I Met One of My Best Friends On A Kinky Threesome App

When I’m hanging out with my friends, it doesn’t take long for the topic of dating apps to come up. Among 20-something women living in Los Angeles, this is normal (as is hearing the phrases “It’s hard out here” and “Wait, let me swipe for you” repeated). Recently, a friend of a friend in the group just joined Raya-the members-only, celeb-featuring dating app-after six months of unsuccessful Tindering, Bumbling, Hinging, OkCupiding, and all the other -ings internet dating has to offer. “Is there another app I should be using instead?” she posed to the group.

Secretly, I had an answer for this woman. However, I didn’t know her very well, and I was nervous it was not the one she was looking for, so instead, I shrugged and took a slurp of my cocktail. I was hesitant because my dating app success story wasn’t that I wholesomely swiped my way to long-lasting romantic love; instead, it’s that I ended up meeting one of my closest female friends while looking for threesome partners on Feeld-a sex-positive app aimed at helping “open-minded” users fulfill their freakiest fantasies.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: If you’re looking for friends, Amanda, why not sign up for Bumble BFF, or join a book club, instead of swiping through the fetish-y app once known as 3nder [pronounced like “thrinder,” a terribly clever portmanteau that served as the application’s title until they got sued and had to rebrand]? The answer is simple: I had no idea until meeting Amanda K. that having a platonic pal with whom I not only shared all the regular friend interests (in our case, orange wine and road trips… and even a first name), but also our left-of-center kinks and sexual experiences, was something I was sorely missing.

However, after a year of swiping, I realized that the quantity of options apps provide does not necessarily elevate the quality of one’s dating life

It’s no secret that in American dating culture, apps like Tinder and Bumble enjoy a mixed reputation. When I became single at 25 after a basically sexless relationship that dragged on years longer than it should have, I giddily signed up for all the dating apps I’d heard of. I was wide open to sex, love, possibly another relationship, whatever adventures were afloat in the internet’s dating pool. I marveled at this newfound ability to plug in your preferences like a Postmates order and suddenly gain exposure to thousands of people you’d never otherwise meet. (Eventually, though, I became so-admittedly, misguidedly-selective that only 31-year-old Jewish screenwriters living in Venice showed up on my dashboards.)

I was also looking forward to exploring different sides of my sexuality, and apps felt like a safe way to ease myself into dating women, as well as experiment with non-monogamy and kink, for the first time. “Hey, whatever you’re into!” they’d say with supportive, albeit bewildered smiles when I’d tell them about a chic new hands-free vibrator I’d discovered, or OkCupid vs eHarmony cost some interesting role-play scenario I’d tried with a Hinge match.

My friends came to (fondly) refer to me as the sexual deviant of the group

“. Apps felt like a safe way to ease myself into dating women, as well as experiment with non-monogamy and kink, for the first time.”

Shadeen Francis, a licensed ily therapist based in Philadelphia, explains, “Young people have so much more choice in partners through dating apps, but having more choices actually leads to fewer decisions.” Counterintuitive as it may seem, this “chooser’s paradox” is part of the reason why so few matches lead to real-life meet-ups and why those meet-ups rarely end in long, meaningful relationships. If your dating pool is basically anyone in your city, it makes it harder to decide on someone to spend your time with, even as a no-strings-attached hookup buddy. Someone slightly better might be just a swipe away.

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