For many Airbnb hosts, returning home to find traces of an orgy—feather tickler beneath the duvet, cocaine dust on the bathroom sink, odoriferous dildo wedged between couch cushions—is grounds for a lawsuit, if not a sensational tabloid story to help cover emotional and financial damages.
Indeed, Airbnb orgies and prostitution dens have become a scourge for the homesharing service.
So it’s little surprise that an orgy-welcoming spin-off site, KinkBNB, is now profiting on an apparent demand for sex parties in the homesharing market.
Among KinkBNB’s more popular listings is a $250-a-night “Classic dungeon near Hollywood,” equipped with a spanking bench, ropes, floggers, cuffs, and a “prison cell that will bring out the best/worst in you,” according to its description.
It also boasts exposed beams and easy access to Los Angeles’ major freeways, making it “convenient for a mid-day getaway or regular ‘therapy.’”
“Dungeon East,” also in L.A., can be rented for $2.50 an hour, which sounds alarmingly cheap. Amenities include a kitchen, washer/dryer, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and sex furniture.
KinkBNB’s interface and user experience is modeled after Airbnb, complete with reviews and house rules (“No Blood, Piss, Scat”).
Darren McKeeman and Ryan Galiotto launched the site in May 2015 after a friend of theirs who had a dungeon in her home was suddenly booted off Airbnb.
“Darren developed a mock-up site and within a day 100 people were interested,” Galiotto told The Daily Beast of the San Francisco-based startup.
Galiotto opened Wicked Grounds Kink Café and Boutique six years ago, which bills itself as “San Francisco’s first and only kink café and boutique,” and is deeply ensconced in the Bay Area’s sex-positive community.
“Adults should have a place where they can express themselves sexually, and KinkBNB is a brilliant way to help adults play better,” Galiotto told me.
He said KinkBNB measures its growth by the number of listings they have as well by new hosts. They have listings in 20 countries around the world, from Canada to India, and are “just shy of 10,000 members,” according to Galiotto, who estimates they’ll hit that target by Valentine’s Day.
By comparison, Misterbnb, another Airbnb spin-off geared toward gay men, launched two years ago and has roughly 33,500 listings in more than 130 countries. (Airbnb has more than 1.5 million listings around the world).
Browsing KinkBNB’s London listings, I came across a the “Hoxton Dungeon Suite,” a $315-a-night “first-class BDSM apartment” with dungeon and punishment rooms, in addition to a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom—“everything you need for a comfortable overnight stay.”
The property purported to be “just minutes from the City of London,” though it provided no further details regarding precise location. It was also the only listing out of four in London that included a positive (but non-descriptive) review and a “verified” badge.
When asked about KinkBNB’s verification process, Galiotto said that the company has a “trusted associate who verifies all of our listings personally,” ensuring that “people who are sending us their spaces have a valid description and easily understandable pictures.”
This explained the dearth of verified listings not just in London but in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Zurich: Some of the photos were reminiscent of the indecipherable ones for New York City apartment rental listings on Craigslist.
Others listings had slapdash descriptions, like one for $159 a night in an undisclosed part of New York City that advertised a “huge mirror by the king sized bed; handcuffs connected to ropes to each corner of the bed” and a quirky warning that “roxie, my mannequin, will be there to babysit.”
The only photo of the whole place was a picture of the host and her mannequin.
It was unclear why a swanky listing in Zurich was unverified, except that it, too, did not specify location—or much else, for that matter.
“This private apartment is designed and dedicated to all passionate BDSM lovers,” the description reads. Perhaps the house rules, which stipulate that “excessive messiness, especially with wax and feces, is not tolerated,” seem too strict?
Or the $400-a-night price tag is too steep?
Clearly KinkBNB hasn’t exactly taken off yet. But Galiotto is confident about its competitive edge in the housesharing market.
“People have used Airbnb without negotiating with their host what they want to use the space for, so one of the things that we do is have that negotiation upfront, so there are no surprises on either end.”
Galiotto also said that KinkBNB aims to offer “two basic types of listings: the tricked out, fully-equipped dungeons, but also the regular guest rooms in sex-positive homes where people can travel but don’t have to put their kink away.”
In other words, a guest renting a room in a three-bedroom apartment wants to know that he’ll feel comfortable wearing a dog collar and eating his breakfast from a dog bowl in the communal kitchen.