The Facebook for Fetishes: How FetLife has created a no-holds-barred kinkster’s heaven

Have you ever went to edit your Facebook profile and thought, “Why can I only have one relationship status at a time?” Or, “It sure sucks that I can’t post pictures of myself scantily clad and handcuffed to a best post with a status explicitly saying I want someone with hairy feet to whip my left ass cheek…”

You’re not alone.

In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of people just like you – people with fetishes that are trapped underground because the mainstream forums don’t accept such abnormalities. Facebook may be fun, but FetLife is no-holds-barred.

FetLife, which has five full-time employees including ones from Vancouver and Montreal, is a Canadian-born company that is essentially Facebook with a very kinky twist: it is designed exclusively for people with fetishes to live their fantasies out in cyber erotic affairs and in real life.

You sign up by choosing a username (you’re never asked for your real name) and selecting such things as sexual orientation – “heteroflexible” and “evolving” among them – as well as your role, such as “master,” “mistress,” or “bottom.” You can then upload pictures and videos, nude or otherwise, and browse events, search for members by city, etc., functioning in much the same manner as Facebook – but again, with quite the dark and distinguished twist.

Of course, you can also search members by their fetishes, which include but are certainly not limited to “accents,” “armpits,” “belt whipping,” “catsuits,” “female supremacy,” “light bondage,” “muscles,” “tickling,” and “toilet slave.” (For a truly gritty list, you’ll have to join the site.)

Facebook asks the simple question “What’s on your mind?” FetLife asks the simple question “What’s on your kinky mind?” and clearly, most member are active, and actively horny. But that’s okay, because the name of the game is indulgence. It’s a little like Ashley Madison, but minus the financial rip-off – people come to the site knowing what’s up, that things are a little different here, and that such is the acceptable norm.

The website began development in 2008 and launched on January 3, 2008. It has since then done quite well, despite being very little known on the surface – in fact, as we are adding it to our legendary Startup Indexes, it’s actually going to debut in the Top 5 Vancouver startups. This is a unique instance, for it is the first time a company has managed to exist under the radar while becoming so prominent underground.

The numbers are impressive, as FetLife is proud to display in real-time or something close to it:

750,054 Members have shared 2,895,007 pictures and 21,668 videos, participated in 987,892 discussions in 24,409 groups, are going to 3,420 upcoming events and reading 377,142 blog posts. Welcome to kinky heaven!

There are 12,000 FetLifers in B.C. and 30,000 in Ontario, the site’s two most popular provinces in Canada.

Once you get some friends, you home feed will probably start looking like an amateur’s fetish porn blog. But if you joined and added friends, that’s probably your gig anyway, so it’s all good.