Why Finding a Kinky Partner is Hard

A lot of kinksters complain that they have a hard time finding a partner for serious, long-term power exchange. Sites like Fetlife are filled with subs saying that they want to be owned, and they often complain that they aren’t having much luck. So I wanted to point out something about the basic math of things that kinksters need to understand. I’m specifically talking about gay men here, but much of what I have to say is true for straight people as well and other segments of the LGBT community.

Gay men make up a relatively small segment of the total population of the US. The actual figure is probably 2-3%, but let’s be ultra-generous and say that perhaps 10% of the population is available to partner with. That still means that only 1 out of 10 possible people are a potential match.

Out of that 10% of the population, only half of them are going to be guys.* So now we’re down to 5% of the total population.

Out of that 5% of the population, we need to find the kinky ones. There aren’t really hard numbers on this, but the few estimates I’ve seen suggest that maybe 1 out of 10 people in the population are kink or potentially kinky. But acceptance of kink seems to run a bit higher in the gay community, so let’s be generous and round up to 2 out of 10. Since we’re only working with 5% of the population, that means we’re only looking at 1% of the total population that might work for us.

But it get worse. It’s not enough to find someone kinky. They have to be interested in the opposite role. If you’re a sub, finding another sub is less than ideal. If the kink community is split 50/50 into doms and subs (and almost everyone says that it’s somewhere closer to 10/90 than 50/50) that means we’re down to .5% of the population.

Not only that, but you need to find someone with a compatible fetish. If you’re into flogging, it doesn’t help you to find a bondage top. But obviously people have multiple fetishes. Let’s be generous and say that 50% of the guys you meet share enough fetishes with you to be a decent partner. That means we’re looking at .25% of the total population.

Now, you need to find someone who is within your acceptable age range. If you want a daddy, finding a 20-something isn’t going to work very well. This gets trickier because I don’t think there’s an easy way to calculate percentages on this, but let’s again say that half the guys you share fetishes with are in the age range you would like to play with and vice versa. Now we’re down to about .12%.

They also have to be available to partner with. Open relationships, polyamorous guys, and the like are fairly common in the gay community, but there are also a lot of monogamous guys, and even the poly guys might have their dance card full. So let’s again ball-park it at 1 out of 2. We are now looking at something approaching .05% or so.

Then they need to be someone you find attractive and who finds you attractive in return. They need to have compatible interests and political views, want the same level of kink as you do, and just generally be someone you could practically be in a relationship with. Again, there’s no real way to calculate that, but let’s say that it’s half the potential mates you meet. Now we’re down to .025% of the population.

If the US has a population of 350 million people, that means that there are perhaps around 200,000 who are potential matches for any given gay kinkster. And those 200,000 guys are spread across the entire country. If you’re in Tulsa, your best matches might be in Seattle. (Historically, this is one of the reasons gay men tended to migrate to large cities–it just increased their chances of finding a partner.)

My point here is not to make your search seem hopeless. 200,000 possible matches is a lot (even allowing for all the ball-park estimates I’m making here). My point is that finding a master or a slave or whatever you’re seeking is a numbers game. The odds of any one person being a good match for you are small. So the way you solve the problem is by trying to meet as many guys as possible. This means posting profiles on different dating apps and sites like Fetlife. It means going to kink events and joining kink organizations and participating. Drive up the number of guys you are meeting and the odds of finding your ideal partner go up substantially.

But this takes time. Don’t decide you’re kinky, jump on the internet and complain a few weeks later that you haven’t found your Prince of Darkness or your forever Pup. And the more extreme or specialized your kinks, the few possible partners you have. If you’re a dom looking for a sub, you have a lot more potential partners than if you’re dom looking for a 24/7 slave. Expect your search to take years. Just make sure that you’re having fun along the way!

*I’m trying to keep this math super-simple, so I’m not going to address the whole question of people who are non-binary, gender-fluid, and so on. It certainly does expand the potential range of partners to factor that in, but that’s balanced out by the fact that some guys may not be willing to consider partners who don’t have a conventional gender identity.

7 thoughts on “Why Finding a Kinky Partner is Hard

  1. Hadrian. . . This was a well done piece. I think the problem is not just subs finding Kinky partners. I think its all of us who enjoy the lifestyle need to have someplace to be unabashedly who we are. There is a huge prejudice against gays in America..and even greater gay kink. .Daily I see it in Tampa Bay where I live and practice. And where our wonderful mayor is proudly out with her wife.

    My boy and I are well accepted in the communitu because we’ve agreed to not be anything but an older man mentoring a younger man

    We get our best experiences at our local BDSM club called The Phoenix where everyone is enthusiastically accepting and generous with their time… it’s a great place for Subs to find a master and also for a master without a sub to find a sub… There is also an international Club that I also subscribe to it’s called ( m a s t ) Masters and slaves together and it’s an International Group
    with chapters in every Big City around the world.. They meet and provide information and support and the social setting what kinky gay men and women ….in those meetings subs and Masters seek each other out it’s very safe and very ,well organized and I highly recommend it

    But being gay in America is still fraught with all kinds of dangers and being kinky gay just increases the chances of a problem unless you’re very careful and know how to live your life without provoking too much comment……
    Of course Donald Trump and his homophobic crew in Washington have not helped our situation at all.. It’s pretty bad for this76 year old man who’s been fighting for acceptance all his life… I never thought I’d see the day when I feel more unsafe then I do now because of that…

    Dr. Ed Pollak.

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    1. I agree. Things are much better than they were in the 80s and 90s, but we still face enormous obstacles, not least of which is the constant effort of the president to harm us in order to keep the support of evangelicals.

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      1. I worry about safty issues all the time. I just last week had a 12 year old boy who was raped and sodomized by a group of older boys. He then went home and tried to hang himself..

        Horrible!!.

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      2. That’s terrible. I recently read an article that gay teenagers are bullied at a higher rate than in the 90s, which makes me sad.

        But I also know that adversity has always made the gay community stronger. These struggles are terrible, but having to struggle is a source of great strength for those of us who survived it. That’s obviously no help for those who have to struggle, though.

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  2. Very nice analysis, Sir, and a conclusion that I’m sure many come to eventually.

    I wonder how you feel about the other way that people seem to address the numbers game: finding a partner who ticks lots of boxes but perhaps not the sexual/kink compatibility, and agreeing that both can seek that outside the relationship. Obviously lots of people are in open or poly arrangements, but for kinky people it sometimes feel like you may need to find a life partner with whom there will be very little sexual activity. I’m starting to wonder whether that is a good way to go about my search.

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    1. That strikes me as a very reasonable way to address the challenge of finding a kinky partner

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