“Finally,” Switched’s tagline begins. “A modern app for gay kinksters.” The proverbial shots have been fired, but can it live up to this bold claim? Will gay kinksters make the, ahem, switch? Only time will truly tell, but we think it’s off to a promising start.
The basic premise of Switched is a familiar one: create a profile, upload pictures, fill out personal details, and message others. Switched deliberately caters to a kinky audience, asking users for their feelings on topics such as bondage, discipline, and sensory play. Despite the focus on gay men in the app’s marketing, users of all genders and orientations can find each other via geographic proximity, algorithmic matching, and a Discovery feed. Where Switched stands out is in how it uses the information users provide and the types of connections between users possible.
The signature feature of Switched is the Switched Core: a colorful visualization of each user’s feelings towards 42 different kinks and interests (and, according to developers, more to come). Users can describe both topping and bottoming for a particular kink as willing to try, have tried, enjoy it, or love it. Users can also express interest in an additional 25 attire and lifestyle options. The result is this:
Users can quickly gauge where another person’s interests lie and how said interests stack up against the user’s own. Switched also uses these metrics to generate matches for each user to review.
Switched’s other standout feature is the Timeline, where users can post status updates and pictures. While we’re all familiar with these basic social media functions, mainstream social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have long histories of censoring queer and kink-oriented content, whether NSFW or not. Even places like Twitter and Reddit are moving this direction, echoing painful memories of The Great Tumblr Purge of 2018. Switched is made for and by the Queer kinky community, and it has the potential to be a haven for those of us who defy the puritanical, cisheteronormative standards that increasingly dominate the mainstream, corporatized internet platforms we thought we could once rely on. This feature is still rudimentary and arguably under-utilized at the moment, but we’re eager to see what it becomes.
Complementing these features is the fresh, clean design of the app. As one user put it, “visually, Switched is the most contemporary of the queer apps I use.” User-posted images and the colors of the Switched Core infographics pop against the background of the app’s minimalist design. Another user noted his desire for a dark mode option and for uncropped images in the Timeline. As of the latest update, users can now append playful, descriptive pins to their profile with declarations such as “SADIST” or “ASK ME ABOUT MY GENDER.” Like the app’s overall design language, these pins are colorful and appealing. However, when adding visual elements and customization options such as these, developers can run into the problem of creating clutter and overcomplication. Switched’s developers have managed to successfully balance these considerations so far and we hope that they will continue to be able to do so. Switched is still in its early days, having just publicly launched in April 2023, and growing pains are inevitable. Our users noted slowness while navigating between sections of the app as well as occasional bugs (both of which have improved since launch). Other feedback from our users included desired features such as:
Switched is still in its early days, having just publicly launched in April 2023, and growing pains are inevitable. Our users noted slowness while navigating between sections of the app as well as occasional bugs (both of which have improved since launch). Other feedback from our users included desired features such as:
It’s encouraging to see that the developers have been actively seeking and responding to user feedback. It’s clear that they are passionate about both kink and developing Switched, and that they understand that more established competing apps/services do exist. Updates are often noted at twitter.com/SwitchedApp or sent via email, but it would be nice to have a changelog viewable from within the app and/or app store listings.
Queer means different. Kinksters in particular have different needs and ways of connecting from more mainstream audiences. As such, we’re pleased to see more competition in this space. Interested in making the switch? Check out the links below and we’ll see you on Switched!