By Michael Love
It’s a very bizarre time for us in the Sex Positive/Ethical Non-monogamy world. Ever since Sesta-Fosta went into place back in March of 2018, social network and ISP SEO’s diving for cover and changing terms of service to wipe out any and all loopholes that might allow sex workers the ability to use their sites to promote themselves and reach potential customers. This has had a HUGE impact on American citizens who enjoy freedoms that are on the spicier side of life, because it literally makes many of the things we take for granted, grounds for having you booted off of most social networks.
In response to Sesta-Fosta, social media giant, Facebook has stepped up their Gestapo like enforcement of nudity in private and secret groups as well as via Messenger. Taking it a step further, a recent update to the Facebook Community Guidelines makes it grounds for removal for even chatting with your potential mate about sexy plans on your upcoming date for fear it might be misconstrued as a paid interlude that Mr. Zuckerberg could be hauled off in chains for simply providing a platform for sexual exploitation and human trafficking. You can’t even post about a swingers event you’re hosting without violating Facebook’s new Community Guidelines, even if that event is being held in a public place.
Facebook isn’t the only one either… Tumblr, which has long been known as the last free and open platform where we could freely express ourselves sexually both visually and in text form, has altered their community guidelines outlawing any kind of sexual content whatsoever, closing the door on the only real useful purpose on a platform that was otherwise garbage as a social media site to begin with.
We in the ethical non-monogamy community are not without resources, but our low cost or free options are quickly drying up. This prompted me to go on a search for a suitable platform for hosting my sexy social group, since I’m expecting the Facebook “Morality Police” to come in and shut my group down any time now.
I’d seen the advertisements at Club Privata, so in the spirit of encouraging partnerships that support our local businesses, I decided to go and check out Quiver. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of use of the premium site that also came with a pretty reasonable price tag. The navigation on the site is pretty straightforward, anyone who can navigate Facebook, can pretty easily figure out how to get around in Quiver. I decided to dig a little deeper, and recently sat down and had a conversation with the owners of the site.
Michael and Christina discovered the lifestyle after attending a sexy Valentines party in 2011. They loved the fun and flirty atmosphere and the openness and honesty they experienced. Starting out just as voyeurs, they would eventually join in the fun, and came to love the connections they developed for their sexy friends. “We found that we really enjoyed getting to know somebody as a person beyond the pretty face and the great body.” Michael tells us, “We’ve never really been after a romantic relationship with anyone, but we feel like we have more fun with people when we have a more personal connection.”
In the absence of an established club, or regular party venue, people have to turn to websites that help people connect. For the first couple of years, that is what Michael and Christina turned to for their connections within the lifestyle.
They describe with disdain the way some sites work, where you just look at pretty pictures and connect with people based strictly on appearances, without any other real context. “I sometimes used to feel like I could be more effective just putting my name on a bathroom wall” says Christina. Michael interjects, “We used to joke about how we were frustrated with feeling like we were meeting up with people to have sex in a truck stop bathroom”
From their own frustrating experiences on other sites, they built a roadmap for the social network they wanted to create. Michael, who has some technical knowledge and experience with web design and development, knew that it was possible to build a platform that worked better, provided a better user experience and more effectively connected people. “We wanted to create a site that helped people connect in much the same way we do, to give people tools to connect on a more personal level rather than to just give them galleries of photos to choose partners,” says Michael, “We’ve given them lots of ways to meet and interact online besides just photos, one of the most used features on our site is our public wall. It’s much like Facebook, where people can post publicly anything they want and people can respond to it and interact in many different ways.” Each user has their own profile as well, which outlines their personal preferences and what they are looking for, along with the ability to share photos, and control privacy on their profiles and their galleries, much like Facebook… except without the restrictive censorship.
Taking their design a step farther they wanted to build a site that more effectively fit their perceptions of what the lifestyle is all about. “We feel like for most couples, the women are the ones in charge in the lifestyle communities, says Michael, “The foundation of creating a site that was more female-focused was to ensure that every woman felt comfortable exploring and interacting on her own, and that starts with letting her sculpt the Quiver experience she wants.” Christina adds, “My vision for the website was something that felt a bit more feminine and welcoming for women. So that women would feel more empowered, and we wanted to create an atmosphere where women would feel more inclined to have fun and explore their sexuality.” By creating a design that is visually light and bright; by implementing privacy features that allow the ladies to be able to control who sees their content and what content they see, and also what types of members she is available to, and what kinds of events she wants to be invited to, they have created a website that really resonates with their female members.
What’s the point in creating a new website if you’re not also adding a fun and interactive element? “The one thing we found whenever we go to any of the clubs, we would love the energy of it, and the way people are so open. Clubs are able to create such an inviting atmosphere for like minded people where you feel like you can really connect and you’re just having fun and there’s no judgement. I think people who have those kinds of experiences, want to have those kinds of experiences outside of the clubs as well,” says Christina. It shows in the efforts they are making to provide opportunities for people to connect both in the virtual world of the Quiver website, but also in the events they sponsor in various locations outside of the clubs. Not everyone is comfortable in a club scene, and the folks at Quiver love creating a platform for everyone to come together in a way that celebrates and empowers an open lifestyle. Our own local group, The Frisky Friends Club, is working with Quiver to create a monthly event outside of the Clubs for people to gather, and there will likely be more coming as the Quiver community grows.
Most people don’t care about the nerdiness of what goes into good design and what goes into bad design… But bad design is easy to notice. One of the things that Michael has worked hard to accomplish is creating a site that works as well on mobile as it does on a PC. “72% of our visits are on a mobile device, so we immediately saw the need to create a website that is mobile friendly,” says Michael. In a world where mobile applications that provide a platform for sharing of adult content are not allowed in the Apple store, or the Google Play store, it was imperative to create a website that was completely functional on mobile. “The Quiver site designed primarily for mobile interaction” Michael tells us, “We designed the site so when on mobile, you can literally complete any action with a single tap.” It’s as close to using an app as it gets while still working in your web browser. Michael’s success is obvious in that he has created a site that works so well on mobile, while still having a website that transitions perfectly to PC as well. “You can use most functions on mobile, but get a little more functionality on PC,” says Michael. It is definitely a site that works well on all devices, and you will likely find yourself using both PC and your mobile device to stay connected.
Quiver will be celebrating it’s 5th anniversary in April of 2019 and they have accomplished a lot in a short time. “When we started we decided to plant our flag in a few cities and see which ones flourished,” says Michael, “Dallas, Houston and Boston all took hold so we focused our attention in those markets” A quick look at the Quiver site would seem to show a large membership in those areas. “We’ve been focusing our efforts in Seattle for awhile which is our second fastest growing area, and only recently started making our presence known in Portland. We tend to focus on cities we like to visit, and Portland is one of our favorites. We love having monthly events at Club Privata and now also at The Velvet Rope as well” With Portland being their 5th fastest growing market, they are putting a big focus on growth in the local Portland area.
In a community where there are many options both free, and premium, it’s getting more difficult for something new to come along with much success. “We’ve found that in cities where there is already a site with a dominating presence, that its hard to get established even if you bring in something better. It’s hard to convince people to move because it’s all about where their friends are” says Michael. This is particularly the case in Portland, where we have a couple of sites that dominate our communities, in addition to the free, but limited options that our social network groups give us. The founders of Quiver recognize this, and are not looking to steal users away from other sites. They have created a site that they think is superior, and they believe in it enough that they are willing to give you a free test drive. Guests are given a 30 day free trial to try out the site, and at the end of your free trial, you still have some limited features available to you. “We are dedicated to doing something different and giving our users a unique experience, and sometimes it requires a little bit of trust, and patience from people, especially in a city that we’re new to, but we’re really committed in building a deep and wide community in every city that we focus on,” says Michael, “We encourage people in new cities to join our site, check out the features and even if you decide not to go with a paid subscription, keep your profile open and check out the site from time to time as our communities grow, you’ll see more and more of your friends are joining.”
The folks at Quiver have offered our readers a sweeter deal, use discount code PDXSCENE when you sign up or click this link and you get an extra month of free Platinum membership to try out the site!