NSFW in New York: Interview with founder Daniel Saynt

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It is the most exclusive sex club in the world. The New Yorker “New Society for Wellness”, or NSFW for short. It’s ridding the “sex club” of its unsavoury stigma and attracting beautiful, successful millennial, who enjoy themselves here and pay for the privilege. But what is special about the NSFW? This is what Daniel Saynt tells us in an interview.

In a few sentences: What is the concept of NSFW?

The New Society for Wellness is a private members club for the adventurous. We are focused on providing members a safe, judgement free space for exploration. Our mission is to spread positive messages about sex and cannabis by destigmatizing things like sex clubs. Education is a major pillar of our mission and we provide classes which cover enthusiastic consent, how to ask for sex, how to be open, as well as lessons on BDSM, Tantra, Kink and a full spectrum of subjects in sex. We’ve been called the “Soho House of Sex” and our class style format and focus on our masters has gotten us compared to SoulCycle. The idea is a fairly new concept, but as more people begin to realize the importance of sex and cannabis in their lives, we feel we may have something which can go global.

NSFW Daniel Saynt Interview

When did you have the idea for the New Society for Wellness?

About ten years ago. Initially I wanted to create porn you could shop. I was in fashion and felt there was an audience who wanted to watch well produced sex shows which included toys and apparel you could purchase. I always thought it would be fun to buy the underwear of your favorite porn stars. I tried launching while I was still CMO of Rebecca Minkoff and got in a bit of trouble when the URL came up with my name. I shut it down and a few years later realized that a community focus was best for NSFW. Media and other avenues could come later, but if we built a community to support these ideas first we’d be better able to accomplish some of the lofty goals I have in mind for NSFW.

I started by hosting events at my place in Little Italy. I was CEO of Socialyte and Director of Digital at NYLON at the time. After work and on weekends I would host small parties for friends. I’d hire an instructor for these covering things that my friends were asking for. We’d do classes on spanking, bring photographers in to teach people how to shoot sexy nudes on their cell phones, and host these cannabis friendly dinners to bring the community together. It started to grow and I added some monthly memberships to help fund it. In the beginning we were at $6.66 per month for membership.

Education quickly became a major focus. This coupled with our consent culture allowed us to grow and attract more members. Once we hit 200 members, I moved into a larger apartment. At 500 members we took over a townhouse in Williamsburg. Once we got to 1500 we found a 4k sqft Clubhouse in the West Village. As the membership grows we’ll be able to do more and more. We’re now working on apparel, home goods, a cannabis line, a magazine, and sex furniture. We have a television show in production, a theatre show we’re opening in February, a new level of membership for our regular visitors, and a VOD series we’re developing to teach more people. It’s insane, cause at the very beginning, when I first purchased the NS-FW.com domain, I just wanted to try and make porn that was for women and shoppable. Now it’s an entirely different beast. It’s so exciting.

NSFW Daniel Saynt Interview

Right now, over 10.000 people are applying to take part of the NSFW: How did you do that?

We’ve been very strategic on our press strategy. We’ve become a resource for many journalists and try to provide experts, sex workers, therapists, dommes, and our own commentary on subjects related to sex and cannabis. Led by our director fo communications Melissa Vitale, this strategy has allowed us to spread positive messages about sex and cannabis, a major mission focus for NSFW. In addition, we’re very focused on our community, regularly speaking with them and getting their opinions and suggestions. This customer first approach is where we excel, allowing us to better cater to our membership and allowing their voices to have an impact. This increases word of mouth promotion and we regularly have referrals from our base.

And what do you think is the reason for your success?

I think we tap into something real. This world is making people cold, disconnect. Religious institutions are on a decline, plagued with child rape, support of Trumpian thinking, and focus on greed and money. It’s becoming more and more apparent that this institutions aren’t safe for people and that their ideas divide more than bring together. People need community in their lives. People need connection. People need touch. With #MeToo and #TimesUp opening the conversation on consent culture and the needs for change and justice, people are looking for places where they can feel safe. At the same time, globally we’re experiencing a sex recession. Sexual activity is on a decrease with more people not experiencing sex until late in their 30s. A decrease in marriage, birth rates and semen output is leading to a new fear of infertility amongst the generations which follow millennials. This all couples with the legalization of cannabis, which is a natural alternative to many drugs which reduce libido and cause erectile dysfunction. As people move from prescription to cannabis, they will get their libidos back and want to fuck again.

People need sex, but sometimes they forget that. A place like NSFW reminds them of their need for sex to live a longer, healthier life. Because consent culture is a big part of what we create, people feel safe here. The regular events creates community cause you often meet people you’ve met before. People are realizing the importance of their sexual health and wellness, which is why I think places like NSFW will only grow in acceptance and membership.

NSFW Daniel Saynt Interview

You started your career as a blogger, you founded a successful digital marketing agency: Why did you change your career way to an owner of a sex club?

I was a marketing wunderkind. By 23, my fashion blog had more readers than Vogue.com. At 25, I was CMO of one of the fastest growing accessories brands in the world, Rebecca Minkoff. At 30, I was running one of the largest influencer agencies and became co-owner of Nylon Magazine. I’ve always been ahead of the trends in marketing and saw that cannabis and sex were greatly underrepresented. These two categories represent a 100 billion dollar global market and no one was approaching it in an innovative way.

When I made the move, I was at a point in my career where I just didn’t feel passionate about what I was doing. The company I started was making millions, but I felt like most of my skills were being used to convince people to buy shit they didn’t need. It was so consumption focused. I hated it. I thought about what I wanted to use my skills for and decided that rather than selling a product, I wanted to sell a lifestyle. I began focus on the adventurous consumers, the people who spend more on their experiences than the things they wear. I wanted to create a lifestyle focused on having the most adventurous life, which in my opinion includes a good amount of amazing sex and finding like minded people to share in your adventures.

How do you and your team ensure, that the NSFW is a safe place for people of all kind and color?

Our team is very diverse, both in nationality and sexual identification. I’m bi/poly/hispanic. Our member director is fluid/open/black. Our creative director is straight/immigrant/Mex. Our instructors are a mix of nationalities and sexual orientations. We’ve built our diversity into the fabric of what makes NSFW possible. We don’t judge people based on race, gender or sexual orientation. We have members who are from all religious affiliations. There are a number of factors that go into acceptance but the main question we try to ask is, does this person have a story to tell. If you don’t look like someone we’d want to have a conversation with, then you’re probably not someone we’d share our bed with.

NSFW is not only a bar with benefits: NSFW offers also workshops. What are these workshops about?

We cover the full spectrum at the New Society, including classes on How to Touch and How to Kiss. We go from the basics to the more advanced. We have classes on Shibari rope bondage, impact play, sub/dom relationships, pegging and anal play, meditative masturbation, tantra, kama sutra as well as courses focused around talking about sex. It’s a big mix of things and we try to direct members to the events that are best for them.

Daniel Saynt NFSW

You are also offering very special Bachelorette Parties: Tell us a bit more about the “Unbridaled-Experience”?

The NSFW Unbridaled Experience is a brand new initiative we’re introducing in 2019 which will be focused on brides to be. It’s a bachelorette party for the adventurous and includes some NSFW only experiences like our FemDom workshop which includes a few male subs for demonstrations. There are conversations on sex after marriage and male nudes on display for erotic sketching. The evening is designed as the ultimate experience for the not so blushing bride and includes goodie bags filled with our favorite products from Womanizer and We-Vibe.

What are your plans for the future? Can we expact an expansion?

So many. We’re getting ready to launch our mobile app which will allow us to send event updates and NSFW Perks to our members. We’re looking to play with some location based updates for sex and cannabis shops in their area, allowing us to encourage sales of toys and other necessities. We’re introducing e-com in 2019 which will include products we love at exclusive member prices as well as the introduction of NSFW goods. We’re launching our cannabis line with Cherry Kola farms at the end of the year. It’ll be a new strain of cannabis designed to be a libido enhancer.

We’re expanding our events at the NSFW Clubhouse and are launching a theatre show about the Illuminati which will focus on consent culture. It’s going to be open to the public and will run before our member-only events. In 2019 we are planning to expand NSFW into new cities through partnerships with members who live there. We’re expanding via a franchise method and are creating a model for how to monetize clubhouses, making them a worthwhile venture for those looking to take our message into their communities.


Author: Friederike Hintze
Images courtesy of Rodrigo Lizarraga for NSFW

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