FetLife is an adult social networking site and community. A play on the word “fetish,” it invites anyone and everyone who has a sexual kink or interest that they want to explore and enjoy with others.
The website was founded in 2008 in Quebec, Montreal, Canada. Founder/creator John Kopanas was tired of struggling in his search for women who shared his sexual kinks and fetishes. So, he decided to create his unique adults-only platform. It began as FriendsWithFetishes.com in 2007, and FetLife is the 2.0 version. Today it is owned by BitLove Inc. The team includes 19 people who span the globe from California and Belgium to the United Kingdom and Slovakia.
FetLife can be considered a riff on Facebook, only it’s tailored to people who want to explore and discover the sexual activities and interests that turn them on. It is more of a social network than an online dating platform. You’re not going to go here to meet a long-term romantic partner, but you may discover a new fetish or someone to sexually explore with.
|Members in the U.S.||4,500,000|
|Monthly new members||100,000|
Fetishes may not be something that most people are comfortable talking about in public, but FetLife has attracted quite an impressive number of users. There are 8,607,597 members as of late March 2020. The site gains about 100,000 new members each month, although they vary in how active they are on the platform. About 4,500,000 members are located in the United States.
Users have shared over 46.5 million pictures and 904,000 videos on FetLife. Also, over 140,900 chat groups are covering a wide range of BDSM-related topics. Some members have been interested in the BDSM lifestyle (or something similar) for years. Others are complete newbies and simply want to learn more. All are welcome to FetLife.
There are three times as many men as women on the site, which may not come as a surprise to some people. Moreover, 25-34-year-olds make up the largest age group on the site. That said, all age groups are represented on the site (ages 18-55+).
Creating a Profile
Registration on FetLife is free. It takes just minutes and requires basic information. You must sign up with a valid email address. Then, enter a unique username, your gender, sexual identity, “role”, birthdate, and location. You’ll be invited to upload a profile picture, but you can skip this step for now.
You will be asked to verify your account via a code sent to your mobile phone number. Providing your phone number makes it easy to recover your password in case you forget later on. Oddly enough, you can’t link a social media account, such as Facebook, to FetLife. However, you can add your socials to your FetLife profile so other members can connect with you on other social platforms.
Your profile can be as in-depth as you’d like. FetLife provides six different profile tabs to allow for all kinds of information relating to your kinks, hobbies, sexual interests, and more. This includes the details you entered upon signing up as well as what you’re looking for in a partner/sex buddy. Other details include a brief bio about yourself, your relationship status, your socials (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and your photos and videos.
Users can choose from several different sexual identities and over 60 “roles” such as domme, sub, exhibitionist, voyeur, exploring, and vanilla. There’s also an “into” and “curious about” section where you can list the fetishes and kinks you’re looking to explore. You have lots of freedom in regards to what you can post, including pictures, videos, journal entries, notes, and erotica. Other members can view this content and leave a comment.
Your profile also displays your most recent activity on the site, such as when you join a group, RSVP to an event, or contribute to a community discussion. Similar to Facebook, your “Friends” can post on your profile wall if you enable this permission. Your Friends List and Followers List is displayed on your profile, too. If you want, you can keep your profile private. Just keep in mind that this will make you less “popular” on the site and you won’t gather as many friends and followers. If you see an “I Support FetLife” badge on a person’s profile, it indicates that they have premium (paid) membership.
Using the Site
FetLife works less like an online dating site and more like a social media platform like Facebook. You can search for other members that share your interests, but you can also engage with other users via chat rooms and online discussions.
Some forum and chatroom categories appeal specifically to people who are new to certain kinks, so users can explore and learn more about themselves and what they like in the bedroom. Among the groups that you’ll find on FetLife are ones that cater directly to BDSM or specific fetishes. For instance, there are “Ask a Submissive” and “Ask a Stripper” groups.
You’ll find just about everything under the sun in terms of kink-related topics. In recent years, FetLife adopted stricter guidelines on what kinds of topics members could discuss.
Another FetLife feature is events. Any member can post an event notification publicly on the website. However, the original poster has to grant permission to other users for them to see the event information. These events occur in real life so members in the same city can meet up.
Finally, messaging on the site is free. You can also view your previous conversations or sent messages, and you can save messages to your archive. Given the explicit nature of the content on the site, it’s not uncommon to run across people who are quite in-your-face. Some individuals can come across as rude or very wild, so be aware of that. It’s a good thing that messaging is free because you wouldn’t want to waste a paid credit on someone that isn’t responsive or kind.
Finding a Match
While you won’t use FetLife to find a long-lasting romantic partner, you can find like-minded people in your area who are willing to explore different things in bed. There are search filters on the site to help with finding suitable matches based on kinks and sexual roles.
You can also use the “Explore” tab to see who’s trending. Moreover, if you go to the “Conversations” page and click on “Perv Kinkster Nearby” to find members in your area.
When you visit another person’s profile, you can view their photos and other content. “Supporting” members will see the individual’s content sorted by popularity. If you see someone you like, you can strike up a conversation and/or “friend” them. When you friend someone, it works in much the same way as Facebook. You can see some of what your friend has been up to on the site, such as which chat rooms they joined. They can also post to your profile page. You can block another person by going to their profile and clicking the “Block Member” option.
Even though profiles can be quite in-depth and complete, it’s not uncommon to come across lots of incomplete or empty profiles. This is a bummer, especially because FetLife offers a ton more freedom than many other adult social sites. One reason why there may be so many incomplete or private profiles is that people are shy about promoting their sexual kinks. Perhaps they are nervous about their true identities being revealed. On the other hand, there are lots of people who are very in-your-face about their fetishes!
The overall design of FetLife.com is fine. It’s straightforward but nothing to write home about. The web design features a black background with red and white text. This seems to fall in line with the theme of BDSM. One thing worth noting is that there are advertisements on FetLife.com, and the site even promotes its ad partnership to entice more businesses to sign up. The ads reflect the NSFW nature of FetLife.
FetLife has a mobile-optimized version as well as an Android app. However, the only way to access the Android app is via .APK format. You can download the file via the FetLife website by going to FetLife.vip. This is used by about 70% of the user base and has convenient push notifications. It’s a discreet app and you can use the generic logo so that it blends in with your phone screen. On the app version, there is the downside of exceeding the maximum number of sent messages in a given time. In that case, you’ll get a time-out notification that will last a few hours.
The FetLife website has a help page full of FAQs. It also contains contact information for the Tech Support Group as well as a suggestions box. There is a “Kinktionary,” which is a glossary of BDSM and related terms. The definitions are the interpretations of the FetLife staff.
FetLife aims to make itself accessible to people of all backgrounds and identities such as male, female, crossdresser, transgender, intersex, non-binary, genderqueer, and two-spirit, among others. The site is available in 15 languages including Dutch, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish.
The company address is BitLove Inc. Suite #125, 718-333 Brooksbank Avenue, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V7J 3V8. There is a secondary office in Cyprus. The phone number is (833)-248-5683 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
FetLife used to be much more lenient with the types of groups that users could create on the site. In the past few years, topics such as blood, incest, and rape have been removed from the platform and are prohibited. Members can still create new chat groups, but they must abide by the code of conduct and remain courteous to all.
Some people don’t agree with FetLife’s policy that prohibits users from accusing other members of sexual misconduct, assault, or predatory actions on the site’s public forums. Some people feel that this inhibits victims from warning others and getting justice. However, the policy still stands.
Much of the site is free to use. However, a paid membership is offered and is termed as “supporting” the platform. “Supporters” receive full access to more features, such as viewing member videos.
The minimum commitment is 6 months. According to the site, this is to ensure that FetLife has enough “donations” to keep the platform up and running. Each plan costs $5 per month but is paid in full. You can pay by credit or debit card, bank transfer, GiroPay, or Bitcoin. Plans don’t auto-renew and the payment shows up as BitLove Inc on billing statements.
Free perks include messaging, viewing profiles, and joining groups/discussions. Supporting members get all of the free features as well as message archives, deeper Friend Feeds, the “I Support FetLife” profile badge, and “Perv Today’s Most-Loved Pictures and Videos.”
Yes + “Today’s Most-Loved”
Yes + “Today’s Most-Loved”
Yes + “Today’s Most-Loved”
Yes + “Today’s Most-Loved”
Is there a refund policy?
Yes, there is a 7-day refund policy. During that time, you can contact the site administrators to let them know you’re not satisfied with the site. Payments made via gift card or Bitcoin aren’t eligible for refunds.
I want to add my partner to my relationship status. Can I?
As long as your partner has a FetLife account, you can. Otherwise, you can list that you’re in a relationship, but you can’t identify your partner.
Why does FetLife use the term “Perv”?
In FetLife lingo, “perv” simply means to observe or to view something.
How do I cancel my account?
Go to your account settings and click on “Delete my Account.” Follow the instructions to complete the deletion.
Can I unfriend someone?
Yes. Just go to your Friends List on your profile and you can manage your friends, including removing people from the list.
What’s permitted/not permitted on FetLife?