Sex the new currency on trading site Bunz

Bunz, the popular trading platform where people can trade everything from furniture to food, is seeing a new trend. In return for goods or service, members are offering to swap a sexual favour or two.

Community-based group of mostly millennials has moved well beyond furniture and food swaps

On the Bunz trading app you can swap just about anything.

"I'm a non virgin who can't drive" reads the post on the Bunz Toronto Facebook page.

"ISO (in search of) someone willing to deliver 18 cinder blocks to me."

"Willing to trade my soul at this point."

"Will consider sexual favours if you're cute."

After a long and drawn-out back and forth in the comments, the poster writes "trade pending."

It's not known if the trade actually ended up involving sexual favours.

But the fact is, more and more posts like this are popping up on Bunz, the hugely popular trading site where money is banned and all transactions are meant to be barter or trades.

Sex trades making some uneasy

Many members have begun questioning the offers to trade sex.

"Question to the admins," writes one.

"I've seen a couple of posts now that (sort of) imply the exchange of sexual favours in return for the posters' ISO."

"Is this like … allowed?"

Seems it is.

Some users of the popular trading platform have recently taken to offering sexual favours in exchange for other goods and services. (CBC)

In response to one of the many posts like the one above asking about the practice, a poster who appears to be a Bunz admin wrote: "We don't encourage or discourage it. We do not allow soliciting for sex."

"But if people want to offer sex/sexual services as a trade, that's just fine."

She goes on to write: "Trades are trades and services are services. We support sex work and sex workers. I'm closing this thread now because we don't need to debate the issue."

At last check, that post had 59 likes.

Judging by their posts, most members appear to be quite comfortable with the idea of sex being traded on Bunz.

It didn't start this way

Even before the sex aspect, Bunz, the little Canadian swap group had exploded in popularity since it began about three years ago.

It was founded by Emily Bitze, 32, a musician who also worked in a clothing store in Toronto's hip Queen West neighbourhood, essentially because she was broke and hungry.

"I wasn't able to make ends meet, which meant that I couldn't always buy food," said Bitze in an interview with CBC News this past March. 

"So, I figured that my friends nearby would have something I needed if I could provide what they needed."

From that humble beginning involving Bitze and just a few of her friends, Bunz has grown to more than 40,000 members, developed its own app, and earlier this year got a cash infusion from an angel investor.

Between the Bunz app, which is available for both iOS and Android, and its website, Bunz is now seeing an average of 600 trades per day.

There are now Bunz groups in Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, London, Ont., San Francisco and Los Angeles, although the largest is still in Toronto.  

Anything goes?

The variety of trades has also grown exponentially. 

There are still standard swaps, involving say, a chair for a record album.

But with no money allowed, in return for items, many Bunz members ask for transit tokens or tallboys of beer, which have become sort of unofficial currencies for Bunz members. Some traders are in search of "420," a euphemism for marijuana.

Now, sex has entered the equation. 

"I am ISO a king duvet [smiling emoji]" reads another suggestive post.

"Trading massage with a fun twist [another smiling emoji]"

"P.S. also all of the love to Bunz tonight y'all are amazing in so many ways."

About the Author

Aaron Saltzman

Senior Reporter, Consumer Affairs

Aaron Saltzman is CBC's Senior Reporter for Consumer Affairs. Tips/Story ideas always welcome. aaron.saltzman@cbc.ca twitter.com/cbcsaltzman

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