities worldwide” and “a space where you can explore your identity,” has seen huge growth in the past couple of years, with active users increasing by 160% since January 2019. Every month, 700,000 people connect on the app.
But how do you go about finding like-minded sex positive folks online, without accidentally coming across as a creeper? First, it’s important to understand exactly what sex positivity is (and what it isn’t).
Sex positivity essentially means taking a shame-free view on sex that sees it as a normal part of being human. It’s important to keep in mind that sex positivity is an attitude more than a behavior. You don’t have to have sex with loads of people to be sex positive. It’s about how you think about sex, more than what kind of sex you’re having, or how much.
To help you navigate the fine line between freaky and creepy, we asked some of the experts behind leading sex positive dating apps for their advice on how to approach people the right way.
Ask questions first, always
Feeld CEO Ana Kirova points out that Feeld is a “non-prescriptive space” where people are looking for different kinds of connections, including platonic ones. So it’s important to find out what a person is looking for online, and to make sure that this matches up with what you’re hoping to find. “What unifies our Feeld community is the sense of curiosity and willingness to explore,” says Kirova, “being attentive to and interested in one’s feelings and experiences rather than conforming to any prescribed norm or behavior.”
On Feeld, people can list their desires and their sexualities very specifically — the app offers more than 20 different sexualities to choose from and a broad spectrum of desires, kinks and fantasies that people can add to their bios. There are also a large number of guides on their website, featuring advice written by users of the app or sex educators, such as tips on how to (ethically) approach a third for a threesome. Make sure you actually read a person’s bio, and if you come across something new that you’re not familiar with, take the time to read up a little bit before approaching them.
“We try to offer as much education as possible through our platforms,” Kirova explains. But it’s also important to remember that our sexualities are always evolving. Open-mindedness is more important in sex positivity than being some kind of all-knowing sex guru. It’s ok not to know something, and it’s ok to ask questions.
“We are all learning, and as an exploration space, a lot of what Feeld offers is new to many people,” says Kirova. “We believe it is human to make mistakes, so we aim for Feeld not to be prescriptive, and we always apply a lens of ethical conduct, paired with empowered curiosity and guidance to explore.”
So, what happens if you’ve connected with someone online and you want to see if you click sexually? How can you walk a line between being sexually confident, without being creepy?
Take it slow
Stephen Quaderer is CEO of the Thot Experiment, a digital ecosystem for sexual exploration and creator of Headero, a sexuality and gender-inclusive connection app for people who love oral pleasure. “There can be a fine line between being sex-positive and confident and being downright creepy. Thankfully, avoiding creeper territory isn’t all that complicated if you message folks with respect and act within the bounds of consent,” says Quaderer. “Communication is a necessary component of a healthy sex life and it’s perfectly fine to get into some freaky chatting. Like in any other setting, you shouldn’t try to get hot and heavy right from the jump. You want to build rapport, gauge your potential partner’s interest and work your way up to the spicy stuff, together.”
And what about if you don’t hit it off so well with someone? What’s the best way to handle rejection? “It’s generally best to go with grace when you’re rejected on a dating app,” says Quaderer “ While rejection stings, it’s important to remember that being sex-positive means wanting all partners to have a pleasurable experience.” And if you do get chatting about sexual desires and realize the other person is into something you’re not, remember that it’s different strokes for different folks. “Never yuck someone’s yum,” explains Quaderer. “If their desire is safe, sane, legal and consensual, being met with shame is absolutely not acceptable in a pleasure-positive community.”
“We know members who have met their life partners on Feeld or made life-long friends on the app,” says Kirova. With sex positivity gaining momentum and understanding in society every day, and with literally hundreds of thousands of people using sex positive apps like Feeld and Headero, a connection is definitely out there who will meet all your freakiest needs and desires — just don’t be a creep.
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