(It’s almost like a Brief History of Time, but way more obscure and a bit less fundamental!)
So, if you’ve made it to this blog, there is a decent chance you’ve heard of Fetlife. If you haven’t heard of Fetlife, you certainly are aware of the existence of everyone’s favorite/least-favorite social-networking site, and it’s not-so-utilized competitor. I like to joke that Fetlife is Facebook for perverts*, and that’s basically true.
Most of my friends are under the age of 35, and I think it’s fair to say that they don’t have a clear idea of what the kink community had goin’ on in this here Internet prior to Fetlife. Sure, most folks are aware of the troll-ridden cluster-fuck that is now CollarMe, but before that?
I’m pretty much still a spring chicken, especially in the kink community, but I also happen to be an incorrigible academic. In the past year I’ve discovered a thing or two about the history of kinky socializing online, and I would like to bring that here to you.** In the next few weeks or so I will be fleshing out the events below with individual posts, explaining what the kinky community has been up to, when, and why.
I’ll start with the ever-nerdy and now-a-days generally-unheard-of Usenet, and move my way to Fetlife and present day. Along the way, please shoot me any questions, let me know if I my facts r wruuung, and help me find any relevant things I’ve left out!
- 1989 – Alt.Sex.Bondage (Usenet Newsgroup)
- 1994 – Jan Hall’s Anti-Domestic Violence Document
- 1994 – Richard Kadrey shares Usenet with Wired Magazine
- 1996 – Soc.Subculture.Bondage-BDSM (Usenet Newgroup)
- 1997 – Kink.com is created
- 1997 – AOL introduces Instant Messenger
- 1998 – Alt.Sex.Story Text Repository formed
- 2001 – BDSM gets a Wikipedia page
- 2002 – CollarMe is formed
- 2006 – The Kinky Aware Professionals list is turned over to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
- ~2007 – The advent of activist, kinky bloggers
- 2008 – Fetlife is formed
- ~2012 – Activist kinksters make mainstream news outlets