Depending what you’re into, joining Fetlife is normally the best place to start, because it’s full of actual fetishists, rather than young men who googled 50 Shades and figured kinky girls were likely to be easy. A friend had a rather unpleasant experience on Tinder, so remember: when a bloke says he’s a Dom, and then proceeds to ask you for a picture of your tits in exchange for “something good, I promise”, he’s not a fetishist, he just wants fodder for the wank bank.
Once you’ve set up your profile, complete with awkward butt/dick pic, it’s time to start chatting. Don’t worry about sending out unwarranted messages, so long as they are friendly and appropriate. None of this “have you been a bad little slut? Let Daddy punish you, whore.” You’re a newbie, you need to ask what people want. When I first joined, I was brave enough to go to my first sex party alone within the first week, but you may be a little more shy. The first steps are always the hardest – it’s like the first day of school having nowhere to sit at lunch. Don’t hide in the toilet – go straight up to that nerdy kid with the Marvel t-shirt and own it. Haters gon’ hate.
However, it’s nearly impossible to wade through the myriad layers of shit on the Internet, so if you are feeling brave enough, go to your first event as soon as possible – but keep it mainstream; steer clear of bukkake gang bangs for now. Fetlife has lists of events, but I’d recommend Torture Garden or Antichrist. They’re big so you can hide in corners and watch if you want to, but good and varied enough that if you want to you can join in. They both have playrooms and club rooms, and cater to a lot of fantasies. If your fetishes are a little tamer however, you might want to try swinging.
Killing Kittens, Skirt Club and Hermione are all orgies hosted for the rich, privileged and mildly kinky. But if you want to just have a look, it’s a good place to start without having to invest in latex. Swinging is no longer the territory of your bearded hippy uncle Greg and a bowl of car keys. These are very varied generalisations of course. You may have a really specific kink, or parties and clubs may not be your thing. Whatever it is you want, you will find someone else on Fetlife who likes exactly the same thing. But the same rules apply in the Fet world – don’t meet a stranger off the internet in a deserted car park in Clapton.
So let’s say you’ve spent a few weeks browsing, maybe gone to an event and met some like-minded people, or maybe even a possible play partner (sploosh). How do you safely and successfully navigate the hyper-sexual dating world that is fetishism? Don’t tell your mum, your boss, or your therapist. The first two don’t want to know, and the third wants to know too much. Be honest. Did you really have an orgasm? Do you want to wear a tutu, or a nappy? Are you really MasterOrgasmic8inch?
1. Being a Dom doesn’t mean they can be a misogynist. Calling you a “dirty little cum dumpster” might be what you’re into. But if it’s not, they should respect that and address you how you agree to beforehand. Everyone is different – some people like the violence more than the degradation, some people feel relief when they are humiliated. But assuming after he’s caned you it’s your duty as a woman to go and make him a sandwich is not a fun kinky game, it’s sexist.
2. Embrace it. Yeah, you might inexplicably get dripping wet when you see someone in a pig mask slicing meat with a cleaver. And?
3. A lacy ASOS leotard is not fetish gear. If all you want is to be promiscuous but feel some warped shame in that, and subsequently want to hide it under the guise of being “kinky”, just GTFO. I see you in the Fet club in your Topshop thong. I see you.
4. Don’t out other people. Loudly asking your colleague at work if they’re going to that “piss party” and if they’re worried about pink-eye is straight up unprofessional. On the same note, if you have pictures of the bruises you gave your sub or the hottest chick you’ve ever banged tied up sans ball gag, don’t show other people. It’s not polite.
5. No-one likes a dick pic. If we wanted a video of you ejaculating all over your hand to brighten up the bus ride to work, we’d ask. But we know we’re not the first you sent it to, and won’t be the last. And personally, I just don’t get the appeal. The only time I’ve ever fucked someone purely based on what their cock looked like was because it was the size of my arm and I wanted to see if it would fit. It didn’t.
6. Remember anyone could be a fetishist, but normally they aren’t. For further info see: every guy on Whiplr.
7. If in doubt, FKA Twigs gets you. For further info see: The video for “Pendulum”.
8. Use a safe word. Always. Or any means of indication that you want to stop. This is for the protection of your mind as well as your body. Kink and fetishism is more innately entwined with trust than any vanilla relationship, regardless of whether it’s a one night stand or a prolonged affair. Everyone’s limits and boundaries are different. Yours will expand, grow and change the more you discover what you do and don’t like. There’s no rush. But the law is law, and rape is rape, no matter the circumstances. “Implied-consent” is bullshit. See the amazing Stoya talk on this very subject.
8. Explore. This world is monumentally more welcoming and accepting of your My Little Pony obsession than the vanilla world (FYI, you’re a “brony”).
So now you’re down the rabbit hole, I’ll leave you there. You know where you’re going…
Illustration By Jacob Appelbaum – Flickr: Nude and captured., CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20603951