01.29.13 9:45 AM ET
Bang With Friends: Facebook Sex App Creators Talk Controversial Product
Want to have sex with your Facebook “friends?” Have you already tried drunkenly messaging them, writing suggestive posts on their “wall,” or poking them, without a single poke back? Then Bang With Friends, the new Facebook app created by three unidentified college-aged males, may be for you.
The app, which launched a week ago and had already gained more than 20,000 users in four days, is aimed at matching users with potential partners who don’t want to beat around the bush. (Sorry.) Designed to take rejection out of the equation, the app only notifies “couples” when both parties want to bang: just make sure to click the “only me” privacy tab when installing the app.
The creators of the app are a trio who, for now, would like to remain unknown to the public. A Whois search for the BangWithFriends.com domain name comes up with their registration information blocked, revealing the creators are web savvy and have taken the extra step to keep their identities hidden. While they don’t want their names attached to the BangWithFriends.com legacy in the making just yet, they did open up about their first project as a team.
“[Sex] should be something you’re expressive about, that you’re comfortable with, and if there’s a beautiful woman or a handsome man that you’re interested in, you shouldn’t hold back,” said one of the app’s creators. “We’re just giving you closer access to knowing the truth.”
However, early reviews of the hook-up tool haven’t been kind. The Daily Dot suggests the app is an indicator that society has forgotten how to communicate verbally. The Inquisitr pointed at the app’s contact email—email@example.com—as proof that “This app was created by a 7th grader.”
But the creators, who graduated from middle school (and beyond), have loftier goals than one might imagine. “By being honest and forward, we’re taking the no bullshit approach [to sex].” But who would use such an honest tool? “It’s mostly our demographic,” said one creator, “people in their twenties, recent college graduates and people in college.”
The California-based group thought of the idea as a way to improve standard online dating sites like eHarmony or Match.com. “One night, we were shooting the shit about how online dating is broken,” said one creator. “What a lot of people want is just to skip all the shit and get to the sex.” The conversation evolved to Facebook, a social media platform used mainly by 18-34 years olds, many of whom are in college and use social media to connect with pals. “It would be great, as guys, if you could find out which girls are actually into you and not dance around anything,” he said.
But would women, who exceed males in Facebook’s users by nearly 9 percent, want to know which guys want to “bang” them too? The creators claim the app, which displays a partially naked woman lying on a bed as its homepage image, isn’t just for men. BangWithFriends.com is laden with imagery targeted at the heterosexual male (for example, the “doggy style” icon cutout, and a “how it works” tab that showcases an illustration of a man rolling on a condom), but just four days into its inception, the app had already matched 1,000 couples who mutually want to bang, so perhaps there is some method to the seemingly male-oriented madness.
“The crowd that we’re looking for is forward and straight about their sexuality.” And straight they are, as the app currently doesn’t take sexual orientation into consideration. But according to the boys, this wasn’t a jab at the LGBT community.
“We’ll be honest with you, we made this in two hours… with a lot of Red Bull and vodka … and it took off on its own,” one of the creators said. “What we’re working on right now is building sexual preferences. I personally am completely towards gay rights. We want to give everyone this awesome access to finding people who want to bang.”
But lack of customized sexual preferences is just one of the problems the team initially encountered. An earlier version of the app didn’t take into account the presence of family members among a user’s Facebook friends, displaying anyone from grandfathers to siblings as potential “bang” buddies. This has since been fixed, and while you can’t be matched with your uncle, the BWF team doesn’t want to limit user’s pairings too much—for example, your relationship status will likely not be taken into consideration. “We’re not too [sic] objective to hooking up with that cute secretary across the office if she has a boyfriend already,” said one creator.
According to the 20-something founders, hooking up—with the “cute secretary” or anyone else—shouldn’t be something to whisper about. BangWithFriends.com makes use of many slang words for sex: click on the “how it works” tab and the URL includes the words “fuck” and “how.”
“Sex is such an awkward thing to bring up in our society, and we don’t think it should be,” one of his cohorts said. “ Our philosophy is that sex shouldn’t be taboo. We should be able to say ‘bang’ and ‘fuck’ on our site because that’s how we talk in real life.”
And in real life, sex often blossoms into a relationship, according to the founders, and not the other way around. By helping users “anonymously find friends who are down for the night,” the app may be selling you the idea of a genuine relationship. “It’s less about one-night stands and more about getting people to be more blunt with the way they’re approaching each other,” said a creator. “We believe relationships really evolve after you have sex with one another.” Another creator added, “There aren’t many people who haven’t had sex with their loved one, and we believe that it’s crucial to have that intimate first moment to get things going.”
Whether they’re building relationships or simply pairing up mutually attracted couples for one night of play, the theme of their application undoubtedly revolves around sex. And at some point, the creators had to have “The Talk” with their parents. “I spoke with my folks the other day… I wouldn’t have told them unless it took off,” said one creator. “I told my father to go check out Buzzfeed and look at the home page. He was cracking up hysterically. I grew up in a household where there wasn’t much taboo around sex. It was all fun and games.”
But even for the founders of BangWithFriends.com, their product warrants some limitations. When asked if they would let their younger siblings use the app, there were a few seconds of hesitation.
“I would definitely block [my little sister] from using it,” said one creator eventually. “We should actually create custom alerts if any of our younger siblings log on,” he said to the others. “And then just completely shut down the site for them. Be like, “Sorry, we know you.”