Closed-loop Vetting

Vetting is loosely described as; “investigating (someone) thoroughly to see if they should be approved or accepted.“ {more}

Within a kink context it is a safety measure that can be helpful in detecting potential pitfalls or hazardous situations and/or individuals.

There is much debate around how helpful vetting can be, and in some cases vetting can be counter-productive if not done thoroughly.

Below is a formula for thoroughly vetting a person, instead of casually asking around and hoping for the best, or riding on hearsay that lacks fact-checking.

Pixelated Past: The internet should be your first fact-checking resource. Go to any search engine and search the individuals handle, and/or legal name if it is known. If you don’t know it, outright ask for their legal name and let them know why you are asking. Those that don’t have anything to hide won’t mind being looked into. Not everything can be taken at face-value, but looking at someone’s digital past can be a life-saving step.

Creeper Scorecard: Use the Creeper Scorecard tool to read between the lines of their profile. This simple tool can help you discern exactly how much of a risk you may be taking on, before getting overly excited or investing too much time in a person. Moving forward should always be your individual choice, but at least one can move forward with a better sense of security after having checked their Creeper Score first.

Writing on the Walls: Before asking around, take the time to read through a person’s profile thoroughly. Take special attention to the wall comments on their page, and try to discern the nature of the comment. How well does it appear the speaker knows the person in question? Do the exchanges appear to be casual pleasantries? Idol flirts? Personal praise? Are they long-time friends? Complete strangers? Remember these individual speakers, as you may need their help in the near future.

Know which hand: It is vital to recognize the difference between first-hand knowledge, and second, third, or fourth hand views and so on. First-hand is if a person directly experienced what was described. This is the information that should be sought. Second-hand is what is witnessed by an individual, and third-hand is what someone heard another witnessed. If someone describes what happened to their friend, it is not first-hand information and in essence can be clouded by others perceptions of what happened or seemed to have happened. As the saying goes; there is always more then two sides to every story. Take anything you hear with some healthy skepticism.

Rule of 3-3-3: It is not enough to ask their best bud what they think of them. Instead seek the input from a cross-section of their life. Ask the person being vetted what three specific people that have known them the longest in the community would say about them. Then ask which three people would have the best things to say about them. Then ask what the three people that dislike them the most would say. Better yet, find people on their profile (such as within their comments wall) and ask them what a specific person would say about them. Get their view on what the individual thinks of them, then reach out to said individuals. If 9 inquiries are made, you may only get 3 responses or so back, as not everyone is highly active on fetlife. Be sure to ask for first-hand experiences related to the people, and take anything else with a grain of salt.

Stick to side-kicks: Often Safety Calls are not enough. Have a trusted friend join you whenever you meet the individual for the first time, no matter if it is at a kink-related event or not. Avoid meeting in private locations such as someone’s home. Apt for a public place, or a kink-related event or function. Get your friends honest assessment of what they think of said individual, and even encourage your friend to ask questions of the individual and try to dig deep into their motivations, intentions and personality. At the very least have a side-kick as your safety call buddy.

Don’t be the Dummy: Before playing, sit back and watch them play with someone else instead. This stand-in person can be seen as a “crash test dummy” of sorts. It may sound cruel to wait for someone else to sit in your seat first, but it could be a very important lesson. If they don’t have play partners or people that wish to play with them at parties, why not? How did they handle their play-partner? If you are glad it wasn’t you, then you just avoided a painful lesson in what you don’t like. Lesson learned, crisis averted.

Crystal Clarity: Many painful lessons in what not to do come from a lack of clear intentions and understanding. It is not enough to assume all partners are hyper alert, sober, and can read subtle body-language of strangers seamlessly. That is a skill D-types learn after years of experience, but not outside the realm of understanding for many novice Tops as well. Generally speaking the bottom is the one that sets the initial parameters of the scene, as well as makes the hard-limits clear. Even the most skilled D-types are not mind readers, and it is everyone’s responsibility to make their intentions and desires perfectly clear. Are substances in either individual’s blood-stream? What safe words will be used? What are the hard limits? What tools are to be used? How long will a scene last? Will the splitting of or marks on the skin be permitted? Will you require after-care? Negotiating all of this before-hand is vital for safe and successful scening.

72 Hour Rule: Life is not a race, and adrenaline often clouds judgment. No matter if you want to go for a hard and heavy round two right away, or run for the phone to call the police. Try instead to breathe and relax after a scene. Many times both the top and the bottom are literally intoxicated from the natural chemical soup that a person swims in after any significant scene. Emotions are complex and they take time to figure out. Thus it is recommended to take a few days and think and feel deeply on your experience before making plans or sharing all the finest details with your friends. Consent can’t be taken back, nor can harsh judgments vocalized that should have been thought through. If after a few days you are still feeling violated, then let everyone know about your first hand experience! If the entire 72 hour period you have been craving the moment they touch you once again, than let them know you are ready for round two.

Protect our own: The sad truth is some communities use vetting more then others. Don’t wait for others to ask your thoughts on a person before you make them public. If it has been over 72 hours from your experience, let the world know your experience. Try and do it in a way that does not completely violate their privacy if you believe they value it (and deserve their privacy). This could come in the form of a long-winded thank-you, or a harsh-handed fuck you. Whatever the case may be, use only first-hand accounts, and remember you can name witnesses to your experience should it have gone sour. Of course if you are not the sharing type, you can send the thank you via a private message and keep them all to yourself!

Flag it: While the relationship develops into whatever form it takes on, be sure to remain vigilant and keep your eyes open. Pay special attention to Red Flags that may come up, while also remembering that we often dislike that in others which are facets of our own personality.  Spotting Red Flags early can be an important tool for remain in healthy relationships for a lifetime.

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Creative Commons PRO LicenseClosed-Loop Vetting by Xenith is licensed under a Creative Commons Pro International License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

2 Responses to Closed-loop Vetting

  1. Aphrodite Priestess says:

    Great article.

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