All the kinky relationships I’ve ever had have developed naturally. We began talking, and we learned about each others’ interests and personalities.

The relationships that developed further all had some kind of spark, a sense you were talking to a kindred spirit who wanted to get to know you.

Fundamentally, I was developing a friendship first.

When I was young and foolish I considered partners to be like a scarce and immensely valuable prize, who had to be somehow won over.

As I grew up, and became a bit wiser, I realised that mindset was wrong, and worse, it wasn’t leading to fulfilling relationships.

I stopped chasing people. I aimed for a new outcome – to make friends, by being approachable, respectful, and engaging to talk to. Sometimes friends develop into so much more. But even if they didn’t, I know my life is immeasurably enriched by knowing them.

So my starting advice is, begin conversations.

I recommend maintaining your anonymity for as long as makes sense. so you can’t be harassed or blackmailed should things turn sour.

Some people may cross boundaries and make you uncomfortable. If so, tell them that. If their pursuit creeps you out, cut the thread. You can block them if they’re getting too weird.

Trust does take a long time to build. Because what you’re actually learning about is a stranger’s motivations. Are they motivated by lust? Or narcissism? Or attention seeking? Or a desire to express their authority? And is that motivation acceptable to you?

Developing trust is difficult because you can’t assess it directly. You can’t just ask one day: “can I trust you?”

You’ll both need to do something that seems quite intimidating:  drop your own masks, and allow each other to see behind it. Through this blog, thousands of complete strangers have come to know the details of my fantasies, and what I believe about not just sex, but life in general. In the course of your conversations with a potential partner, you’ll do the same too.

As your initial question suggests, some people are too keen to skip the trust-building part. That is itself a red flag. It comes across as creepy, even if both of you really like spanking, and think about it all the time. Cutting corners increases the risk you don’t really understand who you’re talking to, and that can have bad outcomes later.

So, to summarise, this is my advice for meeting play partners – which is equally applicable to meeting people online, and for getting to know others you might encounter in real life. This applies whatever your sexual preference, whether you’re a top or a bottom, or anywhere in between.

  • Begin conversations, without expectations.
  • Make friendly conversation.
  • Continue the fun conversations and cut the creepy ones.
  • Develop trust.
  • See what happens.
  • Who knows?