I interviewed Ronen Gabbay one rainy morning about his mobile application PPX-to-Go, which finds you a sexually compatible person, a convenient getting-to-know-you activity, and a list of potential venues to do it in — and then plots it all on a map so you can spend more time on the activities than on the logistics. (The press release describes this as “dynamic positioning” functionality. Heh.)
I signed up for the free trial period at PinpointsX, installed PPX-to-Go on my Droid, and found that it works as described. All the users who met my picky criteria showed up on the map, along with bars, restaurants, theaters, adult stores, and other venues. Users who did not meet my criteria did not appear.
The criteria you can set is extensive enough to be comical, including not just hair and eye color and weight, but also physical endowment.
I found several users within an hour’s drive of my home. Now, I don’t even live in a town any more. After 20 years in San Francisco and Los Angeles, my new home is in a “Census Designated Place” with a population of 1400. “Going into town” means driving 10 miles to the whopping metropolis of 11,000 people. (Er, for those who didn’t know, after retiring from Wired, I moved to the mountains of northern California for a sabbatical…and stayed.)
Imagine how many icons would be on my prospecting map if I were in a hip city like New York, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, or Austin.
Ronen’s goal is to “close the triangle” and give users one place to handle all aspects of the pursuit of sexual happiness: Find and chat with a compatible lover or performer, make restaurant reservations, find live music or a strip club or other entertainment, make hotel reservations, buy a plane ticket, get directions from place to place. All communication is encrypted and private so your phone number and other information is not exposed.
Ronen is targeting most of his marketing campaign toward women, knowing that if he can get the girls to sign up, the boys will come. “Our research showed that women have three main reasons for using adult social media,” he says. “One is to be empowered to choose partners based on what she wants, not just on who happened to show up at a bar that night. Another is to add spice to her life. Maybe she even has a husband, kids, a career, but she wants to feel that thrill of something outside of all that, the thrill of fantasy. Another is opportunity — find someone you like and just go for it.”
But he is also firm about embracing the power of “and.” He believes the application provides a good screening mechanism along with the convenience of being able to set the stage for our fantasies, no matter what our gender, sex, orientation, kinks, desires, or hopes might be. “We tried to cover everything. We have 50 different icons.” (The icons represent who users are and what they are looking for.)
But he also knows that not everyone is going to find a compatible lover just like that. “You can enable the ability [in your profile/criteria] to view professionals on the map, like if you want to go get a lap dance, or a Chippendales show, a swinger club,” says he. “No one goes home unsatisfied.”
I see PPX as a good fit for those who require an additional layer of discretion in their search for sex. It’s a natural partner for Ashley Madison (an online dating site for married people seeking extramarital lovers) or Alt.com (a dating site for kinky people) or escorts and other professionals. It’s great for those impromptu urges when traveling away from home, especially if you just want to pop out to an erotic club.
The PPX app is free, but the matching service ranges from $10 to $24 per month, depending on the length of service.
Will women pay $120 for a year in advance just to streamline their casual sex encounters? Maybe not. But there were a couple of years in my life where the all-in-one, location-aware adventure planning would have been worth the price of admission, whether I intended it for sexual purposes or just a night out.
“We want to be classy,” says Ronen. “This is a community of people who want to spice up their lives. It’s not pornographic. Every person can find a person who can help fulfill their fantasies.”