How to Fetlife

Some days I just have no idea what to write. Fortunately, some helpful person got to my blog by searching for “How to Fetlife“, and inspiration struck. I have a couple of posts about how to make friends on Fetlife, but not a general guide to finding your way around.

First of all, you need to be aware that Fetlife is not necessarily a safe place to put identifying pictures. Cpl. Jim Brown thought Fetlife was a safe place to put up some pictures and look how that turned out for him. For most people, Fetlife is probably safe enough, but please note the wording there. There is simply no place online that is perfectly safe for everyone to put their photos. As an aside, this is why digital literacy is so important – if you’re going to put a photo up online, you need to be aware that because of how websites and computers work, there is absolutely no way to prevent people from being able to save it and do whatever they want with it. That’s not to say that you will instantly get outed if you put up a face pic, but please think about what would happen to you if you were to get outed and which risks you’re comfortable taking. Fetlife’s content is hidden behind a login, but all it takes to create a login is an email address and maybe a minute of your time.

Contrary to my post about how to make friends on Fetlife, if you just want to have a look around, figure out if there are any munches in your area, and maybe participate in some discussions, you don’t have to worry about filling in your profile right away. If you want to join/post in any groups that are only for certain people (for example, the Submissive men and women who love them group allows anyone to join, but only submissive men and dominant women to post), I recommend filling in whatever combination of gender/role/etc that proves you’re in the demographic the group is meant for so you don’t get kicked out, but aside from that you don’t need to fill in the “About Me” section of your profile or add pictures until you’re ready to start talking to people privately (not necessarily to date, if you want to find people to go to munches with they will probably also be interested in who you are).

There are a number of ways to find events in your city. The simplest, if you chose a city when you set up your profile (and didn’t choose Antarctica as people often do when they don’t want to reveal their real location), is just to click on the Events link at the very top of the page. This will show you a handy list of events in your city, with tabs to see events your friends have RSVPed to and all events. That last one isn’t necessarily super useful beyond curiosity about what’s going on in the world – just now it’s showing me events in Los Angeles, São Paulo, and a bunch of private events that are likely to be nowhere near me.

You can also find events in your city by searching for your city. In the search results you can either choose the ‘Events’ tab to see a list of events that are probably going on in your city or the ‘Locations’ tab to pick your particular location from a list of possible matches.  I say the Events tab shows you events that are probably happening in your city because if you search for ‘Victoria’, for example, you may see events in Victoria, BC, Victoria, Texas, Victoria, Australia and events on Victoria Street and events with ‘Victoria’ anywhere in the description (for example, events on Victoria Day long weekend). It takes a little more clicking, but if you’re getting unhelpful results from the Events tab, pick your location from the Locations tab (if your city name is common there will be a list of places to choose from), then scroll down to upcoming events.

Just like finding events, there are also lots of ways to find groups. If you’re looking for local groups, you can search for your location (or view your profile and click on it there) and scroll down to “Potentially related groups” – just like with events, you’ll likely see groups for other cities with the same name so read the “About” section for that group carefully before joining. It’s not unusual to see people just put the city name in the name of their group without a qualifier like a State/Province or Country, which leads to many confused Australians joining the Victoria BDSM group.

You can also search for your city name and choose the ‘Groups’ tab in the search results to find local groups. Most groups meant for a particular city/state/region will have that region in the group name so they’re usually easy to find.

If you’re new to kink in general or Fetlife in particular, I highly recommend the Novices & Newbies group. If you happen to be a submissive man or a dominant woman, I also recommend the Submissive men and women who love them group (otherwise known as that group I link to all the time because they have interesting discussions that inspire a lot of my posts). Fetlife also has a handy link to a list of the most popular groups beside the Group search box under the Groups link at the top of the page. The most popular groups are generally the most active just because they have more people, so if you want a quick answer to a question or access to many many useful stickies (I’ll explain what a sticky is shortly), have a look at popular groups list.

You can also find groups by searching for particular interests directly or by finding a related fetish and clicking on that. If you have trouble finding what you’re looking for, try rewording your search terms or changing the spacing around. For whatever reason “knife play” with a space returns zero results while “knifeplay” without a space returns two groups and 24 fetishes, so don’t feel like you must be the only freak on the planet who likes _____ if you have trouble finding groups for people who are into the same thing.

When you join a group, it gets added to the “Groups you joined” list under the “Groups” link so that you can easily find it again. You’ll see discussions you’ve participated in or chosen to follow (by clicking the ‘follow discussion’ link at the bottom of the post that started the thread) to the right under “Discussions Following”.

Now that you’ve found some groups, let’s talk about finding your way around within them. The first thing you’ll see when you click on a group, whether you’ve joined it or not, is the discussions tab. This is, shockingly enough, a list of the discussions/threads going on in that group. By default discussions are ordered by the most recent comment, but you can also use the “order by: newest discussions” link at the top of the page (just under the group title and the “About & Rules”, “Discussions” and “Members” tabs if you’d rather see the newest discussions first.

No matter how you chose to sort the discussions, at the top you will always see the “stickies”. They have a little red badge beside them that says “STICKY” on it and they’re separate from the other discussions, so they’re easy to find. These are threads that the group leaders thought were important and/or useful enough that they should always be easy to find no matter how old they get and how many new threads have been started since those threads were created. If you want to post a question in a group, for fucks sake read the stickies first. You don’t have to read every last word of every last one of them, but if you don’t want people to call you out for being too lazy to read the stickies and asking a question that not only has been asked about a zillion times before but has also been answered in great detail in the stickies, at least skim the fucking stickies! The group leaders made those discussions sticky for a reason, the least you can do is glance at them before asking your question.

Another thing you should do before starting a discussion is read the rules of the group you joined. It’s sad that it has to be said, but it’s also extremely common for people to start discussions that are painfully obviously against the rules. For example, the Submissive men and women who love them group does not allow personal ads. Since it’s an international group, having personal ads that could only possibly apply to a tiny fraction of the members is obviously a complete waste of everyone’s time. But that doesn’t seem to stop people from posting personal ads and getting shit from longtime members who are sick of people not bothering to read the rules. Everybody makes mistakes, and if you apologize graciously and do better next time people will generally be decent human beings about it, but you can very very easily avoid looking like an idiot if you just pay attention and do a little reading.

Speaking of not looking like a jerk, it’s also a very good idea to skim over the last couple pages of discussions before you start your own discussion. This will give you a feel for how that particular group behaves and what questions have already been asked and don’t need to be rehashed right away. You might also discover that this group just isn’t for you. There are tons of groups on Fetlife, don’t feel you need to stay in any particular one if it’s not working for you.

Yet another way you can find things on Fetlife is by what’s referred to as “stalking” or “Fetlife stalking” people. If you find a particularly interesting original post or reply, you may want to click on that user’s name to go to their profile, then scroll down to “Latest activity”. This will show you what they’re been up to on Fetlife, whether that’s “loving” or posting writings, pictures, or videos, or starting or commenting on discussions. They might have other interesting things to say in discussions you haven’t read yet or groups you haven’t joined. You can also find interesting groups by looking at people’s profiles – you’ll see a list of groups they lead and groups they’re a member of on the left of their profile.

And finally, the Kinky & Popular link at the top of the page shows you a list of pictures, videos, and writings that are especially popular. Sometimes they’re good, sometime they’re terrible, but if you’re like me you’ll at least get an angry blog post out of it 🙂

I know this is super long already, but please let me know if I missed anything. Readers, what do you wish you’d known when you first joined Fetlife?

Dumbinants behaving badly

Or, whenever I’m not sure what to write, there’s always something on Fetlife to get pissed off about.

For background, some sad little douchebag posted a writing giving terrible, slut-shaming, generally woman hating “advice” to women who are looking for a Master/Dom/Daddy. To quickly (and snarkily) summarize his points, the gist of the writing was that women aren’t paranoid enough about their hygiene already and should probably hate themselves more, women who post pictures of their bodies online are dirty sluts who can’t be taken seriously, women should be virginal little angels in public and only do dirty naughty things with one man, at all, EVAR, and that women shouldn’t hang on to the ridiculous notion that they have the right to get their needs met in a relationship or leave that relationship.

Now, if this writing had been titled “Soooo you want to be my slave/sub/babygirl”, I would have less of a problem with. It would still be some slut-shaming douchebaggery, but I’d be able to say “Wow, buddy. You are going to be single for a long, long time” and shrug it off. This universal requirements bullshit, however, is complete and utter bullshit, and I’m personally embarrassed to be even vaguely associated with an asshole like this. S-types, please please remember that you do not have to settle for this kind of douchecanoe. Unless public self-humiliation by being seen with a jackass like this is your kink, in which case…. party on?

On to the takedown!

1. How do you present yourself physically?

Do you actually care about how you look and or smell? […]

Dude, did no one ever read you Everyone Poops when you were little? I don’t know how you made it to adulthood without figuring this out, but newsflash: sometimes human bodies smell. Also, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 50 years, there’s an entire industry based on the idea that vaginas are fundamentally disgusting and smelly and need to be scoured clean and perfumed so that men can stand to be within ten metres of the owner of said terrible orifice. Women are already told every fucking day that our bodies aren’t good enough the way they are, we don’t need to hear it again from some little shit who can’t deal with the fact that women sweat, fart, and occasionally have unsexy bodily functions.

How I would fix this:

1. I have an extraordinarily sensitive nose and prefer to play with people who are freshly showered. Please let me know if you didn’t have time to shower before coming to the play party, I’d be happy to take a raincheck/negotiate a scene somewhere with a shower available.

There is a tiny part of this that Sir Douchebag didn’t get wrong. I do prefer people who put some care into their appearance and I’m sure many others do too. But by putting care into your appearance I don’t mean hating the fact that you are a mammal and trying to make yourself into a sterile sex doll. I’m talking about things like wearing clean clothing, having showered that morning, and having at least had some gum after eating strong smelling food.

2. How do you present yourself online?

If your pictures are all of your pussy, ass, tits or various scenes of sexual intercourse, how do you expect a Master, Dom or Daddy to take you seriously when you say you want a committed relationship? You are putting it all out there for all to see, comment on and think they can have […]

Someone should certainly be worrying about how they present themselves online, but it’s not the s-types, you slut-shaming assclown. What you’re saying here is that you don’t respect women who do things that harm no one but that you *gasp* don’t like. Now, I hate dick pic avatars as much as anyone else, but this writing, particularly that last line, is some pretty fucking blatant misogyny.

How I would fix this (leaving aside the obvious hatred of women, which is going to take far more than some rewording to fix):

2. I would really love to have a relationship where we appear to be a perfectly normal, well dressed couple and nobody but us knows how freaky we get behind closed doors. That contrast really does it for me.

There is actually a good point in that section of the original writing, but it’s buried at the very end and seems to be much less important to the author than making sure those dirty sluts know they’re worthless. It is actually true that how you present yourself online will affect how much interest you get from potential partners, particularly online. This is an extremely common issue in the Submissive men and women who love them group, where nicer people than I am have patiently explained over and over again that if your entire profile and posting history (protip: we can all see that at the bottom of your profile) is all about how life is terrible and you’re never going to find a dom and why won’t those stuck up bitches give me a chance, people are not super likely to think “Hey, this guy sounds like he would be a lot of fun!”

3. How do you act in public?

Are you bottoming and fucking anyone with a flogger and shows you a bit of attention?

Again with the slut shaming. I’m really starting to wonder if this guy has anything to say that’s not about hating women. Preferring to play in private and only with your partner is fine, shaming people for doing things differently is not. Does this sound exactly like vanilla guys who are threatened by sexually experienced women because they’re afraid they won’t measure up to anyone else? For contrast, a dom who was secure about his skills would be perfectly happy about having a very experienced submissive because people are going to think “Wow, she’s played with tons of great tops and she chose him. He must be something special!” not “Gee, it’s really terrible that he can impress someone who’s been in the scene for more than ten minutes.”

How I would fix this:

3. I prefer to play privately only with my partner. If you really enjoy casually playing in public with different people, I’m not likely to be right for you.

One of many things this guy doesn’t seem to understand is that it’s very common to want to try everything when you first get into the scene. We call it play because this is supposed to be fun! If casual play isn’t your thing that’s fine, but enjoying some casual play doesn’t mean you can’t commit to one person any more than having casual sex means you can’t commit to one person. Which this asshole undoubtedly believes, but that doesn’t mean you should.

4. Understand the M/s D/s is most definitely NOT about how you dictate how you want everything.

In the past few years I have seen a growing trend of “submissives/slaves” that are looking for a Master or Dom and all I see and hear is. “He or She will do the things I want the way I want or I will remove the collar and find someone who will”. […]

Actually, it’s really fucking important to know what you want out of a d/s relationship. There are as many relationships styles as there are people in them, how on earth are you supposed to figure out whether or not your preferred style is compatible with someone who doesn’t know what they want? Oh right, you’re frightened by grown up women and would feel safer with a living doll with no opinions of her own. Buy a RealDoll already, we’ll all be happier that way.

How I would fix this:

4. Don’t come to me with your ideal relationship completely scripted out and expect me to follow that script. A power exchange relationship is something we build together, not a fantasy that I act out for you.

Now, that’s not really what the original writing said, but it’s the most positive thing I could come up with that kind of relates to what DoucheyDom actually said. This guy seems really up in arms about the idea that s-types get to have needs and insist on getting those needs met. Again and again I see poorly hidden insecurity in this writing. It’s scary when women have experience, it’s scary when women do things that don’t turn me on, it’s scary when women say that not just anybody is good enough for them, it’s scary when women like things I don’t like. The problem here isn’t that s-types are a bunch of smelly, demanding sluts, it’s that this sad little shit is no way ready for a grown up relationship. Dude, go back to middle school. It’s much more your speed.


One of my many, many pet peeves is people who call themselves “true” or “real” doms/subs/masters/slaves/whatevers. This bugs me for a bunch of reasons, but for me the worst one is the way some people use it as a weapon.

Sadly, it’s not uncommon to hear “well, a true sub would …” or “I guess you’re not a true dom” from someone who thinks you should do things their way. If you’ve been in the scene for a while, you’re pretty likely to recognize and brush off that kind of douchebaggery, but if you’re new and worried that you’re not a good sub/dom/slave/master/whatever (which is a completely normal thing to worry about!) then you may, through no fault of your own, be easier to manipulate.

As an aside, that’s why I spend so much time yelling about how you shouldn’t blindly believe or respect just anybody, including me. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be polite, but you absolutely do not have to tell people how wise and amazing they are when you think they’re full of shit. People are wrong about stuff all the time, advice that works for other people may be terrible for you, and the only person who gets to decide what’s right for you is you.

But back at my original rant, not only is it a dick move to try to make people feel like they’re not good enough, but there’s no such thing as a true [kinky label of your choice]. There is no accreditation board that gives out “true” certificates, there’s no official test you have to pass to be a “true” whatever. There are people who spend less time playing than you do, and people who care less than you do about having the best fetish gear or the coolest toys, and people who prefer less structure and/or ritual in their d/s than you do, but none of that makes someone’s kink not count. It just makes them not right for you. You’re going to run into a lot of people who aren’t right for you. If they’re not hurting anyone there’s no need to give them shit about it.

And finally, to quote Margaret Thatcher: “Power is like being a lady… if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Same with being a [kinky label of your choice]. If you have to go around telling people how very domly/submissive and true and real you are, you aren’t. If you were, it would come through in your actions.

If you see people calling themselves “real” or “true” or telling you that you aren’t, ask yourself if they have something to gain from making you feel like you’re wrong.

Oh noes, she wants to meet at a munch!

So Ferret wrote an excellent post called You Don’t Know Me, And That’s Okay (also available on Ferret’s blog if you don’t do Fetlife) about how it’s not fair to expect women to magically you know that you are safe to meet alone in a secluded place even if you know that you would never hurt or pressure a woman. That seems pretty logical, right? I mean, it’s not like rapists and assholes walk around with convenient signs on their backs, so women kind of have to be cautious with everyone we haven’t gotten to know well.

So of course some whiny little shit shows up in the comments to cry about how terrible it is when women insist on not just meeting in public, but meeting at a munch. I guess it’s only okay for women to have boundaries when those boundaries don’t inconvenience men. God fucking forbid some guy doesn’t get his dick wet because he’s not comfortable going to a munch.

It is true that if you’re only willing to meet potential partners/play partners at a munch you will rule out some people who might otherwise be excellent partners. It’s true that not everyone can take the risk of being outed, not everyone can physically get to a munch, and not everyone even fucking likes going to munches. Not wanting to go to a munch for any reason is absolutely valid. Whining about people only being interested in meeting you at a munch, on the other hand, is just fucking pathetic.

Guys, if a lady will only meet you at a munch, she’s not fucking forcing you to do shit. She’s simply stating her boundaries. If those boundaries don’t work for you, guess what? You don’t have to go! I promise you will live if you don’t get to fuck her.

Honestly, you should be happy you found out she wasn’t compatible with you before you two even met. How much would it suck to, say, have a job with a morality clause, start falling for someone and then find out that kink is a huge part of her social life that she refuses to give up and there’s no way you can be together and keep your job? Or what if kink is something private for you and you just don’t like going to kink events? Do you really want to have a relationship where she feels like a dirty little secret and you feel pressured to do something that feels wrong to you? That sounds miserable for everyone.

Now, if the woman who was only interested in meeting men at a munch complained that she was having a terrible time finding a boyfriend, then it would be perfectly reasonable to suggest that maybe there are great guys out there who can’t go to munches for whatever reason. But unless a woman’s boundary isn’t working for her and she asks for advice, you really have no business saying a goddamn thing about how she runs her life.

Maybe she only meets people at munches for her own safety, maybe she’s had a lot of no-shows and wants to at least have fun with her friends if her date doesn’t show up, maybe she really wants to see how her friends react to someone before she gets serious about him, maybe she’s extremely busy and the night of the munch is the only night she can meet anyone, maybe kink events are really important to her and she wants to date someone who will go to munches and parties with her. It doesn’t fucking matter what her reason is, what matters is that you treat her like a human being who has the right to make her own decisions. If you can’t do that, you deserve to stay single.

And for the record, having a boundary isn’t entitlement, like Mr Hard-done-by who inspired this post was whining. Entitlement is what allows you to even think that someone should change their boundaries for your convenience.