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 present a more open and positive perspective on human sexuality, and the rise of platforms like OnlyFans, which now has more than 170 million users worldwide, legitimizes sex work, while destigmatizing kink.

Dating apps for sex-positive people are also growing in popularity. Feeld, which describes itself as “one of the largest open-minded communities in the world” and “a space where you can explore your identity”, has seen tremendous growth over the past two years, with an increase of 160 % of active users since January 2019. Each month, 700,000 people connect to the application.

But how do you find like-minded sex-positive people online without accidentally coming across as a creeper? First, it’s important to understand exactly what sex positivity is (and isn’t).

Sex positivity essentially means having an unashamed view of sex that sees it as a normal part of being human. It’s important to keep in mind that sex positivity is more of an attitude than a behavior. You don’t have to have sex with lots of people to be HIV positive. It’s about how you think about sex, more than the type or amount of sex you have.

To help you navigate the creepy and the scary, we asked some of the experts behind the 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-normative space” where people seek out different types of connections, including platonic ones. So it’s important to know what a person is looking for online and make sure it’s what you’re hoping to find. “What unifies our Feeld community is a sense of curiosity and a willingness to explore,” says Kirova, “being attentive and interested in one’s feelings and experiences rather than conforming to a norm or behavior prescribed.”

On Feeld, people can list their desires and sexualities very precisely – the app offers over 20 different sexualities to choose from and a wide range of desires, kinks and fantasies that people can add to their biography. There are also a number of guides on their website, with advice written by app users or sex educators, such as advice on how to (ethically) approach a third party for a threesome. Be sure to read a person’s biography thoroughly, and if you come across something new that is unfamiliar to you, take the time to read it a bit before approaching it.

“We try to offer as much education as possible through our platforms,” ​​says Kirova. But it’s also important to remember that our sexualities are constantly changing. Being open-minded is more important in sex positivity than being some kind of know-it-all sex guru. It’s ok not to know something, and it’s ok to ask questions.

“We all learn, and as a space for exploration, much of what Feeld offers is new to many people,” says Kirova. “We believe it’s human to make mistakes, so we aim for Feeld to be non-prescriptive, and we always apply an ethical conduct lens, coupled with heightened curiosity and guidance to explore.”

So what if you hooked up with someone online and want to see if you click sexually? How can you walk the line between being sexually confident, without being scary?

Go slowly

Stephen Quaderer is CEO of Thot Experiment, a digital ecosystem for sexual exploration and creator of Headero, a sexuality and gender hookup app for people who enjoy oral pleasure. “There can be a fine line between being positive and confident and being downright scary. Fortunately, avoiding creepy territory isn’t that complicated if you message people with respect and act within the bounds of consent,” Quaderer says. “Communication is a necessary component of a healthy sex life and it’s perfectly fine to get into some weird conversations. Like in any other setting, you shouldn’t try to get hot and heavy from the jump. You want to establish relationships, gauge your potential partner’s interest, and move on to the spicy stuff together.

What if you didn’t get along so well with someone? What’s the best way to handle rejection? “It’s usually best to go with grace when you get rejected on a dating app,” Quaderer says. “Although rejection stings, it’s important to remember that being HIV-positive means wanting all partners to have a pleasurable experience.” And if you’re discussing sexual desires and realize the other person likes something you don’t, remember that it’s different for different people. “Never yuck someone’s yum,” Quaderer says. “If their desire is safe, sane, legal and consensual, being shamed is absolutely not acceptable in a pleasure-positive community.”

“We know members who met their life partners on Feeld or made lifelong friends on the app,” says Kirova. With sex positivity growing in popularity 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 that will meet all your needs and weirdest desires – don’t be a creep.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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