An Introduction to the World of "Tindersluts"
In Chicago, a newer and more meaningful way to swipe
“We’re looking for someone to bring us snacks and really good dick.” For four women in Chicago, this request began with a hookup app and a dream: of men who would please them, tease them, and most importantly, deliver food every hour over the course of one day. The fantasy got a name—Tindersluts—and Gin Fizz set about making it a reality.
You may remember Gin as an “orgy-nizer” during the dawn of the Trump era. Now in the aftermath of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, she spoke about a type of gathering that’s more intimate, but just as empowering. The idea originated in spring 2017 “in a group chat, me and a whole pile of my slutty friends,” Gin explains. “I [would] get to have a hookup, which I don’t do very much because it’s scary to meet someone off the Internet. But it’s a lot safer in numbers.”
As for the idea of men bringing food, she says, “We wanted them to leave something at our altar. We wanted to feel like goddesses.” “We’ve got this whole orgy group…[but] sometimes you get a hankering for a new person you don’t know, and don’t necessarily want to see again,” says Florence, a queer polyamorous performance artist and regular participant in Gin’s sex parties. That said, “it gets really intimidating to go on Tinder and pick someone.”
Like Gin, Florence cited safety as a major turn-on. “[Tindersluts] took out a lot of the emotional and physical risk.” Florence adds, “I know someone who was literally beheaded by someone he met online, so that’s always on my mind. [I]f it’s four against one, the odds are in my favor.” Logistics-wise, Tindersluts was no small feat. The women settled on a date, then set up a group Tinder account including pictures of themselves—separately and together—as well as expectations and reassurances that “[w]e’re for real. We’re not trying to steal your kidneys, we just like getting laid,” Gin says, laughing.
The account also asked questions of interested parties, about personal politics and STI status. “And some questions to humanize [them],” Gin adds. “What are you the most afraid of? What are you the most excited about?” In a separate group chat with screenshots of contenders, each Tinderslut would keep track of their favorites. “We’d all have our little ponies in the race.” Once the men were ranked and averaged, Gin contacted the top choices to coordinate a one-hour time slot.
On the chosen day, each of the five men came to Gin’s apartment at the designated time, bearing a previously agreed-upon snack. (Past favorites included homemade macaroni and cheese, fried chicken wings and donuts.) The four Tindersluts arrived well in advance to put on makeup, coordinate lingerie and most importantly, warm up. “Stretching is important!” Florence says. “There’s so much going on, and it lasts so long. With an orgy, there’s so many people, but [with Tindersluts] it’s just the four of us.”
It’s like sex tapas. Just a little sampler, a beer flight of men. A low-risk way to find out new things you like and maybe things you never want to do again.
Gin would greet the man at the door. “I like to think I’m a very good sexual hostess,” she says. Next came her favorite part: “telling them to undress and just staring them down. They were [all] so scared, with this borderline fear/reverence/horniness on their face. It makes you feel very powerful.”
After sampling the snack, the bedroom gymnastics were on—for a limited time only. Gin says, “I had an alarm set on my phone. We would give them a 15-minute warning, encourage them to finish up had they not.” After the gentleman was escorted out, the Tindersluts would eat, debrief and stretch before the cycle began again.
“It’s like sex tapas,” Florence says. “Just a little sampler, a beer flight of men. A low-risk way to find out new things you like and maybe things you never want to do again, but you get to figure things out surrounded by friends, rather than alone with a stranger. If the guy shows up and he sucks, it doesn’t matter. Because one, I have my three hot friends [to play with], and two, there’s another guy coming in an hour.”
As with any complicated venture, the first Tindersluts (and the two that followed) brought surprises. “Sometimes they don’t look anything like their pictures,” Florence says. “They show up, and you see [the picture] is definitely from five to 10 years ago!” “You always get three or four really great guys and one guy that just doesn’t do it for us,” Gin says. “Most recently, a dude showed up with all the food, but was not interested in touching a single one of our vaginas if it wasn’t with his dick. It was all about him.”
Hiccups like this aside, the experience is overwhelmingly positive. “Every time I manage to meet one or two guys that I want to keep in my life,” Gin says. “They’re sweet and shy and they open up over the course of an hour, and we get to rock their world.”
“I just like being appreciated, you know?” Florence says. “It’s less about what they do and more about enthusiasm.”
To some, Tindersluts may seem revolutionary. According to a leading cultural expert, it’s right in line with what modern women want. “I think [Tindersluts] is great,” says Wednesday Martin, author of Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free.“I also think it’s very consistent with the evolutionary script of female sexuality and sex research, which shows that female sexuality is adventurous and [needs] variety and novelty.”
Martin also wrote New York Times bestseller Primates of Park Avenue, a memoir of motherhood on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Starting with her first book, on the openly bisexual, nonmonogamous movie star Marlene Dietrich, Martin has made a career of studying “difficult” women. “I’ve always gravitated toward women who upset us, because I think if we understand why, it can teach us a lot about ourselves,” Martin tells Playboy via phone. In addition to interviewing experts and researching social science, Martin embarked on “immersive” research: participating in polyamory mixers and workshops, visiting an all-female sex party at a strip club, and observing bonobos at the San Diego Zoo.
When you talk about women being sexually adventurous, it’s threatening. Because what you’re saying is women have a sexuality separate from what men want to do with them.
“That [the Tindersluts] sought out variety, adventure and novelty is completely consistent with primatology,” Martin says, citing her own research and that of primatologist Meredith Small, whom she quotes frequently in Untrue. “Small found when she looked across different species of non-human primates, the single most observable characteristic was a search for novelty. We’re not macaques, but we are great apes, so it’s instructive that our non-human primate female relatives seek out sexual novelty, even at great risks to themselves.”
Because risk, Martin notes, is always a factor. “I look at the Kavanaugh hearings, and I think that other than a woman running for political office…the most autonomous thing [she] can do is insist she wants autonomy over her body. I’m shocked at how radical this notion remains.”
Privilege, Martin notes, is a huge factor in women acting on their desires or keeping them a secret. “We live in a culture that literally kills women for being sexually autonomous. There’s a spectrum of ways that our society punishes women for being nonmonogamous…slut-shaming, or just saying a woman’s a bad mother, all the way up to murder.” Martin adds, “When you talk about women being sexually adventurous, it’s threatening. Because what you’re saying is women have a sexuality separate from what men want to do with them.”
In June, the Tindersluts encountered new legal challenges thanks to FOSTA/SESTA legislation regulating sex work—even though no money has ever changed hands. At that point, their accounts were being heavily policed by Tinder, Bumble and Okcupid. Eventually, the Tindersluts were kicked off Tinder. “SESTA/FOSTA are garbage laws and should be burned to the ground,” Gin says. “There’s no way we should be regulated using a hookup app for a hookup.”
Despite new laws, Martin remains hopeful about societal acceptance of female nonmonogamy. “If we measure desire correctly, the female libido is just as strong as the male libido,” says Martin. “I hope we get to the point, as a culture, where if we hear a woman…is openly nonmonogamous, we’ll say, ‘Yeah, what do you expect? She’s a woman being a woman.’”
And in spite of the hiccups, Gin and Florence have no regrets about Tindersluts. “It’s a hugely administrative undertaking, which is kind of what I love about it,” Gin says. “I love asking myself what it would take to make me feel safe in this circumstance, and finding a way to make it happen.”
Florence enthused about the men who made her feel worshipped. “The ones that did it best said bringing the [food] makes it a better experience, because it was like making an offering to four sex goddesses,” she says. “It turned the experience into something almost supernatural [for all of us.].”
And the female bonding, they agree, can’t be beat. “I always have way more sex with women than I do with men that day,” Gin says. “[Tindersluts] is a silly, ridiculous way to have sex and to meet people. And doing it with your friends is so campy and hilarious. [It’s] the power of the cheerleader effect. We are all hotter together than we are apart.”