So I’ve mentioned before that I have some friends in weird and wonderful alternative lifestyles, and one of those lifestyles is the kink community (a.k.a BDSM). All this means for me is that it’s something that I have a reasonable amount of knowledge on (far from an expert) and respect for, for you, it means you get to be party to the following rant. I’ve noticed over the last number of months that there are cases where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and I’m starting to think that in terms of online dating, Kink is one of those cases.
If you’ve ever perused Tinder you’ll probably have noticed random profiles popping up with images of handcuffs and crops, silhouettes of men kneeling at women’s feet, pictures of women in all sorts of bound poses (or in many cases just gagged). These are generally accompanied with a blurb that gives you absolutely no information on who the person is… and just a random “I’m an experienced Dom and I’d like you to serve me” blah blah blah kinda note.
These bothered me on Tinder a bit, because I have a strongly held opinion that this isn’t a safe way to meet someone to interact with in that way. There are lots of risks associated with kink, this is why the methods of interacting are governed by things like RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) and SSC (Safe Sane Consensual). My feelings are strongly on the side that this isn’t something that you should be engaging in with someone you have randomly met off the internet. There is a community in which these things are set up. A place where you can have someone vouched for. Where people know where you are and whom you are with. These things are put in place for the safety of both the Dom and sub. However, with Tinder you choose to swipe right on an image like this, so you are choosing to interact with this person (regardless of how silly I may think that is).
POF, however, is in fact a whole other kettle of fish…. (pun unintended, and then kept when realised!!). If you haven’t been on POF, it’s different to apps like Tinder and Bumble, people who you have not mutually swiped on can message you. You see someone you like, you can message them and see what happens. This, however, has pitfalls. On a regular (definitely weekly) basis, I’ve gotten messages from men asking me what my thoughts are on bondage, if I’m submissive or Dominant, or in some cases sending me a very detailed message on what they are looking for in a submissive woman, and how I would go about pleasing them….
Now, I have a good bit of knowledge in the area, and I know that this kind of thing isn’t good, in fact it instantly puts up red warning flares for me. However, some of the messages are quite insistent or persuasive, and it got me thinking about how girls who may have their interest peaked but have little knowledge of it all could be impacted. They might take these random men as the real deal and put themselves into a genuinely unsafe situation. For instance, I got a message from one gentleman who assured me that he was a very ‘experienced’ dominant who was well known in the Irish BDSM scene etc etc etc… so I called him on it, I asked him who he was, and who it was that could vouch for him, and why he wasn’t connecting with people in the scene already. He couldn’t answer any of the questions and hastily disappeared.
This also works the other way, for instance, I spoke with a friend recently who mentioned that she’d had a man message her on another (vanilla) site and ask her to be his mistress. She had very limited knowledge of what this entailed, which if she had been so inclined, could have put this gentleman in a less than safe position. Again, this shows where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. This guy had enough knowledge to know that it was something he was interested in, but not enough knowledge to know how to go about this safely. It puts him in potentially dangerous situations, luckily my friend is awesome, but that’s not to say that he hasn’t message someone an awful lot less awesome at some point.
This post has been more of a rant than anything else, but the lessons I’ve learnt over the last 18 months using these apps are;
- If you meet someone from a dating app, make sure it’s in a very public setting.
- Don’t get into a power dynamic situation with someone without making sure they are legit first.
- If someone messages you an initial message that is entirely about how amazing/experience a Dom/sub they are, on a vanilla site, chances are that they aren’t legit.
- If these are things that you are interested in, there are resources out there that can help you to learn and meet people in a safer environment.
- Always keep your safety as your top priority, and don’t take unnecessary risks.
Finally, if anyone is interested in these things, I can probably point you in the right general direction, so pop me a quick message on the contact page or leave a comment. Stay safe 😊