My BDsM aftercare kit

Aftercare is one of the lesser-known aspects of BDsM.  It refers to the kind of care or treatment that a person needs after a BDsM scene to help them to relax and come back down to earth.  BDsM can be an intense physical and emotional experience, and endorphins and adrenaline can run amok in your body during a scene.  Afterwards, your brain chemistry begins to return to normal which can be a jarring experience.  Aftercare is a way to ease yourself and your play partner back into reality to avoid a sudden drop.

Depending on the type of play that you’ve engaged in, aftercare may also involve first aid treatment, such as cleaning wounds, dressing bruises and tending to sore muscles.

The type of care each person requires after a BDsM scene will vary from person to person.  Some people require a lot of aftercare, some need little or none at all.  Some people want their partner to be involved in their aftercare, others prefer to be left alone.  While a lot of articles about aftercare focus on the needs of the submissive, it’s important to note that dominants or tops may also require aftercare when a scene has ended.

I’m a submissive, which means that I’m the person who is on the “bottom” during a scene.  I like to be dominated by my partner and enjoy serving Him.  I engage in a number of different types of play, including bondage, impact play, service submission and sensory deprivation.  I’m a monogamous BDsM player, which means that I play exclusively with one person, my Sir.  Currently my partner and I live far away from one another, so I regularly travel to be with him.

When I’m at home, I have all the things I need for my preferred aftercare routines at my fingertips.  However, if I’m away from home at my Sir’s house or a hotel or a party, I may not always have access to the things I need to help myself calm down after a scene is over.  So I came up with the idea of creating a small aftercare kit.  This kit is little enough to throw into my bag when I travel, and has a few vital items which myself or Sir can use to end a play session.  Want to take a look in my aftercare kit?  Here we go……

What’s in my Aftercare kit?

  1. Warm socks

It’s common to feel cold after a play session.  When you’re in the thick of a scene, adrenaline makes you less sensitive to temperature and you don’t always notice when you’re chilly.  Often, I play in the nude or in underwear, and even when the room is warm I feel chilled when the scene is over.  Plus, the rush of endorphins leaving your body can lead to shivers.  At home I like to have a warm blanket to cuddle up in, as well as some comfortable clothes to pull on.  I made these socks myself and they are super soft and keep my toes so warm.  They are really comforting to put on when I’m coming down after a play session.

2. Teabags

A steaming cup of tea can really help you to warm up if you’ve gotten chilly, as well as being comforting and relaxing.  I always make sure that I have a few varieties of tea, and enough teabags so that my Dom and I can enjoy a cup together.  There’s something very soothing about wrapping your hands around a hot mug of tea.  It’s also nice to have something to sip on while you debrief with your partner, discussing what aspects of play you enjoyed, any emotions that bubbled up, and things that pushed your boundaries.

3. Lollies and dried fruit

My blood sugar usually drops after an intense scene, and I can feel fuzzy-headed and vague when the adrenaline starts to drain away.  Having something sweet on hand like dried fruit or candy is great for a quick sugar hit.  I prefer these small packets which I can munch on right after I play, and then I will usually have a proper meal once I’ve calmed down.

4. Bubble Bath

Another great way to warm up after play is to take a relaxing bath.  The hot water also feels wonderful on sore muscles if you’ve been tied up for a while or if you’ve been paddled or spanked.  If I feel like being alone after a scene, my Sir will run me a bath and then leave me to soak for a while so that I can gather my thoughts and relax.  Or if I want company He can sit on the edge of the tub and chat to me while I wash.

5.  Lotion

Affectionate touch is a really important part of my aftercare. It helps me to relax, brings me back into my body and reassures me that I am loved and cherished.  Having a partner rub lotion over your sore spots or massage you after play is a wonderful way to relax.  It also fosters a great sense of connection between you and your partner and helps you both to unwind.

6. Scented candle

I find scent very soothing and it’s always nice to have something that smells lovely nearby.  I prefer sweet, fruity scents and this pomegranate candle in a tin is ideal.  I can light it while I’m bathing or while Sir and I are drinking our tea.

These are just a few essentials that I carry with me to ensure that I can get the aftercare I need when playtime is over.  Like I said, every person is different and aftercare needs vary widely.  But knowing what kind of care you like after a scene and preparing for that with a small kit of helpful items is a great way to make sure that you are able to relax after BDsM exploration and get the most our of your play.

What items do you think you’d put in your aftercare kit?

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How to have great sex

There seems to be an overwhelming insecurity around sexual ability.  So many of us worry about whether we’re actually good in bed, whether we’re capable of pleasing our partners.  This might be the reason that magazine articles or guides that promise to improve sexual prowess and technique are so popular.

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As a woman who loves sex, who spends a fair whack of her time thinking about, reading about, writing about and having sex, I like to think that I’m not too bad in the sack.  I’ve gained enough knowledge over the years to offer some sage advice about what makes for great sex.  And I’d love to share that with you in the form of a few bullet points.  So…..how can you be good, or better, at sex?

  • First and foremost, relax.  We treat sex like a big, serious act that must be perfectly choreographed and executed.  But it isn’t.  Funny noises happen, silly faces get pulled and body parts are flung about in ungainly ways.  Don’t stress about it.  Have fun, laugh at the silly bits and enjoy yourself.
  • Ask for what you want.  There’s this weird idea that our ideal sexual partner will be able to magically divine our deepest desires and automatically know how to touch us in a way that makes our knees weak.  This rarely happens.  Rather than hoping that your partner will touch you how you like to be touched, ask them.
  • Conversely, ask what your partner wants.  Encourage feedback and follow it.  Learn from it.  Respect your partners wishes if they say they don’t want something, and don’t shame them if they say they do want something you aren’t comfortable with.  Just politely decline and do something else.
  • Take a “let’s just see” approach during sex.  Explore with your partner, rather than just doing the one or two techniques that you know work.  See what happens when you lick here, touch here, stroke there.  Try lots of different things and note how they feel.  Not everything will produce and explosive response, but it’s only by trying things out that you find exciting new ways to play.
  • Talk about sex with your partner. Not just while sex is happening, but before, and after.  Don’t make it a difficult or embarrassing topic, just relax and speak openly and honestly.  Communication makes sex so much better, and being able to talk with your partner about takes so much of the worry and shame out of the bedroom.
  • Use lube.  There’s this idea that if you’re doing sex properly, lube is not required, but that is total bullshit.  Lube will only make your sex play better.  Whether you’re on your own or with a partner, use lube.  Whether you’re doing p-in-v, anal, hand jobs, oral or any other kind of sex play, a few drops of good quality lube will take it from feeling pretty good to downright fantastic.
  • And finally….just have fun.  Sex is playful and beautiful and expressive.  It can be raw and vulnerable, or light and joyful.  But in my opinion it should always be fun.

What do you think makes sex great?  What’s the best piece of sex advice you’ve ever been given?

M is for Masochism

This is part 4. of my ABC’s of BDsM series.  In each post, I will break down one letter of the BDsM acronym to delve deeper into what practices and preferences make up the world of BDsM.  This is by no means a definitive discussion of BDsM, but is rather intended to be a primer for interested beginners.

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M is for Masochism

Masochism is when a person derives pleasure or enjoyment from pain. This pain may be physical, emotional or psychological.  Masochism is the flipside of the S/m coin, the opposite of sadism. Even though these two practices are opposite and complimentary, that doesn’t mean that a single person can’t enjoy both masochism and sadism.  There are lots of people who enjoy both halves of the S & M pie, but usually they tend to prefer one over the other.

Masochism may show it’s face in a huge range of BDsM scenes.  It often goes hand-in-hand with bondage and discipline, as well as other types of play including:

  • Impact play, where the submissive party is hit or struck with paddles, floggers, hands, canes, whips, crops and a variety of other impact tools.
  • Humiliation play, where the submissive party is forced to dress in clothing that they find embarrassing, may be called names or is made to perform actions that they find degrading.
  • Play piercing, where needles are inserted into the top layers of skin.
  • Primal play such as chasing, biting and scratching.
  • Torture play, in which the submissive is subjected to physical torture, often while bound. This may include breast and nipple torture and cock and ball torture.
  • Hair pulling
  • Breath play, where the submissive is choked or smothered
  • Erotic trampling, where the bottom is stepped and trodden on.
  • Forniphilia, or human furniture.  Submissives may be required to act as tables, footstools or other furniture.
  • Medical play scenes.
  • Electro-sex play, through the use of a violet wand or tens unit.
  • Fire and ice play, including scenes involving fire wands, wax and ice cubes.

To a person who has not explored the world of BDsM, or who cringes at the idea of being in any kind of pain, the thought of intentionally submitting to painful treatment may seem absurd.  Why on earth would anybody want to subject themselves to such play, and how could you possibly enjoy it?  The reasons why masochism is so thrilling are as varied as the people who practice it.  Some of the most common reasons for exploring masochistic tendencies may include:

  • Feeling a rush or natural high from pain.  Pain triggers the release of endorphins in the body, which in turn may cause feelings of euphoria, relaxation and pleasure.
  • Wanting to explore physical and emotional limits. Some masochists liken their practice to endurance running or weightlifting, in that they are fascinated to see how much their body can take and explore and expand limitations.
  • A desire to own one’s pain and learn to cope with it.
  • Enjoying being at the mercy of another person.
  • Wanting to expand trust in a relationship.
  • Getting a thrill from intense sensation.
  • Using intense sensations such as impact, heat or pain to stimulate certain parts of the body, making them more sensitive to gentle touch later on.

I very firmly identify as a masochist.  I find pain erotic and I’ve definitely experienced that natural high after being flogged, spanked or tortured. I also enjoy pushing my personal limits to see how much I can withstand.  In this way, I find things like impact play or wax play almost meditative. Although they do hurt, I try to relax into the sensations, noting them and breathing through the pain until I get to that place of bliss beyond.  I liken it to running and yoga, both things that I enjoy immensely.  With all of these things, to get to the benefits and euphoria, you have to first push through a barrier of pain and resistance.

 

It’s extremely important to note that not all pain will trigger a pleasurable response in a person with masochistic tendencies.  I don’t feel sexy after stubbing my toe or being humiliated by a stranger in public.  As with any BDsM play, it’s vital that the activity is safe, sane and consensual.  The pain should be inflicted in a controlled environment, after lengthy negotiations about needs, wants and limitations. It’s extremely important that both parties trust one another so that both feel safe to explore and enjoy themselves.  It’s also vital that play progresses gradually.  With things like impact play, you can’t just start flogging the living daylights out of a submissive.  You have to warm up with gentle taps, slowly ramping up the intensity.  Proper preparation makes it a lot more likely that you will both enjoy your scene, and increases the chances that you’ll want to do it again.

As well as proper preparation before a scene, aftercare is especially vital in scenes that explore masochism. Pain can bring up all sorts of emotional stickiness, and you need to be prepared to devote the time needed to work through those feelings if they happen to bubble to the surface. The rush of endorphins and adrenaline involved with pain and fear can result in an emotional crash called Subdrop when those chemicals subside.  Subdrop is a fascinating and important topic, and one that I will talk about more in future posts.  Proper aftercare can help bring the submissive back to earth and limit the impact of drop.  Additionally, physical aftercare, such as tending to bruises and cuts, helps to make sure that the bottom is healthy and happy.  Aftercare is really important to foster trust between play partners and reassure everyone involved that they are loved, respected and cared for.

 

Masochism is a fascinating practice, and one that shows up in a variety of different BDsM scenes.  It can be a gateway to pleasure and freedom for some, even though it might seem scary to others.

Fascinated by masochism? You might like to read the other posts in this series”

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my ABC’s of BDsM. If any of these posts have raised any questions for you, or if there is anything you’d like to learn more about, please feel free to get in touch.

 

S is for Sadism

This is part 3. of my ABC’s of BDsM series.  In each post, I will break down one letter of the BDsM acronym to delve deeper into what practices and preferences make up the world of BDsM.  This is by no means a definitive discussion of BDsM, but is rather intended to be a primer for interested beginners.

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S is for Sadism

Sadism refers to the practice of deriving pleasure from inflicting pain, discomfort and humiliation upon another person.  In the BDsM context, it often involves a consensual exchange of power in which the Dominant partner inflicts pain upon the submissive partner.  Sadism is a strong feature in many aspects of BDsM play, including:

  • Impact play, such as spanking, caning, whipping or flogging.
  • Wax play, where hot wax is dripped onto the skin of a submissive partner
  • Humiliation play, where the submissive party is required to perform actions that they find degrading, wear clothing that embarrasses them or is subjected to ridicule.
  • Knife play
  • Electro-sex, where a violet wand or tens unit is used to inflict electrical shocks, currents and sensations.
  • Bondage scenes where the submissive partner is restrained in an uncomfortable or unflattering position.
  • Torture scenes, which may include breast torture, cock and ball torture or bastinado (foot torture).
  • Role play scenes that are intended to induce fear in the submissive party.

While a lot of these types of play may seem frightening and worrisome to a person who is unfamiliar with BDsM, the fact is that in practice they are carefully planned and controlled.  Although physical and psychological pain are large components of scenes that involve Sadism, most sexual sadist aren’t bullies or meanies.  There are a number of different reasons that a person may be excited by sexual sadism, for example:

  • Enjoying the physical sensation of wielding the tools of the trade, such as floggers, whips and paddles.
  • Relishing the feeling of control and dominance over another person.
  • Being aroused or excited by the reactions of the submissive partner
  • Performing a service for the submissive, by fulfilling their desires and helping them to face their fears and fantasies.
  • Enjoyment in the planning of a scene or the polishing of skills such as whipping or torture.
  • Fascination in the operation of the body, in seeing how the body responds to certain treatment and pain.
  • Feeling a sense of joy or pleasure at earning the trust of a submissive party.

The topic of Sadism is one that I’ve found elicits strong responses in people who are not familiar with the world and practice of BDsM.  And I can see why.  From the outside, the idea of a person who enjoys hurting others can be very frightening. The image our minds conjures up when we talk about torture and humiliation is that of a villain or a bully. But in the real-life practice of BDsM, this often couldn’t be further from the truth.  Many people who practice sexual sadism are caring, loving individuals.  Some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met have sadistic tendencies in the bedroom.  As with any of the other practices in BDsM, there are a number of special considerations that must be undertaken to ensure that the scene you are partaking in is safe, sane and consensual:

  • Long before any play begins, the parties involved should take the time to have an open and frank discussion about personal limits and set specific guidelines for how the scene should progress.
  • The submissive party should disclose any medical conditions or injuries.
  • Safewords should be employed in situations where sadism play is taking place.  A safeword is a word or phrase that, when uttered, brings the action to a halt.
  • The dominant party should be aware of their own personal skill level and limitations and operate within those boundaries.
  • Before participating in impact play, learn the parts of the body that are safe to hit, and those which must be avoided.
  • Make sure that all equipment used, such as floggers or paddles, needles, sex toys or gags, are clean and in working order.
  • Do your research.  Read books, watch videos and visit blogs that deal with the particular type of play you are interested in.  Practice your skills and hone your knowledge before attempting a new type of play.
  • Build up trust and intimacy slowly.  S&M play requires a huge amount of trust between the parties involved, and this can only be built over time.  I don’t recommend engaging in S&M with someone you don’t know well enough to be sure that you can trust them.
  • Never participate in sexual sadism if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  If your judgement is impaired, you could wind up badly hurting your submissive.
  • Ensure that you have first aid supplies at hand in case something goes wrong.  Bruises, cuts and scrapes do happen sometimes even in the most carefully planned scene.
  • Aftercare is vitally important in scenes that involve pain or humiliation. Both the dominant and submissive parties need time to come down after a scene, tend to their bodies and minds and debrief.

As you can see, sadism isn’t all about torture and trials, it’s about creativity, curiosity, nurturing and fascination. It’s about eliciting a response and exploring our limits and skills. People who identify as sexual sadists aren’t necessarily horrible or cruel, and most are fantastically caring and kind.  As with all aspects of BDsM, there is a level of danger involved in indulging one’s sadistic urges, but with proper planning and care, they can be explored safely and with great success.

 

In my final chapter of The ABC’s of BDsM, I’ll be talking about the flipside of the S&M coin: Masochism.

If you enjoyed this chapter, you may enjoy my previous posts:

D is for Discipline

This is part 2. of my ABC’s of BDsM series.  In each post, I will break down one letter of the BDsM acronym to delve deeper into what practices and preferences make up the world of BDsM.  This is by no means a definitive discussion of BDsM, but is rather intended to be a primer for interested beginners.

DSCF8568D is for Discipline

Discipline refers to the use of rules to control behaviour and the consequences that may arise as a result of breaking these rules.  In a BDsM context, discipline usually involves some form of power exchange between a dominant party (the person imposing the rules and doling out punishment) and a submissive party (the person adhering to the restrictions).

 

Discipline appears in the BDsM world in countless ways.  It may be applied to a short-lived scene, or employed over a long period of time by people participating in Dominant/submissive relationships.  The ways in which discipline is carried out varies widely across situations, but some of the more common uses of discipline include:

  • “Punishment” role play scenes between an authority figure and a submissive party such as a teacher and a student.
  • Rules or contracts between partners in long-term relationships to prune bad habits and foster beneficial behaviour.
  • Protocol.  Protocol is a huge topic all of it’s own, but it essentially boils down to codes of conduct for submissives, such as the correct way to sit, stand, kneel, serve drinks and perform other tasks.  It is similar to etiquette and is usually employed either at home or at specific BDsM events.
  • Orgasm control, where a submissive party is only permitted to orgasm with the permission of their dominant.
  • Chastity play, where the submissive party is forbidden to engage in sexual contact with another person or to touch themselves sexually.  This may involve the use of chastity devices.
  • Training as part of pet play, slave training or service submission training.

Discipline overlaps heavily with the other aspects of BDsM, particularly sadism and masochism.  I will talk more about these aspects in future posts.  It is often the case that a sadistic dominant will impose difficult or impossible rules as an excuse to inflict pain or punishment upon their submissive.  Discipline also plays a role in many common bondage scenes, and bondage may be used as a punishment when rules are broken.

Discipline commonly comes into play with couples who have a long term Dominant/submissive relationship or power exchange.  In these types of relationship, the dominant party will set rules and standards of expected behaviour for the submissive.  These rules will sometimes be put in place purely for the pleasure of the dominant, and may include restrictions on how the submissive may dress, how they will address the dominant, where they will sleep and tasks they must perform for the dominant.  Other rules may be set in place to assist the submissive to learn a new skill or break a habit.

Consequences for breaking rules vary from mild to extreme depending on the type of relationship and the desires of the parties involved.  Some common punishments include:

  • Spanking, whipping or flogging
  • bondage or restrictions of movement
  • humiliation
  • being made to sit in a corner
  • writing lines
  • forced orgasm
  • Performing unpleasant chores such as washing the bathroom tiles with a toothbrush
  • An apology.

There is a difference between punishments for play and punishments for behavioural training.  In a play scene, punishments like spankings or bondage are more likely to be used, because these are things that the submissive party will find enjoyable.  In the case where a dominant is training a submissive, punishments are more likely to be unpleasant, because they are intended to be something that the submissive will wish to avoid.

Why do people enjoy discipline?  Well, as I mentioned earlier, discipline fits very neatly with sadism and masochism, two of the other branches of BDsM.  Discipline is a perfect pretext for punishments such as canings and spankings, as well as humiliation play.  Discipline is a wonderful tool for learning and improving the self.  Many people enjoy controlling the behaviour of others or being controlled and following orders.  Some find it freeing to have a set of rules in place, so have someone else make those choices for them and to know that all they have to do it follow the rules.  The desire to please is a strong part of the pull towards discipline, whether that means being proud of your own achievements or earning praise from your master or dominant.

As with any BDsM play or practice, discipline should be carried out in a safe, sane and consensual way.  Some specific considerations include the following:

  • Rules and punishments should always be carefully negotiated. Both parties should discuss the reasons for a rule and any objections should be talked through.
  • Rule sheets and contracts should be reviewed from time to time. I know many people in D/s relationships who have a set date every month to review their rules and discuss what is working, what is not, remove rules that have become obsolete and add new rules.
  • It may be worthwhile giving each new rule a trial period before it becomes a part of your formal rule agreement (if you have one).  This helps to identify any practical issues that may not become immediately obvious.
  • Don’t try to add too many rules at once.  This can become overwhelming and untenable.
  • Punishments should be unpleasant, but they should never injure or traumatize a submissive.
  • Don’t make rules that will negatively impinge upon employment, family commitments or personal health.
  • Communicate.  Often, openly and honestly.

Discipline is a huge topic, and not one that I can cover in a single blog post.  If there are any specific questions you have, please feel free to get in touch with me and I will attempt to answer them in future posts.

Next time, I’ll be delving into the practice of Sadism.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may like to check out the other posts in this series:

A geeks guide to online dating: your dating profile

This is the third post in my Geek’s Guide to Online Dating series.  We’ve already talked about your profile picture and choosing a username.  So today I’m going to get down to the gritty details of filling out your profile.

 

My online dating profile has undergone a number of makeovers in the last year.  As I’ve discovered what works and doesn’t work for me, I’ve polished and updated my profile accordingly.  In it’s current incarnation, my profile is witty, honest and somewhat detailed.  Just the way I believe it should be.  Everyone has a different idea about what makes a good online dating profile, just like everyone is looking for something different in a date.  So my suggestions aren’t a definitive guide.

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Be honest about what you want…and what you don’t want.

I found that my online dating game jumped up a notch when I got brutally honest about what I was looking for.   My profile mentions things like the fact that I’m open to long-distance as long as the other person is willing to share the responsibility of travel.  Or my desire to find someone relatively introverted who is OK with not going out all the time. I also mention that I’m not interested in casual sex, and that even though I’m bisexual I’m not interested in playing the special guest star in your three-way.

 

Once I got honest about what I wanted, the replies I got were a lot more selective and much more suited to my tastes.  Sure, I still got the occasional dickhead writing to ask for pictures of my boobs, but they became less frequent.

 

Here’s the deal: it doesn’t really matter what you’re looking for, but it’s much better if you’re honest about it.  I don’t mind if you’re looking for a hookup, or you want to get married, or you are exclusively interested in women who are experts at Fallout.  But actually saying “I want X, I don’t want Y” gives the person reading your profile a better idea of what you’re after and whether it’s worth getting in touch with you.  It saves everyone time and you’re less likely to go on a bunch of mismatched dates.

 

Be wordy, but not too wordy.

There’s a fine line to tread when it comes to the length of your profile.  You don’t want it to be too sparse, or you won’t generate any interest.  But on the other hand, if you write an essay that’s roughly the length of War and Peace, nobody is going to slog through it all.

 

You want to write in enough detail that you give the person reading a snapshot of who you are and what you like.  I tend to click away immediately when I see a profile that has only answered the bare minimum questions, because I have no idea about the person who wrote it.  They could be the most interesting, hilarious person ever, but how would I know because there’s no hint of that on their profile?

 

When filling out your profile, make sure you provide some details, but keep it on the succinct side.  Always leave the reader wanting more.  After all, if you tell them everything, there’s no reason for them to want to get to know you further.

 

Include a secret code (wink wink!)

There’s always the danger that you’ll be contacted by someone who has just seen your profile picture, thought you were cute and hasn’t read your profile at all.  If you’re cool with that, then you don’t need to worry.  But if you want to be sure that people have actually read your profile, then you can weave in a little insurance policy.  I’ve seen profiles that say “please message me with the following phrase to show you’ve read my profile” or ask you to answer a particular question in your message.  These aren’t foolproof, but the secret code method helps to weed out those who have actually taken the time to check out your profile.

 

Your time to shine.

You need to make sure that your profile has a sparkle to it, something that sets it apart from everyone else.  So how do you do that?  Well, for starters, don’t write the obvious.  Sure, you like music, pizza and movies.  Who doesn’t?  Stand out from the pack with original answers.  Talk about the band that changed your life or your ability to whip up the best fettuccine carbonara in the galaxy.  Talk about your love for 80’s television.  Highlight the things that make you YOU.  Those things might not seem like the coolest or trendiest, but that’s a good thing.  There just might be an awesome person out there who gets pumped to find out that there’s another person on the planet who enjoys watching Biodome.  It’s those silly quirks that stand out, so let your geekery shine brightly to lead your date to you.

 

Do you have any other tips that I’ve forgotten?  What do you think makes a good online dating profile.

 

A geeks guide to online dating: your profile name.

Ok, so it’s been a couple of weeks since we discussed choosing the right picture for your online dating profile.  Now I think it’s about time we had a chat about picking out a profile name that will work for you.

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It might seem like a small thing, but your profile name can actually have a big impact on who clicks on your dating profile.  Choosing the wrong name could mean driving away potential matches.  So how should you go about picking a user name?  Here’s my top tips.

Don’t go with a generic moniker

Your name should be interesting enough to draw in a potential match.  It doesn’t have to be entirely original or covered in metaphorical stardust but it should be the tiniest bit clever or witty.  I get so turned off by people who choose the generic computer-suggested user names.  I am very unlikely to click on a profile named “Your name-in-a-box” or “Such-and-such-taco”.  These are the names that OK Cupid throws out when your preferred user name is taken.  To me, that just seems too dull and I wonder if you put any thought at all into creating your profile.  Trust me, a little bit of wit and originality will go a long way.

Avoid names that scream “I’m a douchebag”

There are certain phrases that induce an automatic eye-roll when I read them in a dating profile.  And when those phrases pop up in someone’s user name, I’m instantly running for the hills.  The chief phrase is the dreaded, “But I’m a nice guy”.  In my experience, Nice Guys don’t need to constantly tell you how nice they are.  Generally the ones who constantly harp about what a “nice guy” they are tend to be the same dudes who are whining about how the girls they like always “friendzone” them.  Don’t be that guy.  Using the phrase “Nice Guy” in your profile name will get you nowhere with me.  I’ve seen dudes who call themselves things like “Justaniceguy” or even once “Ipromiseimnice”.  To me these just read as a bit creepy and desperate.  If you want your profile to have a chance of being read by a woman worth her salt, don’t use douchey phrasing in your profile name.

Unless you’re looking for casual sex, avoid sexual terms and euphemisms.

I should point out that there is nothing wrong with seeking out casual sex.  If that’s what you’re after, then I don’t judge you for it.  But when it comes to dating, that’s not what I’m looking for.  So if I see a user name that is sexually explicit, I tend to skip over that profile.  Using sexual terminology in your username gives the impression that you’re looking for a hook up.  So if you want more than just a one night stand, I’d advise against using any sexy lingo in your profile name.

Jokes and geeky references will get you everywhere

Do you want to know a secret?  I love to laugh.  (OK, that’s not a secret.  But it’s the truth).  And I’m a massive geek.  So if I see a user name that gives me the giggles, or alludes to one of my favourite fandoms, I’m going to give it a click.  In those cases, I want to get to know a bit more about the clever-trousers who thought up the hilarious profile name.  If you are a bit of a geek, it definitely pays to use a funny or pun-tastic user name.  Not only will it attract like-minded people, but it will draw in more potential matches than if you just used some generic user name.  It doesn’t have to be super sophisticated, just silly or witty enough to generate a giggle in your future sweetheart.  Some great user names I’ve seen include:  Mr Snrub, George Glass and Duke Silver, just to name a select few.

Should you use your real name?

This is a bit of a sticky topic.  On the one hand, using your real name means that you don’t have to think up a witty nickname.  However it does leave you open to unwanted familiarity.  It’s entirely up to you, but I’d suggest keeping your real name to yourself, at least at the beginning. Then when you’ve chatted to someone for a bit you can reveal your true identity if you feel comfortable doing so.  It’s entirely up to you, but I’d be wary about using your real name as your user name.

Do you have anything to add?  What are some of your pet peeves and greatest draws when it comes to dating profile usernames.