I’ve been on Fetlife about three years now and have noticed several ways to identify if someone is play- or lifestyle- oriented. The accompanying video can be found here.
What do I mean by those terms? Someone who is play-oriented has the goal of playing as often as they can fit into their schedule, around their life obligations. They attend play parties and events seeking someone to do things to them or someone they can do things to.
Lifestyle-oriented, from my perspective is someone who embeds BDSM into their personal life. This person intentionally makes time to invest energy into others, hones their skills and teaches others, desires to build actual relationships and dynamics with others. Play may or may not be included in their relationship or dynamic configurations.
Neither type is right or wrong. The problem comes in when someone portrays themselves to be one way, when they’re really another. For instance, my profile reads as a Lifestyler. My text is primarily about what I’m looking for in a partner and in a dynamic. I even state that play is secondary to me to the building of a healthy foundation for a relationship or dynamic.
I receive messages from men stating they’ve read my profile and then they proceed to tell me what they want me to do to them and ways they can make me happy. Everything they write is geared toward play, or as I say sometimes, “Kinky fun times.” I can tell from their language they’re not interested in building an actual relationship. That’s the primary way I can tell, the language they use, how focused they are on what they want. I sometimes doubt this they realize how they are coming across.
Another way to know the difference is by how a person identifies. There’s a drop-down menu where one of the questions is your activity level in the community. Mine says, “I live it 24/7,” which means this is a lifestyle for me. Other options are “In the bedroom,” “Once in a while,” and I forget the others. When someone contacts me for a possible M/s dynamic and their profile indicates they’re into BDSM once in a while or only in the bedroom, I know this person is there to find play partners.
Another indicator is someone who messages me, may or may not even meet me at an event, and then disappears for months at a time; sometimes longer. They return with a message apologizing for being away and explain what things happened that caused them to need a break. Something you take a break from is something that’s not a part of your life, though it may be a hobby. I always shake my head when someone messages me after a long period of time, sometimes six months to a year later. I don’t respond, I click “Archive.” I know this person isn’t willing or capable of building a relationship or dynamic with me because I live this lifestyle 24/7 and it’s not something I put on hold or walk away from when “life” becomes challenging or demanding.
A more direct way to know who’s living within a fantasy in their head is their comments to photos or discussion posts. For example, I have several pictures of play activities on my Fet page. I live in Delaware and can be found at Baltimore Playhouse several times a month. I have a picture of someone in a cage. A man commented something to the effect of he’d “like to be kept in a cage 24 hours a day and only let out to be used.” I actually tilted my head at how unrealistic that was.
There was even a discussion thread in one of the Groups I’m a member in where someone said something similar. I didn’t comment. I didn’t feel the need to. Others slammed the guy for having a porn-view, a fantasy view, of BDSM. Someone even took the time to explain something like the following: What use would you be to anyone if you were locked in a cage for 24 hours and only let out to serve someone? Do you realize you’d have to hold your bladder, not eat, not be able to stretch, not be able to do anything, likely get muscle cramps which would render you useless when you were let out? What would be your purpose to me having you locked up 24 hours? You wouldn’t be able to serve me food, wash my laundry, drive me where I need to go, etc. And, I’d have to tend to your wounds once I let you out the cage. Your purpose is to make my life easier, not more difficult. Besides all of that, what about general companionship and conversation?” The initial commenter didn’t reply. It was clear he had a fantasy in his head that he thought sounded do-able. Or he simply thought it’d make him seem desirable. Or he didn’t think it through at all.
Another quick example is someone who comments, “Me next,” on one of my pictures. As I previously mentioned, I live in Delaware and spend time in Baltimore. I click on the commenter’s profile and he’s somewhere too far to be “next.” I’ve received those comments from guys in Florida, North Carolina, California, Oklahoma, you name it, even other countries. I understand people would like certain things. I simply want them to be realistic.
That’s it for this piece. Let me know what you think of my rantings … ummm, my thoughts, on how to tell a player from a lifestyler. Also, the same concept can be applied to dating profiles. If you’re looking for a relationship and you receive a message from someone looking for hookups, you know you’re not compatible. Having said that, what are some ways you can tell someone isn’t compatible with you? Whether for BDSM activities or a relationship.
I look forward to reading your thoughts and experiences.
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