PolyFinda is the passion project turned internationally utilized dating app created by a Melbourne-based couple who find themselves at the forefront of breaking down the stereotypes of non-monogamy. PolyFinda's CEOs, Nami and Bruce, have been involved with running numerous events for the polyamorous community throughout Melbourne for a number of years. Along with meet ups created for both those who actively identify as polyamorous as well as for those who are simply curious about the lifestyle, the duo have also started running a monthly cocktail event with a kinky twist. The shibari-themed nights are held under the brand of PolyFinda every second Wednesday of the month and aims to be somewhat of a bridging event that connects the worlds of poly and kink, with rope bondage performances that showcase a variety of styles all within an electrically social atmosphere. In this article we chat to Nami and Bruce about PolyFinda the app, the events they have run (and continue to run) over the years and what their plans for the future are.
What was the initial inspiration for developing the polyamorous dating app? Was there simply a gap in the market or did you see potential in other ways?
The app actually came about from Bruce’s experience as a Meet Up organiser for the Melbourne Polyamorous Meetup. At the events people would complain about being ghosted after their dating site/app matches realised they were polyamorous, or they felt forced to justify being polyamorous and when they just wanted to connect, seek love and partners without judgement. What motivates Bruce is helping people find happiness, and this frustration was something he wanted to help people avoid. He, with the support of a few members of the group, decided to create a website that would help the polyamorous and polycurious people in Melbourne explore what polyamory means for them and connect with others online and at real world events without fear of judgement.
What do you think sets PolyFinda the most apart from other dating apps?
PolyFinda isn’t just a dating app, it’s platform to find events, groups and other resources and support. We are committed to it being representative of people who want to know more about the communication, commitment and love that polamory and other forms of ethical no-monogamy can mean, and, who want to connect with others who think a little like them. Our registration method has been great for ensuring we remain true to our community so far.
Being able to match and chat is just one of the functions on the app. The app is a platform for anyone who is exploring, embracing for just curious about ethical non-monogamy more broadly to socialise, connect and support each other. There are links to great articles, resources, great speakers, sex-positive and ethical non-monogamous podcasts and therapists. There are also maps to find of events or social and support groups are all over the world. Basically we want people to discover and enjoy connections with each other online and real world.
How has the app grown with the community? What sort of response have you had to the creation of PolyFinda?
We have had a great response so far, particularly in Melbourne where we have our social performance and cocktail events. The two have worked well together, as people gain confidence that PolyFinda isn’t just another corporate dating app, they are also gaining confidence in the fun, sexy, social events where they can meet people who won’t judge their non-traditional ideas on identity, relationships and love.
At the moment we are finding a lot of people stumbling onto us from all over the world as they search for ways to meet polyamorous people and look for information about what ethical non-monogamy means for them as an individual and for their current or future relationships. We would love to see more members in cities around the world and in a lot of ways we wish we had the marketing budget of a big corporate so that we could really make a splash and raise awareness of who we are quickly, but, we are committed to staying true to our community roots and allowing what we have to organically grow, improve and expand what we hope is great tool for people to use
Why do you think some people might be adverse to the notion of polyamory? Has there been any backlash towards the app since its inception?
We are taught from early on that the ideal relationship fantasy is to fall head over heels with a person who will be your everything as you follow the pathway of marriage, house, family – til death do you part. Even though polyamory isn’t new, its not revolutionary, the very notion that it embraces individual needs, redefines what “commitment” means in a loving relationship seems to shake the more traditional members and institutions of our society to their core.
The backlash we have experienced directly has been minimal so far but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there! There are always the usual unsolicited concerned citizen who post accusations, send emails telling us how wrong we are to do what we are doing. Another example was a great article was printed in the Herald Sun in 2018 about polyamory and mentioning PolyFinda. Then the following week they published a scathing counter article questioning the moral foundation of society because of the existence of an app like PolyFinda!
Are there any limitations for someone who might want to use the app? Can a monogamous person who’s curious about the lifestyle join PolyFinda?
The only limitation is that you have to be curious, open and accepting of polyamory and ethical non-monogamy. The app is designed for people across the full spectrum of ethical non-monogamy; those who are already describe themselves as polyamorous and for people who are starting to be curious about what ethical non-monogamy could mean for them. Everyone is welcome as long as they are open to the idea of being, or learning about ethical non-monogamy and polyamory.
Describe for us a typical user of the PolyFinda app. Who are your target users?
A typical PolyFinda user is someone who is curious or who has embraced the concept that monogamy isn’t the only ethical way to define loving relationships. They are people who value the exciting, intimate connection they can have not just with one person, and know that different people can meet different needs, feed different connections, desires and loves. Often a PolyFinda user is someone who is trying to find a way to meet other people who think the same way about relationships as they do but they aren’t sure where to go.
We have been getting a lot of great feedback lately from people who are combining the app with the events. They are meeting and chatting to people on the app, and then inviting of few of their matches to events to meet face-to-face.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration for the shibari cocktail events you have recently started hosting?
We have been hosting social cocktail nights for a while now and wanted to explore performances and something a little different for the evenings. A lot of people come to our events as newbies to the kink and polyamorous worlds. We see ourselves as a soft landing where we can show people the potential out there for exploring different sides of their sexuality and relationships. Shibari definitely resonated with us for several reasons. The beauty and sensuality of this japanese bondage kink art form is simply amazing in itself, but apart from the eroticsm, the intense communication, respect and understanding that is needed by tying pairs that we think resonates really well people exploring polyamory. At least it does for us!
The evenings are alternately curated by Melbourne based Von Riga and Ash Snare with Harley Okami, who all usually perform at some point during the nights. These amazing artists also run shibari workshops and we try to put people in touch with opportunities to learn how to tie or be tied. Each performance has its own style and approach. Some are fun and cheeky, others intensely erotic, there is floorwork, suspension and sometimes the pairs even move around the 1920s Shanghai themed basement bar – The Golden Monkey Bar.
They are great nights and they tend to sell out so we hope we can keep them going for a long time to come!
Are there any plans for expanding the PolyFinda project?
PolyFinda is planning to bring our events to other Australian cities in 2019, and we will be starting to look for one or two initial overseas locations. We hope to also explore other types of performances at our events that are fun, sexy and help curious people to see the different ways we can express our sensuality and sexuality.
With the app itself we want to focus on promoting what others in the polyamorous and broader ethical non-monogamous community are doing, and to continue strengthening our platform to help anyone explore ethical, honest relationships and love in the way that makes them and their partners happy.
The PolyFinda phone application is available to download on the Apple App Store and GooglePlay. You can find out more about PolyFinda by visiting their website www.polyfinda.com and by following them on their Twitter and Instagram profiles, which are both @PolyFinda.