Being a modern age kinkster is pretty great. Luckily, the internet has made connecting with and joining the BDSM community significantly easier. Back in the good 'ol days, you had to meet fellow kinksters face to face, and hope that you came across people that shared the same types of BDSM and play that you did.

Online communities, like THE CAGE, are also a fantastic place to dip your toe into the world of BDSM. If you're new to the community and not sure where to start, online communities and forums offer you the opportunity to explore and discover from ease of your home or mobile phone.

That being said, it’s still important for you to keep your own safety in mind too. Navigating the world of BDSM online can be tricky sometimes, so it pays to do a little reading and to always be vigilant.

Here are our top tips for staying safe and making sure you have a fun and fulfilling time.

Staying Anonymous Online

When interacting with an online BDSM community – even one that feels safe, secure, and friendly – it’s crucial to preserve your anonymity. Pick a screen name that has nothing in common with your real name, and make sure to keep your personal information personal. There’s no need to post a clear face picture nor your phone number, or a link to your Facebook profile.

While the best online BDSM communities are secure and private, it’s inevitable that some people will use them with bad intentions – perhaps even to blackmail or take advantage of other people.

By keeping your personal info off your profile, you deny them that opportunity.

Read: Stay Safe: Tips for Protecting Yourself When You're Dating Online

Picking Your Online Community

Before you really settle into an online community, it’s okay to lurk for a while. Leave your profile blank and take a look around. Read the writing of other members, browse forums, and take a look at other profiles. Doing so will help you get a feel for the place, and make up your mind as to whether you want to join in earnest.

A little bit of healthy skepticism is a good thing. If a profile looks too good to be true… well… maybe that’s because it isn’t true! Since BDSM communities are anonymous by default, it can be all too easy for scammers and impersonators to sneak into the community.

The best kinky networking sites know this and do everything they can to address it. Phone verification is one brilliant tool they have at their disposal. By forcing members to register with a real phone number, site owners can cut down on scammers, stop users having multiple identities, and actually hold users who misbehave accountable for their actions.

Look for phone verification when you sign up. Make sure forums are moderated. Make sure you can report anything that looks a little dodgy. These are all signs that a particular BDSM community is healthy and looked-after.

Read: Welcome to the Dungeon: How to Join the BDSM Community

Getting Into a Relationship

It’s pretty normal for people in the BDSM scene to meet their partners online – after all, it’s much easier to seek out people who share your kinky interests on the internet than it is in real life. However, meeting people online requires a little bit of caution.

Before you set out to find your perfect kinky match, set yourself some rules. Then stick to them. You might decide, for example, that you want to talk on the phone before meeting anyone in person, or perhaps that you’ll meet in a public place of your choosing.

Whatever rules you pick, the important thing is that you abide by them. Think of them as a hard limit. If someone you’re thinking about meeting doesn’t respect your rules… that’s a warning sign, and indicates that they won’t respect your other limits further down the road.

Read: How to Date When Kinky

Communicate a lot. Trust takes time to build, and shouldn’t be rushed. Talk to someone until you are able to form a good, strong gut feeling about them. Also, trust your instincts! If someone makes you feel bad, that’s reason enough to avoid them, even if they technically haven’t done or said anything wrong.

One thing that’s particular to BDSM: many people like to play in ways that are dangerous or that leave us vulnerable. Taking risks is exciting! We understand that, but it’s absolutely worth taking a moment or two to make sure that the person you’re taking risks with is responsible, compassionate, and interested in your well-being.

This means not engaging in dangerous activities (like, for example, sending nudes which also show your face) until you’ve built trust – and maybe not even then.

Remember: make rules for yourself and stick to them.

Finally, in all cases, if someone is bothering you to break your rules, if you’re getting a bad feeling from a member of the site, if you feel in danger, or if someone has been rude or aggressive… report them! Not only will it keep you safe, but it’ll make the community a better place as well.

You can never be too careful when engaging online so choose your community wisely. Choose sites, like THE CAGE, that put your safety front and center within a system that encourages feedback and benefits from community moderation. Sites that filter out and remove spammers and scammers, help create a positive environment of genuine kinky people from around the world. Discover for yourself the benefits of belonging to a supportive and friendly BDSM community.

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