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A BDSM Online Dating How-To

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It’s the 21st century, and whether anybody likes it or not, the dating process is now ruled by the online world. While our smug ancestors were content to meet up at the local soda fountain and “spoon” (it meant something different then), the internet just solves so many problems in dating that it’s become entrenched.

We all hope our online dates come off at least this well…

“Burn After Reading” is one of the few Hollywood movies in recent years to treat online dating as an ordinary fact of life. But when you bring BDSM into the equation, we’re back in the realm of the extraordinary – to an extent.

Just like regular dating, you should look for personal compatibility first. You should be clear about your intentions, whether it’s a casual short-term relationship, being part of a poly household, or you’re looking for “The One” whom will be your permanent partner in life.

The most prominent BDSM online social website has emerged as Fetlife.com, which bills itself as a kind of Facebook setup, but oriented to alternative lifestyles. They stress that they’re not a dating site per se, but a social site where you’re encouraged to interact with each other in public forums, with hookups as a secondary concern, is exactly the right way to handle this. Other popular BDSM dating sites include CollarSpace.com, and OKCupid.com is also touted as BDSM-friendly.

Setting Up Your Profile

You should start with the usual prerequisite information about you and what you’re looking for. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because you’re on a BDSM social site, you need to emphasize your kinky desires up front. If all you’re interested in is part-time play-partners, that’s the situation where you can emphasize your kinks list and preferences more. Do pay attention to details like whether you’re willing to travel, or to have a long-distance relationship. For long-term relationships, you have to be specific in details like kids, career concerns, lifestyle choices, smoking or non, religious alignment, and the usual gamut of compatibility issues. No matter what your aim, you should include at least a few words about your non-kink interests, too. You’re an interesting person, not just a bedroom playground.

You should include some photos of yourself. Not including photos immediately makes others suspicious, because who doesn’t have access to a camera in this day and age? That being said, you don’t have to make those be nude photos. If you’re going to show yourself off like a piece of meat, be prepared to be treated like one. A select series of recent, relevant photos is ideal. Of course, you’ll notice that the online world appears to be one big 24/7 exhibition party anyway. Just be advised that when you release revealing photos of yourself to the world, you lose control of them. Think about your career before showing your face and nude body in the same frame.

In writing your profile –  please, for the love of sanity! –  pay some attention to spelling and grammar. Bad writing is the halitosis of the internet; it will stigmatize people against you before you get a chance to make an impression.You don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar, but you should be able to show elementary education.

One aspect of BDSM dating is a common factor: Many people are married or otherwise committed to a significant other who does not share their crucial kink. In those cases, the kinkster partner, usually with the consent of their Vanilla partner, seeks outside fulfillment. That’s up to you to decide if you’re OK with that. The BDSM world does tend to be relaxed about non-monogamous hookups – for example, the present author has known a couple where the wife was a submissive masochist and the husband was physically handicapped and disabled, so they sought out outside play partners for her. Another common situation is a kinky M-F couple where only one partner is bisexual, so they seek playmates for threesomes – this is called “unicorn hunting” because it’s so rare to find just the right person for that situation, but by golly it does happen.

Mingling

This is the tough part where we sort the wheat from the chaff. You won’t get anywhere by just posting a profile and waiting. You’ll need to chat, join discussions on the message boards, message other users, and interact.

There’s an old saying “Never frown, because you never know when somebody might be falling in love with your smile.” That works for online interactions. Don’t get into fights with online trolls (and boy howdy, does it ever get dramatic sometimes!), brigade for or against a group, or force your ideas on others. It’s fine to be yourself and have some values and beliefs, but save your war helmet for some other venue.

A popular acronym goes “YKINMK” – “Your Kink Is Not My Kink.” Don’t judge other people for being into what you’re not. The BDSM world is also great at bringing vastly disparate walks of life together. We’re all a bunch of weirdos and freaks to someone. Be tolerant and strive to be tolerated.

If you find yourself pulled to someone or they find themselves pulled to you, there’s something to be said at this point for being flexible. The other person is bound to have some kinks outside your wheelhouse. Try to open yourself up to new experiences if you’re not completely paralyzed by them. If you’re going through life saying you like spanking with a cane or whip, but not a paddle or belt, and refuse to budge an inch, you’re just setting yourself up for an even more limited dating pool in a field where you’re already a lucky rabbit’s foot if you’re just getting something close to your needs.

Hooking Up

OK, say you’ve discovered somebody online and you like the cut of their jib. They live within your agreed-upon traveling range, and seem to not be a serial killer nor a fake scammer in Siberia seeking your credit card number (yes, this happens!).

Set up a meeting. Your first meeting should be public, at a neutral place. One perfect meeting place is your local BDSM social club, at a munch. This way you have a public venue surrounded by people who know you and can also oversee your meeting. Your next best bet is any coffee shop, tavern, deli, or walk in the park.

We would tell you not to go home with each other on the first date, but who are we kidding? Have a “safe call,” which is a trusted friend who will wait for a phone call from you at a specific time to signal you’re OK and not a victim of a crime now – or who will notify authorities if you don’t make that call.

From here on out, we have a whole archive of articles on kink-friendly relationships. Get out there and find your perfect match – you’ll be contributing some joy to the world!

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