Fetlife: Dating Site Or Not?

I’ve seen a recent thread of conversation over on Fetlife that revolves around whether a search feature is needed to make the possibility of hookups easier. My question is how easy do people want it?

Whether you believe that Fetlife is a “dating site” or not, the reality is that people are fully able to use the site to meet people. I’ve met a couple of people and become friends with more because of that site so it obviously isn’t that hard to do it. You’re putting up a profile which hopefully tells the reader something specific about you and your kink — the rest is up to the person reading it. On that site, we are all among like minded people already, most of whom are revealing their in-most selves to the world right off the bat. Is any more needed?

In this era of things like Match.com and the (to me) annoying eHarmony is that people in the dating world seem to want to be spoon fed their mates. Rather than get out there and find someone and allow serendipity to play a part, they want to check a bunch of boxes and have a computer spit out a hundred names they can sift through. I don’t understand the sense of wonder in this method. It’s like a bunch of bean counters have appointed themselves the efficiency experts of love, turning something that should be as much about self-discovery as it should be about getting to know other people. Business people ruin everything they touch.

Fetlife is not a “dating site” by definition but it is a social network and social networks of all kinds can and do lead to various connections. However, not every connection is going to lead you to The One — some will lead you to people who are just going to be good friends or acquaintances. Isn’t it also important to make these kinds of connections as well? I think some folks are just lazy while others come across as desperate. I’m not insinuating that all people who are actively looking are desperate, just those who seem to have the attitude that waiting long enough to read a couple of people’s profiles is like waiting an eternity.

Unless a person is a total nut, they have no reason to expect that they are going to walk up to a total stranger and say, “I can has relationship now, plz”, in the same way they can walk up to someone and say, “Let’s screw”. I’m sure there are some isolated circumstances where this is possible but I’ve never experienced it. I’ve said it before, Fetlife may not be a “dating site” by name but that’s what it is — because every place is a dating site if you are only willing to reach out.


34 Responses to “Fetlife: Dating Site Or Not?”

  1. ~~~~> I am among the desperate. (lol!)

  2. ..but seriously…
    that was a particularly good blog, Rad. Timely. I found Match.com to be a joke..and the man that founded eHarmony is just damned ANNOYING. I strenuously avoid ANY ad, company, or movie that has that AWFUL song ”
    Everlasting love (this will be)”

    I think people nowadays are raw.. and wounded, and don’t want to risk hurt. But….anything worth having IS worth working for. I suppose a hearty dollop of trust and faith can’t hurt.

  3. Hi Rad,

    Long-time luker but first time poster! Totally agree with what you say above and something I’ve been musing over lately. And it applies to every site, whether it be Fetlife or a dating personals site like Spankfinder or Match. You need to get active and connect with people, not just sit there and wait for it to happen. By reaching out to people, you make friends, maybe find play partners and manybe just maybe you’ll meet a partner. But it’s never going to happen unless you get involved. One of my pet peeves about these sites are people who add me as friend but never message me or don’t want to talk to me. This isn’t Bebo where the number of friends youy have makes you look popular! And people on personals sites who don’t bother to fill in their profile or say anything about themselve. How an earth do you expect to engage people with minimal effort?? Rant over but my point is that the people who get the most out of these sites are open to conversationa and connecting with people and accept that it’s up to them to make it happen.

  4. I agree Rad. I also concur with Lisa that people are raw and wounded no matter what site they are on. I tried that one site where it’s all about sex. And it IS all about sex. I think any place and every place you meet someone there is a potential for relationships whether it be a new friend, a play partner, a lover or a potential mate. People do expect life to be handed to them on a platter. It’s the lack of effort getting INTO the relationships that probably preclude and enhance the lack of effort kept into making relationships work in the first place.

  5. You know, I’m getting a little sick and tired of people coming onto this site with good, smart and on-topic comments.

    Thanks for the great contributions of the above folks (and welcome to Emma Jane)

  6. Well then, you shouldn’t generate such good topics of conversation!

  7. I must be missing something, because I don’t see the downside to making it easier for people to find each other on Fetlife. I can see the downside of *expecting* to have a relationship handed over without doing any work. But, whether or not a person is lazy and has unrealistic expectations depends on the individual, and that doesn’t depend on whether you used to search engine to find someone or not. A search engine can’t create a relationship, but it can create the opportunity for a relationship that otherwise would not have existed, thus making it *more* likely that singles can reach other compatible singles.

    • sirarthurcreamyballs Says:

      Agree. Fetlife is so stupid and biased against single men. Most of the PMs I send women on there, when I can find them (the ones who are not already pansexually attached to several other people) at best I’ll get a discussion going with them which will generally go no further than the usual online cock tease, more often though if I get a response from a female member it is to just complain about something, and accuse me of copy+pasting the same message. I mean, I may be guilty of that but why not, do the women there are all think they are so important that every guy who writes to them has to compose a long letter specifically tailored to them? Why the hell would any guy do that, when it’s fairly likely he wont get a reply back anyway, and that’s even if she reads it. Fetlife, like many of the members there, is so far up it’s own ass.

      • InChains Says:

        I know this is 3 years late, but… seriously, mate. You seem to have a HUGE entitlement complex.
        As a single male myself (a working-class one with mediocre looks, no less), I’ve had no trouble meeting people, making friends, and even meeting partners on Fetlife.

        But then, I actually bother to read profiles before messaging people, I type out individual messages (usually short, not “long letters”) instead of using copy-pasted pickup lines or creepy “hey wanna screw?” openers, and I never EVER feel entitled to attention from the women I talk to on there.

        If you go into it acting like a clueless MRA such as *expecting* women to either fall at your feet or just ignore you, you’re going to have a bad time – and that goes for pretty much the entirety of the kink scene.

  8. @Emma Jane;.. Hi! … I just wanted to completely agree with you that it’s a very odd phenomenon:..this “adding of friends” that people request…based on some type of supposed “compatibility”… and then …Nothing.
    You never hear from them ..UNTIL you delete them, and then it’s like you locked them in a trunk. I don’t get it.

  9. Jake: I’m still not understanding what is difficult about doing that with Fetlife — perhaps you could explain further.

    Lisa: Most of the time, I’m very nervous about contacting people because I think they will be bothered or annoyed.

  10. How could anyone be bothered or annoyed by you…?

  11. Emma Jane Says:

    Everyone has their own view on this but I love being contacted by people. For me that’s the reason I’m on there, with a profile that I hope will engage like minded people, hoping they will come to me as much as I go out to others. And for those that contact me and we have nothing to discuss or share then a polite no thanks suffices, but it would never bother me. And yes Lisa is totally correct, how could anyone be bothered by you Rad!

  12. Rad: Suppose you are a single male, looking to date females, and you want to view the profiles of local single females who are also looking to date. What do you do? If you search by “seeking relationship” you can’t refine it to any particular area. You can’t pick an area and search within it. You can only pick a city and then comb through every single profile trying to find compatible matches. If you live in a region like LA/OC there are about 70 different cities that could be considered “local,” depending on where you live. Wouldn’t it be helpful to refine your search to women whose age is within 10 years of your own age, if that were important to you? But, you can’t; not on Fetlife.

    So, it becomes an arduous task to find compatible profiles. Why not make it easier? It has little to do with whether or not individuals will put an effort into establishing and developing worthwhile relationships. It just creates more opportunities. What’s wrong with that?

  13. Jake: That’s very well put and I see your point entirely. Have you tried discussing this in one of the groups on Fetlife? I’ve seen some threads about this subject but have never seen a satisfactory answer as to why it the ones who don’t want it outweigh those that do.

  14. Rad: Since I am not actively seeking right now, it’s not that important to me. I just like arguing with, big boy. 😉

  15. I meant: “I just like arguing with you, big boy. 😉 ”

    Way to ruin a quip, Jake.
    I’ve already experienced the frustration of trying to search for singles on Fetlife, though, so I know of that which I speak.

  16. Maybe it’s because my focus is different on Fetlife — merely connecting with people.

  17. I think your last comment kind of sums it up a bit. If you aren’t “seeking” then it’s not important to be able to narrow things down, you are just making friends and connections etc. However if you ARE seeking then it’s kind of a pain not to be able to narrow things at least to some reasonable degree.

    People who use things like forums and join or start conversations on them tend to say that other people who don’t aren’t putting in the work to create relationships. I think that sounds like I don’t like forums, lol. That’s not what I mean, I’ve participated on other forums for years and have enjoyed them and made some wonderful friends there.

    But really some people genuinely do not enjoy participating on forums and joining those kinds of conversations. I don’t think that makes them wrong, or necessarily lazy. Or they may have their reasons for searching for friends and/or partners within a certain area or age group as well as orientation (gay/straight or top/bottom). Maybe they are looking for a real relationship with someone within a reasonable traveling distance, or maybe they are looking to just hook up with people who are also interested in just hooking up. It makes it a little easier to navigate if there is a search engine with more info on it.

  18. Yeah, so, yeah…What a topic! And what well reasoned responses. I can’t stand most online conversations because many people can’t seem to express complete thoughts or they just butcher grammar/punctuation/language. I’ll be having this conversation with someone and trying to decide whether to hang out with them and then bam!–They write “alot” or use an apostrope “s” to make something plural (e.g., I work out on Friday’s. [sic]). There’s no way I can have a close friend who thinks “alot” is a word. I’m a snob. There are things that make me crazy. (Don’t tell me how something “is ran,” either. Arrgh!) Put me in a room with people and I’m sure I’d gravitate very differently. I’m actually pretty mellow; I swear. I tend to give real, live people the benefit of the doubt, whereas language misuse (which is different from repurposing for flare 🙂 is real barrier between me and other online denizens. Is there a support group for that?

  19. What Jasmine said (someone please find her a support group — quick).

  20. I don’t know, Jasmine. As long as they don’t use “dominate” as a noun, it’s all ok.

  21. Jasmine…

    OWN your ” snobbiness”, Girl. I feel ya!

    I love words and language and it saddens me to see it slaughtered. Alot ( gotcha!) of people can’t help it though ..as they may have never been properly taught. Some just don’t give a damn. And when people write to me, I try..I REALLY try to act like it shouldn’t matter but…it kinda does. To me, anyway.
    THis blog seems to attract the more articulate ( and funny!) sort of folks. Any less would result in multiple public floggings..no doubt.

  22. This is a comment void of any real pertinence or value…I just needed to say that Rad making a LOLcat reference gives me a small flare of unadulterated joy.

  23. Yes! That dry, droll humor makes for a keyboard often sprayed with coffee or juice…..
    whats the word, Rad? Snark? 🙂

  24. brumbylover Says:

    I have been on Fetlife for 3 months now and have found it invaluable in terms of learning about kink and how others live their life in kink. I have seem some hook ups already that are very romantic and based on people connecting through getting to know each other via their posting styles, comments, photos etc. I was on collarme but left as I did have a bit of trouble with wankers. Not too major but it was enough for me to pull off.

    The photos on Fetlife are awesome!


  25. Wow, great discussion you’ve started here! Well, like Twitter, FetLife is what you make of it. If you’re trying to meet someone, chances are you can meet someone. But unlike Myspace, for example, my inbox is *rarely* filled with, “Hey, Baby, I was checking out your profile – hit me up if you’re looking for fun.” This is huge for me, as a woman. I do get really tired on being virtually hit on on social networking sites.

    I think there’s a place for everyone on FetLife. If you’re single and you want to meet friends, you can do that. If you’re a couple and you want to meet friends, you can do that. If you just want a safe place to explore with other people, you can do that. If you want to post pictures of your nipple without being deleted, you can do that. If you want to join groups and be active in discussions (everything from kink, to geek, to yoga!) you can do that. If you want to find someone else who shares your love of gummie bears and sex… yep, you can do that too! 🙂

    I hear what you’re saying – but ultimately the entire internet is a dating site if that’s what you make of it. FetLife is not *designed* as a dating site, but that doesn’t mean that people haven’t met and fallen in love (or lust).

    Just like Facebook – it’s not a dating site, but there are plenty of people who have met as a result of it and then probably even plenty more who have ended up partnered with their mate as a result of one simple, “Hello, want to be friends?” message.

  26. i “look” for possible mates or fetishists

  27. a long distance relationship…

    Fetlife: Dating Site Or Not? « Radspace…

  28. john…

    […]Fetlife: Dating Site Or Not? « Radspace[…]…

  29. dating…

    […]Fetlife: Dating Site Or Not? « Radspace[…]…

  30. Well, FetLife themselves say it’s a dating site. (Follow the links.) And moreover, search tools do exist.

    It’s a dating site.

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