FetLife: A New User’s Guide part 1

FetLife really changed the game when it came online back in 2008. FetLife was a different sort of social networking site. Before it existed, the kink community congregated in sites like Alt.com, CollarMe.com and Bondage.com. While they all served their purpose, and had thriving forums, they were first and foremost a meat market. Their focus was on getting you laid.



John Baku changed all that.


FetLife was the first social network of its kind. A place on the web for kinky folks where the point wasn’t to get you laid. It was to get you connected with real people. Meet friends. Learn.


Getting laid was a bonus.


But, because it is so different, coming to FetLife is a bit of a challenge. The way things work can be somewhat hard to understand. This post is meant to assist with the transformation that your thinking will need in order to adjust to the new world that is FetLife.


First, FetLife doesn’t let you search for users by age, sex, orientation, or role. You won’t immediately find a way to do this. And while you can search Don’t worry about. FetLife isn’t about instant gratification, but rather it is about making a deeper connection. You can find what you want, but instead of it being served up on a platter for you, you have to do some looking and talking and meeting people. Kind of like the offline world.

Imagine going to a night club where you walk up to a host and say, “Hey, show me all the blonde 18-25 year olds who live 25 minutes from me.” That isn’t how the real world works. That isn’t the way FetLife works. You are going to have to join groups and interact with people. Just like real life.

User Status
No one knows you are online. Let me repeat that, you won’t get a ping from someone you know saying, “Hey I saw you were online and wanted to see if you wanted to chat.” That lets you lean back and relax. When you look at someone’s pics or post or profile, no trace is left unless you leave it on purpose. You can write on their walls or not or “perv” (as John Baku likes to say) their pics and no one will know.

I really like this. While it is fun to see who is looking at your profile, it can be a bit annoying at times and I don’t always want people to know what pics I am looking at. And here you have that option.

Privacy Options
To put it bluntly, there are none. Now John doesn’t let search engines crawl through the depths so you won’t find the content through web searches. But anybody can see your profile and every post, picture and comment is visible through your profile and the other users’ “feeds”. Write a post, and all your friends can see it.

While some are concerned about issues regarding stalking or not being able to share more risqué content with only friends my way of thinking, this is better in two ways.

The first way this is better is that you are accountable for what you post. Say something mean, there is a trail. Post a picture that isn’t you, everyone sees it. I think it leads to a more mature environment and a bit of a small, home-town feel. You don’t get to hide here. You can build (or destroy) a reputation because there is a history.

The second way is due to the nature of the Internet. If you place anything on the Internet that even one other person can see (and why did you upload it it if you don’t want to share it in the first place?), it can get out. Popular culture examples revolve around Facebook, but this experience has been going on for a long time. There is a story in the news about a woman who got fired from her job for something she said on Facebook. And Facebook is famous for the privacy controls. Frankly, privacy settings is more about theatre than keeping your stuff private. You don’t want it seen? Don’t post it.

That said, FetLife does give you some defenses.  If some one is harassing you and sending you unwanted messages, you can simply go to their profile, and click on REALLY BIG (well maybe not that big) block button on the right side. Click that and *poof* they cannot message you, see your profile (beyond a few basic bits of info), any of your pics (besides your profile icon), and all their messages and comments magically disappear.

If they aren’t bothering you on your profile but in a group instead, try messaging one of the leaders. They are usually the best place to start asking for help. If that doesn’t work you can email the caretakers (caretakers @ fetlife. com) and they can help you out as well. The caretakers are all volunteers, but they try to respond to spamming and serious harassment issues as quickly as they can. I have even seen people removed from FetLife, though they usually like to approach the users and try to mediate the differences first.

‘Nuff said about the differences, lets get you signed up.

FetLife account creation.
Going to FetLife.com for the first time will present you with a screen like this. One interesting note is that all of the pics on the web page are actual FetLife members. JohnBaku arranged to have some of these pics taken in a photo shoot and he has even called for member generated images as well for the public face of FetLife. Look around for a bit, because you can see some interesting stats. When you are ready, click on the BIG sign-up button and get started.


I wanted to include a screenshot of the signup form and highlight some of the unique features of FetLife. First, John doesn’t ask for a lot of information from you. Something to call you. Gender, orientation, date of birth. Country.

That last part is important. FetLife is highly international. I see posts everyday from people in Canada, Europe, and Australia. In fact FetLife itself is mostly run by kinky Canucks.

And if you are uncomfortable telling people where you live, there are an amazing number of kinksters in Antarctica.


FetLife offers a vast number of choices in the gender, orientation and role categories. In fact the biggest I have ever seen. John has said he would like to have a fill in the blank form here. For now, pick what is closest (and I think 90-95% will be well served by the choices listed).






Once you have that filled out,  you need to provide your country, state/province and city. If you’re very new and don’t feel comfortable filling that in, just choose a location near enough to make you comfortable.

You can also safely fill in your birth date as well. Remember, there is no age search. But if that makes you sad, there are also a surprisingly number of 90 year old kinksters too. lol

Finally put in your contact info (email address), password, enter in the verification code and click on the annoying legalese and you’re done.

Welcome to Fetlife.

Next time, I visit this subject I will talk about how to use it.


Update #1

FetLife just added the ability to mark individual photos as “private” which means that only people on your friends list can see them. They will also not show up on the feed, unless the person is also your friend.

Published by Master Void

I am an over 50-year-old Lifestyle Master living near Charlotte, NC.

54 thoughts on “FetLife: A New User’s Guide part 1

  1. Still sucks that you can’t even distinguish by sex. I mean, even in a night club, you’d be able to tell who the men and who the women are (maybe).

  2. Um. You can distinguish by sex, you just can’t search by sex. When you go to the night club sometimes it’s a stag fest. Sometimes it isn’t.


  3. I have been trying to create an account for the past several hours, but everytime that I click “Join Fetlife” it takes me to the login screen and tells me that I have to be logged in to access that page. I really want to create a profile, but this is ridiculous. I’m about to just give up all together. Any ideas as to why it’s apparently impossible for me to create an account?

  4. Well I just checked the support forums and I didn’t see anything specifically. I’ll check in a bit and see if I can create something.

    Might even send you the info if I do.

  5. I have to say this is the best site of its kind. I was initially convinced within the first week that I wanted to stay here. If it wasn’t for my vanilla friend on Facebook, I would only utilized Fetlife as my social network.

    Thanks, John for breaking the mold and thinking Kink.

  6. i’m not sure who can help me with my problem of not being able to sign in- i sent a message to John-nothing with the help of fet line i cannot express it unless i sign in! i enjoyed this site but if nothing is done then i will have to voice a complaint about the service here. sommeone may have hacked it also-not sure what the problem is – hope this e mail goes to someone who can help me

  7. I’m trying to create an account, but I can’t type in a verification code. The box with the letters in it under the “Validate you are human” section that shows up on your screenshot does not show up on mine. All the other sections are correct, but that one just has the bar with the heading-that’s it- and then it moves on to the next section. I am not able to verify my humanity, so it won’t let me have an account. :/
    Help would be most welcome, please. Thanks.

  8. I’m trying to create an account, but I can’t type in a verification code. The box with the letters in it under the “Validate you are human” section that shows up on your screenshot does not show up on mine. All the other sections are correct, but that one just has the bar with the heading-that’s it- and then it moves on to the next section. I am not able to verify my humanity, so it won’t let me have an account. :/
    Help would be most welcome, please. Thanks.

  9. It would be helpful, for us newbies, to have a list of what the roles mean. =) Just a suggestion.

  10. Great idea. I start on that (though some roles may have multiple versions, I’ll give my view of them). Thanks for the suggestion.

  11. I think churchofchains.com is better than both collar and fet
    You can do both search and join groups

  12. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?

    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you

  13. so how can you find people, like if i want to connect with people in germany for example? or do i have to go through every person in every country?

  14. Monica,

    I wouldn’t browse through members. I would join German groups that are focused either on your area (for a bigger number if local users), or a given fetish. If they don’t exist, then start one yourself.

    I hope that helps.


  15. Hello,

    I use Fetlife quite a bit, it is annoying that you can’t search via gender but I understand why. What is annoying is there are no favorites. I would like to be able to add profiles to fav’s or even to a list, without adding them as friends and without having to CTRL+B them (due to privacy). So it is easy to find someone you might click with, but not have time to send them a message (a lot of women say they won’t respond to short messages (and funnily enough when you spend an hour writing them a proper one they don’t reply then either)).
    Also, a lot of people ask for “your love” which I assume is like a “like” button, I cannot find this anywhere?,
    Most of the users are married or “protected” which I have been told means you cannot message them without permission from the protector, who naturally never replies.
    A forum or messageboard within Fetlife would be pretty awesome, also being able to search within x miles of postcode, as searching by County is annoying… the county of Surrey for example covers something like a 150 mile area!

  16. I am so sick of your shutting me off every Saturday night because of the volume of people i befriend this is not what or the way networking is suppose to be or how it should work especially when i see hundreds of others on this same site befriending way more people than i do every Saturday night i get to about maybe 20 for the entire day and i get shut down without cause your black me for four fucking hours . Do you think this is right . yes your system is very flawed and i do take it personal it needs fixing or you need to have a time rule or something but this needs to change . Its not like i do it all at once i t take me all day sometimes to get to 20 people to connect to and over a 12 hour or more period you’d think it wouldn’t work this way but it does and its unfair and its reeks of discriminatory reactions on your part as administrators of this site.

  17. Fetlife sign-up page has no australia location when required field input option. Could someone please help as we really would love to join fetlife a great fet community.

  18. I see a personal ad I’d like to answer, but it says, “PM me.” Doesn’t that
    mean to reply with a private message rather than a posting? Is there a
    way to do that? Thanks!

  19. I have been trying to create an account, but every time that I click “Join Fetlife” it takes me to the login screen and tells me that I have to be logged in to access that page. Can you provide any assistance?

  20. I’m extremely frustrated with FetLife because I can’t search for anything I want. I don’t have time to browse through thousands of profiles. Who does?! I want to be able to search by sex and orientation to narrow down the ten or less profiles of the people (lesbians, to be specific) I actually want to meet. This site has been a total waste of time. I’ve tried to use it over a span of five years, but each time I give the site another chance I’m even more frustrated that in this modern age it just won’t cut to the chase.

    To anyone defending the lack of a search feature, get a life. Those of us with lives only have an hour tops maybe two or three days a week to look for people like us.

    I’ll probably give up and go back to Adult Friend Finder because at least I can filter to those ten people I want instead of feeling lost and angry. FetLife makes me feel so lost and angry!

    Also, to whoever wrote this, who doesn’t want to get laid? I think completely differently from you. I want to be able to search categories, and I want to get laid. Geez.

  21. Well FetLife isnt built for what you want. Its built to allow friends to keep in touch. Get out into the community and it will make a lot more sense.

  22. i just joined the site and have needed to block some individuals who have previously hacked into my emails and chats. I was already blocked! How can that be with a brand new profile and no announcement that I was coming? NOT that I care but I would like to be able to block them and their sock puppets without having to hunt and search. Obviously there is a way to find out if someone is on the site- but how? and How to protect myself from them?

  23. I’ve tried emailing with no answers– I recently joined as a supporter and put up a new profile- I immediately went to block a set of people who have previously hacked into my private emails and chats and have caused me a lot of problems, only to find I was already blocked! How can that be? There was no way for them to know who I am or that I was there, I tried a different computer, thinking maybe an IP trace (although mine is blocked) and the same thing. How can I block them and their sock puppets before they get into this new profile? And yes, I did give the caretakers the name, etc. Help?

  24. I’m not sure I am fully following your questions, but do you mean how do you not end up on the last page of your city’s search? Be more active by posting and commenting. Fill out your profile, and add a picture. The list is randomized but weighted towards activity.

  25. The design of the site has since changed, and no matter what I do, it won’t allow me to type in my actual birthday. Once I type a single digit, it accepts that digit as the date – so trying to type “24”, it will only allow the number “2”. This is annoying as I would prefer not to be represented as a different star sign.

  26. how come some people have a “follow” tab? Broke up with someone and later wanted to be friends again, I sent friend request they deleted it, okay. But not it says Follow under the friend request tab. I never saw this before? How can someone follow me if we are not friends? and how do I view that list if someone is following me but not on my friend list?

  27. Perhaps they have been thinking about their darker fantasies for a long time and are finally seeking that moment of self justification, or maybe they are just newly curious either way it is a big step and one that people deserve to be able to make safely and with dignity. Unfortunately it can be a little overwhelming at times, not only as here is a lot to learn, as there can be a circle of less scrupulous and perhaps even wolfish dominants prowling around new arrivals almost instantly with gleaming eyes seeking out their ‘fresh meat’. Consequently, over time we will be writing up and posting a series of help guides for people who are newly arriving to the community and not quite sure about what to do to take those first steps just to try to help set them get onto a less bumpy path and find the joy of their kinks more easily.

  28. Quick question regarding tracking policy: Is it still not possible to see who visited your profile? Me and my partner are both on fetlife and agreed to keep each others privacy, but now I randomly klickend a picture because I liked it and arg!

  29. Thats the dumbest thing I’ve heard. If you go to a gay club you expect 90%+ of the people to be gay and eligible to hook up. If you go to a gay kink club you expect the same about to be kinky gays. I am not sexually attracted to women in any way shape or form nor does their kink lifestyle have anything in common with mine. Why would I want to manually search through thousands of profiles in my area trying to find other kinky gays I can talk to and learn from.

    I’ll give you age and sex but we at least need to be able to search by sexual orientation. Just because we all like kink doesn’t mean that a straight won’t go tell me to fuck myself and give me hate speech for saying hi and asking about himself or something in his pictures I was curious about. Like you said, this is the ‘real world” and if you went up to a kinky straight bull as a gay man in real life he would fucking destroy you mentally and most likely physically if he thought you talking to him and asking a question was you hitting on him. The internet life is no different. I wouldn’t go to a straight kink club to find gay kink guys I could connect with. Fetlife’s and your logic on the matter is completely off base and you contradict yourself in all of you explanations.

  30. Why can I see someones Profile, add them as a friend and follow them but cant send them a message?

  31. So a friend told me today, “I see you finally found me on FetLife.” And I had located her profile. But how did she know I had been on her profile. Unless she was fishing. I did not send a message, did not follow, nor add her to my friends. Is there a means of seeing random visitors to your profile?

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