FetLife aims to form the hub of a BDSM, kink, and fetish community where connections can be forged, and ideas can be shared freely and without judgment. For years now, this site has truly been one of a kind. For starters, most of its features are free, even though donations do open doors to special privileges, billed from 6 months and not monthly. It seems the hidden world of fetish is larger than ever, with 8 million participants and growing; it looks like kink is the new vanilla. The ability to engage in private messaging, post on other users’ walls and connect with like-minded people make this site a Facebook of fantasies with messenger-style communication.
FetLife was founded in 2008, so it has really been around in more ways than one. At the time, there were no real options for such communities, which inspired John Kopanas to create FetLife.
John Kopanas, aka John Baku, is the founder and owner of FetLife. He is a software engineer from Quebec, Montreal, who one day grew tired of searching for like-minded matches on conservative networking sights. FetLife likes to promote itself as Facebook, ‘but run by kinksters like you and me,’ while emphasizing their social networking status over the dating site label.
The question remains: are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and start investing time and money into FetLife? Let’s see.
Signup is a breeze, as you are to specify DOB, location, sexual orientation, etc. Your phone number is required to set up your account as well as profile retrieval necessaries (email and cell number) in case of a blackout.
Privacy is king, so you can’t use your usual social media profiles to register, but don’t worry, you can post links to your groupies on Facebook and Twitter if you want.
Right off the bat, FetLife prompts you to deliver on your individual sexual interests. When you choose your fetish and your kinks, this site automatically offers suggestions on users to follow and groups in your niche. Once that is completed, you have access to your free membership and can enjoy most of this site’s features. Sorry, no videos; you need to support FetLife with your 5 USD a month.
Find users with the help of the FetLife search bar or take a chance to meet new acquaintances using the ‘Explore’ tab or in groups. The biggest advantage FetLife has is its huge user base. You are pretty much guaranteed to find your match in whatever it is that turns you on. From curious newbies to professional dominatrixes, if they are out there, they are bound to be in here, somewhere.
Once you find them and add your chosen user as a friend, things pretty much follow the routine. It is best to peep at your potential new buddy in their profiles, just to make sure of their guidelines before you spring your kink on them. It’s free to check out their photos and their videos. If you are a FetLife ‘donor,’ you can filter them into favorites according to the most recent communication.
Removing information from the FetLife site is easy. All you have to do is go to the ‘Edit Profile’ page to delete or edit information. It is simple to deactivate your account permanently. If you are unsure, there is also the option of hiding your page temporarily.
FetLife boasts a whopping 4.5 million users from the good old USA with a staggering total of 100,000 new devotees per month. Unfortunately, the ladies are slow on the uptake and only form 25% of the FetLife population, with the guys taking up 75%. Don’t feel that that is a small lady show of hands, though, because there are 2 million strong women. They are, however, people who need to explore the not-so-hidden world of BDSM, kink, and fetish. Most of these individuals are between 25 to 34 years, but with 8+ million, there’s room for all.
It is no surprise that the USA heads up over half of this website, being more open and progressive in individual sexual expression. If you are shy, you can choose to peruse public comments before you take your plunge; alternatively, you can jump right into one of the discussions.
This site is tech-savvy, millennial heaven, who are free-thinking and less concerned with boomer hang-ups. However, FetLife is not entirely devoted to its domination of sexual cyberspace; there is room for all. Well, not all exactly. FetLife did a spring clean in 2017 to eliminate some harmful and non-consensual kinks out there. Good for them.
Put on your big boy or girl panties because you are going to see some whack stuff, from nudie shots to live acts. So, choose profiles that match your comfort level. Just like those “friends” on Facebook who send you kitten memes, you can block your FetLife pests with a simple click.
To check who is in your hood, Perv Kinkster Nearby is a click away from your conversations page. Just make sure your location is near, and you will be able to scope all the local talents. You can also access your archive, inbox, and your previous messages.
With FetLife, anything pretty much goes. Since 2017, the less savory elements of free sexual expression have been curtailed. But if activities are between consenting adults, you will find someone to share your secret fantasies with.
True to its all-embracing and non-judgmental ethos, race & ethnicity is not a point of any real focus on FetLife. Its 8 million users come from every demographic out there.
Generally, the folk you will find on FetLife are not the most conservative people. Permissive policies embrace those with all religious beliefs.
In comparison to other social networking applications, FetLife stands true to its founder’s dream of connecting with like-minded individuals in an accessible and non-judgemental space that is both user-friendly and free. Free users have access to most of the site features and have the option of opening other possibilities.
FetLife’s “donation” isn’t that expensive. A six-month contract will only cost you 30 USD, and refreshingly, they don’t try luring you into longer contracts by lowering monthly payments. Thus, 12 months is 60 USD, 24 months is 120 USD. All for 5 USD per month. Nice.
At FetLife, there is no such thing as buying a premium membership. They lend support to the site by “donating” a specific amount monthly. However, this is only available from 6-month increments — a policy the site regards as necessary to sustain its business.
Payment options range from Bitcoin, PaySafeCard & GiroPay to direct debit, credit card, and bank transfer. Those who are on the DL need not worry, their billing receipts are from BitLove Inc. Billing is not auto-renewable and must be made manually.
Additional perks for supporting members
It is simple to deactivate your account. But, you do not need to because payments will not auto-renew. If you are unsure about staying or going, there is also the option of ending your account temporarily.
All information on FetLife is SSL-encrypted, and when you delete information on this site, the servers automatically delete all your data as well. So, your secrets are safe. FetLife will not sell your user info to third-party sites, so you won’t get riding crops coming up on your browser. FetLife limits itself to general statistics of members to judge the efficacy of new perks.
FetLife does its best to eliminate fake users on the site, but like all social networking and dating platforms, it has its amount of spammers. The website takes such gate crashers seriously, however, and has a dedicated team to tackle reports of suspicious activity. So, consider what real people can do on FetLife to weed scammers out.
You can share as much as you want or don’t want on your profile page, it only takes six tabs to edit, so there is no big hassle. The first tab displays your interests. Then, the second one tells a story about yourself and tailors your format to how you feel you should be presented. You can add your connection on FetLife if you wish, on the third tab, but no wishful thinking here, you must be friends on this platform.
Show off your website links in the fourth tab, so your potential partners will be redirected to your chosen spots. Then, really bring out your best kink on tab # 6, where you can upload photos and videos (but not too much; you are limited to 5 GB).
If you are worried about Grandma stumbling onto your foot love activities, you can keep your profile private. That way Nana, your primary school teacher, and other personae non grata can be filtered out. Or leave your profile open if that is your thing. But be aware, you are going to find some sketchy pages, empty or partially filled. It is up to the user how “out there” they want to be. This is a bad thing and a good thing if one understands that some people want to engage in a community without being “outed” and must face public scrutiny.
You can keep tabs on your friends and followers on the left of your profile, and if someone seems fake or makes you feel uncomfortable (not in a good way), you have the option to report them to the support team.
FetLife isn’t as sleek, streamlined, and algorithm-based as other dating sites like Tinder and OkCupid. It has a distinct Facebook feel to its users; so, if you want instant hookups, it can seem a bit frustrating. However, if you are out there to be part of a community, FetLife puts the “social” in social networking. Still, this platform can seem to be a step back in time to the clunky text-based websites of the 2000s.
There is one feature that makes FetLife really stand out from your run-of-the-mill dating sites or social networking spots, and it is called Fetishes. Not only did Kinkmaster John Kopanas create this space for those with a more specialized set of needs to meet each other, but he went one step further.
Members have a playground to explore fetishes that they may not even have imagined. There are more than 60 choices of naughty and nice to choose from, and from there, you will be redirected to a whole host of other members and groups who share your idea of fun. Check out the list of related fetishes to broaden your horizons; it is all there on FetLife.
Added to that, you have access to a world of free pornographic content, and you can follow your chosen users if they inspire you, much like you could on Facebook or Instagram.
Only Android phones can access the FetLife app. Google Play Store and App Store are out; it is only available in APK format on the fetlife.vip website. iOS owners have the option of the APK version via Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox browsers.
The mobile app seems the most popular; 70% of all users have their mobiles handy. Desktop does have its followers, too; maybe, those are stay-at-home kinksters.
If you send too many messages, you get sent to a “time out” to think over your transgressions. Generally, this applies to participants sending excessive amounts of texts to people who are not part of their friends or groups. Don’t worry; it’s only for a few hours.
Most of the features available in the desktop version are on the phone app, too. So, it eliminates the need to toggle between the two. You can turn on notifications to be kept abreast of updates on group chats and other activities, and don’t worry if you are on the DL; you can change your FetLife logo to a generic icon. Just in case.
FetLife’s main competitors are BDSM.com, Fetster, and Whiplr, but their emphasis is not on dating. On the whole, FetLife is the top platform for like-minded people to explore the less explored aspects of their sexuality.
FetLife provides an amazingly supportive community for people left outside mainstream sexual orientations. Membership is not expensive, and there is an enormous variety of sexual leanings to explore and communicate.
FetLife is a social community where you can reveal hidden desires in a safe space and explore your preferences among like-minded individuals. Despite its reputation, it is not really the deep dark dungeon where members lurk to ambush the open-minded. Rather, it is the cave for those who seek caves outside of mainstream scrutiny. This is a place where the social pressures of being beautiful and perfect don’t dominate the mood.
A lot of the time, the participants don’t show their faces, but when we are talking about fetish, it is understandable that some need to retain a bit of privacy. Although the interface of FetLife seems a bit text-heavy and old school, you still get an eyeful of amateur sex play, and you don’t get your buzz killed by a bombardment of advertising. It is no Tinder, but essentially, it’s not just about the hookup, it’s about feeling accepted into a community.
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