As one who met my current slave, and many lifestyle friends, online, I believe the Internet is the greatest tool ever devised for meeting fellow kinksters. In my case, for example, it would be difficult to approach a woman at a supermarket and ask, “Are you a submissive?” At best, I would get a blank stare. I would probably have to use this line on a hundred women before I heard, “Yes, I am a submissive.” And even then, the next sentence might be, “My Master is on the produce aisle.” Ugh! Other than socials, munches and play parties, online is the way to go. Thus this rather important question regarding lifestylers one meets online. So here goes:
Reader: I’m an experienced female switch, currently in the market for a male sub. I contacted a sub I saw online and in our discussion we talked about references. I’ve always been a believer in them. He, however, doesn’t see a need for them. What’s your opinion on references? Do you think they’re a good idea, and if so, could you explain how to use them when meeting a potential play partner?
As I see it, the best way to use the Internet is to set up some “red flag” criteria that you use consistently. Whether or not your system is too rigid is not an issue; it must have rules that you stand by. In all likelihood, one male sub is your aim; you are not looking for an army. Thus, it matters not if you get rid of some potential winners. The key is to eliminate losers – or even dangerous players. Thus, you must insist on a set of criteria that determines whether you pursue a given person or drop him. Let’s examine references as one of these tools.
A good rule of thumb is, “If you don’t see eye-to-eye on the need for references, then you’re not going to get very far…” Yet it goes deeper than this. I feel that everyone uses some form of “reference” when meeting other people – whether it is vanilla, religious or libertine. People gossip. People ask questions. People are born detectives. It is rare when we do not try to get a fix on another person’s proclivities. There is nothing wrong in asking for references. After all, they ask for them when you rent a car.
What you are probably reacting to is not the reference issue per se, but rather his refusal to cooperate in your request for them. And herein lies two big red flags. First, a person who wants to be your sub seems a bit un-subly in his refusal. Second, a person who is afraid of giving references is like a person who is rarely available. More than likely, this person is married. You might be open to a married person; but the lying is the red flag. Similarly, you might not require a spotless set of references worthy of an American Express black card application (that super-secret card reserved for the multi-millionaire set), but you want to know he is not afraid of your inquiries. Of course, he might not have anything to hide; he might simply be philosophically opposed to any investigation about him. Nevertheless, you must stick to your guns. After all, if you do bend your standards for him, and it turns out that references would have shown him to be an unsafe player, you would be kicking yourself. (Actually, as a switch, kicking yourself might be fun!)
I would, however, issue one warning with regard to references. Always evaluate any references with a healthy skepticism; you really cannot judge someone through another person’s eyes. A saint to one individual can be a sinner to another. One negative recommendation should not outweigh a bunch of positive ones. Make sure you compile an overall profile of the person you are interested in; don’t rely on references all by themselves. They are part of the picture, not the whole picture.
Meeting online is always a bit tricky. You might have to kiss a bunch of frogs before you find your prince. The best advice I can give you is to keep the selection process as true to yourself as possible. If you require references and your candidate says “No” then you should say “Next!”
About the Author
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.