According to About.com's Guide to Sexuality, BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadim and masochism. (see: What Is BDSM?) For anyone looking to date with a BDSM slant, you probably already have a good idea as to what the term means and where you fit into the spectrum. If not, that's acceptable too, since most reputable BDSM personals offer some information and basic information about the lifestyle.
Yet there aren't a lot of BDSM dating websites available today, mostly because it's a smaller market for dating singles and a few well-known brands have almost cornered the market. If you've used one of these dating sites, please share your experiences so as to assist other readers with which BDSM site is best for their needs: Review BDSM Personals Sites
Note: all of these dating sites are meant for adults only, and many display adult-oriented images. Although none listed here showed pornographic materials that I found, these sites may upset some readers. Please click at your own risk, and only if you've reached the age of majority in your geographic location.
I may get blasted by FetLife's owner, John Baku, for listing FetLife as a "top" BDSM dating site. Think of it as a Facebook for kinky folks, and you've got a pretty good idea as to how the underground yet well-populated site works. However, it was never intended for folks to use as a dating site, and it shows by the inability to search folks beyond BDSM-related interests or location. Baku has recently asked the membership however if folks would like a location-based feature, where you can see where other kinksters are in relation to your own location (like many SMS dating sites
already do) so it may prove favorable for members wanting to find love, or at least a play partner nearby. My best tip: find the groups nearby that focus on dating/relationships, and then join them to stay apprised of folks like you wanting to meet up.
ALT.com and Adult Friend Finder share the same database of members, so you'll see the same folks (for the most part) on each site. The differences however, are considerable, when looking at BDSM relationships and merely adult, casual ones: ALT offers a huge number of questions to determine your specific kink, and each one is easily searched by its paying members. For those not willing to pay the (somewhat steep) fees, try hanging out in the groups or chat rooms to see if someone nearby shares your interests.
More than just a dating site for alternative singles, CollarMe offers its users a community with which to discuss lifestyle choices, gear, and movies related to the BDSM culture. A great place to socialize and hang out with other kinksters, although you may want to check it out first before paying to make sure there are other folks local to you.
IWantU.com offers a section specifically geared towards alternative relationships. Do keep in mindhowever that since the database of users is shared with other members on the IWantU.com platform, not all members will post ads that specifically seek folks with kinky or alternative relationship interests.
More of an adult dating site than BDSM per say, SexyAds does offer some functionality for alternatively-minded folks too. Note that the default for all new, unpaid users is "good", where you can only look at tame photos. View all the "wicked" pictures by upgrading and paying for a membership.
A networking group for BDSM singles in the New York area. Only open to those over the age of 18. Offers munches, education, training and support for kinky folks, both single and otherwise. A great, safe way of meeting other BDSM lovers, but because it's only available to a small geographical location, it ends up lower on this list.
Not just for singles looking to meet other singles in the BDSM lifestyle, but also couples wanting new partners to share, or just folks looking for good conversation and answers to their questions.
A racy front page welcomes BDSM singles from all over the world, but the site focuses primarily on the US. No ability to read the site's policies and procedures without signing up first, which concerned me, and therefore why it ends up toward the bottom of this list.
A dating site catering not the the richest of alternative singles, but rather to a rich experience with meeting other BDSM lovers, even if that's a couple or group.