There's absolutely nothing wrong with being kinky. Let's be honest, we all have one or two things that get our blood pumping more than others when it comes to competing in the bedroom Olympics. Some of us have special websites or clubs we can go to in order to get our fix. But until now, there hasn't really been a way to take your kinky side with you on your mobile.
That is until the recent release of Whiplr, a brand new app that has just hit our smart phones and tablets aiming to capitalise on the growing number of people wanting to either try new things or take their already-established fetish on the road with them. Before you roll your eyes thinking it's just "Tinder for perverts", the app has so much more going for it.
Anyway, to get to the bottom of what this all means, I downloaded the app and hassled Whiplr CMO, Daniel Sevitt on his day off to talk about kink, why fetishes aren't all blindfolds and hot wax and, of course - "50 Shades of Grey".
Having a Little Play
I always feel as though every dating app is exactly the same. You look at someone's photo and where they live, you "swipe", "like" or "heart" them and hope they reciprocate. So when I stumbled across Whiplr, it at least sounded a little bit different than the "norm".
So, after uploading my basic details and location I was ready to have a little play. It's easy to integrate without having to add your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even those clinging onto Myspace, which for me is a massive thing, as I hate everything being connected.
My profile pic is added to some sort of "hive-like" structure that shows the various people in your area from closest to furthest. So far so good.
After a little while I noticed that there wasn't the stereotypical feel of being in the company of complete perverts looking to tie me up in a public toilet and lick my toes as it was more focussed on being a messenger service, for which Sevitt says is exactly what they set out to do.
"That's absolutely what we're trying to put out there! There is a definite, defined outline of kink that won't just encourage you to meet, but we wanted everything in the app (video, messenger and call) so that if you wanted to make the connection, you can without ever having to leave the app. There's also that aspect of fetish that maybe lets you get everything you need via all types of chat. For some people all of their fantasies are fulfilled solely over the phone, so there's no reason to meet up."
Great, so it seems to be working. It's not just some "fetish Tinder". It clearly allows you to take whatever you'd like from it with no real expectancy to meet up in person.
So, what made you want to sink your teeth into something like WHIPLR? No PUN intended.
"Please, when you work at WHIPLR, the idioms tend to come thick and fast, trust me.
Anyway, it was the passion first of all. We looked at the various kink communities online and there's been over the past 5 or 10 years this huge wave of "sex positivity". There's a new wave coming of "kink positivity" which is the same thing - but just looking at fetishes. I don't think it's here yet, but we are helping herald its arrival. I think the demand is there. Fetish clubs and parties have been around for years. People are no longer afraid to take photos and get dressed up in latex. It should be seen as fun and positive, not grimy and nasty."
And in terms of a business perspective?
We wanted to produce a mobile app that was very real and that was to provide the kink community with a tool that they could carry around with them in their pocket. The kink community is alive and kicking and we want to appeal to the whole range. We are talking about two types of people; The "kink curious" ie the people that have just discovered "50 Shades of Grey" or are just trying things out and starting their journey. And the "kink committed" - people who have learnt a little bit about themselves, and aren't shy about pursuing their passions. Whilst these communities have a place online, they didn't have a place on mobile."
Do you think this will help change people's opinion of the kink community?
"Everyone thinks the kink community is a bunch of pervs and that it's all still a bit taboo and a bit scary and it all seems much too sexually explicit. But, that's just one aspect or reason as to why people have fetishes or kinks. We wanted to create something that had enough integrity for the kink community but also allowed us to provide it. People don't seem to understand that these people are everyday people like you and I and this they are part of the kink community outside of work."
Of course, I have to ask you whether the release of Whiplr coincided with 50 Shades of Grey, or is it purely coincidental?
"It's just a great marketing strategy. It was great because it was obviously on peoples' minds. We obviously didn't produce the app because of 50 Shades. The demand was already there, I think we have certainly benefitted from 50 Shades. If you ask me How much WHIPLR has to do with 50 Shades? Not that much. The reality is that the story portrayed in 50 Shades is just one niche aspect and we hope people come and explore further.
Look, I'm not one of those "kink snobs" that says, "ugh, 50 Shades is wrong". I say, whatever brings people to app is obviously good for us."
WHIPLR is free to download on Android and IOS, though there are also paid monthly subscription options.