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Monday, April 30, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: I Have Nothing Against Fetlife

Posted by Dan Savage on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I am a heteroflexible, Dominant-yet-extremely-masochistic woman in her mid-twenties and am absolutely in love with your column. I won’t say that it helped me realize my inner kinkster or become more comfortable with my sexuality in general as I did that on my own through a hell of a lot of trial and error, but I applaud you for everything you do for those who haven’t yet been as lucky as I have. I do, however, have one observation/question. In the hundreds of posts I’ve read, I have seen FetLife mentioned exactly four times. I’m keen to know why, when people write expressing concerns about never being able to find a partner who is also into their particular kink/fetish, your general response is almost always to tell them to hang in there and lay their kink cards on the table in front of their potential vanilla partners, occasionally suggest getting involved in the local kink community (without delving into how to go about actually doing so), and to rarely mention a website or two devoted to their specific area of interest. Is there some reason you do not advocate being proactive in their search and joining FetLife?

I read the letters of guys who desperately want a good pegging or (insert random quirk here) and are starting to despair over not being able to find a willing partner and I can’t help but think, "FetLife, you poor bastard!" We’re out here and wanting to meet you! And by “meet you,” I of course mean in a respectful, generally neutral environment where we can discuss or mutual wants and desires openly and without fear of recrimination before either getting down for some freaky fun or deciding that it just isn’t the right match.

I read the letters you publish and think, that is so mild, how hard could it be to find? Just you try finding a big, beefy, straight-ish guy to put on a dress and beat the crap out of you and then kick you when you’re down—it’s a bit more difficult than, say, finding someone who will let you lick their feet. Thanks to joining FetLife and getting out into the community (not by sending countless copy/paste solicitation emails), I have not one but two real life play partners who will get all pretty for me and beat me and then continue to kick/punch me when I’m too high on endorphins to stand on my own anymore. Even better: they are have taken classes in deep impact play and are capable of reading my signals (through intense negotiations and less extreme, introductory play) while at the same time keeping me safe and giving me what I want.

I’m not saying FL is the only hope out there—I met my primary play partner on OKCupid when he was new to kink and afraid of never finding someone who was into strict immobilization. In fact, he was seriously considering playing with a woman who informed him that she was not sure she would stop if he used a safeword and had no experience with tying people up. Anyway, we talked, we met, and while it wasn’t my kink at the time (and still isn’t in my top 10), I liked him as a person, respected his ability to communicate his desires, and had some training and experience with immobilization/mummification so we decided to play after some lengthy negotiation. We have since developed an open poly relationship, and he trusts me to explore what were once his hard limits, from leaving marks to waterboarding. He likes watching me get my ass kicked and indulges my penchant for shoving baseball bats up his ass while I make every attempt to fulfill his desires, from having his ass gang-raped by multiple women to being beaten while tied to a cross upside down. Before you caution me about safety, we are RACK, though we do try to be as safe and sane as possible through continued negotiation, research, attending workshops, and including more experienced kinksters in our shenanigans. Point is, my darling little freak went from suffering extreme cognitive dissonance due to his kinks to being a proud, valued member of the kink community. Did we meet on FL? No. Did it help him realize he is not alone and quickly become the primary tool we both use to plan our community gatherings, classes, and freaky fun with third, fourth, and fifth parties? Absolutely.

So here’s some hope for the hopelessly kinky (and the kinda-sorta kinky, too): we’re out there, and we’re on FetLife.

Not Afraid To Be A Freak

P.S. I apologize for the excessive backstory/overshare but I felt it relevant to my point should you have something against FL.

"RACK," for readers who aren't up on the lingo, stands for "risk-aware consensual kink." It has basically replaced "safe, sane, and consensual" as the rallying cry for the kink community because, um, some folks enjoy things that are a little dangerous, a little crazy, and, er, get off on consensually pushing their consensual boundaries.

And for the record: I have nothing against FetLife (or OKCupid!), and I will try to remember to plug it, baseball-bat-style, at the next possible opportunity, NATBAF. Thanks for writing!

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