Ever wanted to put forth a question about sex but were just too afraid to ask? Wondered what other people are thinking and getting up to behind closed doors? Hoping to make the leap and meet a like-minded person or people? And do you want do this all anonymously and 100% free?
Well, it’s a big ask but, dear reader, your luck is in because the new Taboo app is here to help you do all of this and more.
Unlike other apps like Tinder and Grindr that demand you publicize certain bits of information before allowing you to proceed, Taboo have eliminated names and profile photos and simply allow your words and whatever photos you wish to make public to do the talking for you. In fact, you don’t even have to hand over any personal information at all. Now those of you who have a filthy mind but crave privacy can wallow in hog heaven.
Once you’re in you can post your own explicit photos and messages and trawl around the others users to discover their own secrets while Taboo presents them to you in an easy-to-manage real-time stream. Taboo’s creators hope that each user is able to reveal themselves in their own way and in their own time, with a mission to simply allow people to express themselves without holding back.
It almost sounds too good and simple to be true. What’s the catch? We spoke to Marco Höglinger, the CEO of Taboo creator iPunks to find out. He says there isn’t one, but instead Taboo’s design and features were born from necessity; the opportunity to grab the market by the throat (or another appendage) and shake it from its slumbers.
“Today’s tech scene is startup-fueled and app-driven, actively encouraging disruption in every sector imaginable,” says Höglinger. “Except sex. Startups and entrepreneurs are encouraged to break all manner of boundaries and let the chips fall where they may with such regularity, words like “innovation” begin to lose their meaning. But when it comes to sex and tech, they’re stonewalled. We wanted to shatter that ceiling and launched Taboo – a place to share real-world sex secrets – anonymously.
“It is cleverly designed to seem evocative without being trashy, which is really important to get women on board. Women use this app – they all have questions to ask and experiences to share but sometimes it can be embarrassing to do so, so the aspect of anonymity is very important to them. Furthermore, as we are clearly marketing ourselves as a source of free expression and fun rather than a porn site, helps to encourage users to share sex secrets.
“The interface makes users think of Cosmopolitan magazine, or Sex and the City, which is good because this kind of branding is a familiar space for women to talk and learn about sex, yet being an app it allows for much more freedom for women to ask the specific questions they would like answered.”
The biggest question on our minds is: if it’s so simple to do, why hasn’t it been done before? Why isn’t the market flooded with apps like Taboo? Here’s why: Sex-tech is still shunned in some quarters, and iPunks tell us that their latest update, one that would improve their users’ experiences, has been banned from the Apple store owing to “excessively objectionable or crude content” and “pornographic material”. This means that Apple is more than happy to try and ban the consensual sexual expressions of Taboo’s users. How is that fair?
Höglinger picks up the thread again: “Lots of people enjoy adult products, but few are willing to publicly back them. Most sextech startups find themselves left to their own devices. Hardly equipped with the tools necessary to navigate the anti-adult business climate they find themselves in, they begin to sink. Not because their business failed to resonate with customers, but rather due to the never-ending onslaught of restrictions placed on adult companies from mainstream companies. Often these restrictions are due to moral objections to the space we occupy. Every obstacle that a tech startup encounters–if it has to do with sex, you triple that struggle for us.”
So while the likes of Tinder and Grindr are allowed to proliferate, and reward those who value aesthetic qualities over anything else, apps like Taboo, that may encourage large swathes of people to step outside their comfort zones and explore their own humanity and sexuality, are hauled over the coals by a prudish and risk-averse establishment.
Do yourself a favour. Download Taboo, see if you like it… because it’s one in the eye against those who love nothing more than to suppress.
Taboo is free for iOS users. Android version will follow in 2015.