A Friendly Guide to Kinks and Fetishes
As sexual beings, people often find certain things or situations pleasurable and arousing. For some, a whisper in the ear might be enough to tickle their fancy, but for others, it could be something more extreme such as bondage or wax play. For beginners, learning about these sexual desires may feel intimidating. Since there's a lot of gray area surrounding kink and fetish, let's back up a little and define the terms individually first.
What is kink?
A kink is something that arouses us that's not considered the sexual norm. Meaning to say, it could be any sexual activity that is outside of the traditional sexual activities. So everything from role-playing, BDSM, whips, sex toys – these are all filed under kink. However, there's a certain level of subjectivity when it comes to it. Case in point: anal sex may be kinky for your grandma because it does fall outside the sex that her generation considers normal, but it could be pretty vanilla to your sex-positive bestie.
Understood. How about fetish?
The technical definition of fetish is the intense sexual attraction towards a specific object, body part, or behavior. Some common fetishes are feet, heels, tattoos, and body piercings. If you get turned on by anything that may or may not be inherently sexual, and you are fixated on this as a requirement for your physical release, then that would be a fetish. In short, a fetish is a type of kink.
So what exactly is the difference between kink and fetish?
Kink and fetish are often tossed around interchangeably to mean an unconventional taste in bedroom activities. But the simplest explanation to distinguish the two is that a kink is something that turns you on whereas a fetish is something you need to get turned on. Here's an example straight from sex therapist Dr. Rosara Torrisi:
"If one night in bed, you accidentally hear your neighbors going at it, and it turns you on, that's kinky. But, if you need to listen to or watch others having sex to feel aroused, then that's a fetish."
Now that we know the basics- let's cue you in 5 of the most beginner-friendly, non-intimidating, and safe kinks and fetishes that you can explore, because yes, there are more flavors to sex than vanilla!
BDSM is a catch-all acronym that encompasses several different kinks. The most common of all is bondage. The practice typically involves restricting a partner's movement with ropes, handcuffs, or other restraints. While BDSM is heavily associated with sex, it is not a necessary part of the practice. Many people like it for the power exchange and trust-building aspects of BDSM.
Another kink popular among both beginners and the pros is role-playing. It involves creating an imagined scenario often accompanied by costumes to fulfill sexual fantasies. Some examples of easy role play for beginners are student/teacher, repairman/homeowner, police/offender, and the crowd favorite – boss/employee.
Pegging is the practice of female-to-male anal penetration using a strap-on, and its popularity stems partly from its root kink: female domination. In recent years, there's been more discussion and awareness of prostate stimulation to enhance sexual pleasure for men.
4. Voyeurism and Exhibitionism
Voyeurism is the act of watching another person or persons perform sexual activities. Exhibitionism is the other side of the same coin where you let other people watch you engage in said activities. However thrilling this may sound, it is necessary to practice this with consent from every person involved. Regardless if they are the performer or the audience.
5. Fabric Fetishism
The birthday suit is not the only suit we can wear in the bedroom. Many people are becoming more and more open about engaging in clothed to semi-clothed sex as it can be kinky. Think leather, latex, lace, or even nylon. Garments like stockings, lace undergarments, leather catsuits may be reminiscent of something that turns you on. For some, wearing these garments is a way to mask physical insecurities (we all have it, don't worry, it is normal), therefore improving confidence in the bedroom.
Navigating through your sexual desires can be daunting especially if you grew up thinking that sex is taboo. The key is to keep an open mind, and have continuous healthy conversations about sex because that would help you release the shame and debunk the misconceptions that are potentially surrounding your ideas of kink. The most important of all is to remember that consent is paramount in sex. Whether it's vanilla or a full-on BDSM session, make sure it's consensual before you engage in it. Get your partner's okay, know their limits and yours, and establish safe words to ensure the safety of the activity. Once you have grasped these aspects, don't be afraid to explore your desires. There is nothing wrong with owning your sexual pleasure.
By Coco Eje
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