Reinventing erotic storytelling for the mobile generation, New York-based Tap Fiction has launched Shades, an app for steamy stories told in a text-based format.
Launched at the end of last month August, each story is fictional and written by crowd-sourced authors. Shade’s Editorial Director, Keryce Chelsi Henry, says that “our authors love writing for the platform because it enables them to try a new format for story-telling; readers enjoy the sneaky, seductive aspect of the stories, which makes it feel like you’re reading intimate texts between interesting people.”
The app is free to download for iOS on the App Store, and there are 36 free stories, each with multiple chapters. However, with the free access every story is interrupted with a 25 minute countdown until you can continue reading again. Co-founder Matt Cavnar explains that the timer “will come up at the end of an episode but that can change as we test different approaches.”
Alternatively, you’re offered the option to move to a premium plan to unlock unlimited stories, uninterrupted. The cost for that ranges between $2.99 per week, up to $99.99 for a full year.
To find the story that you want, you must scroll through the selection of titles such as “Relationship Goals”, “The Sexy Stalker” and “Yes, Sir”. Read like DMs and texts, you must tap on the screen to reveal the chat-based content.
You’re kept in suspense with the famous Apple ellipses and cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, with the intent of leaving you wanting more.
Relatable GIFs are dropped in to add visual humour and the illusion of spying on real people, creating a sense of voyeurism. Even though these stories are fictional, Cavnar adds “some may be inspired by events in the writer’s life.”
Straying from heteronormative white narratives often found in mainstream porn, Shades offers diversity in its erotica, with stories including queer characters, a Black dominatrix and consensual non-monogamy (there is also plenty of cheating too, at least in the “Betrayal” episode).
Well-known erotic fiction website Literotica launched an Android app last year, which has a whopping 250,000 of its stories, spread across 30+ categories.
Even though Shades’ free-readers can only choose from either romantic texting or erotic sexting categories, the rise in numerous alternative erotica apps is perhaps a sign that there’s a market for more than just porn videos.