First things first, here's what you need to know about FetLife.com, if you haven't read any of our previous articles about this site.

FetLife.com Review: It's simultaneously the best dating site in the kink community that isn't actually a dating site.


It's the best way to get dates is to know lots of people who're into the same things you are, and is hands down the easiest way to meet those people. FetLife is free to join, although there's also an inexpensive membership package that helps support the site and comes with a few extra perks. There are a vast range of features, but the heart of the site is its tens of thousands of groups – you can use these to find people who share your fetishes, live near you or even like to play the same board games.

It's not a fetish dating site per se, but on the other hand, its strategy is probably more effective for those of you – and I know you're out there – who would like to be savagely beaten by someone you actually know rather than a total stranger. More than anything else,

FetLife.com Review: A sense of community is its strength.


But in some ways, that strength can also be a weakness. After all, a social community based on sex poses a lot of challenges. Just because you and a friend are into the same things doesn't mean you want to talk to them about your shared interests – and on a dating site, you wouldn't. But FetLife is kinky Facebook, not kinky OKCupid, and as a result, you may find out more about your friends than you ever wanted to.

fetlife review

Or, indeed, you might worry that they'll know a little bit more about you. I know that seems strange, considering that the whole idea of the site is to talk about what you like to do in the bedroom, sex club, elaborately-furnished dungeon or public place. But the anonymity – or pseudonymity – of most dating sites somehow makes it easier to talk about what you're into. I don't mind talking in front of a bunch of strangers, but my ex is on there. We're still friends and I trust her not to point and laugh, but I can't be the only person who feels awkward talking about his sex life in front of his ex. Chance encounters can be great, but if the price is talking about edgeplay in front of people I've fought about what to have for dinner with, I'm not sure it's worth it.

So what can you do if you feel a little uncomfortable opening up on FetLife – besides lump it, that is? Well, take a look at your fellow kinksters' profiles.

FetLife.com Review: The community has a lot of variety.


And I don't just mean variety in the type and quality of dick pics, although there certainly are a lot of those. But a lot of them are a little more restrained. Check out the list of possible kinks, too – some of them are extremely explicit, while others just give a sense of a general interest. You can give as much or as little information about yourself as you want. Once you've gotten to know someone within your groups, you can open to them directly about your interest in, for example, branding, in a way you might not to your whole kinky social network.

The question of openness on FetLife is a direct consequence of the fusion of social media and kink. Social media sites are all about forming bonds with people you don't necessarily know very well. You could say the same about dating sites – perhaps with a different kind of “bonds” – but as a community, we haven't quite worked out what the etiquette is yet.

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