Amanda EK — a local writer, filmmaker, and member of the queer and polyamorous community — sat down with Playlove co-founder Sante Suffoletta – who is also a 30 year sex-positive events organizer – to talk about Playlove, and the mission behind it.
Amanda: On the Playlove homepage, it states that people are more open about their sexuality today than ever before. How did the increased openness influence the start of Playlove?
Sante: It’s been gradual, but it started in the internet era. There was no real restriction to people posting whatever content they wanted as online forums became popular and then social media became popular and then mobile technology became popular, so over time people have slowly gotten accustomed to being more open and publicly expressive about their sexuality. We saw that there’s no defacto sex positive platform, unlike other established communities — such as the gay community with Grindr and Tinder for the mostly hetero monogamous community. We have platforms that focus on one area of the sex positive community, like kink or swinging, but there’s not one single platform uniting all of the communities. And so we want to be that with Playlove. People move between all these different areas on their lifelong sexual & romantic journeys, and there is a lot of overlap between them. Combine that with people who are on mobile devices more than ever before, and mobile apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Zoom that restrict sex positive content, they’ll actually remove your profile on Tinder and other platforms if you don’t fit into what they consider “appropriate.” So there is no mobile app that’s really making a big impact serving the whole sex positive community. And we think we deserve it. This is a $1 Billion + annual industry and growing. Each year, people are more sexually expressed than ever before, and those people are on their mobile phones more than ever, so we deserve one app to connect them all, and we’re starting that right here in Denver.
Tell us about the Playlove team?
My development partner is also our co-founder and CTO. In addition to software development he handles all IT and cyber security. We have a QC and testing manager who also sends out our customer surveys and manages our support portal. We have a market research and focus group manager who is really trying to identify how many sex positive people there are in CO. We expect there are even more than most people think and we hope to prove that. Our whole team collaborates on new features, improvements and timelines. Keep in mind the app we have now is just a shell, a start, if you will. For us to reach our goal, we need to know what people want that’s missing from what’s currently available. We hear people telling us they’re frustrated all the time and things like: “How come I can’t use (popular website) on my phone?” or “Facebook put me in jail again,” and we know that if we solve those problems in a way that allows people to connect and have the experiences they get on popular mobile platforms, only with lots of sex positive people, then it’s going to be a game changer. So we have a lot of really smart people who are also really passionate about sex working to learn and develop what people want here in CO before we roll things out nationally and globally.
So you have the Playlove website and other local community groups — how else are you getting Playlove in front of people’s eyes?
It’s a people business so we’re talking to as many people one-on-one in the local community as we can right now to better understand what they want so we can really make this awesome. And, like I said, we are doing a lot of market research and outreach right now through focus groups and surveys. Currently it’s very grassroots. We’re counting on folks in the community to share the concept and the app with their friends. If people aren’t sharing it, that tells us we still aren’t hitting the mark. And we don’t want to go global with a substandard product. We want to make sure people are actually making the connections they expect to be making because that’s what it’s going to take to cause the global impact we want to see.
What would you say is the main mission of Playlove?
Our mission is being the world’s leading resource for sex positive communities. The Playlove app is a vehicle to deliver that through connections, fun, self-expression, access to fulfilling fantasies, education and ending any toxic shame about sex around the world. And, it’s a long road to get there. Our mission right now is to understand what Colorado wants, and to do a good job here to get the local community excited about this so that we can then introduce it to national and global communities.
Any religious folks making a fuss over this?
Fortunately, not yet. We may see some of that as we grow. Religion and sex aren’t a “versus” or an “either or” though. A lot of our customers are religious. It’s extremists we have to be more concerned with than religious folks. I’ve definitely experienced extremism in the event business. A couple years ago we tried to host the world’s largest orgy in Vegas. There was a lot of backlash and a couple of active shooter threats from some groups. Playlove isn’t in the event business so hopefully that won’t happen, but dealing with haters is still part of our challenge. If changing the world was easy, somebody would’ve done it already, so we’re gonna have to deal with the naysayers and keep moving forward committed to our mission, knowing that there are people counting on us to make a difference for them.
So what can a Playlove user get from the app that they’re not going to get from Tinder or Grindr or OK Cupid?
Playlove is an entirely sex positive community so when you look at the Tinders of the world, you have to really go hunting for people who are sex positive, kinky, open, poly. Whereas everybody on this platform already will be. So you get everything you’re not getting on those other platforms with too small a % of sex positive members. You can also post and socialize without worrying about going to jail or being kicked off the site. And if you’re on a site whose mobile platform is lacking or you’re somebody who prefers to socialize on your mobile device, Playlove is built for you. There are a lot of people who prefer to connect entirely on mobile these days.
What are some of the app’s features?
We modeled our preferences to be a combo of the best features of the most popular social and dating sites out there. So you can swipe, make friends, post selfies to the feed, etc. You can customize to only see what you want too. So if you don’t want to see dick pics, promotional stuff, couples or singles, you can choose never to see them. And if you love dick pics, you can see all the ones you want! We have a lot more features like this in the works. So we are creating a more customized and secure experience for sex positive people than what’s currently out there on social and dating apps.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
Playlove is free right now, so try it out and tell us what you think. We have a LONG way to go to reach our goal of becoming the world’s leading resource. Without your support and feedback, we have no change of getting there – and we want to get there, because the world is seriously counting on us. People everywhere are suppressed and ashamed about their sexuality, good people, all over the world looking for real love and connections with other sex positive people and frustrated they can’t find it. If you have a large community of friends or lovers who support all your sexual choices, consider yourself lucky! Most people don’t. So, please create a free account at app.playlove.co and help us make the world a sexier place.