The COVID-19 pandemic has not been great for people’s sex lives. A Kinsey Institute study on the impact of COVID-19 in marriages found that 24% of married people reported having less frequent sex than before the pandemic. Of course, partnered people weren’t the only ones struggling. A broader survey conducted by Justin Lehmiller found that 43% of participants reported a decline in the quality of their sex lives and that the average frequency of all sexual activity - including solo sex - declined as well.
Erotic Content Meets SexTech: Sssh.com's New Soiree Platform
Whoo. That sounds grim, right? There’s no doubt the pandemic presented an obstacle to sexual pleasure for many people, and for a lot of complex reasons. However, we also know that the pandemic introduced many people to new things, things they may not have tried before (or at least not reached for as much). Like sex toys. And camming. And, of course, porn.
Read: Industry Insiders Say the Sex Toy Boom Will Outlast COVID-19
This is what I was thinking about when Angie Rowntree, Founder and Director of Sssh.com, gave me a tour of the ethical indie porn platform’s latest offering called Sssh Soirée. Because, of course, the pandemic affected businesses that cater to people's sex lives too, often pushing them to innovate and upgrade their services to meet the changing needs of their target customers.
Soirée aims to create a new kind of erotic experience by combining video chat with video streaming, allowing people to connect face-to-face while watching a shared video - in this case, a sexy one - in real time.
Soiree’s aim was to tackle one of the key problems facing people during pandemic lockdowns. To Rowntree, it was more than just sex people were lacking - they were facing loneliness and lack of connection. As a pornography platform, Soirée offers plenty of hot content (more than 500 titles of it!) but the platform also allows users to watch that content remotely, with a partner. Think of it as a private joint video call combined with a porn screening. (In other words, it’s probably the best video call you’ve ever had!)
“The widespread loneliness and isolation that so many experienced during the pandemic can severely harm us on multiple levels,” Rowntree told Xbiz in September. “Initially I wasn’t thinking about sex - I wanted to help alleviate that loneliness and address the need we all have for human connection.”
The platform took more than a year to develop and was released in September.
So, how does Soirée work? Existing members of Sssh.com can opt to host a “Soirée” by sending an invitation link to a guest. A private, virtual viewing room is created, allowing both participants to chat while enjoying a movie. The connection can be video chat or simply audio, allowing the film to take up the full screen.
The experience is encrypted end-to-end and runs on its own private server, ensuring that participants’ private chats stay that way. Plus, unlike some other video platforms, which can be glitchy, the connection via Soiree appears to be crisp and clear, as was the video. Rowntreee says the platform has hosted nearly 200 users at one time so far, all without technical glitches.
Read: How the Adult Industry Drives Innovation
Sssh.com’s library also includes educational content and sexual wellness videos, so you wouldn’t necessarily have to watch with a sexual partner. Rowntree mentioned watching a bondage demonstration video with a friend and having a chat while commenting on the action!
Soirée was built in response to the unique situation the COVID-19 lockdowns presented, but it offers a new way to view erotic content that is likely to appeal to viewers in all kinds of situations. Visit Sssh.com to learn more about Soiree.
Tara Struyk is a co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Kinkly.com. She’s a content creation and management executive with 15 years of experience working in online media. As a writer, her work has appeared in dozens of publications, including Forbes, Glamour, MensHealth and Investopedia.
Tara is currently the VP of Content at Janalta.com, where she leads the editorial department and directs content production for a diverse portfolio of websites in niche verticals. She has launched several sites from the ground up, and has experience managing sites from pre-launch all the way to maturity. She has deep experience in online analytics, SEO optimization, content marketing and editorial direction.