Sunday, June 16, 2013

Social Resources for Kink

There are incalculable resources in the human spirit, once it has been set free.
Hubert H. Humphrey

FetLife: Is a social network targeted to the kink community and, as defined by its creator John Baku, an anti-dating site. ¡Wait! ¿What? Yes, FetLife is not intended to be a dating site. It has being designed to help users keep track of their social circles, participate in discussions and prioritize communication over hook-ups. There is nothing wrong with dating sites themselves; there are dating sites for kinky people too but FetLife is not one of them. Instead, it has strived to provide a framework for social and cultural interaction which is really helpful in the building of a BDSM community. If you are interested in getting involved in the kink scene at all I would highly recommend to create a profile on this website. (See Getting Your Feet Wet post).

visit FetLife

CollarMe: Is a kinky dating site with all the features dating sites normally provide: you can search by location, gender, fetishes and pretty much any parameter you would need in order  to find a person that could be kink-compatible with you. CollarMe has some characteristics of social networks too but it has not had the reach of other sites such as FetLife. Nevertheless people still use it and is an interesting site worth exploring.

UPDATE: As of May 2014 CollarMe has been closed, the link below has more information.

visit CollarMe

Find A MunchAlso known as "MALL" is a very comprehensive list of links on diverse  kink-related topics. Categorized by location, it organizes links to groups and munches around the world. ¡Yes, worldwide, I'm not kidding! Go and check it out because it could be very helpful to find groups in your local area. It also has links to some good articles about kink both, on FetLife and around the web.

visit Find A Munch

Yahoo Groups: At the dawn of internet Yahoo Groups was the hub for kink community-building. There were other BDSM-oriented sites like but those were, too, more oriented towards dating. Yahoo groups provided an easy way to share, with a bulletin board system, messages between people with common interests, fetishes,  sexual orientation, location and and other parameters. Yahoo Groups' calendars were also handy to structure and publicize events. Although bulletin board systems had been used by different kink groups before the rise of Yahoo, its groups' system had the advantage of providing a single unified interface and log-in credential. People didn't needed to go an figure out a different user interfaces or create new accounts for every single group they wanted to participate in. Yahoo groups were really active right until the rise of FetLife which has took over online kink activity since it was launched in 2008. Because of it's legacy, many groups still use Yahoo Groups  to share some information with their members. Also, its group-administration tools are more featured than those currently available on FetLife which some BDSM group organizers find handy to coordinate events.  

OkCupid: This is mostly a vanilla dating site; however, it has a great algorithm to match people with similar interests. Once you have signed up and created your profile you can answer questions that have been generated by the users themselves and yes, there are kinky questions in there. If you are kinky and answer those questions honestly you'll find more people like you. In my case, a lot of my kinky friends who are on OkCupid share a high match percentage with me (90%+). Conversely, a lot of people I've found in that dating site who have a high match percentage with me often end up coming to a happy hour or any other kink event. As a matter of fact kinkiness is one of the parameters they use to determine compatibility and it shows in your profile. I would highly recommend creating a profile there if you don't have one already.

Example of the traits OkCupid uses for matching. Note the "Kinky" trait at the very top.
visit OkCupid

Special Places: As a legacy of the pre-FetLife era, there are still some specific (and sometimes small) tribes of the greater BDSM scene that have separated networking systems. One example I'm familiar with is the tickling community. ¿¡WTF!? ¿Tickling? ¿Is that even kinky? Oh yeah it is... ¡And it's a lot of fun! But, coming back to the point discussed in this post, the tickling community has its own special, unique space known as the Tickling Media Forum (TMF). While they have Fetlife presence too, most of their activity (as of this writing) happens on TMF instead. Other specific kinks and fetishes may have their own niche forum or online networking system. If you are aware of other examples please post them in the comments. (:

visit TMF

Other local organizational tools: FetLife, CollarMe, Yahoo Groups and online forums such as TMF have a global scope. All of them, as a whole, are targeted to serve whoever wants to create a group, meet people or start a discussion all around the world. But kink is not only discussions or chats, kink is something that can be experienced and shared with people who are close to you: your local kink scene.  Many of the groups in your area will still make use of any of the previously mentioned platforms to reach their current and potential new members but , as the groups become bigger and more complex, needs for more specific organizational capabilities arise. 

Some of these tools are normally developed to fill gaps in the mainstream websites and serve specific local needs. Some of these gaps are, for instance, easing real-time interaction online. Since FetLife does not have (yet) a group chat and Yahoo disabled theirs, some groups have been using IRC-based (And other technology-based) chats. Other groups, specially those more institutionalized, use mainstream networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook (for example: TES) so that they can interact with other institutionalized organizations and celebrities that can afford to be conspicuously open in the public domain. Some cities have reach a size and level of organization to allow them coordinate city-wide calendars to help organizers, members and newcomers learn about active groups and their events in town. See, for instance, Madison, Austin, San Francisco among many others. You normally will learn about these resources once you start exploring your local scene. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You Found the Path

Its not the Destination but the Journey that matters by bhagathkumar Bhagavathi
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where –" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"– so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

Cheshire Cat & Alice - L.C.

There are several paths that could have brought you here: anything from a friend who referred you to this site, a query on a search engine or a link randomly found on a website. You may have been following an impulse, a fantasy, a passion... Perhaps you are one of those who see things differently, one of the few who question everything, a revolutionary. Maybe you are just curious and heard about kink, sadomasochism or fetishism and felt an urge to learn more. It no longer matters which path brought you to this point; you are here along with many others who, like you, found this crossroad and are, also like you, making a path anew.

The direction you want to take from here depends on where you want to go. Odds are you already have an idea about what that place might be. You may be craving for the intimacy forged between a dominant and their submissive, maybe you search for the thrills arising from the intricate relationship between pain and pleasure or find joy in the symbolic process that transforms a mundane object into an erotic fetish. Finding your path to move forward is your privilege and duty, I can't tell you which one is it. My only purpose is to show the paths that others have taken because maybe, just maybe, one of them could take you closer to that place you want to reach.

Learning about your passions and having the courage to pursue your dreams is the first step. For many, the realization of the existence of a kink scene will be enough to start their journey but, for others, there will still be obstacles to overcome. Kink is a very personal and private aspect of everyone's life and, as such, is difficult to just jump into a community built upon the sharing of said aspects. In any case, I hope the information contained in this blog will give you some useful information about the BDSM sub-culture. For those extroverts, eager to plunge and dive in the kink scene, I hope to help you save some time in finding tools, resources and references relevant to your endeavor. For those who may be more apprehensive, I hope you'll find in these writings some words of encouragement and comfort and that the information on this blog will help you explore a whole new world. There is no reason to sit afar and hide when there are so many adventures and experiences to share, so many friends to make and so many pleasures to enjoy.

¡Welcome home!

Next recommended: Social Resources for Kink