20% of students have used dildo.io
More than 20 percent of undergraduates have indicated sexual interest in another undergrad on a web app designed to decrease the effort required to begin a sexual relationship.
The website, dildo.io, was launched in East Campus last month and provides users who log in with a list of all MIT undergraduates in the system. Users are expected to indicate they are “DTF” another user by checking the box provided next to that user’s name. If, and only if, two people check each other’s boxes, a message will show up on each user’s page indicating they’ve “matched.”
Unlike Tinder and other dating apps, the site is designed to facilitate communication between acquaintances, rather than strangers.
“The main reason I created the site was to open channels of communication,” Max ’17, who set up the site, told The Tech.
Max, who lives on Tetazoo in East Campus, asked that we not mention his last name here (though his full name is mentioned in several public MIT Confessions Facebook posts related to the site).
The statistics indicate that the website has, in fact, opened up quite a few lines of communication. Max said that at last check, it was showing 622 matches. (The site doesn’t retain historical data, so only active matches where both parties still had their boxes checked when Max looked are accounted for.)
Max is surprised the site has taken off: he said it started out as a “big joke.”
“The original [idea] was [that] it was going to be cryptographically secure,” he said. “It was an idea for HackMIT. [You’d] have your browser connect pairwise to everyone else who is online.”
When it became apparent that making the site function as a cryptographically secure application would be impractical, he spent a weekend implementing the site that exists now.
The site was originally only available to East Campus residents. Max said he hastened to add other undergraduates when people complained on MIT Confessions that they wanted to use the site.
He said he didn’t give too much thought to the fact that the checkboxes are labeled “DTF” — a colloquial initialism for “down to fuck.”
“I really did not mean ‘DTF’ to be taken so literally. I chose that language because, amongst my friends, we’ll often [say things like] ‘are you DTF to go to Chipotle.’”
It also helped that “DTF” is a short phrase and fits well.
He says some users have adopted his loose usage. “Some people use [the site] to indicate like, romantic interest, or general interest.”
A female from Random Hall says she’s “not DTF anyone,” so she selects people she’d be interested in cuddling with.
One obvious way to defeat the site’s intent is to check all the boxes. To prevent this spammy behavior, Max said, the site reveals to the user how many people each of their matches has indicated interest in. He also added a feature that allows users to specify that they don’t want to be matched with people who have expressed interest in too many people.
A class of 2017 resident from a different floor of East Campus says she tried to game the system in this way before Max added the latter feature. At the time, she said, only East Campus residents could use the site, and she checked all of them.
She says the tactic got her a few matches but “a few were very yikes-y.” She matched with a few people “that had repeatedly expressed interest [and whom she’d already] actively rejected in the real world.”
Though she removed those matches as soon as possible, she said that when she uses the site properly, she has better results.
“I check boxes [if I’m] potentially interested [in something sexual],” she said. But she says that the amount of interest varies. Some of the people she checks, she said, she’d be interested in making out with at a party. With others, she’d be very interested in sex.
“I’ve had a few coffee dates [with matches] that have descended into makeout sessions. One or two of them have gone further.”
She said she can’t be completely sure that any of the sex wouldn’t have happened without dildo.io, but admitted it definitely helped with the initial communication.
She expects that some of her matches may lead to future sex with people she wouldn’t have otherwise had sex with.
She has already had conversations she wouldn’t have had otherwise: one in particular took place with an individual who she said “doesn’t really talk about their personal emotions and their sexuality and that sort of thing, and they were sort of in a confused phase of their self-discovery. That match gave them an opening to talk to someone.”