“Get exactly what you want” is the motto of the Pure mobile application, developed by two friends/businessmen Roman Sidorenko and Alexander Kikhtenko, which manifests the freedom and diversity of sexual, emotional and spiritual ties.
The application first became available in 2013 for the people of San Francisco, and at the beginning of 2014 appeared in Moscow. According to the team members, the purpose is not just to cash in on “free love,” but to bring back the joy of a regular and varied sex life to people. Inspired by this idea, the developers of Pure replenished the team with the so-called sex-evangelist Elena Rydkina at the end of 2015.
Moskvaer caught her early in the morning in New York– we were able to chat on Skype and ask Elena a few questions on the specifics of free sex and on how Pure works in both New York and Moscow.
MOSKVAER: Elena, good afternoon! Thank you for your time. Our first and probably the most controversial question is about Pure’s manifesto. Given that Russia still bears the veil of decency, their manifesto sounds quite shocking. Although people are now rapidly progressing with regards to the subject of sex, it is similar to the situation when after the traumatic experience of a trade deficit people began to stamp in the swamp of unbridled consumption. Lacking any consciousness, don’t you think? And yet there’s this manifesto…
ELENA: Of course, the level of sexual literacy, consciousness and emancipation in Russia has not quite lived up to the most advanced American and European cities, but I think it’s only a matter of time. Now the country is just forming a society of people, who are quite educated, open-minded and have time that they are willing to spend on themselves and their own pleasure. They often aspire to something more interesting than any standardized model of relations.
Dating Applications in general create a new structure, a new world around themselves–that which they proclaim. Therefore, Pure has me—a person, on whom the educational mission falls as well. I tell people how things should be arranged so that an application such as Pure works well.
The goal, as I understand it, is quite global and not limited to the Pure community?
ELENA: Of course, the goal is more global: to ensure our message of the widest possible coverage. The fact is that we ourselves strongly believe in the ideas that we report. I personally do believe in them. Because I want to live in another–a better world.
… free of sexual prejudice, right? Does this mean freedom from other people’s ethical standards?
ELENA: Not really. Freedom implies responsibility and an informed attitude towards people who come into our lives, no matter for what period of time. The key point is to have respect for each other. The sex-positive community people always pay great attention to every person with whom they interact, no matter how long– an hour, month or years.
Being openly polyamorous, you probably encounter serious opposition on the part of society, especially in Russia. What is the most difficult?
ELENA: Perhaps the most severe cases are associated with slut-shaming. I regularly meet young people who start moralizing about my uninhibited lifestyle. They say something like, “You just have not met a normal guy yet,” or “Give birth first, then you’ll understand.”
Usually, after these words, I do not keep in touch with a person or waste my energy to explain things. Men, unfortunately, behave this way very often. And in general, women too. Seems like those norms have been imprinted too deeply.
Do you assume that this moralizing could spread not only to you, but to all of Pure one day? In our country, any pleasure is not very encouraged, as you may have noticed…
ELENA: Do you mean the application may become outlawed?
Well… We’re in Russia aren’t we? So I do not exclude it.
ELENA: I do not think it’s possible. Only Apple Store or Google Play can affect us because the company isn’t registered in Russia. If local authorities will start to frighten people and claim that Pure is an invention of the devil, the most that can happen–they will add to our popularity. I am for it!
To close the topic with legality: how do you fight against prostitution in the application? It’s obviously thriving there.
ELENA: That cannot be avoided by any dating-application, and to keep track of these “commercial” accounts is difficult. Of course, we try to minimize the number of them, but I think the most adequate solution to the problem is to bring into the application more ordinary women.
ELENA: Through education in the first place. In Russia, due to the absence of sex education and in addition that the country is still rather traditional, many women don’t consider their own sexual pleasure as an obvious thing. Many of them still seek only a serious relationship or just do not want to go for close contact without commitment, because they know (and this is true), that men are not very careful and do not try too hard for the sake of temporary partners. In general, there are several layers of problems creating that gender superiority in the application: approximately 30% of women accounts for 70% of men.
At the same time, the app subscription is paid for men ($ 4.99 per week and $ 19.99 per month), and free for girls. Is this the pricing principle?
ELENA: The application will become paid for both men and women when we achieve a more equal gender balance. We strive to ensure that people perceive themselves as equal. Of course, if they do not wish the opposite, if you know what I mean….
Yes. Elena, the Pure user experience certainly varies across countries and cities. Tell us what distinguishes the style and format of communication between people in the two largest cities in regards to the number of users– Moscow and New York.
ELENA: I’ve been in touch with users, gathering feedback, and what I’ve noticed: the American users communicate more smoothly, they are less likely to encounter misunderstanding. In Russia the situation when women bustle, without revealing the true causes of their presence within the application, is common. For example, she could say that she’s looking for a relationship, while actually she wants just sex–because it’s so indecent to immediately admit, good girls do not have sex on a first date…
Another difference is that men in New York much more respectfully communicate with the girls. They make sure to write “Hi, how are you, what are you seeking?”, and it’s normally taken on the female side. Although, of course, as in any environment, there are guys who, for no reason at all sent dickpics. We ban such users, as well as those who post pornographic pictures on their avatar.
You ban them, seriously? I’ve used Pure for several months already and was sure that a dickpic as an avatar is ok for this app…
ELENA: Of course, we do ban! Even if the dickpic was sent in a personal message, but without asking for permission. We track these users by ourselves, and sometimes users write to support complaining.
People who impose pictures of their genitals are likely completely virtual characters that are not even going to meet anyone offline. They just express themselves, searching for some kind of negative reaction from women, not hoping for any real conversation. I think women should be more relaxed with such situations. If someone has sent you an unsolicited dickpic, and thus you have a picture of a person’s face too, why not to post it as a collage in public? (Laughs) I swear, I would do to this so that the fellow learns a lesson.
Pictures of genitals, breasts and other things are fine, but only with mutual consent.
Elena, you use Pure not only for business purposes, don’t you? Tell us about your personal hour (that’s how long one session lasts) in Pure?
ELENA: Yes, of course, there are chats that I create specifically to meet someone. Thirty percent of them usually end with an offline experience. I filter the people on different parameters–appearance, style of communication, at least – location and convenience of the meeting at the time. In addition, I have an inner beacon that tells me if it will be comfortable with a person face-to-face or rather not. If it is an adequately and calmly talking person, who doesn’t swagger like: ” I’ll show you the whole world … I am the coolest lover, you’ve never had such a good one” and so on. In such cases, I immediately think that probably he is not able even to use his tongue.
In addition, I always ask interviewees to send me a naked picture, this is my personal point–I want to imagine the person whom I chat with. I understand that it is not comfortable for everyone, but in my turn I am, of course, also ready to send mine. If you do not want to send naked photos, just say so. No one has the right to pressure you in this case.
Do you ask a man if he is married? Is it critical for you?
ELENA: In private life–yes, quite critical. I prefer to meet with people who are honest. But in the Pure I do not ask these questions, because, frankly, it destroys some kind of magic. When I go into an application, it means that I wait for some interesting experiences with a stranger, and, most likely, I will feel strange asking such questions. In offline life I try to communicate more with people who are into ethically polyamorous relationship or, at least, are honest with their partners. I make an exception for Pure though, preferring to remain in the dark. Pure is my personal Disneyland.