The International Sex Map
One day last year, 26-year-old computer programmer Cyprian Ciećkiewicz was driving around his native Warsaw, allowing his mind to drift, when he found himself stuck on a familiar thought: "How many people," he wondered, "are making love right now, at this very moment?"
That thought led to another thought—"How cool would it be to just look at the Earth and see little lights lighting up to see where people are making love?—which led to ijustmadelove.com, a site that uses GPS technology and Google Maps to allow anonymous users to chart the precise nature and location of their bedhopping. To date, more than 77,900 encounters have been recorded, everywhere from the throbbing heart of New York City to the farthest reaches of Outer Mongolia.
"Moment for which you all waited... You can now upload photos when sharing your good news. Please enjoy this new feature responsibly;-)"
In design and substance, I Just Made Love has a kind of boyish innocence, especially given its subject matter. Ciećkiewicz and his partners have strenuously avoided anything remotely pornographic, an outlook cemented with their choice of a name. "We didn't name the site I Just Had Sex or anything like that," he said. "We're trying to keep the site really nice." And yes, he records his own activity.
A convenient options menu allows users to note whether the intercourse was homo—or heterosexual, whether it took places indoors or outdoors, on land, at sea, or in the back seat of a car. Did you use a condom? Was it your first time? Who did what to whom? An array of small cartoon figures, acting out various common positions, allows users so inclined to provide an additional level of specificity (or several). Ciećkiewicz has also consulted with his parents on the design of the site, with an eye toward making it friendlier for all potential users. "Because older people make love, too," he said.
As a special Valentine's Day project, I Just Made Love wiped clean its regular sex map, which otherwise keeps a running tally of all entries logged on the site, to measure the volume and nature of all the V-Day love being made. The following day, in a move that reflects Ciećkiewicz's more academic inclinations, the site published a statistical breakdown of the data. Ninety-one percent of couplings recorded were heterosexual. Exactly 87.9 percent of activity occurred indoors. Americans had more sex than anyone else, but of all the nationalities represented, Turkish citizens were by far the most likely to use condoms.
The site also lets users leave comments on their and others' performance. In November, administrators added a perilous new feature, announcing it on the I Just Made Love Twitter feed with characteristic sweetness: "Moment for which you all waited... You can now upload photos when sharing your good news. Please enjoy this new feature responsibly;-)"
Ciećkiewicz took an unexpected path toward online sex king. At the age of 16, he left Poland to attend high school in Memphis, going on to study business and computer science at Christian Brothers University. He returned to Poland, and pursued a master's degree at the Polish-Japanese Institute of Computer Science. In 2008, he and a small band of entrepreneurs started SharQ.pl, a Web development company based in Warsaw. So far, their suite of sites includes Polish-language offerings Memoo, Gorila and Snag. I Just Made Love is their first English-language venture.
Launched just months ago, the site has drawn a swirl of media attention this winter, catching the eye of the London Telegraph, Playboy, and, just recently, Stephen Colbert. Advertisers, mostly in the porn industry, have shown a growing interest, and Ciećkiewicz said one company recently expressed interest in buying the site, an offer he declined. Ijustmadelove.com, which is free to use and built on an advertiser-supported business model, is bringing in modest revenue, Ciećkiewicz said, but declined to elaborate.
Going forward, he has big plans for the future of the site.
"The direction we want to head into is to provide this big Web site for sexual-related content but not pornographic related," he said. "We have tons of emails from people all over the world that they want to get their own statistics, so we'll provide the mechanism for them to track their love-making."
The idea is to expand the site into a kind of Mint.com for nookie, helping users keep track of their personal experiences, while also performing a kind of ongoing sociological survey of contemporary sexual practice. There will be surveys, he said, and experts contracted to answer users' questions.
But he feels no rush to turn a profit, he said. "We didn't make it specially for money."
No, they made it for love.
Rebecca Dana is a senior correspondent for The Daily Beast. A former editor and reporter for The Wall Street Journal, she has also written for The New York Times, The New York Observer, Rolling Stone and Slate, among other publications.