Don’t get me wrong – I’m not referring to how you identify in terms of D/s roles, gender or sexual orientation. This article is about forming your online identity when you enter the world of kink and creating your name and online profile on Fetlife (or other online forum).
This is inspired from two separate reader questions (one on kinkweekly and another sent to me privately). The question sent to kinkweekly was as follows,
“I do have one question about profiles in general. What makes for a good ‘about me’ section? I am horrible at writing about myself, but don’t want the ‘about me’ to just say UNDER CONSTRUCTION for a long time. Any thoughts or tips are appreciated.”
The question posed to me directly was this,
“May I ask how you chose your name? Do you use a particular name that always sticks with you? Any guidance would be sincerely appreciated.”
I figured these two topics are somewhat related – so why not tackle them together. I will start with the name. This was what I sent in response to the private message:
My first fetlife name was actually pulled from my email address at the time. After a while (can’t remember how long it was) I decided to change it to something more meaningful to me.
When I entered the kink scene I was coming out of a 17 year vanilla marriage – going thru a divorce. I felt that I had been living the way I “should” all my life – doing what was expected…. college, marriage, kids, etc.
When I discovered the scene I felt like I found my calling and my people – which I never knew existed before.
Hence the lostnfound1 name.
So I’d say choose something that has meaning for you. Also keep in mind you can change it. I may have changed mine at some point except that once I started doing education classes, parties, etc. I didn’t want to confuse people.
Also keep in mind that this will be a name that you will use when you meet people and they want to friend you – so be careful of it being too complex, weird spelling, etc.
One more thing to think about. Some people choose their name by their kink and then it can be awkward at a munch saying, “oh yeah friend me on fetlife – my handle is PutEverythingInMyAss” lol
So there’s my advice on choosing a handle, or screen name, for your online profile.
Now on to the reader question about filling out the ‘about me’ section of your profile. This is difficult when it comes to specific advice because, well, it’s about YOU! However, I have some things for you to think about as you create and fill in your page. Keep in mind that this will be the first, if not only, impression that people have of you. It will also be what people have to go on if they want to correspond with you. Also keep in mind that many people will not read your profile and only go off what they see in your pictures.
I’m going to put some examples out there in the hope that you can take it from there.
I had a friend who was getting tired of always getting rude propositions from men online. Her profile talked about how she identified as a submissive and some of her main kinks. Her pics were 80% nude shots or her during sex acts. One of her kinks is exhibitionism – which is great, nothing wrong with that. She was putting out to the internet what she enjoyed as it fed into her kink. Could her profile focus a bit more on her vanilla interests or include more G rated images? Sure. I’m not here to judge her page, however, I wasn’t surprised that she received many messages that infuriated her and made her feel like “all they want is sex”. All the men had to go on were sexually charged words and images – they had no other way to connect to her. Again, no judgement – just food for thought.
Another friend who had his penis as his profile pic kept wondering why he kept getting ignored or attacked by the women he was messaging online. He was writing thoughtful messages – not even copy paste! 😉 Many people are turned off by a profile picture that is just genitalia. Not all people – I get that – but many. They have a hard time getting past it to get to know the rest of the person. If he only wanted to meet those that enjoyed it then that’s cool. However, in his desire to meet a life partner he decided to change his profile picture.
I could go thru a bajillion more examples – but just keep in mind that the person looking at your profile doesn’t know you as a human being. Look at your own page from a stranger’s angle – or have friends help – and ask yourself if it represents who you are and what you want to put yourself out there as.
Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.