a kinkster's guide to vetting
a kinkster's guide to vetting

Please keep in mind that this section, like the rest of these resources, is a set of guidelines. We hope these pointers keep you safe through your kink journey, but don't feel pressured to use them. We cannot tell anyone how to frame their relationships.

Alright! You’ve chatted with someone that you feel you might have a connection with. They’re respectful to you and you’d like to know more about them. What do you do to keep yourself safe?

For starters, be sure to ask for consent and come up with a safeword system before beginning any sort of play.

Develop a list of boundaries/red flags/limits and refer to them. It’s okay to have limits like “I won’t have penetrative sex” or “I need cucking to be part of my relationship”. I guarantee you are not difficult or undesirable, no matter what someone else might have told you in the past. In fact, anyone trying to claim your boundaries make you undesirable is someone you should keep far, far away from you. Keep searching and you’ll find the right fit.

Trust your instincts. If you feel that something is off and that feeling won’t go away, don’t play with this person or these people. The kink community is a big place and you’ll find other people that will make you feel comfortable. Questions you might want to ask yourself before playing with others:

  • Did they actively listen to my needs?

  • Do they give me a chance to talk and share my experiences?

  • Do their kinks align with my own?

  • Do they respect my boundaries without judgment or argument?

  • What do I hope to gain out of this experience? Can this person give this to me? Can I reciprocate this?

  • What am I looking for in a play partner? Does this align with the needs of the other party or parties?

Make sure to follow general safety protocol. If you’ve never met with them before, we recommend against meeting them in a back alleyway. You might not even want to meet at their place or a hotel room. I would recommend doing a video chat before meeting them to see if they’d be someone you trust in a public place, but feel free to do what makes you comfortable. What's important is that you feel safe.

Give yourself the time you need to feel safe. You can always ask them for coffee/board games/other casual date ideas to learn more about them. If you aren't sure about the other party's (or parties') actions, check in with the other party or parties by asking what they are looking for. If it doesn’t align with what you need, take care of yourself and move on. Again, there will be other people that will meet your needs.

All the vetting from the general in-person vetting section applies here. Additionally, you’ll need to vet the venue and organizers of the event. You should always feel safe to DM the organizer on Fetlife about any questions you have as a first-timer to their event. If they indicate there is nobody who can answer questions or vouch for the safety of their event, that’s a general sign that you should stay away. Questions you might want to ask before attending a event (such as a play party or a munch) for the first time:

  • Is the venue a public space? Where is the event hosted within the venue?

  • How do you handle individuals that don’t understand consent/won’t take no for an answer?

  • Can I speak to the organizers and introduce myself? Will there be a newbie area?

  • Are there washrooms on site? Unisex washrooms? Is there water/food available?

  • Any accessibility concerns you might have (elevators, proximity to public transit, etc)

If this event is a play party, you will also want to consider:

  • Is there on-site security?

  • Is there snacks or a rest station available for aftercare?

  • Are alcohol/drugs going to be available for consumption? Will there be anyone monitoring to make sure intoxicated individuals aren’t engaging in play?

  • Will sex/nudity be allowed? If so, where in the venue is it allowed?

Vetting In Person: At Events

Whenever you attend a play party, you might get others who are interested in pickup play with you. If that’s your thing, awesome! Have fun! But I’d recommend that you are confident in your ability to vet others before engaging in pickup play. It’s also totally fine if pickup play isn’t your thing at all.

Always feel free to say “No” to any requests for pickup play, offers to buy you a drink, invites to after-parties, etc.

After all the safety talk, I do want to say that events are a great way to learn more about the kink community. By watching others play, you’ll be introduced to new possibilities and fun experiences that you didn’t even know could be possible. By staying open-minded to new ideas, you’ll discover new ways to connect during play, enhance your romantic life, and discover new fetishes you didn't think you could be into. And that’s a good thing! Self-discovery is a big part of what makes kink so much fun!

Final note: don’t go to events thinking you’ll find the partner of your dreams. There are definitely people who have met partners at kink events, but not everyone falls into this category. If you meet someone and feel a connection, it’s okay to ask to stay in touch. However, keep in mind that kink events are not a “hookup event/date finder” for everyone.

There are many limitations to meeting other people online. You can’t see their faces and gauge how they’re feeling, you can’t observe their behaviour to judge how safe they are, in fact, you can’t even prove the person you’re texting is actually real! However, many people have started dating online and kinky people are no exception.

How do you find out if someone else is kinky? ASK. There are no shortcuts here. Someone bossy may not be a top/dominant. Someone who is quieter or shy may not be a bottom or submissive. There’s also dominant bottoms, masochistic tops, people who are only kinky in the bedroom, people who want a total power exchange, and everything in between. I would personally clarify what the other person is seeking before even meeting them in real life, but use your judgement. At the very least, I recommend doing a video call before meeting up in person to see if there’s enough of a connection that you’d be willing to go on a date with them, but again, if you are confident in your vetting ability, there might be no need for a video call.

Do not send people money unless you've negotiated play that will involve the exchange of currency. Romance scams are common on online dating apps. If you’re going to send nudes, keep in mind that there may be unsavoury individuals online that try to blackmail you with these images. If you value privacy for professional reasons, it's okay to communicate this so all parties know where you stand on public displays of sexuality. If the other party doesn't agree with your boundaries, I'd say you've saved yourself a lot of time and heartache.

A final note about vetting online: you don't need to chase after the first connection you make. I promise you, there are other femdoms/extreme masochists/service subs/whatever type of person you love that you've been struggling to find. Regular dating is hard and kinky dating is no different. You'll find your match! I believe in you! (❁´◡`❁)

vetting in the kink community