Friday, April 27, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: I Have Nothing Against Fetlife

Posted by on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 4:05 PM

I am a heteroflexible, Dominant-yet-extremely-masochistic woman in her mid-twenties and am absolutely in love with your column. I won’t say that it helped me realize my inner kinkster or become more comfortable with my sexuality in general as I did that on my own through a hell of a lot of trial and error, but I applaud you for everything you do for those who haven’t yet been as lucky as I have. I do, however, have one observation/question. In the hundreds of posts I’ve read, I have seen FetLife mentioned exactly four times. I’m keen to know why, when people write expressing concerns about never being able to find a partner who is also into their particular kink/fetish, your general response is almost always to tell them to hang in there and lay their kink cards on the table in front of their potential vanilla partners, occasionally suggest getting involved in the local kink community (without delving into how to go about actually doing so), and to rarely mention a website or two devoted to their specific area of interest. Is there some reason you do not advocate being proactive in their search and joining FetLife?

I read the letters of guys who desperately want a good pegging or (insert random quirk here) and are starting to despair over not being able to find a willing partner and I can’t help but think, "FetLife, you poor bastard!" We’re out here and wanting to meet you! And by “meet you,” I of course mean in a respectful, generally neutral environment where we can discuss or mutual wants and desires openly and without fear of recrimination before either getting down for some freaky fun or deciding that it just isn’t the right match.

I read the letters you publish and think, that is so mild, how hard could it be to find? Just you try finding a big, beefy, straight-ish guy to put on a dress and beat the crap out of you and then kick you when you’re down—it’s a bit more difficult than, say, finding someone who will let you lick their feet. Thanks to joining FetLife and getting out into the community (not by sending countless copy/paste solicitation emails), I have not one but two real life play partners who will get all pretty for me and beat me and then continue to kick/punch me when I’m too high on endorphins to stand on my own anymore. Even better: they are have taken classes in deep impact play and are capable of reading my signals (through intense negotiations and less extreme, introductory play) while at the same time keeping me safe and giving me what I want.

I’m not saying FL is the only hope out there—I met my primary play partner on OKCupid when he was new to kink and afraid of never finding someone who was into strict immobilization. In fact, he was seriously considering playing with a woman who informed him that she was not sure she would stop if he used a safeword and had no experience with tying people up. Anyway, we talked, we met, and while it wasn’t my kink at the time (and still isn’t in my top 10), I liked him as a person, respected his ability to communicate his desires, and had some training and experience with immobilization/mummification so we decided to play after some lengthy negotiation. We have since developed an open poly relationship, and he trusts me to explore what were once his hard limits, from leaving marks to waterboarding. He likes watching me get my ass kicked and indulges my penchant for shoving baseball bats up his ass while I make every attempt to fulfill his desires, from having his ass gang-raped by multiple women to being beaten while tied to a cross upside down. Before you caution me about safety, we are RACK, though we do try to be as safe and sane as possible through continued negotiation, research, attending workshops, and including more experienced kinksters in our shenanigans. Point is, my darling little freak went from suffering extreme cognitive dissonance due to his kinks to being a proud, valued member of the kink community. Did we meet on FL? No. Did it help him realize he is not alone and quickly become the primary tool we both use to plan our community gatherings, classes, and freaky fun with third, fourth, and fifth parties? Absolutely.

So here’s some hope for the hopelessly kinky (and the kinda-sorta kinky, too): we’re out there, and we’re on FetLife.

Not Afraid To Be A Freak

P.S. I apologize for the excessive backstory/overshare but I felt it relevant to my point should you have something against FL.

"RACK," for readers who aren't up on the lingo, stands for "risk-aware consensual kink." It has basically replaced "safe, sane, and consensual" as the rallying cry for the kink community because, um, some folks enjoy things that are a little dangerous, a little crazy, and, er, get off on consensually pushing their consensual boundaries.

And for the record: I have nothing against FetLife (or OKCupid!), and I will try to remember to plug it, baseball-bat-style, at the next possible opportunity, NATBAF. Thanks for writing!


Comments (46) RSS

Newest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
I think it's ridiculous to suggest, as some have here, that a would-be kinkster should be forced to google for appropriate sites when there is an established site that specifically caters to our interests and takes no extra effort to mention. I'm new here, but have already seen dozens of references to OKC, AFF, and others, and no one seems to withhold these specific sites in favor of having readers leave to go google for them. You want to find BDSM resources like FetLife via googling? Ha! I invite you to go try it sometime. Sort through the ocean of useless BDSM porn results and the like, and see how fast you can find it. I'm quite skilled in web search, but I have found it very difficult to find such a starting point for exploring this aspect of my sexuality.

I was on AFF for a few weeks, with abysmal results. Seems like it's at least 90% single men there, an astounding proportion of whom think they're being unique and seductive by sending a pic of their privates along with something imaginative like "wanna f**k?" Ugh... YAWN!!! The most excruciatingly boring individuals the vanilla world has to offer. Fortunately, I also met a gentleman there who was into kink and recommended I give FetLife a try. Over there, I've met a MUCH more intelligent crowd overall, and I don't have to sort through 50 vanillas and dozens of those stupid emails just to find another kinkster. I've made some new online friends, joined and learned from groups with common interests, and found a Munch where I met some delightful local people IRL who guide me and look out for me as a newbie. I finally found a like-minded play partner... a much easier task these days since one can search by location or specific kink. I feel like I have lots of helpful resources now and am off to a great start. I wouldn't have found any of this if I hadn't been told about it by someone in the know. So please, Dan, I urge you to ignore the naysayers. Everything has its niche. Don't make kinksters have to search for it just because some of the vanilla folks look down their noses at us.
Posted by Salacious Minx on May 3, 2012 at 4:11 AM · Report this
Downlow 45
Fetlife was never meant to be a dating/hook up site. It is meant to be a place for people to share ideas and encourage them to get out into their local community. If fact, it discourages trying to use it as a dating/hook up site.
Posted by Downlow on May 2, 2012 at 3:02 AM · Report this
Ehrm, that last one got away from me...

"Then comes the moment when you talk to someone at a munch and realize that you had been debating sending a message to them on OKC for awhile. That's just magical."
Posted by Crowing on April 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Report this
I'm not sure how familiar Dan is with FetLife, but the site isn't designed to be a dating site. In fact, the operators have created a social networking site that is pretty diametrically opposed to the idea of searching out individuals whom you do not know, prior. At least in my area, most "personals"-esque posts are ridiculed and individuals out there looking to date are in the vast minority. Most people enter the community partnered.

This has been changing, somewhat, with the influx of "younger" users who are more used to "traditional" social media. Even still, compared to OKCupid or the like you're looking at a miserably small pool.

You're better off using an actual dating site while getting involved in the community for social reasons. Then comes the moment when you talk to someone at a munch and realize that you've been debating sending, what sounded like to you, a creepy message to. That's just magical.
Posted by Crowing on April 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM · Report this

IRL fetish events seem to have plenty of women. All those extra guys online are mostly just wankers that would never actually show up.

Just the other day, a friend of mine was complaining that she can't get enough single guys to actually show up at the fetish swingers parties she hosts. Not a problem for vanilla swingers.
Posted by mage on April 30, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Report this
I wouldn't say RACK has replaced SSC. I think it's more of a divide between people who always stay SSC and think RACK is dangerous and stupid, vs people who practice RACK and think it's OK.
Posted by ChaosRocket on April 29, 2012 at 5:27 AM · Report this
seandr 40
@37: Miss you.
Posted by seandr on April 28, 2012 at 10:42 PM · Report this
@34 I found this really hot lesbian. I don't mean she was hot for a lesbian, she was "conventionally attractive." She stopped using the site though.

Fetlife has a high concentration of nerds. If you think hot people who dress like Nintendo characters are gross there is not much hope for you in that sort of community.

Fetlife is not meant to be a hookup website anyway. They do not let you search by location and eye color because they do not want to scare away all of the women. It is designed to be a discussion based website.
Posted by TheLastComment on April 28, 2012 at 9:00 PM · Report this
kim in portland 38

He's teaching in Brazil for 6 weeks.
Posted by kim in portland on April 28, 2012 at 5:27 PM · Report this
hi mtnlion@35
my work picked up, and I had to cut out commenting...
not sure about ankylosaur.
Posted by EricaP on April 28, 2012 at 4:41 PM · Report this
seandr 36
@24: Thank you.

Chistiano Ronaldo occasionally has me wondering just how straight I really am.
Posted by seandr on April 28, 2012 at 4:28 PM · Report this
mtnlion 35
When I go to sex shops I seriously think the guy at the counter is going to think me and bf are lame for going for the just love cuffs/silk restraints. This confirms all my self-consciousness.

Also, where the hell have EricaP and ankylosaur been lately?! I've been gone for a few days, so maybe I've just been missing them, but seriously. Top commenters are MIA.
Posted by mtnlion on April 28, 2012 at 2:55 PM · Report this
Two things:

1. fetlife needs to better their search interface... that thing sucks.

2. people on fetlife are never hot. period. find me a hot fetlifer. I tried it in three cities and never found a hot one (ok, maybe a few but they ALL go to Ren "Faires" or dress up like fucking nintendo characters. gross. Okcupid finds you hotter playmates.

ok three things: dan does mention fetlife on his podcasts all the time.
Posted by fetlifesucks on April 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Bonefish 33
Come to think of it Dan, how come you've only told your readers to visit "" like ten times in your podcasts? It's a great site for finding other sites (like FetLife), and I've found plenty of other useful sites through it! You should always mention whenever a caller wants information that can plausibly be found there. Why are you against google, Dan!

However people feel about RACK or FetLife, I hope they can see how irritating this letter is.

FetLife is a specific site. The people that receive advice from Dan are (by and large) adults, and when he advises them to search on the web for like-minded kinksters, it's perfectly reasonable to leave it up to them to find and choose the website that suits them. "Only occasionally" mentioning FetLife is plenty. There's no need for Dan to spoon-feed people the specific website that worked out so well for NATBAF, and the fact that he only rarely does this isn't indicative of anything.

Each specific site is worth a couple mentions now and again, and it sounds like that's exactly what FetLife is getting from Dan. I think this person just wanted an excuse to write something about her great sex life, which would be fine if she were able to think of a less annoying way to do so. What's wrong with just checking in to say "My kinky sex life is great! Keep spreading the word that kink is alright, Dan!" No need for annoying bullshit pointing out a non-existent problem.
Posted by Bonefish on April 28, 2012 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Don't panic. It's actually a whole lot simpler and more basic in real life, it just gets twitchy when people try to explain it in academic terms.

The basic idea of both philosophies is to do things consensually, with an awareness of any risks that are involved, in such a way to minimize those risks as much as possible.

The theoretical focus of one is on keeping things safe, the theoretical focus of the other is informed consent about the risks. In practice, they're pretty much identical, or at least overlap a heck of a lot.

The vast majority of people in the scene are having fun. Cannibalism is generally frowned upon.
Posted by Lymis on April 28, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Fetlife is a great website.
Posted by TheLastComment on April 28, 2012 at 9:57 AM · Report this
@21. Me. Was guessing it sort of might get into some hot details of violent penetration of str8 men AND IT DID :-).

Obviously @10 didn't read it. Usually I skip the unreg comments but lately some have been on topic and worthwhile. Time to start skipping again.

If any FetLife kinksters are reading this: do any of the Fs into gang raping str8 guys ever invite a gay/bi guy to join in on the ass assault of the str8 guy? If so what areas on FetLife would be best to search for this, or do these groups have such an oversupply of male tops looking for this that it's a long shot...?

Posted by delta35 on April 28, 2012 at 9:54 AM · Report this
Ive found more attractive kinky people on okcupid than fetlife. On fetlife I have found Waitresses at places I frequent and casual friends though. Pretty informative that way.
Posted by cpt. tim on April 28, 2012 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Luluisme 28
@27 - re: what level of risk is ok
case by case basis - different people are comfortable with different amounts of risk.
So, it works, by... ya know... discussing it.

This is true with non-kink stuff too, ie: whether to use condoms, dental dams, gloves for what activities, etc. - different people have different answers about what they're comfortable doing.
Posted by Luluisme on April 28, 2012 at 8:33 AM · Report this
JensR 27
So wait, if both parties involved are aware and agree on the risk, what level of risk is ok? I mean "probably death" is a risk assessment ... "german cannibal couple" is where I'm going with this to be quick about it.

I'm guessing theres boundaries to it aswell - could someone please inform me how this works because now I'm freaking out and have this vision of suicide pacts where both wear gimp masks and I assume/hope thats not fair to kink-people.
Posted by JensR on April 28, 2012 at 4:31 AM · Report this
Although I support plugging FetLife, I would request, if possible, an accompanying PSA about FetLife from Dan when he mentions it. The ratio of men to women who are kinky is extremely high (EXTREMELY high), so it's really great for women. Of course it's really great for men with fetishes too, because the men are going at it knowing that at least their prospective dates are into what they are into. But of course this makes those men very motivated to get those women. Any woman on there will get overwhelming attention from men.

There are a lot of men on FetLife, usually under 25 and totally clueless about this. Their list of fetishes is receiving blowjobs, giving anal and watching women wear lingerie. And they are interested in finding out more about FMF threesomes. This does not make them kinky, it makes them male. These idiots then pursue women on FetLife in a wholesale manner, I assume reasoning that a woman into sex will be a woman into sex with everybody. What they don't understand is that their odds of finding a woman are much higher on a vanilla dating site, where they aren't competing against desperately eligible men who would do just about anything to get the kink-friendly woman of their dreams. Please tell these young goobers to focus on more vanilla sex-positive sites like Adult Friend Finder and PlentyOfFish and Craigslist to find their hookups, because they aren't going to win out against hugely motivated men willing to do anything to become a woman's Prince Charming.
Posted by Marrena on April 28, 2012 at 4:02 AM · Report this
If you couldn't be arsed to read a bit of text, you definitely aren't the type to do a bit of planning for a kink scene. Nor, for that matter, a romantic event of some kind for your sexual prey, because that's likely just what they are.
Posted by ravished on April 28, 2012 at 2:33 AM · Report this
OutInBumF 24
@12- If you were gay, I'd wanna date you, seandr!
Posted by OutInBumF on April 28, 2012 at 12:51 AM · Report this
Neptune 23
@21 I did? It really didn't take that long. And it was way more interesting than most sites I read today. I always find it kind of refreshing to remember that there are people out there right now exploring kinks I haven't even considered.
Posted by Neptune on April 27, 2012 at 11:57 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 22
I once joined Fetlife, but soon discovered that other than being gay, I'm far too boring for the Fetlife scene. I've long since forgotten what my login is.

Still, for people who are into it, I'm glad it's out there for you.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on April 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM · Report this
Come on, people, be honest.

Who among us actually read the whoooooole thing?

Posted by dakoneko on April 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM · Report this
Noadi 20
@16 Because SSC and RACK have different philosophies behind them. SSC puts the emphasis on safety first. RACK puts the emphasis on understanding the risks of the activities you're doing. Some activities can never be made really safe, for example needle play or fire play. I play RACK because as far as I'm concerned there is nothing without inherent risk, just different levels of risk.
Posted by Noadi on April 27, 2012 at 9:47 PM · Report this
Seriously, fetlife is great. It's near impossible to find events if you're not on there, and once you get out to real life events you have a great medium for touching base with people after the fact.
Posted by colduphere on April 27, 2012 at 9:38 PM · Report this
#16: because "RACK" and "SSC" (or "Safe Sane & Consensual") are not the same but instead are competing standards. Safe Sane & Consensual means you only do safe things, whereas under RACK, you do what people call "edge play", i.e. things which we all know are not safe, but both people are aware of the risks, willing to take the risks, and consenting to the chance something is going to go wrong.

RACK players play harder than SSC ones do. It's a different viewpoint.

I myself am more of a RACK girl. One of my submissives was giving me a hard time the other day about my plans to do some things he thought were too risky with another sub, and he asked me what I'd do if it went wrong. "After I call 911, I'll call my husband and say, 'honey, come home & get me a lawyer, I'm getting arrested today,'" I said cheerily. That's RACK. Under SSC, you don't have to talk or think that way.
Posted by Drunken Housewife on April 27, 2012 at 9:27 PM · Report this
Dingo 17
#16: maybe because waterboarding is neither safe nor sane.
Posted by Dingo on April 27, 2012 at 9:16 PM · Report this
venomlash 16
Why would kinksters say "safe, sane, consensual" when they can instead use an acronym that's also the name of a torture device?
Posted by venomlash on April 27, 2012 at 9:11 PM · Report this
Azul 15
I just have to tell you again, seandr, how awesome you are!
Posted by Azul on April 27, 2012 at 8:59 PM · Report this
w7ngman 14
#5 halfway point is when it actually got interesting.
Posted by w7ngman on April 27, 2012 at 8:36 PM · Report this
Posted by novabossa on April 27, 2012 at 8:31 PM · Report this
seandr 12
Just you try finding a big, beefy, straight-ish guy to put on a dress and beat the crap out of you...

I feel for you, dude. My fetish is for being shouted down and shamed for my moral failings by liberal women in the comments sections of alt blogs. Never had any trouble finding partners to play that role.
Posted by seandr on April 27, 2012 at 7:50 PM · Report this
@3 & 5

If you have a hard time reading what is essentially a single page of text from the same person, then maybe the Slog is not for you. Why not try twitter?
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy on April 27, 2012 at 7:49 PM · Report this

You're a piece of work. You make money in your anti-bullying campaign, yet you bash Christian teenagers in your latest rants. A true hypocrite.
Posted by Your dad on April 27, 2012 at 7:27 PM · Report this
For what it's worth, I'm not a kinkster, but the only reason I know of FetLife (and I feel I'm very much aware of it) is from listening to Dan's lovecast, where he mentions it quite regularly.
Dan (in Philly)
Posted by DanPhilly on April 27, 2012 at 7:10 PM · Report this
I'm a married woman with a strong sadistic streak and a sweet husband as vanilla as can be, and I swear FetLife has saved my life.

I have two delightful submissive men I see, with my husband's approval. They don't make a pass at me and accept that it's SM only. I get to do the craziest stuff my sadistic imagination can think of, and then come home and snuggle with my sweet, gentle husband.
Posted by Drunken Housewife on April 27, 2012 at 6:59 PM · Report this
Fantastic letter and endorsement. I love to hear about the people who are into some freaky shit and proud of it. Makes the rest of us proud of our kinks, too.
Posted by dchari on April 27, 2012 at 6:22 PM · Report this
Mischa Vainburg 6
@4: You think they use actual vanilla beans? That shit's straight up vanillin!
Posted by Mischa Vainburg on April 27, 2012 at 6:07 PM · Report this
Mischa Vainburg 5
@ 3: Seriously! Couldn't make it past the halfway mark.

Also, I try not to knock other people's kinks, but holy shit; that sounds both deeply disturbing and deeply, deeply unsexy. But I guess that why it's not my kink...
Posted by Mischa Vainburg on April 27, 2012 at 6:05 PM · Report this
I am so vanilla that if Yankee Candle could render me, they could manufacture all their candles for the next 100 years without resorting to so much as a single vanilla bean.

Posted by MLM on April 27, 2012 at 6:03 PM · Report this
That letter was so long winded and exhausting to read. Jesus people. Less is truly more at times
Posted by Racing Turtles on April 27, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Fetlife has helped me greatly. But the only reason I found FetLife was because I joined/entered the local kink scene.
Posted by Gamebird on April 27, 2012 at 4:52 PM · Report this
AFinch 1
That was an awesome rant and sales pitch.
Posted by AFinch on April 27, 2012 at 4:44 PM · Report this

Add a comment