An Introduction to FetLife

An Introduction to FetLife

Explore your inner pervert

Image for postPhoto by Sonny Ravesteijn on Unsplash

While meeting partners online is increasingly common and apps like Tinder, OkCupid and Bumble (among others ? these are just the ones I?ve personally used) are beginning to shed their stigma, there are others that will probably always be viewed with stigma and even trepidation. One of these is FetLife.

For the uninitiated, FetLife is a free social network for finding like-minded kinky people and expressing and exploring your sexuality. Its design and UX is a bit old school ? think Myspace, not Facebook. Nonetheless, it serves its purpose. On Fet or FL, as it?s often called by users, people can be as anonymous or open as they wish, using pseudonyms, often listing ?Antarctica? as their area and making up a fake age. While many users avoid posting photographs of their faces, others are astonishingly open, baring all ? face and genitals alike, often with a dildo or appendage or partner or three.

This is not for the faint of heart.

I?m often surprised by how few people have heard of FetLife, particularly now that pop culture has brought BDSM and kink into the mainstream (thanks, 50 Shades!). With so many people suddenly exploring their less vanilla skins (the kinkster term for regular life ? people often distinguish between ?kink and vanilla relationships?), I would have expected more people to at least be aware of its existence. Compared to platforms like Facebook, it?s a minuscule, with only some 3.5 million users.

On FetLife, users can identify as one of a plethora of roles, such as Submissive, Dominant, Switch, Swinger, Rope Bunny, Exploring, or a long list of others. There are a lot of options. In fact, Urban Dictionary might be your friend in deciding whether some of them apply to you or not. But I?d advise simply setting it to ?Exploring? if you?re unsure. Dive into groups and discussions and find out what you like.

Aside from being able to set your ?role?, you can specify the kind(s) of relationship(s) or arrangements you are seeking and whether you seek it 24/7 or ?only in the bedroom?. You can also write a bio, list your fetishes or kinks on your profile and set whether you are ?into? or simply ?curious? about it. You can also get more specific and specify whether you enjoy receiving or giving or whether you have soft or hard limits with regards to, say, choking. You can also join groups, start conversations (or post personal ads), friend or follow people and message other kinksters. You can also upload and view images and videos, or write ?journal entries? for others to read.

In most cities I?ve been to, you?ll find a kink-friendly community that organizes events. While some of these are straight-up sex parties, others exist to ease new members into the community. For instance, ?Munches? are social events where you can dip your toe in, so to speak. It might be a dinner party or a movie night, or simply a discussion around a specific topic. These community gatherings also serve to educate newcomers to the ?scene? about kinky etiquette, a lot of which is basically teaching people about consent, trusting their gut instincts and setting boundaries.

The real beauty of FetLife is the freedom it grants users to explore and discover the world of kink in a (relatively) safe environment. Yes, of course, there are scammers and creeps, but that?s just the internet in general. Exercise some basic online caution and you?ll be fine. Over the years, there have been a couple of controversies (and lawsuits) surrounding Fetlife that have caused them to ban certain topics or ?fetishes? and their associated groups altogether. That?s not to say you won?t still occasionally find something that makes your stomach turn. (For me, it?s mainly the people who write age play erotica in which ?all the characters are consenting adults roleplaying? but one of the characters is clearly pre-pubescent. Also, some of the guys that comment on Consensual Nonconsent groups are clearly not clear on the meaning of ?consensual?).

If you can look past the presence of some truly creepy people, it?s an excellent way to discover what you like and meet people with similar interests, particularly if your fetishes are fairly niche.

Shed your vanilla skin and dive in. The water?s warm.

No, that wasn?t an allusion to golden showers. You sick fuck.

(Not really though, I don?t judge. Much.)

This is not an affiliate post. I started writing a different post, about an incredible date I went on with someone I met on FetLife, and in the process of contextualizing the story, I realized that I needed to explain what FetLife is. Once the explanation exceeded two paragraphs I decided to write a separate post about it.

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