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by Alicia Guinn

Lust: Kinky Online Personal Ads

Online dating is a fun, hip way to meet new friends and potentialpartners.  A lot of folks these days, especially those in urbanareas, make first contact with potential dates online, and thepersonals ads, both online and in local papers, are quickly losing anystigma previously attached to them.

Everyone can date successfully online, and the online personals aregreat for people who want to expand their social circle, are new totown, don?t like the ?bar scene? or who are dating under specialcircumstances. Online dating can be especially helpful for queerand kinky folks, people with disabilities, those in polyamorousrelationships, or people looking for a non-traditionalrelationship.  An online profile lets you describe yourself andthe relationship you?re looking for upfront, so that your dates knowyour situation. No need for awkward conversations after you?vemet someone!

Overall, the online personals are a safe, easy way to check outpotential dates in your town?whether you?re looking for a friend, ahook-up, a fuck buddy, or a long term committed relationship.

Attitude.  The most successful online datersapproach dating as an entertaining hobby. Don?t overload yourselfwith expectations. The odds of meeting the partner of your dreamson the first date are similar to winning the lottery. Prettyunlikely. Instead, you?ll probably meet some nice people. Some you?ll be attracted to. Some you won?t. You?ll go ongood dates, mediocre dates and boring dates. And it?s guaranteedthat you will go on at least one outrageously bad date. Thesilver lining? You?ll have a great story to tell yourfriends. In fact having a group of friends who are activelydating can give you emotional support and make the dating scene a lotmore fun.

  1. Think about your expectations.  Before you start assembling aprofile, think about what you?re looking for.  Do you want a lifepartner?  A casual sex date?  A friend with benefits?  Atennis partner?  Be honest with yourself about the kind ofrelationship you?re looking for, and then be honest with potentialdates.  If you won?t settle for anything less than true love,don?t say you?re searching for a friend!  And if you?re lookingfor casual sex, don?t try to reel people in by saying you?re in themarket for marriage.

  2. What do you want in a partner? Also, start analyzing the qualities you find attractive inothers.  If there are things that are absolute deal-breakers foryou, don?t hesitate to put them in your profile, preferably toward theend. We all have different criteria for choosing partners, sodon?t assume that your idea of Ms./Mr. Right jives with everyoneelse?s.  Be clear about your sexual orientation.  And ifthere is no way you will ever, ever date a Republican, a Democrat, aSocialist, a Mormon, an atheist, a New Ager, a 60-year-old, an18-year-old, a smoker, a pothead, a Britney Spears fan, or a member ofthe Society for Creative Anachronism, make sure you specify that inyour profile.  That said, don?t limit yourself too much. Online dating is a great way to explore dating people who don?tnecessarily conform to your ?type.?  Keep an open mind!

  3. Think through safety issues. Whenever you?re meeting a strangerfor a date, you should have your personal safety in mind. Usecommon sense.  Always meet for a date in a safe publicspace. It?s not a bad idea to let friends know where youare. Don?t give out personal information like your home addressor your workplace before meeting someone. Some people onlycorrespond over e-mail before a date, and give their phone number outto people they are interested in meeting again. Be scrupulousabout your safer sex habits if you?re hooking up with someone you don?tknow very well, and always come prepared with some condoms and lube.

  4. Put some effort into your profile. Successful profiles are honest,easy-to-read, and unique. Most people put up a profile withoutgiving it much thought, so you can stand out in a crowd if you actuallytake time to craft your profile. Do some research to check outyour competition. Remember that you?re selling yourself topotential hot dates!  It?s worth a couple hours work if you cannab the attention of lots of hotties out there. Here are a fewhelpful tips on composing a successful profile:

    • Emphasize your unique qualities. Do you havean obsessive relationship with your favorite band? A lifetimegoal of traveling to a specific place? An interesting job? A favorite hobby? You want to appear interesting, but remember tobe honest!

    • Upload a recent flattering photo or two. Agood photo can go a long way toward making a good firstimpression. You don?t need professional photos, but you shouldnot under any circumstance upload a scanned copy of your driver?slicense photo!

    •  Avoid phrases that you find repeated over and overin other profiles. In other words, think twice before saying thatyou love long, romantic walks on the beach. And don?t you daretitle your profile ?[Insert witty quotation here]!?  

    • Have a friend proofread your profile before you put it online.

  5. Keep the first date low-key. Most online daters go for acoffee ora drink on the first date.  Both activities take about anhour. Enough time to check someone out, but not too much time ifyou find yourself on an extraordinarily boring or strange date. Lots offolks schedule time with friends immediately afterward, so theyhave a good excuse if they need to leave right away.

  6. Brush up on your flirtingskills! You can make a good impression by learning to portrayconfidence. Work on maintaining eye contact, straightening yourposture, keeping your body language open, and practicing good listeningskills.  You can also practice making small talk with the grocerychecker, the bank teller, and your fellow commuters on the bus as a wayof learning how to have conversations with strangers. A book likeSuperflirt can also help you develop your flirting skills.

  7. Be assertive. Don't sit around waiting for someone to contact you, go after what youwant. Sure if you?re a woman looking to date men, you may be able toput up a free profile and wait for theresponses to come flooding in. But the great thing about online datingis that it's a really easy, safe way to practice being more assertivesexually (or socially), which isn't something a lot of women weretaught growing up. And reading other people's profiles is a great wayto play the field, while also paying attention to what does or doesn'tturn you on. So regardless of your gender or orientation, we encourageeach of you to go after your heart's desire! Buy those credits, investin a membership, and just see what turns up!