Perverts are people too, you know. Well, at least they are in between periods of time spent as puppies, ponies or coffee tables. And, because of that, at some point most of us want to find someone (or another someone - I'm not leaving polyamorists out here) to have an emotional relationship and share our lives both inside and outside kink with.
Unfortunately, kink dating is fraught with potential disaster. A good example is CollarMe, which is designed for bringing perverts together. What it actually is, is a mess of fake profiles, professionals touting for business and inactive account city. Some have had success with CollarMe - congratulations if that's the case. My point here is that you're in the minority.
Other sites, like FetLife (which is my favourite kinky social network by far), aren't really designed for meeting people. Some attempt to use the groups feature to do so, but generally that results in a moderator smackdown, depending on the group's rules.
So, that leaves us with vanilla dating sites. That's right - strap in, everyone. Now entering bat country.
What could possibly go wrong?
The problem is this. If you're looking for a long term relationship, you don't want to get involved with someone who just cares about the sex. On the other hand, you do want a sex life, and for kinky people in a vanilla crowd, you want to know if you're going to end up with your future Non Gender Specific Life Partner fleeing after you crack out the violet wand. Because of this, it's often one of the first topics that kinky people dating in a mainly vanilla environment bring up - and it's one of the main reasons that they find themselves ignored or blocked by a potential match.
The good news is there are ways to mitigate this problem.
Finding a needleplayer in a haystack
I'm a long term user of OKCupid.com - it's a brilliant dating site that is mostly aimed at geeks (and I use the term as a compliment). The key thing that makes it useful to kinky people is that its "Q&A" matching mechanic means that you can find out a lot of someone's key beliefs and opinions before you even send them a message.
I find that, having answered a load of their questions myself, people shown as a 90% match or greater are almost always kinky. If OKCupid decides that they're kinky enough, they even get it mentioned on their personality metrics - but that said, an absence of that bar does not mean they're not a pervert. OKCupid, like any automated system, sometimes gets it wrong.
What's also quite nice is that if you sign up for their paid service, A-List, you can actually order your search results by kinkiness. A nice touch.
So, armed with this information, you can pick and choose who you contact. Now, there's no need to bring up that you're kinky and look like a sex pest - mention it on your profile so that they can see what you're into, and qualify it by explaining at you're not just after a play partner in the same paragraph.
The point here is that eventually, you're going to talk about sex, and that's absolutely brilliant. It usually shouldn't be the first thing to bring up, though, or you'll end up looking like the hundreds of hormonally-driven troglodytes that frequent Internet dating sites - so if you can find out how kinky a potential match is to start with, then you needn't wonder about wasting your time or freaking them out.
Kinky dating on vanilla sites: Dos and Don'ts
- Be upfront on your profile about your kink. No need for a full list of what you're into, but perhaps (in OKCupid's case) mention something like 'kink' or 'BDSM' under "Things I couldn't do without".
- Link your FetLife / other kinky social network profile from your online dating profile so that kinky matches reading it can find you on there too.
- Mention that you were at a fetish club a few weeks ago (or say something similar) into conversation - but only if it can be said as part of the natural flow of the conversation. It'll suggest that you're active in kink and that it means a lot to you, which is good - but if you say it as a non-sequitur then we're back to looking like someone just looking to get laid.
- Take rejection well. It will happen - and you do not want to a) be a dick or b) get a reputation for being a dick. "I'm sorry to hear that, but fair enough and I wish you well" is a good response.
- Be very clear about the privacy implications of maintaining a profile. Vanilla dating sites are often a lot more open to the public (and Google) than you'd expect from something like FetLife.
- Let your discussion of kink on your profile take over the rest of it. It's a part of your life, but you're not just looking for a play partner here. You're anxious to get across that you're into BDSM, but it's too easy to make it look like it's the only thing you've got going on in your life.
- Upload close-up pictures of your cock. Ever. Don't do it. It suggests that you honestly believe that it's the absolute most important thing about you that you want to get across to potential matches.
- Start talking about sex and kink in earnest too soon, out of a sense of honesty. Little hints are better than "take it or leave it".
- Be an arsehole. You will get further by being nice than you will being nasty.
Got any tips you'd like to share with the class? Speak up, and post them in the comments. Everyone appreciates insights from the point of view of the type of person they're looking to meet.