I don't discuss dating and BDSM often. Not because it's not important - hello, I was a single submissive woman for a time there. But because I never really dated, not in the formal sense. I met my ex-husband, my first Dom, and of course, my wonderful, loving Daddy online, but not through a traditional dating website. So I don't always feel qualified to talk about dating and BDSM, but I think there are some basic things single kinksters - and any other single person - should keep in mind.
Finding a Partner Based on Your Preferences
Especially in kinky relationships, but really for anyone, communication is key. To me, the best part about being openly submissive (online at least) was that I knew I was only going to have a relationship with a Dominant man. And although I didn't discuss "dating" with any Dominants, I made it clear that ultimately I would only enter into relationships with a Dominant. The men who liked to top were fun to flirt with, but I knew there wasn't a chance in hell I would seek out anything with them.
I still remembered the first time I realized there were mobile apps for finding dates, hook-ups, and whatever else people might want to get into together. I was old-fashioned enough (at the time) to think it was cold and impersonal. But as someone who met one man through ICQ chat (raise your hand if you remember those!) and two men through the comments on my own blog, screen to screen contact really shouldn't have seemed that strange to me.
My real surprise came when I discovered specialty dating sites were an actual thing that people used. From fetish and kink dating sites to sites based on age or religion, anything you can think of is available. Although it used to sound weird to me, it actually makes sense. What better way to openly communicate your sexual preferences than to go where (presumably) everyone else has similar preferences? If you're an older woman and you only want to date younger men, it makes sense to go to a cougar dating website. For kinksters, using a site geared towards your kinks or just BDSM in general means it's easier to include the words "submissive spanko" on your profile (or whatever your kink may be, lol).
Online Dating Ain't Easy, Though
Okay, I can hear my single friends sighing in disgust because they've had too many bad experiences on dating sites. From random messages sent from people who clearly didn't read your profile or the person who uses a picture from 10 years ago and is surprised that you're upset when the reality doesn't match, I can imagine wading through the crap is a bit of a minefield. But is that really any different from the person you meet at the coffee shop who tells you they work in finance, they're single, and they have a huge house - and then you find out, they're the janitor at the local bank, they're married with three kids, and they live in their parent's basement? Other than the married and cheating part, you might have overlooked the rest - if they'd been honest. The difference, I see, in the online world is that the number is greater, and some of them are probably a lot bolder (another raise of hands - how many of you have gotten unsolicited dick pics? Which, by the way, isn't specific to dating sites - I get them from Tumblr followers more often than I care to think about). But you can also (usually) figure out the creeps pretty quick and (hopefully) ignore them.
So, online dating, as a kinkster or vanilla, is damned difficult, and I'm fucking lucky as hell. But I still think there's something to be said for the niche dating sites out there. At the end of the day, the rules are the same no matter where you meet people - keep your guard up, ignore the crap (make the delete key your friend, y'all), and make people prove themselves to you (ya know, that they aren't lying through their teeth) before you fall head over heels in love.
Oh, and just as a public service announcement for anyone who's new to the lifestyle, Fetlife is not a dating site. It's a place to find kinksters in your local area - for munches, coffees, dungeons, play parties, and whatever else. It's a social media site for kinksters (Facebook for BDSM or something like that). It's a place to learn and share your experiences. And, if you find the right thread or group, it can be used to find that special someone - or someone-for-right-now, but that's not the ultimate purpose of the site. So, to all you creepers who send random and weird messages to submissives/bottoms (regardless of their relationship status), just stop it right now. And for you newer subs who think you're required to respond to a creepy message, you're not. Remember, the delete button is your friend, and you don't owe random strangers a response to an unsolicited message.
This post was sponsored by My Cougar Dates. All opinions expressed are my own.