Fetlife is the internet’s town square for kinks and fetishes, a super popular social network that’s often compared to Facebook, though with a fairly obvious twist. It’s not a dating site—it’s designed more broadly to form communities in a culture that maintains stigma around kinky sex, including facilitating meeting up for sexual purposes. FetLife also has a porn component—some free, some that you’ll have to pay for.
“Strap yourself in,” the cheeky copy on Fetish.com greets new readers. The website bills itself as a “kink-positive bdsm community for fetish dating.” There is a dating app component but the site also stands out as educational and community-driven, featuring blog-y explainers, as well as Reddit-style discussion forums on popular fetishes. A recent search of the latter showed an ongoing conversation about how to successfully incorporate hair-pulling in sex, another about how to use a strap on. Several conversations involved kink-themed meetups in various cities, and one, which garnered 100 replies, was titled simply, “So be honest what am I doing wrong?”
The old-ish dictum “there’s a Reddit for that” rings especially true when it comes to sexual fetishes. Start with this masterlist of sub (ha) Reddits, which gets as specific as “r/womenincapes” “r/scatporn,” and “r/smalldicks.” At press time, there were exactly 69 comments on the first pinned conversation in the “Ageplay and Diaper Fetish” subreddit. Sometimes, life is beautiful!
Feeld is a dating app that bills itself as “a positive space for humans looking to explore dating beyond the norm.” To that end, Feeld allows daters to create profiles and chat as individuals, couples, or more complex poly-assortments, and encourages cheerful sexual specificity, including around kinks. Sexual orientations and gender are also not limited to just a few options the way they are on most apps. While platforms like Fetlife tend to a pornier, classic sex-shop vibe, Feeld is courting millennials hard with a clean, friendly aesthetic. The ethos of the app emphasizes communication, openness, and consent, as all dating and hookup apps should.
Be not afraid, curious adventurers, of the sinister-sounding phrase “HumanSexMap.com.” The interactive sex map, created by sex writer Franklin Veaux, is a friendly thing, the kind you might hang on the wall in a sex-positive home. The site is a simply drawn but intricately labeled map of kinks and fetishes. Navigate from “Islands of the Imaginary” (vampire erotica, tentacle sex, ghosts) to the mountains that have group sex to their south and graveyards to their north. Using different colored digital pins you can mark fetishes by “Tried and liked,” “Tried, didn’t like,” “Want to try,” and “Strictly fantasy only,” and save your map for the future.
Like Feeld, #Open is a dating app attempting to stake a claim for poly and kinky people in a world of “hahahaha I love tacos!”-style vanilla dating apps. “Polyamorous, ethically non-monogamous, or open? Check. Kinky? Check. LGBTQIA+? Check! You’ll find others who accept and respect your identities and desires,” #Open promises. If you’ve never heard of the app, that might be because last year Google scrubbed it from the App Store, particularly because it contained the keywords “kinky dates,” as well as words like “threesomes.” It’s a sad example of kink being needlessly stigmatized in the mainstream.