A good friend of mine (who is a dude-man, it should be noted) recently started dating a new guy, and things are moving so fast and so passionately that it looks like the relationship could end up being really, really serious. And it’s not notable that they got together and are clicking, as they’re both great guys that you want to hug until your arms go numb and fall off and get eaten by baby alligators. But what is notable is how they got together — via a smartphone app called Grindr. For those who don’t know (and, before them, I had no clue either), Grindr is a geo-location service that pinpoints and relays the location of other gay men. Its creators have described it as “the gay bar for the 21st century,” but in reality, it matches up dudes who want to fuck each others’ brains out.

Michael Anderson

In effect, my friend fell in love upside down. We’re taught that the way relationships work is like this: you meet someone, talk about the television shows you like, hold hands during a movie, and go to dinner. Then you get naked and sweaty. My friend, however, started at the opposite end, and then found out that they were unlimitedly compatible in other aspects of life. Which got me thinking that maybe everyone should adopt this outlook. We should spend less time fretting about finding our soulmate, and more time looking for our kinky equal — our “kinkual.”

Kinkual is a term I cooked up when describing my ex in the dark valley following our break-up, when I couldn’t picture an intimate relationship, sexual or otherwise, with anyone else but her. Now I can picture an intimate relationship with a half dozen girls, plus Tom Hardy, but the idea of dating seemed foreign and strange at the time. It was like I had time-traveled backwards and was forced to operate a World War II-era fighter plane. What buttons do I push? How do I fly this thing? And so forth.

In the weird-ass gladiatorial arena that is dating, sex is the final death match. This is even more true if you have largely sat out the past decade in dating developments (including all that fucking technology) because you were in a series of unfussy monogamous relationships. The leap from dating to really knowing what makes a person tick sexually is Grand Canyon-big and hard to navigate. How, exactly, do you go from talking about how much you loved this week’s episodes of “Game of Thrones” to asking if there are any objections to blindfolds?

The sex-first-questions-later policy alleviates this concern, since sex is the entire relationship and whether or not this person is your actual kinkual is something that is more or less known from the beginning. Pressure and societal anxiety? Those are gone too, like songs you hear on the radio but forget before you get out of the car. All that matters is a swift and thorough exploration of the other person’s body, and maybe some small talk about how good “The Hunger Games” was. You’re not thinking about picking out antique furniture or impressing the person’s mom if all you’re about is pinning them up against the wall and maybe licking their butthole. Intimacy is intimacy, whether it’s forged in the heat of the moment or while watching countless hours of MSNBC together. To me at least, the one with the possibility of handcuffs is always more fun. Let Rachel Maddow watch.

Finding your kinkual in this bizarrely structured house of cards takes some balls, though — even if you’re a lady. I’m someone who is more or less turning into Howard Hughes by the minute, so sex, to me, is scary and dangerous and sticky. And you can’t let stickiness get in your way if you’re on the prowl for your kinkual. Technological prowess is a must, too. You think every little gayby can pick up an iPhone and plug into Grindr (or the straight-perverts version, Blendr)? No. You have to be apt with those apps and not, like me, confused about how to challenge someone to a game of Draw Something. I’m probably too sensitive anyway, since feelings — at least initially — are kind of a second thought.

But even if I’m not emotionally or sexually or technologically equipped to deal with the great kinkual hunt, I do support it and find myself aligned with it, spiritually at least. I think there’s something snappy and proactive about the idea, especially since I’m one of those people who sits around and bemoans the fact that my soulmate search is going about as well as “John Carter.” I would love to have an amazing, dazzling, super-sexual relationship with a kinkual who reveals her soulmate-y tendencies after she slips on that cheerleader outfit she wore in high school and we look at Beyonce’s Tumblr while eating M&M’s off each other. I just need to download that app first.

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