Kit Q&A: How do you meet people on FetLife?

FetLife is a social network for kinksters, people with fetishes & those into BDSM.

On some Saturdays I answer reader questions or respond to frequent websearches.

How do you meet people on FetLife?

Some readers asked this question during the Guide to OKCupid Dating series. Many of the people who visit this site are either on FetLife or should consider joining. FetLife is a social network for kinksters, people into BDSM, or anyone with a sexual fetish, whether it’s a love of floggers or a passion for complicated rope bondage. It’s free to join & communicate with other people, though if you pay a monthly fee you get some extra features like videos.

But FetLife is not a dating site. Users visit the site for many reasons — to meet friends, to share tips and techniques about their favorite ways to play, or just to look at the hot pictures that other users post. The creators of the site have deliberately left off certain key dating site features, such as the ability to search for users in more than the most general way. You can see every user who lists their location as Austin, but there’s no way to narrow it down. If you wanted to search for all the FetLife users in Austin of a certain gender, or who were dominant, or shared your kink, you’d be out of luck.

Additionally, the culture of the site does not encourage random trolling of profiles. You will find some profiles which encourage strangers to contact for dates, but most do not welcome this. It is possible to meet people on FetLife, but it takes a bit more work and more social skills. The first step is to make your profile there, and just like on OKCupid you’ll want it to share as much of yourself as you are comfortable sharing. Upload some photos and describe yourself as more than just a collection of fetishes. FetLife offers many more options for gender, sexual orientation, and relationship styles than any other social networking site.

Then start exploring the site. Just like Facebook, there are discussion groups for different topics and regions, and event listings. Find people interested in things you like, the kinds of people you’d like to meet and find out what discussion groups they use, and what events they attend. Very often you will find regional groups devoted to others in your area with your interests (such as, Texas rope enthusiasts). The best way to meet people through FetLife is actually to use it to find some real life events — especially social mixers often called ‘munches.’ After you meet people there who you like, you can exchange your FetLife handles (almost everyone will have one) and then continue exploring your connection online.

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