A Philosophy for Sex-Positive Technology

By Brad Jones, owner/lead developer/chief coffee-maker at Meet Kinksters

I’m an “older millennial,” which means I straddle the pre- and post-consumer Internet age. The older - and more introspective - I get, the more I recognize this moment in history as changing everything about the way we communicate and interact.

Despite this, the Internet age has changed very little about our base human instincts. Rather, these tools of instant communication amplify our nature (positive and negative traits alike) in an ever-accelerating feedback loop. We are more informed, communicative…and lonely than ever. The Internet is gasoline on the fire of human social interaction.

The sexual drive is among the most critical of human instincts. Yet honest communication about sexuality remains taboo in many quarters of society. Worldwide, most societies hold to norms fueled by religious and societal shame. In the United States, puritanical political actors with outsize influence seek to squelch sexual expression through the near-unlimited power of the federal state.

The perennial shibboleths of “sex trafficking” and “porn addiction” are uncritically whipped by a shameless ruling class eager to regulate every aspect of private life. Consumers and producers of sexually-oriented content and services (like, say, a dating site for kinky people) lack any real organized lobby and are unsympathetic victims of the regulatory state. Payment gateways, banks and ISPs are willing accomplices to these prudish rule-makers, willing to scapegoat or outright overboard their unsavory clients at the first hint of trouble. Constituents do not call their lawmakers to demand fair treatment of the adult industry; only our shady neighbor would dare watch porn and admit to it.

Who cares?

I’m building Meet Kinksters because shared sexual desires are just as important as other dimensions of compatibility in a meaningful relationship. All mainstream dating sites (yes, even “hookup apps” like Tinder) lack features that would enable singles to filter one another based on sexual preferences beyond orientation. Where’s a dom to find her lifelong sub, or a cuck his forever hotwife? Similarly, apps that cater to alternative sexualities lack functionality to connect on important dimensions of non-sexual compatibility, such as the desire to have children or shared religious beliefs.

This false dichotomy robs kinky people of effective technology to connect with a committed partner (whatever commitment looks like to you!) It also speaks to the business motivations of dating behemoths like Match Group (which owns basically every dating app you’ve ever heard of) to sanitize its business to the lowest-common denominator.

Kinky people deserve to find love and deep connection. The Internet is an excellent tool for finding compatible partners. Meet Kinksters aims to finally meet this need.

Nothing to be ashamed of

Connecting kinky people is my mission. Like many kinksters, I spent much of my adult life carefully shielding my kinky side from disclosure lest my vanilla business pursuits be jeopardized.

The truth is, my personal sexual preferences have nothing to do with my vanilla life pursuits. The same was true of Larry Garfield, a long-time contributor to the Drupal open-source software project. He was doxxed, judged in absentia by an unelected panel, and publicly disowned and exiled by the project’s founder - all because of his BDSM lifestyle. Key players in the affair acknowledged Garfield’s personal life violated none of Drupal’s standards of professional conduct. Nevertheless he was forced out because powerful players feared public association with a man who felt no need to apologize for his D/s lifestyle. In his words, he was hypocritically run out of a tech community that loves to tout its own inclusivity “because a few people are squeamish about my private sex life.”

I am building Meet Kinksters on Drupal (among other technologies) because it’s good software and because open software isn’t open unless it facilitates a diverse market of expression. The Drupal/Garfield fiasco revealed that powerful interests may attempt to silence dissenting views, but these efforts will always fail. In participating professionally in Drupal and other open-source projects, I seek to destigmatize the Internet adult industry and ensure nobody else must endure this kind of brutal exclusion and shaming.

Article teaser image: Ksayer1/Flickr