Karen interviews Cale Jones, founder of The MŌN App, a new social audio app that promotes live sex conversation, exploration, and education.
Wild & Sublime Podcast Transcript
#S3E22 | Sexy Social Audio With MŌN
Cale Jones: You can write something down on a piece of paper and throw it away. You can write in your journal. That's really great. But once you say it, it really makes it real. That's something I've experienced, especially coming out as a gay man. Once you say those words, there's no take backs, right? That is the power of voice. I think that is the level of intimacy we see. And that is the type of intimacy and impact and empowerment we're seeing through MŌN, with people coming on and saying these things for the first time.
Karen Yates: Welcome to Wild & Sublime, a sexy spin on infotainment®, no matter your preferences, orientation, or relationship style, based on the popular live Chicago show. I chat about sex and relationships with citizens from the world of sex positivity. You'll hear meaningful conversations, dialogues that go deeper, and information that can help you become more free in your sexual expression. I'm sex educator and intimacy coach Karen Yates. This week, we talked with the founder of the MŌN app, a new social audio app devoted entirely to sex. Keep listening. Are you looking to improve erotic communication with your partner? I help couples increase pleasure, learn how to express desires, and become more connected. All of this through dynamic, body-centered sessions. Go to the show notes or karen-yates.com to schedule your free consultation with me and to receive my free publication, "Say it better in bed: three practical ways to improve intimate communication."
Hey, folks. If you've been part of the juggernaut that was the rollout of Clubhouse during the early phase of the pandemic, or have engaged in or lead live conversations in Twitter spaces, you may have discovered the power of social audio. That is, social media using long-form, live audio to drive conversations that in video, text, or image-based posts might not take place. While some of the conversations on these platforms cover sex topics, there hasn't been — until now — an app devoted only to sexuality, and even better, sex positivity. I'm going to be talking today with Cale Jones, the founder of the MŌN app — and that's spelled M-O-N, with a long O — which rolled out earlier this year. We'll be discussing what went into building MŌN, its features and types of chat rooms, which are very interactive and expansive, and the importance of safety and privacy when creating a sex-based audio app. We'll also delve into Jones's own personal journey of discovery, and how using his own app changed him. Enjoy.
Hey, Cale. Welcome.
Cale Jones: Hello. Hello. Thanks for having me.
Karen Yates: I'm really excited about our conversation today. Kale, what land are you on?
Cale Jones: So I'm based in Austin, Texas, and that is the land of the Tonkawa, Lipan Apache, Chiricahua Comanche, and then Coahuiltecan people.
Karen Yates: Awesome. And I am on the unceded lands of the Council of Three Fires, the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi nations, in addition to many other tribal nations that were a part of the Midwest. So, Cale, you come from an international marketing background.
Cale Jones: Yeah, a media background.
Karen Yates: Okay. What is your story, and how did you come to decide developing the MŌN app was your calling?
Cale Jones: Well, you know, it's interesting how I came to really living my authentic self, quite frankly. I grew up in a very sex-positive household. My family was very sex-positive, it was always on the table. So that kind of carried with me throughout life. And so I lived in Copenhagen, Denmark, for almost five years. I was married to a man over there. I was working in luxury fashion in Europe, which was a lot of fun. And we moved to Los Angeles. And then I worked in entertainment, as a director of audience development at one of the largest entertainment news trades in the US. And then I got this really interesting opportunity to come on as a CMO of a sex tech company, treating erectile dysfunction. And I thought long and hard about it, if this was something I was actually — long and hard. [laughs] If I wanted to be part of this, you know, ED company. But I was able to view it in a way that was like, Okay, we are doing some good in the world, but also some media in this way, because they wanted me to come in with my media background, as well as my product background, to bring this new lens to what they were doing, to find a way to make the conversations of sex and ED palatable for everyday Americans. Once I took that initial step into this space, I had to reframe it for myself, because I'm very sex-positive, but it's still really scary to come from a media entertainment, traditional background, right? And then to say, alright, cool, now I'm doing something in sex. That is, quite frankly, terrifying.
Karen Yates: I so understand.
Cale Jones: And so for me again, that was the first entry point, right? Was as a CMO. It's high level, it's also ED, it's medical. It's not sex, it's medical. So really framing it this way, that made it, one, palatable for me, which was honestly kind of insulting, now looking back on it. That I had to reframe my thinking for that.
Karen Yates: I don't know about that. I don't know about that. Because, you know, I came from theater, performance, opera. And then I started the show, after having, you know, done a lot of education. But this moment, when you're like, now I'm public facing, I'm talking about sex... It's like, all of the demons start rising, you know?
Cale Jones: Yeah. For me, it wasn't — I was never worried that, you know, what will my family think? Because, again, I grew up very sex-positive. So I felt very comfortable in this space. I think it was really about me being comfortable with my public-facing persona, my professional persona, now being in the sex space. And once I got there, I really just fell in love with everyone I met — all the different brands, all the different missions, the vision of what we can do. Not this brand, necessarily, which we did great things, but just the industry itself. And it was really inspiring for me, really, it lit a fire that I had been waiting for. You know, I've worked with so many celebrities and brands internationally — I've done that. This was what got me excited. And quite frankly, haven't looked back since then.
And so, MŌN came to me in 2021, with the pandemic — it killed a lot of different projects that I was working on. So I was looking for something new and exploring ways in which I could tie in my media background, but also sex. That was always — I want to do something with sex. I wasn't sure what I was gonna do. But I knew that, you know, I could take all my skill set and my background, and really do something to elevate whatever it is that I wanted to do. And it hit me, because I saw the rise of social audio in Twitter, and I saw it in Clubhouse. But I also saw all these community guidelines coming about — they were like, hindering conversations, and deplatforming major creators, like, even therapists were being kicked off the platforms. And I already knew the struggles that existed in the space from being a CMO in this space; I already kind of had this background and I knew this is a problem. But I didn't really start to see it for the major issue that it was until I started to look into this project. Yeah, this is really systemic. It's everywhere. Yeah.
Karen Yates: Yeah, you know, I saw you on the Sexual Health Alliance webinar. That's how I got wind of MŌN. And what really struck me is, you know, Wild & Sublime is also a live stage show in addition to a podcast, and the thing that I never realized that was going to be so critical for the show, was people being in a live space talking about sex with each other. It wasn't just about the folks on the stage, the experts. It was what happened afterwards, what happened during the show, about this idea of, like, sharing and being with each other around a subject that is so hidden and twisted, and it's the deepest part of ourself. That has been one of the biggest gifts, obviously, for you as well, just people being in community talking about sex.
Cale Jones: So I saw social audio, I saw Clubhouse, I saw Twitter spaces — and creating MŌN was not necessarily a response to those, it was just like, Okay, this is actually a venue that is not built for this community. But what if we built one for this community? And that's how MŌN came about. So I sat down, I wrote a mission, I shared it with my partners. But that mission, we haven't strayed from it. And it's still our guiding light. And that mission is, let's provide a safe and inclusive and centralized place for people to talk about sex. So we can ultimately move that conversation forward in a positive way. And that overall view is wait, we can be a resource for people in middle America, to the Middle East, to have a community of people, real-time engagement, to be able to talk to people, get feedback on some of the most intimate topics of our life, which is sex. Whether that is your relationship, whether that is masturbation, you know, whether that's a kink you're interested in. Otherwise, all you have is a forum, static forums, or you have static, text-based forums like Reddit, or you had experts talking at you, or you had hookup sites, to find community. That was really it. There was no place that brought everything together on one space.
So that's what our main mission was: to, again, provide that space. But we did that through three pillars, which is, education, so important that we had experts. So we have over 300 experts, I believe right now, on the app. That provides really amazing, expertly-led conversations on everything from masturbation to relationships. Then we also have a pillar that's very important, which is conversation. We believe you do not have to be an expert to talk about sex. Anyone should be able to have a platform, as long as there was sex positive lens, come through and talk about sex. And then the other pillar, which is very important, was exploration. And that's kind of two-pronged. It's coming into the space with a really curious mind to explore, but also the opportunity to explore sex in real time with NSFW rooms. So there are also live sex rooms that happen. They're all audio, no visual. And so, we knew those three pillars needed to coexist in a way that made sense. That also complemented each other, that also provided space for everyone, so everyone felt a community here. That's how we did it. And we launched open beta in January, and since then, it's been really incredible. It's so powerful and so moving to see these things, and I think you can attest to it. And you're seeing it as well in the stage shows, right? I think what it really requires is a safe place, and also a catalyst for conversation, right? We need to provide that topic, we need to provide the safe space. But we also need to give that a common point that someone can then take and go with.
Karen Yates: Yeah, it was so nice. Last night, I was on the app, and I was listening. I think it was a roleplay room, and some folks from NiteFlirt were on, talking. And it was very casual. They were just giving each other tips about, like, well, you know, if you're going to do a girl next door roleplay, it's really — I just sat there, just so amazed — it's really best if you don't make it a big deal. It's not like a super girl next door. It's like, very casual. And I was like, All right, okay, this is where the rubber meets the road, folks! Right here.
Cale Jones: Yeah! You know what's so cool about this too, is that we were so excited to see an influx of sex workers, and digital sex workers coming on the chat. Well, all sex workers, but we saw a big influx of digital sex workers, whether they're OnlyFans creators or cam girls or phone sex operators. And the way in which they are utilizing the platform and building a community is just like, honestly, I'm so inspired by it. Because you would think, given the nature of the business, they would come here and use it as an extension of their existing platform. So like that NiteFlirt — like, okay, come in, $15 if you want to hear me chat, right? Which, again, that's okay. But what we're seeing is that they're like, No, I'm not on right now. This is where I'm building my community. This is where I'm building my family, my friends, my community around the space. And you know, nothing's off limits in terms of the topics. But what we're doing here is like, we're not doing NiteFlirt here. We're doing this here. And you know, sometimes they do do it, give them a little taste. They give the audience a little taste here, which is so wonderful. But it's just so great to see different communities coming on to use it in ways we did not expect.
Karen Yates: So let's talk about privacy. I love some of your privacy features. And I want you to tell folks about them.
Cale Jones: Yeah. So, before building MŌN, we looked at the existing platforms: what was out there, how they were serving other communities, but how they weren't serving this community specifically. And a lot of that came to privacy. Sex is still a taboo topic. Not talking about it is dangerous. But if you have no safe space to do that, due to privacy, where can you go? And we're like, well, MŌN needs to be that place, you know. So how do we do that? One, we're not going to fetch your contacts. So we don't take your phone contacts,
Karen Yates: Love that. Love that!
Cale Jones: A lot of that came from us talking to users who have been burned by these other platforms. And one of them was actually one of our featured users. And she's got a massive following, a huge podcast. She was like hell, yeah, I built a community on Clubhouse at first, without knowing it had synched my contacts, and all of a sudden I was getting message hits from people who were in my text group, basically. And it scared me. It freaked me out. And people didn't know that about me. Right? So it really outed her, in a way that's not cool. And so, we knew that was like, utmost importance. Do not fetch contacts, do not require socials. Also, you can be anonymous. So, if you have a following on existing platforms like Instagram, Twitter, et cetera, or other sites, you can take that same name and bring it here, so people know how to find you. Or you can be your real self, or you can just be anonymous. We thought that was also very important. So, how do we protect the community there? Right? That's a question we get a lot. How do we protect the community? Well, one, there's community guidelines. They're upfront, you can't skip them, you have to agree to them. They're very clear. They're not buried in Terms and Conditions. It's actually on the onboarding screen. It says "MŌN does not tolerate…" There's a zero-tolerance policy for bigotry, harassment, racism, homophobia, transphobia, of any kind. I think there's a few more items in there. But it's really comprehensive in that way, to make it very clear, this is not a place to come if you intend to do this. You are here because you want to talk about sex, and it needs to be through a sex-positive lens. It's not gonna be abusive. And then also, we have another agreement that you must agree to, which is, there are rooms for everyone here, and there will be conversations you may not agree to. But as long as they do not go against our community guidelines, it's okay.
And so, you can choose to enter or not to enter. So, MŌN is also based on consent. We also require another step of privacy, which I'll get to, and also protection. We aligned ourselves with featured users who are in this space who are already creating content in a way that we want to align ourselves with. And then, anyone can start a chat at any time, but we request that you title it accordingly, and tag it accordingly. That way, people can consent to entering the room as needed, right? So if it's going to be an NSFW chat, please title it NSFW. But then we took it a step further. There's also a privacy mode, which is very important. So we talked to so many experts as well, and creators who said they don't want the dynamic of the chat to shift once they enter the room. Right? They've experienced this on Twitter, they've experienced it on Clubhouse, other platforms where they enter the room, all of a sudden, they're requested to speak. They're in, so now the people who are there talking, they don't want to say the wrong thing, so they stop. We wanted to make sure that whether or not you wanted to be private for privacy reasons, or if you just wanted to come and lurk and just listen in, you can do that. So there's a toggle feature in your profile, where you can toggle on and off, private mode or not. Within private mode, there are protections for the community. So you can't request the chat, you can't come up and chat, you have no access to the chat feature, the actual the in-room chat feature. But also no one can see your profile.
Karen Yates: So, I'm actually changing screens for a second, because I'm looking at — I want to bring up all of the various types of things you can do in the rooms. And maybe we can chat a little bit about this. Because there's so much — like you said, there's expert panels, there is kink, BDSM, there's "guided intimacy." What is that?
Cale Jones: [laughs] We've been really excited about that, honestly. When we're looking at MŌN, we're like, what are all the use cases for MŌN, right? And this was one of them, like, this is so exciting. And so, guided intimacy can go a number of ways. We've seen it happen most recently, and most most frequently on MŌN, as essentially a JOI. It's a jerk-off instruction. And so, someone gets on the mic, they open the room, and they say, I'm going to guide you to an orgasm. And so, that person can be on the mic and they can start a room, we send push notifications out to everyone. They can choose to enter or not. If they enter, they then know what they're getting into. It's a guided intimacy class. They tell you exactly what to do, how to do it, when to do it. And you can all orgasm together in the room. And it's all audio. And so, the only one who can speak is the person who starts the room, right? So they're the only one you can hear. Everyone else is at the bottom, but you can request to speak and share. And you can ask them to, you know, guide you through something, or say something to you. You know, we have one user who's a creator, she's an erotic audio creator, and she loves doing this. She does it weekly. And she calls it her 'audio orgy.' She goes live for about 30 minutes, and she walks about 50 people through an orgasm.
Karen Yates: That is awesome. How many folks are doing these things on a weekly basis, would you say?
Cale Jones: Well, it depends. We have some users who start early morning rooms that's like, 'help me get off.' Listen to me orgasm. So it's not necessarily a guided approach. It's more, Listen to me, give me company, give me an audience. And you can request to go up there and speak and tell them what to do. There's one user who does that pretty regularly, that's weekly. We have this one user who does guided intimacy — she does it weekly as well. She does two shows weekly. One is just an open chat. And one is more of a focused, you know, orgasm based chat. And again, it's more through the lens of like, community and fun. The way that we've seen it evolve has been really interesting, because again, we thought it'd be a lot more NSFW content. We really did. Because all the other platforms are not allowing this. But what we're seeing more of are just real conversations around sex that are really impactful to different communities, but also to different people. The majority of the chats are people who are, you know, exploring relationship dynamics that are oftentimes taboo. There are people who are coming out for the first time about a kink, or about their sexuality, or about their identity. We're seeing these types of really incredible, really moving, really impactful conversations happening on the app daily, that are building a community of trust and support and sex positivity that far exceeds the type of experience I thought would initially happened on MŌN. You know, I thought it'd be so much NSFW, but it's not.
Karen Yates: And I was going to ask you, would you say this is one of the more surprising things? Because I was like, what are the surprising things to you? Is this it?
Cale Jones: You know, we had use cases lined out, but those are just like, our guesses, our best guesses on how things can unfold here. So we had, you know, our different personas about who would use it and how they would use it. And we knew some of these things would take place, but I think the surprise has been maybe how important it has been — also for myself. I get teared up thinking — a little choked up thinking about it, because it really is... How do I explain it? There is a sense of community here that I've never had myself, but also, so many other people have never had. And you see and you hear people really expose the most vulnerable parts of their lives here. And it's met with positivity and support. And I get messages almost daily, which is the most rewarding thing. Getting these messages of people thanking me for creating this space, because they never had it before. And honestly, it's moving. That's the thing that surprised me. I think my response to all this, and the response of the community to all this. Like, I knew we would have an impact, but not this level.
Karen Yates: There is something you had put in Men's Health magazine, there was this incredible quote. "Through founding MŌN, I've learned so much about sexuality, not just for others, but my own as well. I'm now part of a community that gives me a vocabulary I never knew existed, and it's helped me define my own identity, sexually and otherwise. While I consider myself sexually fluid and homoromantic, I am also queer, and I couldn't be more proud to know myself as what I am: gay, queer, proud. I sometimes laugh at how full-circle I've come in terms of my own self-acceptance, from a deeply closeted gay man in the South who hid from words, to launching a community that provides a safe and inclusive space for everyone, but especially queer folks, to talk openly encouragingly about their sexuality and experiences." That was so moving to me. And I understand — this process of working in the sex-positive world does deepen our own sense of self, on a cellular level.
Cale Jones: Yeah. I mean, the things I've learned about myself through this — I mean, new things are coming at me every day. Not only just through things I experienced on the app as a founder, but also the conversations I have outside the app. And I think the conversations I'm also more comfortable having outside the app, because of the conversations I've had on the app. I've received so much benefit from this community already that, like — again, it helped me find my own identity. I'm a blond-haired, blue-eyed cis white man who is the pinnacle of privilege, right? And I'm a gay man, I know that. But I'm not just gay. Yeah, I have been with women. I've been straight, bi. I've had this conversation with people about, you know, me being gay, but the fact that I would never write off that I would be with a woman again. It kind of confuses people, because I enjoy women. I think women are amazing. But I'm a gay man. And usually, my explanation was that, oh, I know I'm gay because I want a relationship with a man. And that was really confusing for people. But then thankfully, because of one of our users on MŌN, we were talking about our identities or sexualities. And I had told her, you know, this is how I view things. And she goes, Oh, that's so clear. She made it so simple. She goes, well, you're homoromantic, but sexually fluid. I'm like, wait, what? I didn't know you could put those words together. [laughs] I had no idea that those were words I could use together in a sentence to describe who I am. And since doing so, it has really taken off some of the barriers I've put up for myself, just because the identity that I was identifying with, which was a gay man, who sometimes would maybe want to be with a woman. But being able to express it in a way that is so clear, so concise. And I mention this, because not only have I gotten this from the community, but also, you know, at a level that I'm experiencing this, which is just my sexuality, which I feel very comfortable with, right? Just extrapolate that to someone who's finding their true gender identity. I would never, ever want to understate the importance of recognizing someone's identity after seeing the direct impact. So, I encourage everyone to find your identity, really find out who you are, whether you're straight, whether it's sexually fluid, et cetera. I mean, I think, again, once you experience these things, there's really no looking back.
Karen Yates: Yeah, yeah, no.
Cale Jones: And it makes life so much better. I just removed some of the barriers that I put up for myself because of some of the, you know, conditioning we've had. Which has been honestly amazing.
Karen Yates: I'll return to my interview with Cale Jones in a moment. Are you interested in getting more Wild & Sublime? Our members on Patreon can partake in Q&As with sexperts, in addition to getting discounts to merchandise and live shows. Plus, members received the latest news about Wild & Sublime first, like show dates and more. When you join, you also get my heartfelt gratitude that you are helping spread the message of sex ,positivity around the globe, and helping us meet our monthly expenses. Check out the program. The link is in the show notes, or go to patreon.com/wildandsublime. And now, back to my interview with MŌN app founder Cale Jones. In the second half, we discuss coming out, the involvement of Bryony Cole in the development of MŌN, and non-gendered sex toys. I love what you're talking about with labels, because I've had this conversation before with other people in the sexuality field, that, you know, we tend to come from this idea that labels are limiting. But the more you drill down into a particular label, or, as you just mentioned, the more like a label really fits you, then it's like oh, oh, I see. This is what I am.
And there's freedom in — one of the things you were saying a while ago that sort of struck me about the coming out experience, that you can come out on MŌN with an identity, say, is like these levels of intimacy. So, the online world, the internet world, brought this sudden recognition that there are, like, a gajillion fetishes, and you can actually find folks that like that fetish. And you might be living in Peoria, Illinois, and not know, think that you're the only person that has a thing about, I don't know, cat food. You suddenly go on the internet and you're like, oh my god, there are thousands of people that are into sexually using cat food! Wow!
Cale Jones: I can't wait to see your search history, Karen. [laugh] Or what you'll create on MŌN.
Karen Yates: Right, right? And then there's like, say, the Reddit community, where you can then work into like, I'm gonna post, or I'm gonna do this. And then there's suddenly live audio. It's like increasing the levels of intimacy. And live audio is powerful. It's really, really powerful. You know?
Cale Jones: And that's what we saw as well. I mean, in my early days, coming out, I would never, even alone in a room, have said that I'm gay. That was just something I could not say. Because it made it real. There's power in your voice, and speaking power to something, right? That we know that. You can write something down on a piece of paper, throw it away, right? You can write something in your journal, that's really great. And that is also very, very beneficial and empowering. But once you say it, it really makes it real. And I think that that's something I've experienced, especially coming out as a gay man. Once you say those words, there's no take backs, right? So you're committing to it, you're saying it, and yes, you can change your identity later on. But once it's out there, it is out there. And I think that is the power of voice. I think that is the level of intimacy we see. And that is the type of intimacy and impact and empowerment we're seeing through MŌN, with people coming on and saying these things for the first time. They've been in chat rooms before, they've been part of communities online, where they can drop a meme, and they can do these things, right? But they haven't actually said what they're into out loud before. And now they are, and they're being received in a way that is positive and supportive. And also sometimes finding other people into it. They're finding community here, not only a supportive community and a sex-positive community, but they're also finding people with similar interests. And they can actually talk about it together in real time. And that has been really also like, just awesome to see.
Karen Yates: So we have been talking about very uplifting things. But I would be remiss, as the journey of sexuality is always fraught! What are some of the challenging things? Not only with maybe developing the app, which obviously, tech has its challenges, but what have been the challenging things as you have moved into implementation, and actually had live folks, you know, be in the rooms? Like, what have you been, like, maybe shocked about? Like, oooh.
Cale Jones: So, MŌN's evolving. We built it. When we launched MŌN in January, it was the most basic, stripped-down version of what we knew we would build. And so when we launched MŌN, all you could do was follow some users, start a chat, join a chat. That's all you could do. There was no record, there's no chat, there's no DMing, etc. And so that was like one of the early, early challenges, like how do we get people into the community to talk about sex? Getting people to believe in what we're doing, to trust me, to trust us. And the big challenge was, honestly, me stepping out and being the face of MŌN. And I kept saying, like, I don't want to be the face of MŌN, because I don't want to turn people off from joining. I want it to be everyone's platform, you know? But eventually, someone does have to speak. Someone has to take responsibility for what we're doing. And also, you know, make sure they have a point of contact. And it would have been so, so inauthentic for me to build this community to be sex-positive, and to say that we espouse all this, and not be part of it.
Karen Yates: And you are so a part of it. Like, I've only been aware of MŌN for a couple of weeks now, and I'm like, my God, this guy gets around! You're having rooms every day, practically. I see you everywhere. I'm like, holy shit. I mean, you're very accessible.
Cale Jones: It's important to be that, I think, too. You know, I think, again, if we're encouraging people, some of the most vulnerable communities out there in the world, to come here, trust us to share the most intimate topics of their life with complete strangers in an audio format, they need to know who's behind it, and need to know that I'm not in my basement listening to this. I'm part of this community. I'm out there. I'm supporting you. I am there for it. And I'm here and accessible. But also that like, I am not just some Silicon Valley guy who's like — I'm a queer man who's sex positive, and has had a lot of sex in his life. There's a lot of great sex, a lot of bad sex. But also, you know, I'm no prude. I'm part of this community. And then once a week, I try to host updates room and feedback room. Come on, give it to me, what do you hate? I'm a big boy. Surprisingly, everyone's very positive about it. It's more like, oh, there's a bug here, oh, this is happening, oh, I still need this to happen, you know.
So, a lot of the big challenge was coming out as a founder of a sex tech company. But you know, raising money on that. I mean, imagine. I'm a queer man in this like, really heteronormative world of tech bro culture, to where I'm coming in, say, Alright, cool, so we have an app to talk about sex. I'm a gay man. We'll talk about gay sex too. Talk about but stuff. So, you cool with that? [laughs] And that's always something — that was also a challenge too, to be like, alright. We know that we need to raise funds at some point, but we also need the right partners in place. We also need people to take us serious. How do we do that? Well, we have to be open and honest. And we're not going to — we're not going to pussyfoot around what we're doing.
Karen Yates: So I saw that Bryony Cole — "Future of Sex Tech" podcast, kind of a titan in the sex tech world — is one of the advisors.
Cale Jones: Bryony is amazing. So we chat; we have a standing call monthly. We text each other. Again, she's a titan of the industry. She is the world's leading expert in sex tech. She is a global speaker. She is just the person I knew I needed to have on this team. We also need a female perspective at a very high level. Knowing what we're doing, knowing where the industry is going. But also someone who could go to bat for us and say, Nah, I trust Cale. Cale is good. What he's doing makes sense, and I'm behind it. We are a small team, but we have some of the biggest names involved to take this to the next level. She is an integral part of the team. She is actually a stakeholder in the company. So she's not just someone we put on the deck. We have monthly calls. She's also speaking on our upcoming summit that we have on the app, which I'll talk about a little bit later. But the Let's Talk Sex summit, she's our keynote speaker.
But Bryony, also, she's just great. So, working with her has been really beneficial, not just in terms of solidifying us as a change maker, but also, you know, learning from her, too. One of the conversations she's held on MŌN that helped to reframe some things for me was about sex toys. And we were having conversations on MŌN about sex toys with the community. And one of the users were saying that there's something about like, anatomically correct sex toys. And you know, it needed to look a certain way and feel a certain way, and it needed to resemble body parts. And she goes, but why? Can't sex toys just be actually designed for pleasure? And that's what you use it for? It doesn't have to be a replacement, but it can just be something you use for pleasure? I'm like, wait, what? Whoa! You mean that the sex toy I'm using doesn't have to feel exactly like the real thing, and look exactly like the real thing? She's like, no. Sex toys are meant to be enjoyed for pleasure.
Cale Jones: In May, we did masturbation month, because that's masturbation month. So we hosted masturbation month on the app, in partnership with Emojibator. Emojibator is this company, a really cool young team, you should definitely check them out. Point is, they create sex toys that are shaped like emoji. So there's like, eggplants. There's rubber duckies. They're like, non sexual sex toys, right? And non-gendered sex toys as well. And what's been so interesting from the conversation we had in the app was learning that a lot of their customers are actually sexual-assault victims and survivors. They are using their toys for pleasure, because it's not gendered. It's not reminding them, it's not re-traumatizing them, triggering them. We're seeing this, what we initially started as kind of like this fun thing to combat sexual stigma and taboos, we're seeing it have a real impact on people who are completely unserved — not underserved, completely unserved in the market — for this, the impact it's having on their lives, it's just been great. So learning that as well, that sex toys and toys don't have to be gendered, they don't have to be — they don't have to resemble anatomy. They can actually just be a toy for pleasure.
Karen Yates: So let's talk about the summit. I want to hear about this summit.
Cale Jones: So, the summit came about because, one, we realized programming really works for the community. They like to know that we are bringing stuff to the table, to the community, to highlight and elevate different voices, not just those who are creating rooms regularly. And so, every month we try to do something new. This really started in January, when we hosted Cuck Week, in partnership with Dr. David Ley and a few others. And then in February, we had a number of our users who are part of the Black community, bi Black community, reach out and say, we want to host rooms, a series of chats, all throughout February for Black History Month, but not around black history. We want to talk about the impact, the impacts of sexualizing Black bodies; we also want to talk about being Black in the kink space. We want to talk about homophobia within the Black community.
And so, we start to see these different communities growing. And so, we want to make sure every month we highlight a different community, a different topic, that is interesting to the community, but also adding value. So with that said, we're looking at back to school, and also all these don't say gay bills, you know, anti-trans bills, reproductive health, just on the chopping block, especially in states like Texas, where we're based. And we wanted to make sure that we offer the platform and the community to incoming freshmen and outgoing seniors, specifically, especially geared towards university students, college students. We really wanted to make sure that we're bringing in speakers and experts who could really resonate and speak to the topics that were most important to Gen Z and millennials, right. Like, you know, what they're going through, whether it's consent, communication, sexual assault, reproductive health, abortion, STIs. So the Let's Talk Sex summit is still an audio-only interactive chat series, really focused on experts leading candid conversations on sex. It's for us to bring everything we built so far together to an underserved community, because we know sex ed in America is absolute, like, trash.
And then on top of that, there's more restrictive legislation coming through around the reproductive health, gay rights, trans rights, et cetera, right? There's all these issues coming up right now that we need to have a safe space to address, but also navigate, and also know they have a community. So we wanted to focus on that, to let them know, Hey, you're coming into the world, we know it. We're here. We're here, there's community here. If you want to talk about relationship dynamics, relationship dynamics, you can. If you have questions about your identity, or LGBTQIA issues, it's here. There are people here who you can connect with and chat with, and that was really important to us. So the Let's Talk Sex summit is that. It's happening in October.
Karen Yates: Is it a specific date, a specific week? What is it?
Cale Jones: We're locking in the dates and weeks right now. So we just confirmed I think our 17th speaker. We're trying to hit 20. We have some really, really big names. I mentioned Bryony, again, is one of them, who's coming on, myself included. Lilly Sparks from Afterglow, she's amazing. She will be hosting chats as well. Catherine Drysdale — I'm actually doing this in partnership with Catherine Drysdale, who is a sex and relationship coach based here in Austin. She's also a TikToker with a huge following, and she's a regular feature user on MŌN as well. We're also shooting for an in-person event as well, one in-person event, to either kick it off or to close it out in Austin, Texas, with bringing together different voices in the space. And also having, you know, like a MŌN room, but you know, in person — but like, not a "moan room." Let me rephrase that. Like, one of the community chats on MŌN in person. We're not having a sex room at...
Karen Yates: Gotcha, gotcha. So what's the farther-out goal in, say, the coming year?
Cale Jones: Coming year... Well, I think it goes back to creating that safe space. One of the most impactful things I heard from a friend that was chatting with who is a trans woman, and she said, you know, Cale, if you can provide a space community that will help the life of the trans community suck one percent less, then I'm all on board. And hearing that was like, wow, okay, cool. That's the mission. People can cross promote their content. Yes, people can do XY and Z on the app to further their careers and further their following. But we can really have an impact. So again, everything we do, going forward, really walks that line of adding value to the community, but also having a major impact globally. We're now seeing users come in from the Middle East, we're seeing users coming from all around the world who are sharing their experience around sexual identity, or sexuality, things that they can essentially be jailed for even thinking about or speaking about in public. They now have a place to come anonymously and talk about this. So again, that's still the mission. The things we build out for that will have to align with that. We want to expand the media library. So we're looking to partner. We already talked with a couple of different potential podcasts networks. So we're building out the RSS feeds so that way, our users, our community can start to request to submit their content there. And then we can host it there. So that way, we're this hub of live content. We're a hub for premium content. We're also a hub for NSFW content, all audio still, so safe, inclusive. We just released the room recording. So room recording is now a new feature where users can create an archive of content, whether it's quick snippets, or whether it's full shows on the app and build on an archive of content. So again, our goal is still aligned with our mission, but to create tools and partnerships in place that all speak to that. It's content, its community, its media. It's a safe space. And yeah, that's kind of the goal. So yeah, it's partnerships, new projects, new platforms. Those are the three big things.
Karen Yates: Cale Jones, thank you so much. I can't wait to see what happens. MŌN app, now and in the future. Thank you so much.
Cale Jones: Thank you so much for having me.
Karen Yates: Since our interview the dates for the Let's Talk Sex summit have been set for October 10 to 12. Go to the show notes for more details, and for more info on Cale Jones and the MŌN app, which can be downloaded on iOS and Android. Wild & Sublime is supported in part by our Sublime Supporter, Full Color Life Therapy, therapy for all of you, at fullcolorlifetherapy.com. Well, that's it, folks. Have a very pleasurable week. Thank you for listening. If you know someone who might be interested in this episode, send it to them. Do you like what you heard? Then give us a nice review on your podcast app. You can follow us on social media @wildandsublime and sign up for newsletters at wildandsublime.com. I'd like to thank associate producer Julia Williams and design guru Jean-Francois Gervais. Theme Music by David Ben-Porat. This episode was edited by The Creative Imposter studios. Our media sponsor is Rebellious Magazine, feminist media, at rebelliousmagazine.com.
Are you a sex-positive patron? The Afterglow brings you bonus content, merch discounts, early notice of show dates, and other goodies! Join now to help us continue to spread the message of sex-positivity. Or show your love for Wild & Sublime any time: Leave a tip!
Want to be Wild & Sublime out in the world? Check out our new tees and accessories for maximum visibility. Our Limited Collection might help your inner relationship anarchist run free…
Thinking of starting your own podcast? Buzzsprout can help you create, host and promote it! Plus lots of useful tools and resources to streamline the process and level up your pod game. Use our affiliate link for a $20 credit!
I’m looking for…
- Episodes on specific topics – There’s a list!
- A book on relationships/sexuality – Check out our recs on Bookshop!
Listen & Follow
Find us on your favorite podcast app: