Frustrated with Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid and Her, I complained to a friend in September about how dating apps had become tedious to me. They asked me if I’d heard of Feeld. Somehow, I hadn’t.
I don’t know why, because the app has been around for a long time and there’s been extensive coverage of it. It may be because of its reputation for encouraging threesomes and kinky sex, and fewer people are willing to advertise their interest in those activities rather than “regular” dating. But why?
Everyone has different reasons for being on dating apps, but many of them boil down to “I would like to have sex.” This sex could be with a longterm loving partner or a series of shorter-term partners, loving or not. Or both! It’s a big world. I’d love to meet someone I genuinely adore and want to be with; in the meantime, sex really takes the edge off. Cast off your prudery and join me on Feeld, fellow daters.
I downloaded the app within an hour of discovering it and started swiping. It’s been about four months, and I truly think it’s the best dating app I’ve ever been on (aside from the terrible bugginess of its chat feature). The reasons why are maybe more diverse than you’d think.
You can get very detailed about what you’re into
Feeld allows people to get very specific about who they are and what they’re interested in, and it follows that most of the people on it have given this some thought. The people on the app share a baseline of understanding regarding the many varieties of gender and sexual identity, something you won’t find on most other dating apps unless they’re focused on the LGBTQ community. No one ever messages me and asks what it means when I say that I’m pansexual. My profile says “cis het men” are last in my line of interests, and no one ever gets mad about that either. Not even the cis het men—they still message me.
People actually communicate
A lot of people on Feeld are just looking for hookups, but you know what? So are most people on every dating app—they’re just not upfront about it. I’ve joked with friends that when you get explicit about having sex with someone on Tinder, they react like a cartoon wolf: over the top, freakishly horny, no chill.
On Feeld, you can ask someone what they’re into, and they’ll tell you. It’s an honest relief to not go through the charade of getting drinks with someone, only to have them say they’re “not looking for anything serious” before trying to kiss you. And because some people are into very specific things, they’re good at articulating what those things are. Which allows everyone to enter into an arrangement with a clearer understanding of what each party wants. Communication is the first step in consent.
You feel comfortable setting essential boundaries
Feeld isn’t perfect, by a long shot. It’s populated by all the same weirdoes sitting around you in the coffee shop right now. Most of them I don’t want to meet. My profile is extremely explicit about what I’m into, what I’m looking for, and what I’m not. This makes it much easier to see very early in the conversation who respects those desires and who does not.
Through trial and error, I’ve learned more about what I’m comfortable with just through talking to people. Women, in particular, are socialised to downplay their sense of discomfort to be polite. On Feeld, I never make excuses for someone if they say something weird or hostile. Whereas on other apps I might have thought, “Eh, people are awkward over text,” I say “no” a lot more on Feeld. “No” to people I’m not interested in. “No” to things I don’t want to do.
I don’t have time for anyone who can’t talk to me respectfully, thoughtfully, or intelligently, without consideration for what I’ve plainly stated about myself. Rejecting those people has gotten easier and easier and I have no regrets.
It’s fun to explore
The truth is, I’m not particularly kinky. I could have only vanilla sex for the rest of my life, if chemistry and skill were involved. But I don’t have to, and I’m happy to try lots of things. If I like someone and they have a very particular fantasy, it’s fun to experiment. You might be surprised by what turns you on, or at least enjoy the playfulness of attempting something new. This could happen on any app, but again, Feeld facilitates people saying what they want sooner rather than later—like, when you’ve already met their parents.
Trying new things builds confidence—online and off
No, I’m not particularly kinky, but in the spirit of embracing new things, I’ve positioned myself on Feeld with a persona. Without going into too many details, my profile is advertising for a certain kind of mate, short or long term. On a regular dating app, I’m just a lady amongst many other ladies; people are judging my looks, maybe my sense of humour, and whether or not I’m into The Office.
On Feeld, I have this identity that is very attractive beyond those other things, and it’s a powerful feeling. This may not be the response in regard to every kink, but receiving lots of messages from people who are excited to meet me feels great. It’s such a refreshing difference from the desultory “heys” of Bumble. That sensation is something I’ve taken out into the real world, and have found myself feeling generally more attractive and confident.
You could have a lot of sex
Yes, the best thing about Feeld is that I’ve had lots of fun sex. This is definitely not guaranteed, but when I’m in The Mood, it’s not hard to drum up an interesting encounter or two. If casual sex isn’t something that you want, Feeld may not be for you, though I see plenty of people looking for longterm partners on there. Be honest with yourself about what you want, honest in your profile, and honest in conversation. Feeld may reveal to you that there are far more people who want the same thing than you thought.