After making my exit from the Bumble beehive, I went on a total rampage to find “niche” dating apps that were based on interests and lifestyles. From trying various fat-centric apps to even dating platforms for single professionals such as The League (which, stay tuned because it took me two years to get off the waitlist and I still haven’t had a single match), I found that I wasn’t particularly striking gold on these apps. However, after doing some soul-searching and making a decision that I would like to revisit dating people within the kink community, I turned my eyes to Feeld, a dating app created for poly and ethically nonmonogamous (ENM) folx. Formerly known from its 2014 inception as 3nder (pronounced “Thrinder”) and colloquially branded as “Tinder for threesomes” until they were sued by Tinder, the UK-based app was named and rebranded in 2016 to also be inclusive of constituents of the kink and BDSM lifestyle as well.
As you know, I have been in the lifestyle for almost a decade. Even though I took a two-year hiatus in order to date “vanilla” due to having some unsavory experiences, I wanted to use Feeld as an opportunity to regain my footing and start anew.
Creating a Profile
Making a profile on Feeld was straightforward. Similar to other apps, you upload photos and write a bio of up to 1500 characters in length. The features that make Feeld profiles unique are that you can make photos private (and FYI, this feature is only for paid members. Feeld does not allow nudes or sexually explicit images, but a lot of people use this feature to make face pictures available for matches), and the app even provides you with tips on what type of photos to include and what photos can be legally shown on profiles. In addition to this, your profile also has a “Desires” and “Interests” area where you can write in your turn-ons and list your hobbies. Although I am a writer, I am more of a “shower” and not a “teller,” so I kept the “Desires” and “Interests” sections as light as possible so that I could discuss them more with prospective partners.
Two other things that caught my attention are the vast options of sexual orientations and gender identities to pick from and the option to pair your profile with your partner’s. I like the fact that Feeld is very inclusive of different identities because most of the aforementioned apps were not. This in itself gave me more hope that this app was not cishet male-centric after all. In regards to the profile pairing, being that this platform is primarily for people who are poly and/or ENM, I think that it is a great idea to have an option where you can be paired with your partner so that potential matches can see the profiles of all involved parties.
The only issue I had with making a profile is that it glitches and is quite buggy. For example, when trying to input my birthday, Feeld put the wrong date, and I had to contact IT and wait about one to two months for it to be rectified. When putting up pictures, sometimes the app will incorrectly crop the thumbnail even after you’ve resized it.
Paid Membership Vs. Free
Out of all the apps, I find that Feeld offers the most comprehensive paid membership option. Known as the Majestic Membership, this singular subscription allows you to hide your profile from Facebook friends, see the people that like you, have private photos that can only be seen by matches, and you can search by your “Desires” and “Interests.” This all comes at a price of $15.99/mo, $31.99 for three months, and an annual subscription of $91.99. If I were to give my two cents, I personally do not like how the paid subscription has all the privacy settings. It feels like you are purchasing access to privacy. I think that all members, regardless of subscription level, should be able to make their profiles as private or public as they wish.
In terms of my experiences on this app, I will say that using Feeld has been pretty okay… for the most part. As y’all know, I’ve encountered being sexualized and fetishized for my size, and my Feeld experiences have definitely not been devoid of the “sit on my face” messages. I have also had several white, sissy subs contact me expressing how they loved how I am “big, beautiful and Black” and that they wanted me to dominate them or control them. Although I am a Switch, I personally do not have any interest in participating in this type of play because I don’t enjoy feeding into mammy fetishes and stereotypes.
The other thing I’ve noticed on this app is the amount of couples who don’t use the paired profile feature and use one profile collectively. More often than not, I get a lot of likes from women who are looking for a third for their boyfriends, husbands, and partners for threesomes and group play. Although I don’t really mind dating people who have partners or extensions, I myself do not identify as a unicorn and would much rather date folx singularly rather than collectively.
Conversely, I met one partner on Feeld that I dated for a few months. I am also virtually dating some people from the app, and this experience has been going swimmingly. I also have met a lot of friends on the app that I have built a community with off the platform, and I really appreciate how this experience has been multifaceted. The only qualm that I have about the app is that it isn’t as diverse as I would like for it to be. Similar to Bumble, Feeld is super white and is only limited to certain geographical areas. When I do encounter some Black and brown people, we often spend some time rejoicing on how happy and lucky we are to find other people who look like us on this app being that we are few and far between.
Being that Feeld is one of the first “alternative” dating apps that I’ve tried, I am going to give it some grace and rate it 3/5. Although the app does come with its challenges, I will say that most of the potential partners I’ve met on Feeld were not only intriguing but also were individuals whom I felt were aligned with my politics and interests. I also felt that most of the people I encountered were friendly and pretty chill to talk to. In terms of fat-friendliness, I haven’t experienced any fat-shaming or the like on this platform. I did, however, experience some fetishism based on my size, but I find that aspect to be comparable to other dating apps and as something that I now remedy by just removing the person and keeping it pushing.
Some improvements, in my opinion, that would help the app flourish would be to update the server so that it’s not as glitchy and to find ways to make the app more diverse. When connecting with Black and brown partners on Feeld, there have been several instances where they have expressed how “white” the app is and that they experienced a lot of fetishization because of it, followed by a collective sigh of relief for finding another person of color who also happens to be kink-friendly. To ameliorate the experience of Black and brown folx on this app, I think that the app would benefit from having more target search features (i.e. race, interests, kinks, etc.) for both free and paid members and also by having some sort of groups or sub-communities where people can find like-minded individuals to build community and find partners. Additionally, in the past, Feeld has done some collaborations with folx, primarily folx of color, where they would host panels on various topics, and have speed networking and dating events. I think that it would be nice to revamp this and use this as a strategy to bring in a more diverse user base as well. Lastly, I think they should do away with the “so-and-so has disconnected from you” feature. I think it’s a bit off-putting and unnecessary. I’d rather it be like other apps where the person is removed from your inbox without notice.
All in all, Feeld, despite needing some work, is definitely an app that I do plan to continue using, and I hope that they will create some new features that will enhance the user experience in the near future.