Dating app Waves aims to make kink more accessible

Waves Dating app

With all the dating apps out there, do we really need any more? Brothers, Emerson and Morris Hsieh believe so, having created an app based on matching people on their sexual preferences. Waves was developed with the help of Y Combinator, an American seed accelerator, and was released this month, only to U.S. users, to help people find sexually compatible partners.

While there are indeed many, many kink and fetish dating apps out there already, Waves offers an approachable experience for its users, standing out from the crowd of user-unfriendly interfaces that may be off-putting for the average kinkster living in a high-tech world.

Why is kink tech important?

Where mainstream society shames people with deviant sexualities, those wanting to explore their fantasies and fetishes need environments that prioritise safety and consent, free from judgement.

The kink community values these in real life, but those new to the “scene” may find it daunting to explore their fantasies in real life. Technology allows people to dip their toe without putting themselves totally when not quite ready. Online communities such as Fetlife or are great examples of kink tech that is helping to educate and connect like-minded individuals.

What does Waves offer that others don’t?

When it comes to dating, the last thing you want is to be rejected based on your sexual preferences. Waves, like other kink dating apps, allows users to input their preferences, however what makes it different is the level of choice and consent involved. Unlike other apps, you can choose whether to publicly display this preference or not, and you can also choose your limits on each kink. Is it a “hard no”, open for “discussion” or a “yes”. From there, you can filter potential matches to suit your tastes.

Waves does not publish your tastes unless you found a match and you’ve consented to showing your preferences to your match. You are also never matched with a sexual preference you aren’t comfortable doing.

Other kink dating sites and apps are known for their dark colours and scroll interfaces, which may be attractive to some members of the kink community, however, as BDSM is becoming more mainstream (since the old’ 50 Shades debacle), bright and inviting colors, along with softer interfaces are exactly what is needed to bring kink out of the shadows.

Waves offers a playfulness, representative of a big part of the fetish scene, with a pink and blue interface, and humour in the content. In the list of preferences each has a cheeky byline that overrides the stigma stereotypically attached to said preference.

“Watching Porn: Moving pixels on a screen can evoke erotic responses.”
“Choking: Hazardous for toddlers, but watch out as an adult too!”
“Blindfolds: Not even prescription glasses could save you now.”

Waves, list of sexual preferences

Including fetishes, you may not have even know were considered as such; from “sleeping” and “toys” to “foot” or “food indulgence” and “rough” or “public sex”, helps to normalize and destigmatize the variety of sexual preferences.

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Oli Lipski

Oli Lipski

Oli is a freelance sex tech researcher based in London. With an MA in Sexual Dissidence, researching sex tech, and a BA in History, researching gender and sexuality, she has a keen understanding of the past, present and future of sex.