With an established online presence and with recent changes made in late 2016 and early 2017, we thought it would be a good time to visit FetLife and review its current performance. Here is our FetLife review.
FetLife Review Results
Final Word on FetLife
If you have — or are curious about — a specific fetish, FetLife is a great place to explore your kinks. You don't have to be worried about being judged or criticized as you are in a community of like-minded people. That is very refreshing and not easy to find elsewhere. We were impressed by the way FetLife successfully fosters a social community around topics that the population, in general, may feel are too taboo. For that, we give them high marks. When it comes to functionality as a dating or hookup site, however, that's where we must be honest and state that FetLife is not the most practical place for that activity. The lack of a chat function greatly deters two members from engaging and hooking up.
As a hookup site, we would rate it as AVERAGE
— Pros and Cons of FetLife —
- Over 5 million real members
- Wide variety of fetishes and kinks
- Adult-oriented social network
- No direct matchmaking capability
- Must pay for a premium membership to view videos
- Registration requires an invite or your cell number
- No Chat Feature
— In-Depth FetLife Review —
FetLife defines itself as an adult social networking site — not a dating site. From our experience on the site, that is an apt description. FetLife was originally launched in 2008 and has garnered a membership numbering over five million users.
In a nutshell, FetLife utilizes a social networking platform to bring people with specific fetishes and sexual kinks together. As long as it’s legal, there are no limitations on the subject matter that can be discussed on the platform. Roughly half of the groups on FetLife revolve around BDSM.
— The Registration Process on FetLife —
When you first visit FetLife, you are greeted by a welcome page that is minimalist. It consists of nothing but a black background and a few lines of text to greet visitors. There are also two buttons — one to login if you are already a member, and one to join.
By clicking on the “Signup to FetLife” button, you are taken to another screen where you are required to fill in some basic information. This consists of your desired nickname for the site. If your desired nickname is already taken, you will be alerted to the fact and some slightly modified options derived from your original selection will be made to you. You can choose one of those alternatives, or try something entirely different.
Next, you must select your gender from a drop-down menu. Being a site inclusive of all orientations, the gender options given to you are: male, female, cross dresser, trans male to female, trans female to male, transgender, gender fluid, genderqueer, intersex, butch, femme, and non-applicable.
You then move on to select what role you associate yourself with. By role, they are referring to your specific kink or fetish. There are 67 roles to choose from a drop-down menu. These cover common roles, such as dominant, voyeur and mistress; to more nuanced roles, such as primal prey, furry, and rope bunny. In case you are not certain what role to choose for yourself, you can always select the “undecided” or “non-applicable” options. For the purposes of our FetLife review, we selected the “undecided” role and found that the role you choose does not limit your use of the site in any way. It only appears on your profile page to help others identify what topics you are into.
The remaining fields require you to enter your date of birth, the country where you are located, desired password and a valid email address. In the past, this was all that was required to register on FetLife. Recent changes, however, now require you to validate your registration by submitting a cell number where they send you a confirmation code via an SMS text message. In our test, we received the SMS message in less than two minutes. Once you enter the code that was sent to you — the registration process is complete.
FetLife states that they do not use your cell number to contact you and they offer assurances that it is always kept confidential. Regardless, some people may be hesitant to use their cell number for this purpose. During out FetLife review. we discovered that it does offer an alternative method to register. This requires you to know someone that is already registered. A registered member can send you a direct invitation to your email. All you to do then is click on the invitation link, enter the other information described above and bypass the cell phone requirement entirely.
While such hurdles to registration can be bothersome, it also results in a membership base that is more genuine. The majority of the profiles that we found on FetLife seemed to be from real people. This, in our opinion, benefits the user experience by keeping fake profiles and jokesters off the site.
— FetLife User Experience —
When you enter the site as a member you will feel like you are on a social network similar to Facebook. All members have a personal profile. Also, all members can start groups. Any member can join a group, but the “owner” of the group does reserve the right to ban any member from their group.
Members can friend each other and receive notifications of each other’s posts. You may browse the timeline of other members even if you are not friends. You can also leave comments on any post — be it on a group page or personal profile page. Just be forewarned, comments once posted cannot be removed.
On your own profile page, you can post anything you want. There are no limits on text length. You can also post images and videos. The only limitation imposed on images is that they must be of you. Given the nature of the site, there is no censoring of what could be considered “heavy” topics. The only content that is prohibited by FetLife is that which is deemed illegal. This content will be removed and could result in the member being banned from the site.
— FetLife Privacy —
FetLife does not permit its pages to be indexed by search engines. That means that all content posted on FetLife cannot be found by the public. The only way to access it is by being a member and viewing it directly on the site.
— Uses for FetLife —
Since it is not a dating site, the best way to get the most out of it is by using it as a social network. Members create group pages to discuss a wide and wild variety of sexual topics. You will find a group for every fetish and kink imaginable. Some group pages are dedicated to announcing group meetups for sexual encounters, as well as non-sexual gatherings.
The chat feature that once allowed individual members to engage in private chats was discontinued in 2016. FetLife has indicated that it does not intend to bring back this feature at any time in the foreseeable future. In our opinion, this is a negative. Out of all of the sites that we have reviewed, this one seems the best suited to allow private conversation.
— FetLife Cost —
FetLife is free to use. Display advertising is shown, but it does not interfere with the flow of the site. A premium membership is available at a cost of $5 per month, however, this must be purchased in increments of six months each. That makes the price that you must pay $30. The premium membership does not remove the display advertising, it only allows you to view videos posted on the site. Regular membership allows you to see all content except for the videos.
FetLife is a decent BDSM dating site but still leagues below our favorite BDSM dating site ALT.com