By: Jean Samick
Gone are the days when people had to hide their unconventional wants and desires. In this day and age, letting ones freak flag fly high and proud is less shocking than it used to be and online communities for fetishists have popped up all over the internet. Some like FetLife and Fetster have over millions of users indulging their wild sides, and there’s no end to the freaky content available at your fingertips. Talking about where to buy furry costumes or the fastest way to tie Shibari aren’t exactly things that you can talk about at your weekly book club. These online communities provide a stable and safe place where they can get information and share ideas with other like-minded adults.
FetLife is one of the better known online fetish communities that boast just over 4 million users in just under 100,000 groups sharing pictures, blog posts and advice across forums ranging from mainstream to niche kink. It’s free, but does require signing up, something which the website consistently assures protects privacy of its users first and foremost. The people who run the website are kinksters themselves, so no shame or judgement is thrown around and it’s a completely safe and accepting community of people who share naughtier interests. FetLife’s wealth of information is not to go unmentioned either; those feeling out new fetishes or seeking guidance about safety and limitations have the ability to talk to seasoned experts. Fetishists really love to talk about their hobbies if you’re interested in listening.
Fetster is another well-known online community with much the same highlights and a few tiny differences. While FetLife makes it known in their About page that the website is not a meat market, Fetster seems to lean more towards using their site as a dating or hook-up website. It puts focus on the websites ability to seek people out specifically, rather than talking to groups of people about interests. It boasts the ability to narrow your search for someone based on details like sexual orientation, gender and kink, and doesn’t limit the amount of messages that can be sent per hour. It works much like a kinky Facebook, with friend groups and instating messaging.
Like anything else, precautions must be taken and safety is of the utmost importance. We’re not talking about safe words and having lube nearby, we’re talking thinking long and hard about what kind of information you want to disclose online. Remember that everything online is permanent, and while safety precautions are in place to protect information, be aware that people online may keep track of it themselves. Think about how private you want to keep your private life, and know your limitations going in and what details to put in your profile. If you play it safe, these online communities can be a nurturing environment for your inner kinkster and a source of support for those just trying things out.
By: Jean Samick