If Reddit is The Front Page of the Internet, then the GoneWild message board on the site is the equivalent of a personals page where women hungry for attention willingly pose naked for complete strangers.
The moderators of the porn community describe r/gonewild as a ‘place for open-minded Adult Redditors to exchange their nude bodies for karma; showing it off in a comfortable environment without pressure.’
Although it is emphasized the nudity displayed on the site is ‘100% free,’ some of the women putting their bodies on display in various state of undress have been known to be rewarded for their efforts with the digital currency known as Bitcoin.
Other exhibitionists are presented with Reddit Gold, a $30 subscription package for enhanced features on the site.
But it appears that the biggest reward for the online exhibitionists is Karma – a Reddit term referring to an accumulation of ‘goodwill’ users receive when their peers upvote their posts or comments.
Statistics posted on the forum, which is intended for people 18 years and older, show that there are more than 408,000 subscribers to GoneWild, about 3,000 of them active at any given time.
According to reporting by the online magazine The Daily Dot, the appeal of the online forum featuring full-frontal nudity is that that pornographic photos depict ‘normal’ women of all shapes and sizes – teachers, college students, wives and mothers – rather than professional adult actresses or models.
And what the mostly anonymous provocateurs get in return for self-exposure are comments
Some of the anonymous provocateurs say that what compels them to take off their clothes for strangers is not only the thrill of doing something taboo, but also the desire to get a boost of confidence from flattering comments.
Some users, however, can be mean and hurtful in their feedback, blatantly pointing out the flaws in the amateur models’ physiques laid bare for all to see.
The community, which has sprung up on Reddit a few years ago, is overseen by eight moderators, who manage an average of 278 submissions and 4,779 comments a day, according to Stattit.
A user by the moniker Nina1987 has emerged as one of the biggest stars on the site. The 26-year-old medical student is one of only a handful of women who show their face in pictures.
She told The Daily Dot that she has been recognized by about 35 people in her day-to-day life, including her older brother, who was shown one of her risqué images.
‘I would have thought most of the men I know in real life wouldn’t be on GoneWild. They’d watch porn in a video,’ she told the magazine. ‘That’s why I was surprised by people in my life recognizing me. I don’t know what the benefit to them is.’
Unlike in mainstream pornography, which amounts to voyeurism with little to no interaction between the consumer and the object of his or her desire, on GoneWild the women’s fans can get to know them and make specific requests regarding their outfit, poses, etc.
Nina believes she has been successful on GoneWild because she has avoided saturating the forum with her photos, instead always leaving her admirers begging for more.
Sometimes, several months elapse between Nina’s postings, but whenever she puts up a new photos of herself topless or nude, spinning a hula hoop or making silly faces, she gets a flurry of upvotes.
‘You can’t saturate the market,’ she explained.
Another GoneWild user Natural_Red, who also helps manage the forum, said when she first joined the community, it was smaller and overwhelmingly positive, but now that it has more subscribers, it is common to see negative comments.
In one case, a 20-year-old brunette named Samantha, who has been posing nude on the site as a way to motivate herself to stay in shape, was left hurt when someone asked her if she was transgender.
Natural_Red, who is 24 years old and married, said her interest in GoneWild was borne out of boredom, but over the past three years it has transformed into an ‘experiment in self-esteem,’ which her husband is on board with.
The GoneWild favorite, Nina, who is also in a relationship, said that she too was attracted to the adult forum while seeking to do something daring and ‘ridiculous.’
‘I’m a thrill-seeking person,’ the busy medical student, who also moonlights as a tutor, said. ‘But I’m also the perfect person to post on Reddit because I’m as ridiculously nerdy as the website calls for.’
Her attitude toward posing naked online in front of hundreds of thousands of complete strangers is that as long as it is not morally wrong in her eyes, or injurious to others, she should be able to do it without feeling ashamed of herself.
‘Everyone is naked under their clothes,’ she summed it up.