NSFW: Kink in Quarantine

It wasn’t until the last few years of my twenties that I realised that rough sex is more common than I originally thought.

Yes, hair-pulling is a frequent bedroom occurrence.

Yes, Pornhub is awash with all manner of synonyms for ‘BDSM’.

But when you know where to look, you find a crowd you had previously thought was small and hidden, really just in plain sight.


No longer do we have to go to a fetish club or buy a kinky VHS; every kink is catered for at the touch of a button.  We all know the traditional dating apps, but have you heard of Whiplr, KinkD or Feeld?  If you’re like me and use ‘normal’ dating apps to find a ‘normal’ boy- or girlfriend, you probably won’t have heard of them.  But it wasn’t until I was speaking with a guy on Hinge (let’s call him ‘Sam’) that I began to wonder if there were dating apps for the alternative dating scene…

Sam and I were casually messaging back and forth when I noticed he had ‘KK & TG’ in his profile.  Either, he thought Kim Kardashian was ‘too good’ or he was into Killing Kittens and Torture Garden – so I asked.  Sam was surprised I knew what KK and TG meant, and I think he was thrilled.  At first, the messaging about kinks, desires and experiences was exciting; a nice light relief from ‘What do you do for work?’, ‘How are you spending your day?’ and ‘Do you prefer being tickled on your feet or your armpits?’ (don’t ask) that tend to characterise dating apps.  Then I tried to ask a few questions to actually get to know Sam – he was having none of it.

After two days, I was getting a bit fed up with endless discussions about CBT (cock and ball torture, not cognitive behavioural therapy) so told him about the blog and asked if could share his experiences of online dating.

Then he was silent and no word since.

Feeling sexually frustrated, bored and curious, I decided to look into apps that steer towards particular predilections.  What I found impressed me – I had never realised there was an entire field of dating apps for fetish and kink; I always thought so-called kinksters used Fetlife, the underside of Snapchat and miraculously found each other on typical dating sites.  And then I thought what fun this would be for blog content…

Not one to dive in unprepared, I did my research. I found that ‘Whiplr’ was supposed to be the best ‘kinky chat’ in the fetish community. It boasts helping people find a play partner, no matter their experience. Apprehensively, I made a profile. After reading the (surprisingly strict) photo guidelines, and with girlfriends the other side of our group chat, we settled on a profile picture that was naughty but didn’t show any defining features (or my face!).

You can choose from countless kinks and add your own so I ought to have known there would be an equally diverse array of people.  (I realise now that I was spoilt by Sam’s good looks.)

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Desires you can choose from to add to your Whiplr profile

The whole vibe on Whiplr was creepy.  I got the impression it was a hardcore kink app where people come to dominate, humiliate and masturbate over other profiles.  Although it was possible to narrow the age bracket of visible profiles, everyone in my age-frame looked menacing (when I could see their face) and hostile (when I couldn’t) and the ratio of men: women was probably 9:1.  I felt perved upon and vulnerable.  Over a few days, I responded politely to messages and tried to understand people’s motives but felt compelled to delete my profile after 48 hours.

Fortunately, a friend then recommended ‘Feeld’. I had come across it in my original hunt for alternative apps, but I gathered it was for singles and couples who want to hook up. So, I looked into it a little further. It turns out Feeld is an app for people of all sexual orientations and genders to chat with like-minded people about desires and fantasies. Feeld has also recently set up something called the ‘Quarantine Core’ – an online space for people ALL OVER THE WORLD to connect and share sexual sparks. Now, this sounded much more up my street.

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Desires you can choose from to add to your Feeld profile

Always one for honesty, I wrote this in my bio: Heads up: might write an article from this…  Of course, this runs the risk of attracting egocentric individuals who would love nothing more than to be immortalised by the written word (oh hang on, I write a self-regarding blog…) but I’m hoping the honesty will save some people from feeling tricked, despite any eventual blog commentary being completely anonymous.

And within a few hours, fish began to nibble on the bait.

Him: So you’re a writer huh?  I would love to be in your article [winky face]

Me: Yeah I am… a willing participant?  Tell me anything you want…

Him: I’ve been thinking about a way to spice things up a little beside simply sexting and exchanging kinky content while being at a distance.  [He goes into an uninspiring and convoluted series of rules for a game, which I may or may not abide by].

Another Him: Journalist?  That’s cool.  You should write about me.

Me: Oh yeah?  What would you like me to write about?

Him: How women are obsessed with huge cock

Me: Are they?

Him: O yes…  Ever had huge?  Curious to see what I’m working with?  [Girls] say they are ruined for life…after they have had 10 inches nothing is the same

I had almost hourly updates of unsolicited dick pics and commentary boasting of his stallion-esque sexual prowess.  And yet a few days later, he changed his tune; confessing he was actually ‘really sensual’ and ‘really into vanilla sex’.  He went on to say his profile wasn’t real, to which I responded, ‘I’m not surprised’ and disconnected from him.

What did surprise me, however, was my visceral reaction when he said he was fake.  I felt like my heart was in my throat, so I frantically scrolled up through our conversation – fortunately, I hadn’t sent any risqué images.

This was a stark reminder that we cannot truly be sure who we are speaking with online; whether on a traditional dating app or alternative sex app.  We’re vulnerable, exposed and all know the horror stories.  And yet, if we want evidence rather than trusting our gut instincts, surely there must be some tricks?

One guy who claims to be very active in the Parisian and London swinging scene shared his top tips for sifting out the fake profiles, catfish and the timewasters.

  1. Ask someone to choose from 1, 2 or 3.  Send them a photo of your face, whilst holding 1, 2 or 3 fingers up in the picture.  Ask for them to send a reciprocal image.

  2. Be alert and, with experience, you’ll learn how to spot fake profiles sooner.  These people often ‘use the same words and expressions without any logic behind it’.

  3. Timewasters often respond with short answers and love small talk.

  4. Watch out for guys (in particular) who ask for nudes or get into sexting very quickly.

  5. If someone seems possessive, it’s a red flag.

  6. If it seems that someone doesn’t know what they’re after – it’s also a red flag.

Our Global Dom said ‘it’s all about energy’.  As with many things in life, we get out what we put in and we should trust our instincts as to whether someone’s worth connecting with.

And through this energy, you can make connections in the most unlikely of places.

One guy, in particular, wanted an in-depth chat about my article and shared the premise of various novels he’s been writing.  He said he could really do with an editor so we’ve connected.  I wonder if he’s a bullshitter?  He’s certainly as attractive in his Insta photos as he is on the app – so that’s promising.

Another guy runs a sex podcast and said, ‘Come talk to me about it on my podcast when [the article’s] done.’  Perhaps I will.

So how do people differ on alternative dating apps to ‘normal’ ones?

As you might expect, people on alternative dating apps tend to be more confident and sexually charged.  This means that a lot of people are going to send you dick pics and describe everything they want to do to you (in quite some detail…).  I don’t stereotype lightly, but it has to be said that lots of men on these apps want to dominate and are keen to show off how long their tongue is and how big their dick is.  And often, they don’t need any encouragement to do so.

In fact, the directness of some men was almost admirable.  One guy asked:

Would you like to do a video chat and touch ourselves watching each other? [sic].

Lots of men wanted to engage in minimal small-talk (tiny talk?) and get onto a video call of some form. ‘Red flag!’ I hear you all scream. It seems that many people take conversations off the app damn quickly and onto Kik, Snapchat (are we 15?!) or WhatsApp. Not feeling brave enough quite yet (and because – even at the best of times – I find a video of a man jerking off repugnant), I politely rejected the requests to FaceTime or swap videos. Some men were rude, others disappeared, yet most were understanding. One guy said, ‘No problem, whatever you’re comfortable with – that’s the point.’ (How sad that I was impressed by this level of respect…) But what I realised is that many of these men do show respect for a polite ‘no’. The common narrative was ‘I wouldn’t want you to feel uncomfortable’ so let’s not tarnish all the men on these apps as demanding and perverted.

It’s amazing how quickly after downloading Feeld I got the impression most of the people were genuine and just after exploring the kinks they hide in their bedrooms.  They want a digital connection and a safe space to share their kinks.  Or as one guy put it:

I’m here for hopeful hedonism.  [The hope of finding] someone nice, fun and open [for] hot, animalistic sex [that’s] inhibition-free.

One gorgeous dominatrix was very forthcoming in sharing her experiences of using the app.  When I asked if she thought people were genuine or full of bullshit, she explained that it’s a ‘mixed bag’.  Some people download the app and connect when they’re horny, sext, send a few pictures and come.  It’s the people who like to chat normally as well as about kink who ‘tend to be more interesting and genuine’.  She said you have to ‘throw yourself into [this] to gain anything back’; echoing what our Global Dom from earlier affirmed.

As with Whiplr, I felt a need to be considerate and respectful.  Whilst there will always be catfish, perverts and fake profiles, for the majority of people, they’re setting up their profile and sharing their most personal predilections with the world; it’s a vulnerable platform, and it’s as important to look after others as it is to protect yourself.  One guy said ‘there’s enough anonymity here to make [him] feel safe’ and that most people seem to be open, friendly and interesting – something I heard reiterated again and again from many different people.

So more specifically, what about the girls on the app?

In my experience, girls are looking for conversation.  This is not to say they aren’t kinky or not open to sexting, but rather it takes a little longer to get to that with the women on the app.  They seem more concerned (like me) about sharing explicit photos; always putting a timer on anything shared (a great feature by Feeld) and wanting photo verification.  By contrast, very few men I spoke with put a timer on their photos.  ‘If someone’s gonna screengrab my photo, they’re gonna do it whether I have a timer or not,’ said one guy after I asked him whether he worried about sharing photos with no time-expiration.

All the girls I spoke with shared apprehensions about sending photos.  How do we know we’re not going to be exploited?  A timer won’t stop someone saving your photo to their phone; Millennials know how to screengrab quickly, after all.  Yes, feeling empowered is part of the game and sending raunchy photos that turn other people on is hot, but even our gorgeous dominatrix said ‘there are underlying nerves there…sharing with someone you’ve not met.’

Is it worth the risk?

Of course, it depends on what you’re after.  Whilst there’s an element of risk with nearly every online encounter, I find it good to remember that even in a trusting relationship, you can’t be sure your sexy photos won’t be shared.  I’ve asked myself a few questions over the past few weeks to understand how I feel about these virtual connections: Does the arousal outweigh my concern?  Am I putting myself or others in a vulnerable position?  Will I regret doing this?  And the answers hinge on the same thoughts: That life is here to be lived, I trust my gut instinct and that the majority of people on these apps seem good, genuine people.  We’ve had the courage to lay our kinks and desires out for like-minded adults to see (and hopefully not judge).  This should be lauded.  It should be respected.  And it should be enjoyed.

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