You’ve probably sexted before, possibly with your partner or with your most recent match. It can be a fun, stress-free experience for some, but for others who’ve never done it before, it can also be intimidating and beginners can miss out on the opportunity of becoming a master of dirty talk. That’s where Slutbot comes in.
Launched by the creators of Juicebox, a sex and relationship coaching app, Slutbot is a free service developed by sex educators and erotic fiction writers—sexting pros basically. At the moment, texting Slutbot is only free in the U.S. and Canada, while the rest of the world can sext with it for the cost of your standard messaging rates. If you feel like trying it, you can text ‘slutbot’ to (+1) 415-650-0395.
Slutbot starts by asking your age, gender, and the gender of the person you’d like to practise sexting with. The chatbot offers different types of pairings like female user to male bot, female user to female bot, male user to female bot and so on. After picking a pairing that suits your needs, you’ll have to choose between two types of sexting: one softer, called ‘slow & gentle’, and another called ‘hot & sexy’, which, much like its title, is more forward.
When I decided to try it, Slutbot was considerate enough to choose a safe word, in case things got too hot too soon—the bot picked ‘pineapple’ for some reason. The conversation started quite slowly, with sentences like, “I’ve been thinking about you today. Last night was really hot”, nothing too crazy considering I picked the ‘hot & sexy’ option. Slutbot quickly killed the mood by using texting abbreviations like ‘O.M.G.’ and the ‘100’ emoji three times in a row, making me wonder if I was texting a bot or a 15-year-old. The experience as a whole wasn’t that bad, and for a sexting beginner, the upsides that could come from a few conversations with Slutbot are clear, if you can ignore the over-the-top use of emojis and the absence of any sense of humour.
Talking to the New York Times, Founder and CEO of Juicebox Brianna Rader said, “People think sex and dating is supposed to be easy and innate, but it’s not. It’s absolutely a life skill just like all other life skills, but unfortunately we’re never formally taught these things.” A study conducted by McAfee in the U.S. showed that 49 percent of all smartphone users sext and of those, 70 percent are between 18 and 24 years old, so it only makes sense that someone came up with a sexting ‘starter pack’ to help onboard this new generation of sexters. Although Slutbot is exactly what it says on the tin—a slutty bot—it should be seen as a first step towards opening up new horizons for your sex life (that is, if you feel like you need a little push).
Slutbot tackles important issues, like consent and communicating desires, by always ending a text asking users if they’re enjoying this conversation or want to try something new. By practising your sexting skills with Slutbot without dreading the possibility of being ghosted, you could eventually feel confident enough to try it out with someone real. Ghosting is a problem that goes hand-in-hand with technology, especially texting—not only with sexting. That’s where another app called Mei comes in, your best chance at texting perfectly, thus avoiding any chance of being ghosted. Once you’ve downloaded Mei, the app includes an AI assistant that gives you real-time comments on your texting skills as you chat with friends, family, and partners.
Let’s say you’ve been talking with your new crush for a few days, but you feel like the conversation is not going as smoothly anymore. In your text conversation, Mei will pop up at the top left corner to comment on your way of texting, advising you on which tone you should try out and why. The app’s website says, “We hope to be a new messaging option that users can be excited about”. Although the concept sounds great on paper (we all ask someone close for texting advice from time to time) the idea that people could one day rely on extra help to text from AI should be a forewarning of how our society is beginning to lean perhaps too heavily on technology (especially when it comes to social interactions).
By now we all know that technological innovations have both positive and negative impacts on our social interactions. So next time you feel like sexting for the first time, or you don’t want to receive an unsolicited dick pic, you’ll know Slutbot is always here for you. Same goes with texting your mum after having a bad argument with her, Mei will be there to help you formulate that perfect text. Let’s just try to avoid being dependent on these apps—preferably without throwing away our phones.
If you have been on a dating app recently, you will likely have seen the phrase ‘ethically non-monogamous’. Overused to the point of cliché, it’s hard to tell what distinguishes the term from its non-ethical counterparts. So, what exactly does it mean?
While many of us have practised non-monogamy or been in an open relationship at one time or another, sexual and romantic exclusivity remain the norm. Some people, however, decide to see other partners outside the relationship, a choice requiring openness, communication, and boundaries (however loosely defined) to make it work for everyone involved.
This is where the ‘ethical’ dimension comes in; being mindful of your sexual or romantic partners’ needs alongside your own and, accordingly, treating them with respect and honesty. It is a term which is often used synonymously with polyamory and, just like polyamory, it comes in all shapes and sizes and—though you might not think it—has been around for a very long time.
The common misconception about polyamory is that it’s a modern invention, a destructive fad that seeks to wreak havoc on the altogether more ‘natural’ dyad relationship structure. Yet, it’s important to recognise that relationship standards are culturally specific and that although Western culture privileges one relationship style, this doesn’t automatically make it the ‘right’ one.
According to research by Prof. Roger Rubin, only 43 (of 238 societies across the world) are monogamous. Polyamory has been and still is traditional to many indigenous cultures, and academics like Dr Kim Tallbear have theorised what they call ‘settler sexuality’ as the colonial imposition of compulsory heterosexuality, cisgenderism, and monogamy on indigenous peoples of Canada and the U.S.
Within the context of Western settler culture, polyamory boomed in the ‘60s and ‘70s when it arose from the free love movement and developments in feminist and queer thinking that questioned the traditional family structure.
When we accept non-monogamy, we pay homage to these radical roots and commit to thinking critically about why we’ve been told to aspire to one particular kind of relationship. Through polyamory, individuals can define new forms of kinship on their own terms, with some building an expansive support network of partners and others developing alternative forms of parenting. Non-monogamy, however, can also serve as a tool for rethinking the hierarchy of relationships that positions coupled romance at its pinnacle and creates the expectation that one person can and should satisfy all of our emotional, romantic, and sexual needs.
It’s important to note that, in practice, polyamorous relationships are not free from abusive power dynamics, just like monogamous ones. Polyamory, however, can help us diagnose some of the more problematic aspects of mainstream relationship culture—just as mainstream relationship culture has generated its own critiques of polyamory.
For example, in recent years the term ‘toxic monogamy’ has emerged from online polyamorous communities as a way to describe more problematic manifestations of monogamy. These can include the idea that possessiveness is an expression of commitment, as well as forms of co-dependency facilitated by the idea that your romantic partner has to function as the be-all and end-all in your life. For those who continue to seek monogamous connections, it’s worth giving real thought to how these potentially harmful dynamics might play out in your relationships.
While neither monogamy nor polyamory is ‘more ethical’ than the other, I have found myself in the latter camp, over the past five years. I have experimented with forms of non-monogamy but often found that my behaviour was less than exemplary. Struggling to come to terms with non-monogamy in a relationship environment that’s dominated by a monogamous commitment on the one hand and a poorly defined dating culture on the other, I can admit that at times I have been too casual with other people’s feelings and at others, I have been pressured into ill-fated monogamous setups.
Throughout this period, I was reluctant to recite terms like ‘polyamorous’ or ‘ethically non-monogamous’. While I was aware of the related subcultures, I was put off by what seemed like an excessive focus on rules and jargon and the often holier-than-thou attitude that I found in these environments. Spending the past few months trying to learn more about ethical non-monogamy and how it can help me become a better partner, whether sexually or romantically, has displaced some of these reservations. Accepting it as a process, rather than a label, I have come to see it as a roadmap to explore alternative relationships on my own terms.
This article is the first of a two-part series exploring unconventional relationships, created in partnership with Feeld.