“BDSM has been on the edge of popular culture long before Fifty Shades came out,” explains KinkBnB marketing director Ryan Galiotto. “Every new, kinky image adds to the progress of acceptability.” His site, which sells itself as the “sex-positive Airbnb”, banks on this: offering clients the chance to indulge in their deepest sexual desires without a trace of shame or stigma. Fancy a guilt-free weekend in a Seattle sex dungeon? Well now, thanks to KinkBnB, that casual adventure is only a few quick clicks away.
The aim, according to Galiotto, is to celebrate fetishism, and open up opportunities for more tentative tenants and renters. “I feel more people are becoming able to explore their own sexuality, instead of repressing it,” he says. “We appeal to the sexually adventurous and curious alike, people who know what they want and those that are just starting out.”
The premise is simple. You pick your location, then scroll through the guest rooms (or prison cells and play pens) that are available. Anyone with the appropriate space or equipment is free to act as host, just as long as they are open and “accepting of sexual diversity”. Some apparently even stay to offer extra “educational” services – though this is not an official part of the Kink policy.
“The idea came with our friend who has a rentable dungeon play space had her regular guest room dropped from a popular guest share space,” remembers Galiotto. “That was when we realized that this was an important group not being served. We then put up the site, and got 100 users signed up within the first day.”
Despite the ever-present culture of sexual shaming and right-wing conservatism, the majority of KinkBnB’s users are currently based in the US – where bondage enthusiasts make up 36 per cent of the nation. However, Galiotto is enthusiastic about how the company will evolve globally. “It is getting better,” he affirms. “We have almost 10,000 members so far with listings in over 100 cities in 30 countries. So far the response has been wonderful.”
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