The proliferation of online dating has had profound impacts on how we find and engage in relationships. We’ve reduced our search to a tick-box exercise where instant gratification is promised. Users are expecting their “perfect match” to be a swipe away based on complex algorithms that are only processing the garbage that was dumped into it because profiles are based on what people expect others to respond to.
Then, as users migrate out of the algorithm and into the conversation that follows, they don’t know how to respond because they’re either expecting the perfect match and fireworks should happen, or they’ve discovered the other person has played the same game too.
It’s manifesting itself in other ways too, particularly in the BDSM world. We focus so heavily on the instant match fetishes that we assume the person on the receiving end of our attention wants to dive straight into whatever concept of “relationship” we’ve created for ourselves. The end result is disappointment for the initiator when their behaviour is rejected; anger from the recipient when faced with a message that treats them as an outlet for a fetish they may have only a passing interest in.
We need to disengage from tick-box profiles and start reengaging with one another again. Conversation, discussion and a finding of common ground should be something we strive for and treasure.
When I found my Tinky I wasn’t looking for a partner. I was looking for friends, people in the scene that I could relate to and discuss things with and maybe meet up at munches or clubs. I know on that path I screwed up a couple of times and misread signals (both pushing too fast and missing out on opportunity), but I wasn’t looking. I’d disengaged from the idea that I was going to find a submissive from dating sites (yes, I tried them!)
Perhaps that is my contradictory advice: if you want to find a long-term partner, someone to call your own and keep warm at night, stop looking. Stop filling in online dating profiles, swiping left and right and facing endless disappointment. Start engaging with the fetish and BDSM community, find friends and expand your social network.
Most importantly of all, stop thinking that BDSM gives you an instant right to assume someone who shares some or all of your kinks is interested in a sexual relationship from the outset.
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