In which Wade corrupts the innocent with talk of naughty web personals sites. And asks for some feedback on a profile.
[Warning: Although there aren't any pics strewn about this
entry, it is about naughty web personals sites. Work-safe as
long as your boss isn't looking over your shoulder.]
[Warning: Being away from LJ for a few months has NOT helped me
Last entry, I summarized what's been
happening the past few months. This entry will be much more focused on
the silliness that
Of course, given my inability to stay on topic, I'll probably end up
exploring a variety of thoughts only peripherally related to smutty
web personals sites, but we'll see :-)
I first checked out adultfriendfinder.com (hereafter referred to as
AFF) about ten years ago, but lost interest in it quite quickly,
because it didn't feel particularly real, and I had the impression
that there probably 20 males on the site for every female. Since I
can't compete with boys who have 10 inch cocks or who can bench press
small Toyotas and/or who are stunningly attractive, it is probably not
too surprising that I didn't get any responses to my admittedly
somewhat desultory attempts at connection back then.
This second time around, my reasons for joining AFF were more geeky
than anything else, which amuses me quite a bit. I have recently been wanting to get back to work on a long-term
software project related to the automated downloading, parsing,
extracting and instrumentation of web-personal websites. The goal is
to provide access to all web-personals sites transparently thru a
single web interface. There are all sorts of subtleties associated
with this kind of coding, and I decided to do some psychology on
myself. By picking a sexually provocative site as my newest "test-bed"
for this coding project, I could combine my interest in the project
itself with my interest in sexually open people, thus benefiting both
interests :-) I'm happy to say that this psychological reasoning has
been working quite well as a motivator (although a number of other
coding projects are also on the go, so this project has had to share
time with them). Along the way, I've also discovered that AFF has
improved in some surprising ways, and has some neat features that make
it less superficial than one might at first assume. Which isn't to say
the site isn't mostly superficial, but then again, most sites are
superficial. As long as the site provides some facilities for
finding the depth amongst all the shallowness, I can begrudgingly deal
Psychology and AFF
AFF is quite intelligently designed in a variety of ways. For one
thing, you cannot (by default) see profiles unless you are a member.
Given the sexually provocative nature of the site, I can only assume
this is an attempt to protect the privacy of AFF members. If a person
finds someone else's picture on the site, they can't just send an
email to everyone at work saying "look who's posing nude on AFF!",
since there is no publicly accessible URL that one could include in
this hypothetical tattle-tale email.
This is presumably the reason why so many people seem surprisingly
comfortable posting extremely explicit pictures on the site. Of
course, a fair number of the more provocative profiles are fake, but
it still leaves a lot of "real" people letting it all hang out. I'm
continually fascinated by how split-personality our society is about
sex: On the one brain, disconcertingly prudish about sex, and on the
other brain rather fascinatingly open about sex.
Unfortunately, one of the problems with a sexually explicit site is
that people tend to get tunnel-vision and focus exclusively on the
sexual dimension. Hence the superficiality of the site. However, I
continue to believe that there are some people on AFF who understand
that an exploration of sex is best done within the context of
multi-dimensional compatibility. We'll see if my optimism is remotely
merited over the next while. So far, it hasn't been :-)
I've been on AFF for a few months, but I've been more geek than
perv, spending most of my time writing code that will apply to not
just AFF but other web-personals sites as well. However, on two
separate occasions I've done a search for nice, attractive, slutty
girls in the Bay Area. I'll admit that some of the girls on this list
were there because they had provocative pictures, but most of the
profiles I found interesting had platonic pics and interesting
write-ups. Or so I tell myself :-)
After deleting all the girls in this initial list who were clearly
not looking for messages from me (either because my age wasn't in
their preferred range, or because I'm a boy and they were looking for
girls, etc.) I was left with a short list of possibilities. I sent
personalized messages to each person after carefully reading their
profiles and commenting on perceived compatibilities, asked for
clarifications in areas where I didn't know if my impressions were
valid, etc. etc.
As is usually the case on web-personals sites, the number of
responses I receive is no where near the number of messages sent. I
assume this is purely a function of the profoundly different
experiences males and females have when interacting via web-personals
sites, I imagine. Sadly, we still have a world where girls are
seemingly more comfortable being chased, and boys are required to be
initiators or remain celibate (even with all the talk about gender
equality that females are prone to demand, without really considering
what equality means). This, combined with the gender
imbalance online (boys tend to be more geeky than girls, tend to be
more willing to spend money on web-personal sites, and especially tend
to be more likely to gravitate to sexually provocative sites) means
that girls get many more messages than boys do.
Don't get me wrong here. I'm not claiming that girls have it any
better than boys on web-personals sites. Just because one receives
lots of messages doesn't mean one receives any messages from someone
they are remotely interested in. The experiences of males and females
online are different, not better or worse. I'm only offering this
observation as an explanation for why so few females respond to
messages - they are overwhelmed with too many such messages, can
afford to pick-and-choose, or have been otherwise conditioned against
responding (i.e. when they do respond with disinterest, boys pout, or
get nasty, or try to convince the girl she's wrong to dismiss him,
Whatever the reason, on every single web-personals site I've tried,
the number of responses I receive is usually about 1 in 20. AFF was no
exception: I have received 2 responses to my AFF message sending
sprees. Of course, this isn't about quantity - it only takes one
successful connection to make one more optimistic.
One of the responses led to some interesting emails and, a little
later, a veritable blizzard of text messages over a two day period,
followed by an in-person meeting. However, it ended there (which is
completely acceptable - I appreciate the importance of chemistry in
such situations, and I obviously wasn't what the girl was looking
for). A pity though, as we seemed to share a variety of similar
interests, both sexual and non-sexual.
There was less interaction with the other girl who responded. I
sent a brief initial messages, she responded with an even briefer
message, I responded with a very long message, she responded with a
very brief message. I'm pouting and haven't yet responded, but I'll do
so sometime soon. It is just frustrating when I make real attempts to
explain myself and don't manage to get past the assumptions and
generalizations and stereotypes we are all prone to make.
Some Miscellaneous AFF Observations
I recently realized that AFF has added the ability to blog on the
site, which is kinda promising. We can expect that many of the blogs
will be one-dimensionally sexual (and probably "based on a true
story" without being too attached to the real truth), but at the
same time I am hoping to find at least a few people who have spent
some time providing a more multi-dimensional picture of themselves.
I've copied over some of my LJ entries to AFF, and have been writing
some additional AFF-focused entries as well. I'll post them here in LJ
too, of course.
I'm quite fascinated by the variety and creativity shown by the
multitude of web-personals sites. Every site has its novel,
interesting, enjoyable quirks, and AFF is no exception. An example of
this is what AFF calls "bling". These are small icons (much smaller
than LJ icons though - the largest are 40x40, others are 20x20,
whereas LJ icons are 100x100) that members can create, give as gifts
to others, or acquire from others as gifts or by "buying" (with AFF
"points", which you accumulate for various activities, like filling
out your profile, creating a blog, etc.) AFF has created this
AFF-specific economy to encourage people to develop their profiles,
which is a smart idea.
Another psychologically smart feature of "bling" is that you must
create the bling yourself. That is, you can't just upload an arbitrary
picture, you must "draw" the bling yourself, using a palette-based
web-page where you select colors, click on squares representing
pixels, draw lines, paint regions, etc. This makes the bling more
"personalized", but also means that most of the bling is fairly
simplistic and amateurish. Nothing wrong with that though!
Of course, even though I appreciate the reasons why AFF set things
up this way, I'm waaaay too lazy/non-artistic to be making my own
bling. I am, however, rather good at teh coding. After downloading the
AFF web-pages that implement the bling editor, de-obfuscating the
change colors and set pixels, I was set for some AFF hacking. A few
hours of coding produced a simple Perl program that takes an arbitrary
image, reduces it to 40x40, extracts the color of every pixel, and
pixels to appropriate colors. Long ago, I hacked up firefox to allow
me to do things that firefox doesn't allow me to, and one such thing
context of an already loaded webpage (allowing me to programmatically
emulate the same activities that a more artistically inclined but less
technically sophisticated person would perform :-)
The end result of these few hours of hacking was the ability to
upload an arbitrary image to AFF, which means that my collection of
bling went from 0 to 50 in an hour. And since my bling was blatantly
copied from LJ icons and naughty pr0n pics, my collection is much more
sophisticated than most, if I do say so myself. It is quite possible
that one of your (non-proprietary) LJ icons has made it into AFF
bling, since I explored the user icons of my flist to accumulate my
initial set of bling.
Ironically enough, after creating all this bling, I haven't
actually bothered to use it for its intended purpose of attracting
attention. Having proven to myself that AFF's attempts to circumvent
me from doing this were for naught, I was content :-) I've been too
busy with other things to focus much on AFF, so the bling was been
gathering dust. However, it is available for whenever I decide to try
round 3 of messaging interesting girls. We'll see if some judiciously
gifted bling involving witty sayings or esthetically pleasing imagery
will increase my response ratio :-)
My AFF Profile
We all know how impossible it is to summarize ourselves on
web-personals sites in a way that accurately communicates to others
who we are and what we are looking for. Writing a profile for AFF is
no exception, and since most females don't take the site remotely
seriously, it is especially difficult to attract the right attention.
In the hopes that my LJ brethren might be able to provide me with
some feedback on how to improve on my AFF profile, I've included it
here. If you actually take the time to read it, and have any
constructive criticism, I'd sincerely love to hear it.
What I'm looking for is quit simple to describe in general: I'm looking for kindred spirits; people who share with me similar philosophies about life, and interpersonal relationships, and sex.
However, the details, as always, are a wee bit more ...involved...
This site is obviously rather focused on sex, which is, in one way, a good thing, because we all like sex. On the other hand, I am really not looking for "just sex". I like liking the people I interact with sexually. I like developing a friendship based on trust and communication and honesty and all that good stuff. I am a multi-dimensional person with many different interests (of which sex is just one) and I very much prefer interacting with others who are interested in things besides just sex. Of course, if you are able to pursue other interests AND sex at the same time, that's completely acceptable :-)
You and I both know how difficult it is to "summarize" ourselves in a few words on profiles like this. My solution is to not bother with a "few words", and instead write lots of them. Unfortunately, if I happen to have caught you in an impatient mood, you are almost certain to just zoom past this profile because it is too much effort to read. I understand that, but if you are looking for an intelligent, creative, honest, sexual, communicative, unusual male, I'd appreciate you spending some time reading more about me so you can decide if we are compatible as friends and/or lovers. In addition to the following ramblings, you can also read more about me in my blog.
AFF tends to focus on the sexual dimension, which is both good and bad. It is good because sex is fun, and I'd like to connect with others who also enjoy sex and have a healthy attitude towards sexuality. However, it can also be problematic because it encourages people to be rather one-dimensional on AFF. Just for the record, I'm not interested in just sex. I like multi-dimensional people with many interests and passions, of which one (of many) is sex. If you feel the same way, I'd love to hear from you. And now that I've made that disclaimer, the rest of this initial profile will be fairly sexual in nature :-)
I am an ethical slut, seeking others who identify as ethical sluts as well. And by ethical I don't mean "boring" or "conservative", I mean honest, authentic, self-aware, responsible, communicative and introspective. Nor does 'slut' refer to some negative puritanical judgement, it refers to people who agree that sex is a wonderfully intense, supremely enjoyable, infinitely variable activity that one or more people can enjoy together to the benefit of ALL involved.
Ethical means that I understand what my partners expectations and interests and boundaries are, and that I take the time to understand these things *before* I start interacting with them sexually. Slutty means that I am quite clear with my partners that I will be seducing them, and that I want to lick them from head to toe with particular attention near the middle, and want to feel and see and experience them under me and above me and beside me in as many ways as we both find compelling.
Ethical means that I want there to be a mutual sense of trust and loyalty and connection between myself and my partners. Slutty means that once trust has been established, it opens up whole new vistas of intensely erotic possibility. If I trust you, I'll let you take me places I haven't been before. If you trust me, you may consider pushing a boundary a little further than you otherwise might have. And there is real erotic potential in pushing boundaries.
Ethical means we do not harm each other, or others, by our sexual activities. Slutty means that if you *like* being spanked (for example), it isn't harm :-). Ethical means that if you don't like being spanked (for example), you communicate that and I respect your boundaries. Slutty means that we identify each others boundaries and at least discuss the potential in deliberately pushing the envelope together, to see what new erotic experiences exists in the unexplored territory near that boundary. There are soft boundaries and there are hard boundaries, and a little bit of discussion can ensure that sex stays hot and intense, not uncomfortable and unpleasant.
Ethical means I want to *care* about the people I interact with, sexually or otherwise. Slutty means that I love sexuality and love girls who love sex. Too often, our society makes sweeping generalizations like "for girls, sex is love, and for boys, sex is sex." I think this cliche does a disservice to both sexes. Part of what makes sex so wonderful is the sense of *connection* one has with a sexual partner. Having myself sheathed in a partner is intense on many levels, from the purely sexual to the purely emotional. I would imagine that having someone entering you is likewise intense on many levels, from the purely sexual to the purely emotional. Being sexual doesn't preclude being connected, and being connected doesn't preclude us being extremely sexual together.
I'm not wired like most people. Just because I love one person romantically and sexually, doesn't mean I can't love another person romantically and sexually. I want to develop friendships with people who feel the same way, who actively *want* to share their lives, their thoughts, and their bodies with whomever they feel connected to. When a person I care about (romantically and sexually) meets someone new, and starts interacting with that person (romantically and sexually), I am sincerely *happy* that my partner is happy. I'm happy for her because I know that her interacting with someone else does not mean that her and I share any less of a connection than we did before, and that we can continue to explore our own relationship for as long as we both enjoy it. Of course, it also helps that I am actively sexually aroused by a partner having sex with other people, but then again, i did mention that I'm not wired like most people, didn't I? :-)
I'm not interested in fucking a stranger. I'm not interested in satisfying my own self-interest at the expense of other people's well being. I AM interested in making connections with kindred spirits; that is, I'm looking for someone who loves sex and who loves love, and who agrees that there are an infinite rainbow of kinds of sex and an equally infinite rainbow of kinds of love. Maybe you and I can find some shades that work for both of us?
The most obvious "problem" with my profile is that it is "too long"
for many people to deal with. And I really do understand the
psychology behind this. There are so many people on these sites
(apparently 23 million+ people on AFF) that filtering is critically
important. And I suspect most of us fall into a habit of filtering
people quite cavalierly, based on relatively superficial internal
"rules" we've made up and believe represent an accurate measure of
compatibility. On a site like AFF, in which sexuality is paramount, it
only makes sense that people are going to be prioritizing appearance,
physique, endowment and other attributes that lend themselves to fast
filtering. Reading an absurdly long profile is NOT part of the
fast-filtering game, and I even suspect that many people filter
profiles with long write-ups for no other reason than because the
write-up is long, simply because there is too much effort involved in
reading it, especially when one is in a "filtering" mood.
Even more significant, I suspect, is that almost noone takes AFF
very seriously. Because it is so hyper-sexual, I imagine almost
everyone views it as superficial and shallow. This almost inevitably
means that people interpret messages received on the site in a quite
limited (sex-only) context. Understandable, but frustrating. I'm
really not into the zipless fuck - I like liking the people I interact
Anyways, if you have any commentary on any of the ramblings in this
entry, I'd love to hear them. And if you happen to be on AFF, let me
know and we can friend each other there too!