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A Guide to Social Newsgroups and Mailing Lists

© 1996-2008 Dave Taylor: public distribution encouraged.


The Usenet distributed conferencing system is a terrific way to meet new friends and engage in many interesting topics of conversation, but people just joining our on-line community often have a difficult time figuring out which group is which and what groups they can join to find like-minded individuals.

To try to help this situation, this article is intended to be one of a group of regularly posted articles that are given to new users to aid you in deciding where you might have the best luck finding new electronic friends that share your interests both socially and sexually.

Disclaimer: some of what is said on Usenet might be offensive to you as some of the groups discuss topics that are, well, a bit unusual. Fortunately it's easy to avoid this problem; don't read that group. Also please keep in mind that the more controversial the subject, the more likely the group is awash in inane, unrelated discussion, partially due to the nature of the Usenet community and partially perhaps due to how uncomfortable most people are with these subjects.

To reiterate this point, please do not join a group to find a forum for arguing or demonstrating righteous indignation over a particular belief, behavior, or desire. Those discussions are almost always completely inappropriate and the more controversial the subject, the more likely the participants in a group are going to dislike judgemental postings. Also, there is a good chance that you have misunderstood either the offending article or the responses of other readers. In other words, you may well be alone in your indignation.

Finally, as with all groups on the Usenet, once you find one that seems of interest, please try to spend a week or two just reading the group and learning how conversations proceed in that particular forum before you jump in. It'll save you, and others, a lot of grief and unpleasantness.



This hierarchy is devoted to ads from people who seek e-mail or in-person romantic or sexual relationships. There are several subgroups and many people who post here do so using one of the anonymous posting/reply services. Try to include a descriptive subject line (including your location), and some specific information about your tastes, interests and hobbies.


One of the nicest things about any relationship, be it the beginning of a courtship or years into a more serious commitment, are the little things that you do for each other, the romance. If you're interested in chatting with people about what is considered romantic, talking about a particular romantic thing that you've done, or even just reading stories about what other folks have done to 'be romantic' or 'have a romantic liaison', then this is the group.

What's a relationship without sex? For that matter, how many of us would be around without our parents having had sex? This group is one of the most controversial on the net, not surprisingly, and while the actual number of articles that discuss sex or sexuality is distressingly low, the group is still an interesting place to find the occasional horror story of a sexual rendezvous gone bad, to read debates about what type of birth control (or condom) is best, or even to read some surprisingly revealing details about the sex lives of people on the net.

While bestiality refers to engaging in sexual activity with an animal, the articles in this group seem to talk about everything but that.

Discussion group for intergenerational relationships, including "May/December relationships" (relationships between adults in two different parts of their lives, 20 and 45 years old for example), as well as discussion on "ephebophilia" (relationships between adults and teenagers) and "pedophilia" or "paedophilia" (relationships between teenagers or adults and pre-pubescent children). The level of mature discussion (discourse) on tends to be rather high, and those that read and/or participate in the discussions would like to keep it that way :-)

The best spin-off discussion from, this group has a higher level of interesting articles, which talk about bondage and related topics, ranging from the psychology of being confined by another during sexual play to the mechanics of different bondage devices. It also occasionally delves into sadism and masochism, so as with any other group, if you don't like what you're reading, be prepared to unsubscribe.

A moderated group specializing in text erotica. No guarantees on quality or quantity, some of it is very good and some is very poor. There is no censoring of topics or rules for keywording, so you risk being offended by the material. Posts tend to be long and writing quality and style varies quite a bit.


A moderated group for the discussion of adoptee-related issues, by adoptees. The Adoptees Newsgroup is designed to be a place where adoptees can gather for advice, support, and discussions of a miriad of adoptee-related topics and all adoptees are encouraged to participate. Please be encouraged to freely share your experiences and feelings as related to being an adoptee. While other interested persons are welcome to participate, this forum is focused on serving adoptees.


Being in a short or long term relationship offers much in the way of joy, pleasure, and emotional satisfaction, but it also offers the chance for major arguments and other problems. This group is where you can talk about a relationship you're in with others that are also in relationships of their own.


Soc.feminism is a moderated newsgroup for the discussion of feminist issues. Both men and women are encouraged to post to it and discussion is not limited to the pro-feminist viewpoint.
This group differs from soc.women in that moderation keeps out the flames and inappropriate cross-posts. In addition, there are several subjects appropriate for soc.women but not soc.feminism (e.g. the sporadic "where do I find comfortable shoes?" discussion that turns up in soc.women or discussions of women's health, other than policy issues related to it).

This group discusses similar issues to soc.women, but from the male perspective. Topics include equal rights, child support, custody of children, relationships and so on. In addition, there are often topics which tend to be specific to men including shaving in the shower, post-workout skin care, and similar. Both men and women are active participants in this group.


While the Usenet community is pretty open minded, many of the aforementioned social groups tend to be populated primarily by the heterosexual community. Soc.motss (Members of the Same Sex) is a forum where the concerns and lifestyles of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals may be discussed, including conversation about relationships, dating, travel, and the like. Discussion of the validity or appropriateness of homosexuality is inappropriate, however, and will not be appreciated.


Is your mailbox empty? Look here to find other people who want to exchange e-mail. There are also ads from people who want to find snail-mail penpals, too.

Of all the things that people seem to have in common, perhaps the most common thread of all is the bouts of being single, and the hunting and searching for relationships that this implies. This group is a forum for all discussions even vaguely related to either being single or the quest for a relationship. Indeed, it has been likened to an electronic cocktail party, where people have known each other (electronically, usually) for years. There are also a number of people in relationships that share their thoughts, as well as a high level of aggression between some of the contributors.
Like many of the soc.* groups, is not an appropriate place to post penpal requests or personal ads: try soc.penpals or alt.personals.*


Soc.women is an unmoderated group that discusses similar issues to, but from the female perspective. Topics include equal rights, child support, custody of children, relationships and so on. In addition, there are often topics that tend to be specific to women including shaving legs, finding comfortable shoes, and so on. Both men and women are active participants in this group.


In addition to these Usenet groups, there are many other forums on Usenet where you can make new friends and share conversations about topics of interest to yourself. Among them are the many "soc.culture" groups for specific ethnic/geographic cultures, the "soc.religion" and "talk.religion" groups for those interested in meeting friends of a specific religious background, the "rec.*" groups oriented about a specific recreational activity and many more.

Also, there are a number of different private mailing lists for specific sexual and social orientations, including:


Contact: (Henry Mensch)
Purpose: Mail.bears is a mailing list in digest format for gay and bisexual men who are bears themselves and for those who enjoy the company of bears. The exact definition of a "bear" seems to be a personal one, but it encompasses men who are variously cuddly, furry, perhaps stocky, or bearded. Mail.bears is designed to be a forum to bring together folks with similar interests for conversation, friendship and sharing of experiences. The tone of mail.bears will be determined by its members, but people uncomfortable with discussing sexually explicit topics via electronic mail should not subscribe.


Contact: cd-request@TheRev.LosAlamos.NM.US (Sharon M. Laws)
Purpose: To provide support/discuss/share experiences about gender related issues; Crossdressing, Transvestism, Transsexualism, etc. This list is in Digest Format.


Contact: (Karolina Kalkanda)
Purpose: This digested mailing list discusses "men's issues." Both women and men may join. Mail-men is a place where men and women can discuss men's issues in an atmosphere of openness and support. Men's issues are those problems and experiences that affect male humans.


Purpose: A forum and support group for gay and bisexual women. The list is not moderated, but may become so if the volume and/or content begins to warrant it. A digest version is available; if you want it, be sure to mention it in your addition request. Men who want to "listen in," for whatever reason, are requested to use the feminist and alternates mailing lists instead; sappho membership is limited to women.


Contact: (with subject 'HELP')
Purpose: This list focuses on "loving domestic discipline", the enjoyment and self-acceptance of those that practice erotic themes of Domestic Discipline as part of their sexuality -- whether in reality or fantasy.


Please use this list of Usenet groups and mailing lists as one of the many signposts to help you find the groups that you'll be interested in. One other terrific place to find more information is by asking your friends on the net what groups they read too!

Changes, corrections, additions, or other requests for information related to this posting should be sent to the author from this page.

© 1996-2008 Dave Taylor

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