Although the modern world has become more liberated and open-minded, misconceptions about kink vs fetish still make them taboo for many. Today, this post will serve as the sex educator that’ll teach you these terms’ key differences, examples, and tips for safe sex.
The World of Kinks and Fetishes
Most are embarrassed about their kinks and fetishes and hide them from their partners for various reasons. Although 40% of Americans say they are kinky and use sex toys, more than half admit it takes a month or longer to let their partners know about it.
Kinks and fetishes are often mixed and overlap in different places in BDSM. However, sex educators and therapists say some critical differences between kink and fetish. One of them is kink is sexual behavior, while fetish is a sexual fixation.
Understanding more about kink and fetish is vital before you discuss it with your partner to avoid misunderstandings.
What Exactly Is a Kink?
A person’s kink is any sexual activity, behavior, interest, desire, and fantasy that goes beyond what’s generally accepted by society. Kinks and fetishes are closely tied because all kinds of fetishes are kink, but not all kinks are considered fetish sex acts. While kinks can make sex more exciting, it’s unnecessary to achieve sexual enjoyment.
Many believe kink stems from unresolved mental illness, trauma, abuse, and early sexual experiences. Others believe kinks and fetishes are evolutionary adaptations. The ancient Greeks’ erotic poems, Victorian-era erotic comics, and regular underground magazines were the foundation for today’s spanking magazines. Not all kinks were accepted in the past, but any sexual activity that increases sexual enjoyment without harming anyone is tolerated today.
Examples of the Most Common Kinks
Two of the most prominent sex educators, Kenneth Play and Justin Lehmiller, say that BDSM is the most common form of kink. In Lehmiller’s book, 93% of men and 96% of women fantasized about BDSM.
BDSM has a dominant and a submissive. While the dominant has more power, both must consent to a specific sexual activity, use safe words, and communicate.
While cum is the most common bodily fluid kink, other bodily fluids such as blood, spit, breast milk, urine, and feces also play a significant role. Based on Lehmiller’s research, men fantasized more about the involvement of these bodily fluids in intercourse than women. Most bodily fluid kinks are suitable for the dominant and submissive, but blood play is for those who enjoy giving and receiving pain.
Many people fantasize about getting off or having sex in public. It’s a paraphilia where people expose their genitals and get excited while doing it. It comes in two types. First is consensual exhibitionism, which is encouraged by the desire for the audience to see them as sexy and attractive. Another is nonconsensual, often motivated by a desire to shock or offend another person.
It’s a form of roleplay where both partners pretend to be older or younger than their actual age. The most common age play is the daddy or mommy and baby boy or girl setup. Here, the “baby” will dress up and act like a child while the person with the older role serves as the dominant.
According to sex educator Lehmiller, one in four cisgender people gets sexual satisfaction with crossdressing. Meanwhile, one in three people fantasizes about using the body of another person of the opposite sex. Gender play helps people break gender roles and discover themselves.
Cuckolding is a form of watching your partner have sex with another person. Often in cuckolding, the observing partner is present in the room, but they can also watch by viewing CCTVs or receiving messages and pictures of what’s happening. While others see it as cheating, others find it appealing as it boosts their self-esteem when they know someone is sexually attracted to their partner.
This kink refers to using an object like sex toys, whips, paddles, or even hands for spanking or hitting. Since impact play is dangerous, couples must have a discussion and set boundaries beforehand. It’s essential to avoid any potentially harmful effects.
You and your partner will portray a particular character during sex in this kink. This kink varies from simply dressing up in doctor, nurse, pilot, soldier, and fictional character costumes to creating your version of a real porn movie. The most common role plays are medical role play, boss and secretary, school staff and student, and pool boy and rich homemaker role play.
Participants use props and toys, such as muscle suits and masks, to immerse themselves in their roles.
What Is a Fetish?
A fetish is a sexual fixation on a specific object or behavior that must be present during intercourse to achieve arousal and sexual satisfaction. Celebrity sex educator Carol Queen refers to fetishes as “erotic superchargers.”
Additionally, sex therapist David Ortmann explains that a person can have a fetish for sexy clothing and genital or non-genital parts of a person’s body, also known as partialism.
If foot fetishes are common today, in the 5th century, necrophilia was common in Egypt. According to Herodotus, the bodies of beautiful women were embalmed only after three to four days as a precaution so that the embalmers would not abuse the body. Meanwhile, in Japan, they take fetishism to another level, as most people have a pillow, white teeth, and diaper fetish.
Examples of the Most Common Fetishes
It’s a fetish where the subs experience sexual arousal after getting small electric shocks during sex. The dominants usually use a zappers wand or a system that can stimulate nerve endings to endure safe play. Electrostimulation can be dangerous, but an excellent way to get your partner in the mood for another BDSM kink known as edge play.
It refers to a person’s sexual interest in a particular body part. The most common type is foot fetish. Podophilia or foot fetish is where a person interacts with feet, such as looking, touching, kissing, smelling, and others for sexual pleasure.
Meanwhile, hand fetish or quirofilia is the use of the hands to provide sexual pleasure, from doing everyday tasks such as making choirs at home to doing hand jobs, fingering, and fisting.
It’s important to note that voyeurism is not the same as exhibitionism and cuckolding. Voyeurism is a fetish of watching people undress or having sex without knowing. If you like the thrill of going around to watch real-life porn, it means you have a voyeurism fetish.
One of the benefits of having sex while pregnant is improved delivery and quick recovery. For other people, it is a fetish. Pregnancy fetishism is a person’s fascination with pregnant women and their unique characteristics, such as lactation. Pregnant fetishists must look at or feel their partner’s swollen and round bellies to achieve sexual arousal.
Latex and Leather
People with this fetish get sexually aroused when they see their partner wearing latex or leather clothing. Since these clothes are often tight on the wearer, the materials give the impression of being naked but not too bare, which excites their partner. Restraints made of these materials are also popular during sex because they fit like a second skin and are durable and pleasing to the eye.
What’s the Difference Between Kink and Fetish Exactly?
The best way to describe their difference is that kink is a sexual desire while fetish is a sexual need. If kinks are wants, then fetishes are needs.
For better understanding, sex educator Taylor Sparks explains that someone who discovers wearing high heels during sex has a high-heel kink, while someone who needs to wear high heels to feel sexually aroused has a high-heel fetish.
How Can You Explore Kinks and Fetishes Safely?
Most people get exposed to kinks and fetishes through their partners and watching porn or other sexy movies. As you explore this sexual gratification, you can experience new things and see what you like and don’t like.
Exploring kinks and fetishes is an erotic adventure where you must be honest about what you value and what gives you sexual pleasure. It also deals with the shame of being different and being clear about your sexual role.
If you want to see if you have a kink or a fetish, ask yourself these three questions:
● Am I aroused by a particular object or sexual activity?
● Do I need it to experience high sexual pleasure?
● Can I enjoy solo sex without it?
Safety Tips for Exploring Kink and Fetish
● Take a free online BDSM quiz to learn more about kinks and fetishes that interest you.
● Identify the things that give you sexual arousal by making a yes-no-maybe list.
● Visit and join forums, spaces, and prime communities to communicate with a BDSM practitioner, sex therapist, and other people about kink and fetish.
● Identify your comfort and discomfort zones.
● Educate yourself by hiring a sex educator, sex therapist, sex worker, and sex hacker, or read top trending exclusive articles from reliable sources about kinks and fetishes to know the potential risks of exploring a particular sexual play.
● Protection, communication, and consent are vital to various sex acts, so it’s essential to have an open discussion with your partner about sexual gratification.