Every time I see one of these sites pop up, I always click over so that I can figure out the scam and let everyone else know. So when DatingKinky.com came to my attention, I went and signed up.
And here’s the surprise, apart from the somewhat obtrusive ads for the products of the person who created the site, I actually think it’s good.
Most kinky dating sites fall into one of two categories. Either it’s a scam to get money from you, like bondage.com or alt.com, or it just sucks, like collarspace.com
But datingkinky.com actually seems to be neither. The site seems well-designed, it has a mobile version, and they didn’t ask for any form of payment at any point, not even under the guise of “age verification”.
The biggest downside, at least for now, is that there aren’t very many users. This has ultimately doomed other sites in the past that I thought had promise. If more people sign up and the owner doesn’t pull a switcharoo by making it cost money later, I think it could be the new standard for partner searching in the kink community. (*There is a page to “buy credits” that is currently empty.)
Some of my favorite features
- Lots of options on self-identity and what you are searching for. The site encourages a lot of detail on your side, but also discourages super-specific searching on the the other side.
- Specific description boxes. Instead of just one “About you” page, it has places to describe your relationship style, your kink play, your lifestyle, and more.
- A section for STI status and safer-sex preferences.
- Specific questions on whether you mix sex and kink, as well as whether your play is more mental, more physical, or equal of both.
- Message filtering. You can elect to only receive messages from certain genders, orientations, role types, etc.
- A “kinkstorming” section that allows users to vote on which future features the owner should prioritize. Right now, the top suggestions line up with my complaints about the site (below) so there is hope that it could be fixed soon.
- A place to link to your fetlife profile. A lot of other sites work hard to not allow you to give anyone alternate methods of finding/contacting you. This one doesn’t seem to mind.
- The fetish/interests/etc section on the profile is increadibly adaptive. You have the option to type anything you want and then lable that item as something that: I am, I own, I want, I Top/Give, I Bottom/Receive, I Switch, I Watch, I Must Have, I like/Enjoy, Interested In/Curious About, Hard Limit.
- You can list and link to other people on the website as people you are in relationships with, including fetlife style labels for the nature of that relationship.
Down Sides / Opportunities for Improvements
- Not very many people. But it’s a new site, and if it stays good, this will change.
- The “Matches” page doesn’t filter for location or proximity. Giving me a 100% match for someone in another state doesn’t help me. (This is the top suggestion to be fixed on the “kinkstorming” page).
- “Match percentages” seem to be defined by a very limited set of characteristics between the two of you. The ability to refine this further would be good. (This is the #2 suggestion of things to fix on the “kinkstorming page”)
- After doing an advanced search and defining a bunch of stuff, there is no option to refine the search. Instead, you have to start all over. Adding this option, as well as a “saved search” feature would be helpful.
- The forums, at first glance, seem as useless as on any dating site. But that’s to be expected. This will not replace Fetlife as preferred forum for discussion, events, etc. Nor do they seem to want to.
- The order of questions you answer when you are filling out the profile is not the order they appear in when your profile is actually displayed. This is a minor gripe, but when I first filled out mine I would make reference to things I had said “in the above section” or something like that, which ended up being wrong.
I am really encouraged by what I see. I think this could be a really fantastic site for those seeking alt-style relationships.
Over on the Fetlife version of this post, the creator of DatingKinky has responded to a number of the points I raised and provided other helpful information in the comments section. Check it out.