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Type Social Networking
Headquarters Vancouver, Canada
Parent BitLove, Inc.
Website https://fetlife.com/
Written in Ruby on Rails
Type of site Adult Social Networking
Registration Required
Available in English
Current status Active

FetLife is a social networking website that serves people interested in BDSM, fetishism, and kink. On its homepage, FetLife describes itself as, "Similar to Facebook and MySpace but run by kinksters like you and me." FetLife distinguishes itself from competitors by emphasizing itself as a social network rather than a dating site.[1] FetLife is pansexual; everyone is welcome.

FetLife runs on a custom nginx variant of the Ubuntu/Debian distribution of GNU/Linux; it was adapted from the brightbox version.[2]


FetLife was launched in January 2008 by John Baku, a software engineer in Montreal, Quebec.[3] Frustrated by attempts to find women who had the same sexual interests as he did, Baku created a website in 2007 called “FriendsWithFetishes”. While working on release 2.0 of FriendsWithFetishes, Baku decided to launch it as a separate site and named it FetLife.[4]

In 2012, FetLife found itself at the center of a controversy regarding its policy that users pledge not to "make criminal accusations against another member in a public forum,"[5] which many of its users object to[6][7] on the basis that it prevents them from warning each other about predatory users or illegal activities.[8][9]


The limitations on search capability are cause of some user dissatisfaction. One can search for users with interest in fetish X and for users with location Y, but by design one cannot search for a user with interest X located in location Y. There is also no ability to search for users by age, gender, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics other than profile name, nor can one search by neighborhood within a city.

Because of external pressures, about 40 words are blocked in the search for groups.[citation needed]

An account is required to view content on FetLife, although since membership is free the level of privacy offered by the site is minimal. In practice, this means the site is not indexed by search engines and, partly because of this, critics have argued that FetLife presents itself as being more private than it is.[10][11][12][13][14][15]


  1. ^ "FetLife Home Page". Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  2. ^ "nginx-fetlife on Github". 
  3. ^ Zanin, Andrea (2008-09-04). "Facebook for the kinky: Montreal-based FetLife.com networks fetishists of the world". Montreal Mirror. Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  4. ^ Baku, John (2008-01-10). "FetLife.com Launches - The First Social Network for Kinksters". Sexual Deviants Living In A Web 2.0 World. Archived from the original on 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  5. ^ "Terms of Use". FetLife.com. 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  6. ^ Clark-Flory, Tracy (2012-06-03). "A BDSM Blacklist". Salon. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  7. ^ J.M. Baker, Katie (2012-11-08). "Kink Community Tells Sexual Assault Victims It’s All Their Fault". Jezebel. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  8. ^ Dubinski, Kate (2013-01-09). "Teacher case exposes Internet's sinister side". The London Free Press. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  9. ^ Jeffrey, Tara (2013-01-06). "Accused linked to disturbing online profiles". Sarnia Observer. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  10. ^ Flox, Anaiis (2011-08-27). "FetLife Is Not Safe For Users". Sex and the 405. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  11. ^ Got Consent? III: FetLife Doesn’t Get It disruptingdinnerparties.com, 8 May 2013
  12. ^ Beware Of Self-Appointed Saviors Maggie Mayhem, 17 August 2012
  13. ^ Abuse in Kink Communities? There’s An App For That. Yes Means Yes blog, 11 January 2013
  14. ^ FetLife Considered Harmful: The Risks of Sex Ghettoization – KinkForAll Providence 2 maybemaimed.com, 20 March 2011
  15. ^ Review for Fetlife, the alternative to facebook for alternative sexuality sexgenderbody.com, 7 August, 2009

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