Thoughts About An Online Dating Business

Hey there, it’s Barbie. A sorority sister of mine from college recently contacted me (I plead the 5th as to how long ago I was in college!) with an idea about starting an online dating business. She is a serial entrepreneur, and several of her small businesses have done quite well. She is pretty much vanilla, but she is intrigued and is always asking details about the parties thrown by our “lifestyle” club. I’ve told her to find a date and come to one to see for herself, but she replied not in a million years. She’s been toying with the idea of starting an online dating business, and wants to find a focused niche to serve as opposed to competing with the general audience massive sites which now dominate this market. She’s asking me if there is any need for a “dating” site which hooks up open minded sex-positive couples, and I indicated that many already exist. Some of these niche sites appear to be quite sleazy, while others seem to be on the up and up.

This led us to have a more detailed conversation about the economics of an online dating business. How do they make money? Claire (my friend) indicated that maybe Tom (my husband) and I would like to invest in a new online dating business geared towards like-minded couples, and knowing Tom I knew I better have the cold hard numbers in hand before I even broached the subject. It seems that an online dating business can make money either through membership fees or advertising (or both). Membership fees are a difficult route seeing that everyone assumes everything on the Internet is free. Some sites address this by providing a free membership, but you must pay in order to contact someone. Other sites rely upon advertising and utilize the online dating business the same way as any other traffic source. Creating such a site does not appear to be overly expensive, but an effective marketing campaign can cost quite a bit. I’m still working through the numbers with Claire and am not ready to approach Tom yet with this idea, but when I do I’ll be sure to post his response.

Barbie

The Importance Of HIV AIDS Testing

Hi everyone, I’d like to take a moment to discuss a serious topic which is quite important to me. When I was young, one of my parents’ friends was diagnosed with AIDS, and he subsequently died from complications due to it. This imprinted upon me a great — and often irrational – fear of this disease, and overcoming this fear was one of my greatest steps within my journey from prudishness to sex-positivity. I was able to confront this fear with the most powerful weapon there is — information. At a point, it appeared that information relating to HIV was becoming widely dispersed, and that we were turning the corner in the war against this deadly disease. However, recent studies have shown that we are now losing ground in this fight — especially with the youngest generation. I find it very disappointing that a large percent of sexually active young people do not receive regular HIV AIDS testing. Those who are unaware of their HIV status unfortunately continue to unknowingly spread the virus thus putting others at risk.

My rule is very simple — if you are sexually active with multiple partners, then don’t even think about going without regular HIV AIDS testing. My husband and I both get tested quite often, and regular HIV AIDS testing is a strong requirement for all members of our “club”. Some of my friends with whom I’ve shared details of our lifestyle immediately ask whether what we do is safe. I explain that is what is now unsafe are the myriad random hook-ups initiated online and in drunken singles bars where a small percent receive ongoing HIV AIDS testing. In our club, all members know everyone else has recently been tested for HIV as well as other STD’s. My hope is that the rest of the population — especially younger people — begins to take HIV AIDS testing as seriously as we do. Getting a test is easy, and it can often be done for free at a local clinic. If you haven’t been recently tested — please do so today — if only as a favor to me!

Tested and clean,

Barbie

Are You Using A Safe Contraceptive?

Hi, I’m Barbie — your host here at Safersex.  The most important facet of safe sex entails blocking the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s).  Several methods serve to both protect against STD’s as well as act as a contraceptive.  A salient example within this class is the condom.  Conversely, some contraceptive methods do nothing when it comes to protection against STD’s — an example here is the pill.  Yet other forms of prevention against STD’s have nothing to do with avoiding pregnancy — dental dams are a good example here.  The main point is that not all contraceptives serve to protect you against STD’s.  Furthermore, various contraceptives have different risks associated with them.  This begs the question if you are using a safe contraceptive.

Many couples use condoms as their preferred safe contraceptive, and after billions of uses condoms have proven to be both an effective and safe contraceptive.  The downside to condoms is that many men feel that they serve to diminish the sexual experience.  A plethora of women rely upon birth control pills to prevent pregnancy.  As indicated, the pill provides no protection whatsoever from the spread of STD’s.  Although the pill is considered to be generally safe, many experience various side effects — and in conjunction with other behaviors (including smoking) the pill can present additional risks.

A new class of vaginal ring contraceptives have been introduced, and initial clinical studies have shown them to be a safe contraceptive, but some claim otherwise.  Many women are waiting until more data is available before trying these new options which include the popular NuvaRing.  Some women prefer to use a diaphragm, and they have proven safe although some studies have shown they are only 85% effective.  A positive point about diaphragms is that they do provided a limited degree of protection against transmission of the HIV virus.

The most important thing to remember is that even if you are on the pill, you still need to take other precautions to ensure safe sex.  A safe contraceptive does not translate to safety from STD’s.  If any of you have other questions, feel free to ask.

Keeping safe as always,

Barbie