FetLife

Last updated
FetLife
FetLife logo.svg
Screenshot
FetLife user page.png
Type of site
Adult social networking
Available in English
Founded2008;13 years ago (2008)
Headquarters Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Founder(s) John Kopanas
Parent BitLove, Inc.
URL fetlife.com
RegistrationRequired
Current statusActive
Written in Ruby on Rails

FetLife is a social networking website that serves people interested in BDSM, fetishism, and kink. On its homepage, FetLife describes itself as "Like Facebook, but run by kinksters like you and me." The "Fet" in the name refers to "fetish". FetLife distinguishes itself from competitors by emphasizing itself as a social network rather than a dating site. [1] It is on principle supportive of fringe sexual practices.

Contents

History

FetLife was launched in January 2008 by John Kopanas (also known by his username John Baku), a software engineer in Montreal, Quebec. [2] [3] Frustrated by attempts to find women who had the same sexual interests as he did, Baku created a website in 2007 called "FriendsWithFetishes". While working on release 2.0 of FriendsWithFetishes, Baku decided to launch it as a separate site and named it FetLife. [4] James Golick served as chief technology officer. [5] In 2009 Baku received the Community Choice (Man) Award as part of the Pantheon of Leather Awards. [6]

Features

In the past, any member could create a group devoted to whatever fetish they chose. However, in January 2017, FetLife temporarily shut down the ability to create new groups. At the same time, they deleted hundreds of existing groups, including anything with the words blood, needles, rape and incest. [7] [8] The ability to create new groups was reinstated shortly afterwards.

All new members are by default enrolled in the group Fetlife Announcements, which has (as of 2017) over 6 million members.

There are many groups devoted to answering thematic questions, such as "Ask a Submissive", "Ask a Mistress", "Ask a Dominant", "Ask a Stripper", "Novices & Newbies" and so on. Groups can be searched for by words in the group title.

In addition, there is a separate "directory" of fetishes which a member may indicate their interest in. Any member can create a new fetish.

Any member can post an Event with date, location, cost, dress code, and other information. Location can be concealed and only revealed individually by the Event owner to participants. Users, on an Event's page, can indicate that they "will attend" or "might attend".

All members have a personal profile. A member may have multiple affiliate profiles, but sockpuppets are against the site's terms of use. There are 12 possible "sexual orientation" choices, plus "Not Applicable" and over 60 "role" choices. The groups the member belongs to and the fetishes the member is "into" or "curious about" are displayed as part of the profile. Beyond this, the member may write text that is automatically posted on their profile, with no limitation on length. All profiles are by default visible to all members, though a member can block another member.

Members can indicate that they are "Friends" with another member, and thus receive notification of the Friend's activity (for example, which groups the Friend joins and what posts they make). Confirmation from the proposed Friend is required.

Members can also indicate that they are in one or more relationships. A separate menu allows a member to indicate more specifically any D/s (Dominant/submissive) relationships they may be in. Both optionally allow the member to specify someone on their friends list.

Members can exchange private messages with any other member. A limited chat function was implemented in 2013, allowing members to chat to others with whom they were friends: this function was discontinued in 2016. In 2020 it became possible to select if one wishes to receive messages from any member or just from followers and friends.

Each member can post writings (journal entries, erotica, and notes), photographs, and videos. Posting of photographs or videos not taken by the member themself is not permitted unless they are photos or videos of the member. While membership is free, videos can only be viewed by financial supporters. Those who make a financial contribution receive an "I Support FetLife" badge on their profile.

Any member may comment on another member's piece of writing, photo, or video. Comments are public and cannot be changed after posting.

The search feature is deliberately limited to prevent members from finding users with specific characteristics, such as age or gender. [9] Also, writings cannot be searched by topic or keyword; they are only available via the author's profile page. From 2020 it is possible to add tags to writings and search a writing via tags.

Members are encouraged to report illegal content as well as terms of use violations to the administrators of FetLife.

Criticism

In 2012, FetLife found itself at the center of a controversy regarding its policy that users pledge not to "make criminal accusations against another member in a public forum". [10] This policy has been objected to by users on the basis that censoring posts of sexual assault victims that name predatory users prevents them from warning others. [11] [12] [13] [14] FetLife's reasoning behind this policy is that it allows users to accuse others of a crime, which could be libelous if the allegations are false or unprovable. [15] [16]

An account is required to view content on FetLife, although membership is free. The site is not indexed by search engines and, partly because of this, critics have argued that FetLife presents itself as being more private than it is. [15]

In April 2017, FetLife was accessed by Brendt Christensen, the killer of Yingying Zhang, to explore topics such as "Abduction 101" and sub-threads such as "Perfect abduction fantasy" and "planning a kidnapping." [17]

After being cited in several criminal cases, FetLife prohibited several hundred fetish categories. [18]

Related Research Articles

BDSM erotic practices involving domination and sadomasochism

BDSM is a variety of often erotic practices or roleplaying involving bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism, and other related interpersonal dynamics. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves to be practising BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture often is said to depend on self-identification and shared experience.

An internet relationship is a relationship between people who have met online, and in many cases know each other only via the Internet. Online relationships are similar in many ways to pen pal relationships. This relationship can be romantic, platonic, or even based on business affairs. An internet relationship is generally sustained for a certain amount of time before being titled a relationship, just as in-person relationships. The major difference here is that an internet relationship is sustained via computer or online service, and the individuals in the relationship may or may not ever meet each other in person. Otherwise, the term is quite broad and can include relationships based upon text, video, audio, or even virtual character. This relationship can be between people in different regions, different countries, different sides of the world, or even people who reside in the same area but do not communicate in person.

Urolagnia Paraphilia associated with urine or urination

Urolagnia is a paraphilia in which sexual excitement is associated with the sight or thought of urine or urination.

Sexual fetishism Sexual arousal a person receives from an object or situation

Sexual fetishism or erotic fetishism is a sexual fixation on a nonliving object or nongenital body part. The object of interest is called the fetish; the person who has a fetish for that object is a fetishist. A sexual fetish may be regarded as a non-pathological aid to sexual excitement, or as a mental disorder if it causes significant psychosocial distress for the person or has detrimental effects on important areas of their life. Sexual arousal from a particular body part can be further classified as partialism.

A fetish magazine is a type of magazine originating in the late 1940s which is devoted to sexual fetishism. The content is generally aimed at being erotic rather than pornographic.

Shoe fetishism

Shoe fetishism is the attribution of attractive sexual qualities to shoes or other footwear as a matter of sexual preference, or an alternative or complement to a relationship with a partner. It has also been known as retifism, after the French novelist Nicolas-Edme Rétif (1734–1806), also known as Rétif de la Bretonne, who wrote a novel about it called Fanchette's Foot, which preference or penchant seems to have been if not "all the rage" at the time at least known to have been practiced or suffered by more than handsful of somewhat important individuals of that period.

tribe.net

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LinkedIn Social networking website for people in professional occupations

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Facebook Graph Search Semantic search engine by Facebook

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References

  1. "FetLife Home Page". Archived from the original on 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  2. Bell, Niko (February 9, 2017). "What just happened to kink social network FetLife is a bad sign for web freedom". Daily Xtra. Archived from the original on July 3, 2017. In an apologetic post to the FetLife community, founder John Kopanas — better known on the site by his username JohnBaku — said the restrictions were the only way out of an existential threat
  3. Zanin, Andrea (2008-09-04). "Facebook for the kinky: Montreal-based FetLife.com networks fetishists of the world". Montreal Mirror . Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  4. Baku, John (2008-01-10). "FetLife.com Launches - The First Social Network for Kinksters". Sexual Deviants Living In A Web 2.0 World. Archived from the original on 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
  5. Golick, James (September 5, 2012). "Moving On". jamesgolick.com. Archived from the original on July 4, 2017. He told me about his growing company, and a month later, the consulting firm I'd been running was closed, our office vacant, and I had joined BitLove (the company that runs FetLife — which was then known as Protose) as CTO.
  6. "Pantheon of Leather Awards All Time Recipients - The Leather Journal". www.theleatherjournal.com.
  7. Kale, Sirin (January 25, 2017). "Kinky Social Network Fetlife Deletes Thousands Of Fetishes to Stay Online". Vice . Archived from the original on May 27, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  8. Baku, John (2013-02-06). "The Next Steps - The Big Four". Fetlife.(subscription required)
  9. Baku, John (2009). "FetLife, now with improved search". Fetlife.(subscription required)
  10. "Terms of Use". FetLife. April 22, 2016. Archived from the original on September 26, 2016. You agree that, while using BitLove’s Products and Services, you will not [...] Make criminal accusations against another member in a public forum.
  11. Clark-Flory, Tracy (2012-06-03). "A BDSM Blacklist". Salon . Archived from the original on 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
  12. J.M. Baker, Katie (2012-11-08). "Kink Community Tells Sexual Assault Victims It's All Their Fault". Jezebel . Archived from the original on 2012-11-10. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  13. White, Rachel R. (2012-11-16). "The Story of 'No': S&M Sex Clubs Sprout Up on Ivy Campuses, and Coercion Becomes an Issue". Observer Media . Archived from the original on 2015-02-14. Retrieved 2015-02-02.
  14. Morris, David Z. (March 3, 2015). "How Kink's Largest Social-Networking Site Fails Its Users". The Atlantic . Archived from the original on March 5, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  15. 1 2 Flox, Anaiis (2011-08-27). "FetLife Is Not Safe For Users". Sex and the 405. Archived from the original on 2012-12-30. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
  16. Weinberg, Jill D. (31 May 2016). Consensual Violence: Sex, Sports, and the Politics of Injury. University of California Press. pp. 71–72. ISBN   9780520290655. Archived from the original on 2018-08-20. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  17. "'Nobody saw this coming': Arrest in Chinese scholar's disappearance stuns U. of I. community". The Chicago Tribune . July 1, 2017. Archived from the original on July 1, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2017. Authorities also searched Christensen’s home and seized electronics, including his phone, according to the affidavit. The phone’s search history revealed visits to a bondage and sadomasochism fetish website called FetLife and a forum called "Abduction 101," as well as subthreads titled "Perfect abduction fantasy" and "planning a kidnapping," according to the affidavit
  18. The Associated Press (July 4, 2017). "Man who tapped 'Abduction 101' forum denied bond in kidnapping, suspected murder of Chinese scholar". The Japan Times . Archived from the original on July 3, 2017. Retrieved July 3, 2017. FetLife prohibited hundreds of fetish categories this year after it was cited in several criminal cases, Baku said in a February online note to members.