I met my boyfriend on Feeld, an app for kinky sex and threesomes, and that's part of the reason we h...
I Joined A Sex App To Have A Threesome. Instead, I Met My Boyfriend.

The experience kickstarted our super honest convos about sex and pleasure — here's how you can do the same.

by Amanda Kohr
Originally Published: 
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The first time I met “Maverick” IRL was at a dimly lit wine bar on the Eastside of Los Angeles. The place was as crowded as it was dark, and the charcoal-colored walls occasionally shimmered with flashes of candlelight among the shadows. It was the pre-COVID Trump era, when Los Angelenos would saddle into bars like spoons in a drawer, complain about politics, and graze each other’s hips as casually as one might blink.

I had been on Feeld, the app designed for couples (and throuples) looking for unique relationships, for months at this point, and my intention certainly wasn’t to like, actually date. I wanted what Feeld might call “alternative sexual experiences” and what a less marketing-oriented person would call threesomes.

Instead of using one’s real names, like on the more mainstream Hinge and Bumble, Feeld encouraged users to use fake names. Mine was Playmate, as I was going for an innocent but freaky girl-next-door sorta vibe. Rather than listing your interests like hiking, tacos, and Parks and Rec, profiles listed kinks and turn-ons like spanking, roleplay, and being spat on. Under height, I wrote “5’2” — the perfect size for you to throw around.” When Maverick and I swiped right, we may not have known if the person had ever studied abroad or caught a fish, but we knew we were both into BDSM.

The app had thus far proven to be a safe and fun-filled space. Prior to meeting Maverick, I’d been seeing a nice Silverlake couple who liked live music, molly, and collaging — a more stereotypical Feeld experience. Having just exited an emotionally exhausting relationship, I wanted something low stakes, high fun, and very high honesty. Feeld was just that. Whereas most dating apps were secretly breeding grounds for ill-intentioned f*ckbois who thought “finding themselves” was a valid reason to avoid intimacy, Feeld was a space of (mostly) respectful adults who valued transparency, communication, and varying degrees of kink.

That first night with M., knowing that we’d met on Feeld was like a fun little secret that permeated our conversation. We talked about normal first date things, like our jobs, our favorite types of music, and the places we’ve traveled. After two glasses of wine, I threw out an invitation back to my place where we could share a joint, and (hopefully) more. The night didn’t culminate in sex, but it did end in a heated makeout session where I was pinned down and restrained — a desire of mine that I had noted in my profile. Clearly, he could read.

Spoiler alert: we fell in love. M. later confessed that he had only attempted the maneuver because my profile alluded to the fact that I was into this sort of thing. (Otherwise, it could have been 50 Shades of Grey gone very wrong.) This is a major perk to Feeld — you already have an idea of your potential partner’s (or partners’) desires, giving you a leg up in the bedroom. It’s sort of like if someone told you that Practical Magic was their favorite movie, and the next time you hang out, they had it queued up on Netflix. Feeld had done us a favor; it forced us to find out what takes some couples years.

Let me be clear: this essay is not sponsored by Feeld, nor am I saying you need to find your partner on a sex app. (Though I’m not saying to not do it.) But I am climbing up onto a sexy soapbox in an attempt to advocate for shame-free, sex-positive conversations. Feeld is special because it serves as a microcosm of a community that can successfully and openly discuss sex in a respectful, positive, and zero-judgment fashion.

While I may not have convinced you to join a sex app (but if I have, goody!), I do hope I’ve at least planted a seed of curiosity regarding a more sex-positive mindset. So if you’re curious to taste non-vanilla sex or simply want to have more satisfying intimacy, here are some tips from the sexperts themselves:

Let Go Of Shame Around Sex

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“Most people who consider themselves sex-positive have worked on releasing shame, which is the block that often comes up when folks try to talk about sex,” says Rachel Wright, psychotherapist who specializes in sex and relationships. “We grow up in a sex-negative culture. A lot of this is about our safety, good touch versus bad touch. But this often manifests in seeing [sex] as shameful. If you tack on religious teachings, we develop more shame.”

Wright adds that there are three things we’re told not to talk about: politics, money, and sex. And one could argue that these are the very subjects that we as a society absolutely need to talk about. Without conversations about politics, we prevent necessary change to social, racial, and economic injustice. The lack of conversation surrounding money has led many women to misunderstand their worth and settle for salaries well below those of their male counterparts. The same can be said for sex.

Why Is Communicating About Sex Important?

Of course, it’s worth acknowledging that having “the talk” can be challenging, especially considering our society has been indoctrinated with patriarchal, puritanical, and heteronormative attitudes toward sex. And even for those folks who consider themselves progressive, talking about sex might even seem unnecessary. I spoke to Ev’Yan Whitney, a sexuality doula and sex educator, as to why she thinks this might be the case.

“I think we often approach sex in relationships as being a thing we have all done before and know how to do, so that those conversations don’t feel as important,” says Whitney. “But who we are sexually isn’t one-size-fits-all and it’s important that nothing gets assumed.” After all, not everyone has had consensual sex, satisfying sex, sex that explores their fantasy, or sex at all.

False assumptions in the bedroom can, at worst, trigger past trauma, and at best, lead to sexual disappointment. And if couples aren’t comfortable talking about sex, there’s a chance they might break up over “sexual incompatibility” (when it’s really something that could have been fixed with a conversation) or settle for a lackluster sex life, which can often lead to larger problems further down the road. But as Whitney and other experts suggests, talking about sex early is a way to build a foundation about your needs, wants, desires, and expectations.

Get To Know Your Own Desires First

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“I see so many people coming into these conversations without really defining what they desire in their sexual relationships, so I recommend taking the time to explore who you are sexually,” Whitney says. If you have zero idea as to where and how to begin, they recommend asking yourself the following questions.

  • What are your sexual needs, wants, expectations, and desires?
  • What do you want to explore?
  • What are things your partner(s) can do to help you feel safe during a sexual interaction?
  • What would you want them to say in the moment if you begin to feel unsafe or need to slow down?
  • How do you want to feel during sex?
  • How do you want your partner(s) to feel?
  • How do you want to be touched?

Whitney suggests brainstorming answers to these questions as a way to prepare for discussing the subject with others. You might even consider journaling or meditating on them. Plus, when you share what you like, it invites your partner to feel more comfortable and do the same. When both parties feel safe and excited, it can even make the potentially scary sex talk actually feel pretty fun.

Talk About Sex... And Then Talk About It Some More

“I see so often in my work that sex talks are done in this really serious and high-stakes way, usually because the conversations happen during a critical moment in the relationship where it can’t be ignored anymore,” Whitney says. “By having these conversations often, we can take a lot of the pressure and charge from these conversations, making them as normal and light as if we were talking about what we want for dinner in the evening.”

She also recommends using resources like a “yes/no/maybe” list, a guide that showcases various kinks and invites you and your partner to find shared desires, to jumpstart these conversations and keep them from feeling too serious. (I love the one from Sex With Emily.)

And remember: the goal isn’t to have one sex talk to end them all. It’s to get comfortable having these talks so that they become a regular part of your routine. Another bonus? The more you talk about sex, the easier communication (as a whole) becomes.

By date three, M. and I were sharing our past relationship trauma over six different types of breakfast foods. And while some might advise against talking about one’s exes so soon in the dating process, it worked for us. We had climbed onto the honesty train and we weren’t getting off.

After all, we’d already met on an app where we had to advertise our preferred sexual kinks. The vulnerability we shared upon meeting one another became a crucial element in our relationship, and was only amplified by an open dialogue surrounding sex. And if that was fostered from a threesome app, then I have no shame in admitting that.


Rachel Wright, psychotherapist

Ev’Yan Whitney, a sexuality doula and sex educator

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