You’ll find that almost everyone in the scene ends up getting a FetLife profile at some stage. It’s simply the easiest way to stay in touch and find out about events and other things that are going on in the world of kink. If you spend any time at all in the scene, you’ll more than likely end up getting one just to aid in your exploration of this cool new world.

While looking around FetLife you’ll notice that people have posted a huge number of explicit pictures and writings. Indeed, sometimes it can seem like most of the profiles you come across feature a photograph of the owner naked and engaged in an act of sex or play.

The thing to remember with FetLife though is this: it’s not private. It’s not even secret. Anyone can make a profile and get access to your pictures. That means your work colleagues, your family and your friends. If it’s on the internet – and especially if it’s on FetLife – then is should be considered open access.

Moreover, FetLife never claims that it will keep your data or your pictures private. As a social networking website that’s simply not their job, and not something they would ever be able to do. You may see the occasional article where someone squawks about FetLife’s lax privacy policy – but the simple fact is this: FetLife has no privacy policy. It never has and never will. It is only a tool. The creators have very limited control over how that tool is used.

I say all this simply to drive home a point. You need to be careful about what you post. If you’re not happy with thousands of strangers seeing a picture, then don’t post it online. Moreover, never post pictures that show your face. If people can see your face, then they can identify you and tie a picture to you personally. This is not something that you want to happen.

You may notice that many other people have posted pictures featuring their faces. This is a foolish and extremely reckless thing to do, and each and every one of these people is taking an immense risk. The trouble is, this risk has become normalised. So many people post face pictures on FetLife that some members of the community come to expect it. Indeed, quite often people feel pressured to post explicit pictures featuring their face just to “keep up” with others.

There’s a simple reason why this is a terrible idea: blackmail. Blackmail can and does happen – particularly to those whose job depends on them keeping a squeaky clean reputation. Anyone who knows you who finds a face shot of you on FetLife can then link it to your profile. If you’ve also posted naked pictures or sexually explicit writings, then they have enough material to royally screw you over.

This happens more than you’d think. Angry ex partners. Petty feuds. People who simply want to extort a little money out of someone else by threatening to out them.  It’s an abhorrent practice, but one that is rife in the kink community. Make sure you don’t allow yourself to become a victim, by remembering that everything you post is public information. Keep it subtle, keep it private, and don’t post pictures of your face.

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