"BDSM Tinder" Could Make Your Kinkiest Dreams Come True

When referring to the "BDSM community," many people are all too likely to focus on BDSM's erotic practices and forget the "community." Fantasizing about BDSM can be sexy, but to bring many fantasies to life, you need a consenting partner — and beyond that, it's best to have a supportive, educational group of like-minded people. A new app called Whiplr, released today, wants to help you with that. As "the only location-based messenger that helps you find potential play partners, online or in person," Whiplr suggests clear comparisons with Tinder, but it's explicitly for the kinky — offering you free video chats, calls, and real-time messaging with other individuals who also adore neoprene cuffs, or the smell of leather, or whatever it is you're into.

It's a promising idea — if people sign up. The user interface is relatively straightforward: First, upload a (safe-for-work) photo and complete a brief profile that includes location, gender, "kink category," and experience level. Then, filter other members using the same characteristics, strike up conversations, and send "Sparks," animations that represent different sexual interests. (Those with no BDSM experience, or who characterize themselves as merely "curious," are welcome on Whiplr, too.) 

Whiplr has "kink categories" — "fashion," "objects," "behavior," "materials," "accessories," and "sounds" — but declines to define them, which is confusing (if you like to use floggers with a partner, where exactly does that fall, for example?). Daniel Sevitt, Whiplr's chief communications officer, tells us that the categories were left intentionally vague: "We believe that kink takes many forms, and we wanted to keep these categories as broad as possible. That way, our users can self-define any way they choose and can align themselves with other fetish lovers across a wide range." True — asking KnottyBabe69 exactly what she means when she says she's into "fashion" is one way to start a conversation.

This may be reminding you of FetLife, Internet home to 3,650,170 kinksters and counting. Whiplr has no connection with FetLife, which does make it seem like the social-network equivalent of reinventing the wheel — although there's no reason FetLife users couldn't use both platforms. Think of FetLife as the OkCupid of the kink world, and Whiplr as its would-be Tinder. Plus, entering the BDSM community by way of a streamlined, beginner-friendly app may appeal to novices who are intimidated by deciphering FetLife's etiquette and codes of conduct. If Whiplr gathers momentum, it could be a powerful tool for both experts and the uninitiated to share their passions (and passion).
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