Pleasure for everyone - Interview with the country manager of CHEEX
The Kohe Lele team had the honor to interview Britt, the Dutch country manager of GetCHEEX, who was open to sharing her exciting and daring journey with us. CHEEX is an ethical porn platform that was initially launched in Germany and is expanding into other countries. As the sex tech industry is booming, it is important to understand the beneficial impact on its users and the business challenges that can arise.
Hi Britt, thank you for having this interview with us today! We are beyond excited to hear about your work at CHEEX. Would you like to introduce yourself first?
Hi! Sure! My name is Britt, and I work for GetCHEEX as the country manager from the Netherlands. CHEEX has been founded two years ago in Berlin due to finding out that many people are curious about ethical porn. The platform became a huge success in Germany. Now they want to test if the Netherlands is also ready for the ethical porn industry. Hence, in October 2021 I started to test the market to see what Dutch people know about the porn industry and how we can do this a bit more ethical, sustainable and people-friendly. I speak with a lot of people that work in the Dutch sextech community, sex workers, and sexual professionals like therapists, sexologists, and the surrounding community. My role is pretty diverse from PR, branding, content, etc. so I do almost everything at the same time. This job is suitable for me, since I like to combine the business side as well as the creative side due to my background. I studied at the Art school in Amsterdam, but worked in the financial world before. Now, in this current role, I can combine my previous financial background with the more creative world.
Great to meet you, Britt! We were wondering, what are you exactly offering with CHEEX?
We offer a subscription-based platform for customers to have a safe space with erotic content.
This includes erotic films, sexy audio stories, podcasts, and tutorials where you can learn about all kinds of sexual practices. You can also learn more about how to have conversations about sex, intimacy, love or one’s body, and all kinds of intimate topics, both educational and inspirational.
Therefore, you can get horny on our platform, but also learn a lot and dive into topics that might be new and interesting to learn about. We have many different things to lower the barrier for people to speak, learn, listen, and communicate about sex.
We love it! Let's say that we would be a customer of yours or we're interested to learn more about CHEEX in general and we come on your platform, what's the first thing you would suggest that we look for?
When you enter the platform for the first time, you get a questionnaire about what kind of person you are and why are you with us. Is it because you want to learn? Is it because you want to experiment? Do you want it spicy? Do you want it, maybe, a bit soft? Depending on your answers, we try to introduce you to the topic carefully, since we know that many people are a bit hesitant to watch porn. So we really would like to lower the barrier and make you comfortable with the topic before you watch, for example, the more hard hardcore stuff. After the questionnaire, we guide you toward the themes that match your profile.
And if you're new to porn, or ethical porn, then we also recommend reading our article about how to embark on your first porn website experience. There you can read more about the different categories and how to prepare yourself to get in the mood. Therefore, it’s best to read the article first before you go to very explicit stuff. There are many ways how to get comfortable before you do, read or listen to something sexual.
It's important for us that not only the performers are safe on our platform, but also the users.
For example, we don't have these explicit flashing banners on our website, that you might see on more mainstream porn websites. We have a very clean interface, so you won’t see explicit content that you possibly don't want to see.
We completely understand. Why is this business proposition important to society? How is it different from your competitors that are also working in ethical porn?
I think what is essential is that there are not many ethical porn providers in general. I mean, there's a lot of porn available, and it's one of the most frequent keywords searched online. But I think it's really critical that people have access to sexual content that is safe, not only for themselves but also for the content providers. With CHEEX, you're assured that everything that is uploaded was filmed with consent, and produced hygienically and safely. Condoms were used and the contributors are paid fairly. This is also the reason our content is with a subscription fee, so we can pay accordingly.
Lastly, every actor is above 18 years old, so you don't have to question the age. On our platform, you can be sure that everything you consume is fair and healthy for you instead of feeling unpleasant after your orgasm.
Furthermore, CHEEX also differs in being hidden behind a paywall, so you have to pay before you can access the content. Like this, we can pay contributors fairly. And many of our creators are real couples in their private life, so you can see them explaining in the videos that they are a couple in their private life as well and are having fun together. And you can see how they clean up, how they prepare and so on. It's like real sex instead of these fake clean settings that you're maybe used to in porn movies.
It's basically an intimate look in the bedroom because they're real couples and real orgasms.
Are all the movies your own production, or do you also source them from others?
We currently have one in-house production, made together with Sophia Borg and Charlotte Gould. It's called 'Muse' and it was recently launched. And we have some in-house audio productions. In the future, we plan to do more of our own productions. For now, we only work with content creators, that work along our standards, and we license the movies from them. So it's a combination of own productions and licensed productions.
You work in an industry that is perceived more critically from different sides. Do you also get negative responses? How do you deal with the taboo around this whole industry?
Yes, it is still taboo. We don't receive too many direct negative responses, or at least not in the Netherlands. However, we know that not everyone is a fan of porn. If we get negative responses online, we try to react with education, our articles, and with our tutorials. It’s great to see that the interest has grown over the years. Different news parties are also willing to interview us. For example, I've been interviewed by Dutch Radio One. And while usually, it's only about Daily News, this time we spoke about porn. And I think this is nice, to see that more and more news providers and more traditional magazines are approaching us to talk about it. This is especially wonderful because then more people are getting introduced to the topic and understand why it's important to consume ethical porn.
Also, sometimes we got feedback from our community that we didn't gender correctly, or didn't explain a topic correctly. We are not shy or scared to use this feedback to also educate ourselves about these kinds of topics and then spread it again in our network to share what we have learned. We also learn every day, and this is what the community gives back to us. And we think it's significant that you know that the topic is so delicate, that you have tough discussions and tough conversations every day. But that's part of the industry.
So now from a business perspective, let's say investment perspective, are there a lot of venture capitalists or angel investors investing in your company?
I'm personally not involved in the investment process. But I have an investment background myself and have worked in the venture capital field. I think, for many venture capital firms, it's still a difficult topic because they see porn in the same range as drugs or weapons. But we see now that more and more traditional investors also see that sex tech and femtech is becoming more attractive. These kinds of topics and industries are actually quite interesting from a financial perspective. Especially when the numbers are good, investors will step in.
I mean, in the end, it's a really healthy business and sex is the reason we're all here, or at least many people are here. It should not be harmful.
Also, I think when you explain it carefully and well to investors and explain your purpose and your standards, plus show the numbers in combination, it's a very attractive business proposition. On a broader scale, there is also more interest from traditional investors.
A very interesting insight. Has CHEEX already got an investment round?
Yes! They're now in the middle of a new investment round and it looks promising. But you need extra time to explain it well. And you require early adaptors and believers from the industry.
What is the future perspective where CHEEX is heading right now?
Well, it's pretty broad. Our goal is to open up the conversation about sex and break the taboo to bring pleasure to everyone. If we can help a little, it's already a success for us. It would be nice if we can break down some barriers around enterprise services so as for sex workers to use financial services and for the sex tech industry to become more accepted. And in general, for our customers to have a chance to create a nice sex life.
What are the different challenges from a business perspective that you're facing? And maybe on the other hand, what are some achievements?
One of our biggest challenges is that we are getting censored daily. So for example, on social media, it's very difficult to write about ethical porn because we cannot use the word ‘porn’ or ‘orgasm’ or whatever.
So we're censored on many channels and cannot advertise. We constantly get blocked, even though we're doing something good. Our LinkedIn is still blocked, and our Instagram account was blocked several times. And then you have to go to court, to get back your community. I think these are the biggest challenges. Also, we would still love to be officially certified as an impact business. And we're still in the process of finding the right partner for it. It would be our dream to be officially certified, so that we can at least show that we are doing good things instead of dark and unwanted. And this would help us a lot.
And in terms of things that make us happy is the feedback of our customers and introducing them to new realities. For some, it is the first time to see fat women in a movie or even to see older people having sex.
How do you see the future of sex tech?
I think there is a big future for sextech, because it's still a taboo. I think that sextech is becoming bigger and bigger. Before mostly men were consuming porn, but now I think women are more and more willing to enter this space and also pay for it. This is a fantastic development because paying for porn and connecting with your sexuality is really important. I think if CHEEX can create an environment where everybody enjoys nice and inspiring content, then we're doing a good job. And I think that's happening more and more.
Preferably, we should be able to talk about it at the same level as "What do you want to eat tonight?" but that's still far and a long, long way to go.
Do you see any differences between various cultures that are approaching CHEEX?
So far we operate in Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands but we have clients from all over the world. We constantly get different questions from different cultures. This is good to make it more and more inclusive and diverse. I already faced the differences between the Dutch vs. the German crowd. I think everybody thinks that the Netherlands is really open-minded. I mean, we have this image, but I don't think that is true. The German culture is much more open in my opinion, especially to porn. We definitely can learn a lot from it.
However, there's still a long way to go. We need to practice more how to communicate our wishes, our sexual desires, barriers, etc. to educate our environment. A subscription with CHEEX could educate the importance to treat each other with respect.
Well, that's, that's from our side from questions, do you still have something that you would like to share?
Yes! For me, it's influential to mention again that the most respect should go to the people that work as sex workers.
Sex workers who contribute create content, educate, etc. We would never be able to have so much pleasure without them teaching us how to do it and how to go in front of the camera. We sometimes forget that.
So it's amazing to see that the sex worker's acceptance becomes bigger and bigger because then we break the stigma, but it's not possible without the performers.
Thank you Britt for the interview. We are very excited about the development of ethical porn, about CHEEX and the future of sex tech.
Did this interview get you curious about the CHEEX platform? It sure satisfied our curiosity!
Therefore, we are offering free access to the GetCHEEX platform for one month upon purchasing the ClimaxBox. What are you waiting for? Get your own ClimaxBox here.
Kohe Lele partnered up with 'Sexshop Heaveno7' in Amsterdam and created 100 educational boxes to re-discover the intimacy in your bedroom. Get your ClimaxBox here.