How to Fetlife: Creating a profile
First rule of creating your profile: don’t use a dick pic as your avatar . . . at least if you’re trying to connect with femmes. Dick pics flag “newbie” and “not really that kinky, just trying to hook up,” both of which tend to shut down any possibilities for meaningful interactions.
Your face is a good option, as is a photo of a scene that you’ve done. Bruised asses, play piercings, hot wax, bondage, and you in your gear are gold star choices. Whatever you’re into, show it!
And yes it’s perfectly acceptable to not have your face in any of your photos. Folks in the scene are very understanding of those who must maintain confidentiality due to careers, child custody, or personal preference. Still, show your work.
You’ll see a lot of profiles that start with the results from their BDSM test. Other common intro paragraphs consist of, “I’m not here to hook up,” “I don’t want to have a threesome with you and your girlfriend,” and “I won’t friend you if I don’t know you.”
It’s important to respect these boundaries, out of a) common human decency, and b) understanding that people have the right to express their kink without being solicited to. Believe it or not the majority of people are on FetLife to learn and make friends.
When folks are looking to hook up, they tend to state so clearly on their profiles. Read profiles before you message people. Message people before you friend them.
Wondering what to write on yours?
Be open, honest, and clear. There’s a great expanse between sounding like a sales pitch and sounding like a waxing romantic. To be honest, sometimes the waxing romantic comes across as creepier than the person who’s straightforward about what they’re looking for.
Don’t try to impress anyone; the more accurately you represent yourself, the more likely you are to find community and partners that you jive with.
Here’s a formula for you to try out:
I’m a __________ (top, bottom, switch) looking for ___________ (new skills, new partners, local events, mentorships, etc.) / I don’t know what my kinks are yet, but I’m super into consent and open mindedness.
Then say a bit about the kinds of scenes you like, as well as your involvement in the kink community:
I mostly top impact scenes, which I love doing at play parties. Sometimes I bottom, but only in private. If you’re in the ________ area, you’ve probably seen me DMing at local dungeons.
It’s best to be upfront about any partners you have. Many people also choose to disclose medical conditions on their profiles, in order to filter out any unnecessary conversations. For example:
My wife and I are sexually monogamous but she fully supports me having other play partners. / My husband is asexual and encourages me to share intimacy with others. / I have chronic pain and often need to change plans to accommodate it. / My partner and I are completely monogamous; I’m here strictly to learn new ways to pleasure and serve her.
Flag your relationship status
There is a section for selecting what types of relationships you have and with whom. Just reading through the options will open your eyes to new possibilities!
There are Cuckholds, Mentors, Ponies, Handlers, Riggers, Packs, Leather Families, and so much more. If your partners aren’t on FetLife you can still select your relationship status, and leave the name blank.
What are you Into?
Finally, my favourite part: adding fetishes to your profile. Click on the “Fetishes” tab and type a topic into the search bar. You can also browse the complete list, random list, and most popular list.
Once your results show, you’ll be given the option to choose from, “Curious,” “Into,” “Giving,” “Receiving,” “Wearing,” “Watching others wear,” and “Everything to do with it.” If you’ve entered a fetish that’s not on the list, congratulations! You’ll have the option to add it. As long as another person adds it within 24-48 hours, it will remain on The List.
If your entry gets flagged for content, try breaking up the word into a hyphenated compound . . . not that we’re speaking from experience or anything.
Looking for community or brain food? Let’s hope so! You can click on the “Events” tab so see all the things going on (these days it’s a lot of Zoom munches.) You can also enter a specific topic in the search bar and refine your search to show relevant events.
Group discussions, in my opinion, is where Fet really comes to life. If context is everything for you, check out “Ask a Dominant,” “Ask a Submissive,” “Leather History,” and “Documented History of the Lifestyle, 1945-95.” These groups will give you a solid foundation and deeper appreciation of BDSM studies. All groups have rules and pinned threads, which you really should read before asking to join.
Want to post a personal ad? Double check the group rules first. Many groups forbid personals, while others are dedicated specifically to them. Othertimes, groups will have certain threads where personals are allowed. If you post a personal ad in violation of a group’s rules your post will most likely be deleted and you may be banned from the group.
Oftentimes folks come to kink because they want to spice things up with their partner. A transformation of perspective typically happens when they stumble into the world of FetLife. They learn that open mindedness is a universal agreement, because most of us can relate to the pain of being rejected. They learn that confidentiality is a universal agreement, because any of us could be endangered based on the setting. They learn that consent is the law, because we acknowledge the danger inherent in what we do, and because we must hold our circles to high standards of accountability or risk losing everything.
BDSM enthusiasts tend to hold the lifestyle dear to their hearts, especially once they’ve plugged into community. The lifestyle has saved marriages, given options to folks who don’t like vanilla sex, facilitate self love and acceptance, provided ways for working through trauma, and reconciled the sacred and the profane so that people can experience peace within.
What are you waiting for? Make a profile, join some groups, and dive in!