At some point in your life you’ve likely heard the words kink and fetish before – typically during dirty talk or, at least in the past, as a form of stigma used to make fun of someone or imply a sense of othering. Regardless of where you’ve previously heard of them, it’s time to embrace kinky sex and take an introductory look at the different types of kinks & fetishes that exist out in the wide wide world.
What is the difference?
We tend to use the words `kink` and `fetish` interchangeably, when in actuality they are incredibly different in both meaning and execution. Of course, language can be finicky, and words can take on entirely new meanings simply because the general public perceives them to mean such a thing. Context is always important, but so is understanding the differences between what we say and how we mean it.
Focusing on kinks, primarily they are interests or `turn ons` that enhance the sexual experience. Whether it’s getting off on humiliation, or enjoying a good choke every now and then, a kink isn’t necessary for you to enjoy the experience but boy oh boy does it make it a whole lot better. You may have a ton of kinks buried deep inside that you simply never paid much attention to, but when they happen you just know it sends you into overdrive. The word kink has such connotations towards being aggressive or dirty that it is constantly misused when there’s a good chance you explore your kinks with partners all the time.
What sets a fetish aside from a kink is, generally speaking, the need for it. Rather than enhancing a sexual experience like kinks do, fetishes are a necessity for enjoyment. Without the specific fetish being
present during sex/sexual moments, the arousal and positive emotions we associated with sex are lacking or hard to invoke.
Neither kinks nor fetishes are a bad thing and in no way should they be considered something to be ashamed of. Everyone has a specific thing they enjoy or aspects of sex they need to be present. Kinks and fetishes, when spelt out, can be viewed as the tiny details that make up the whole picture. Now, that doesn’t mean someone else’s kink or fetish will never seem unusual to you, but more so that everyone’s sexual desires should be accepted without negativity – even if they’re not for you.
How do I know what my kinks/fetishes are?
This is, thankfully, easy to figure out. Simply try new things either actively or passively. Eventually something will click and get your blood pumping. If you are with someone you trust and comfortable in doing so, you can try initiating some experimentation during sex/foreplay. Let the other person know what you think you might be interested in and if they’re willing to try it with you then get to it; no means no. Everything we do with another person requires consent, however, so try not to push the topic if turned down regardless of how badly you want to give it a go.
If you’re in a situation where you would rather not physically recommended pursue the different avenues of choice at your disposal, you can always go for a more distanced approach. Search for content online that you can read/watch and see how your body reacts to it. Our minds create the most wonderous of fantasies even without our permission and at times these imaginings can be better than the real thing. As long as what you’re viewing is legal and does not harm anyone then explore to your hearts content. Celebrate that you can continuously learn new things about yourself and take the time to pursue every desire (within reason.)
If you’re not sure where to even star, Glamour has a really nice “A to Z” guide on kinks and fetishes which you can find here – you might find that just reading about some off these gets you going, which is a great starting point.
Do I need to tell my partners about my kinks/fetishes?
Not necessarily, they are yours and yours alone to share as you see fit. It can feel pretty liberating to be with someone who understands what makes you tick and how to get you going – possibly leading to some amazing sex – but you do not have any obligation to share this kind of information with anyone.
It’s important to make sure you aren’t forcing anyone to participate in a kink/fetish of yours however. If there’s something you specifically want to do for whatever reason, it’s best to bring it up in advance or in the prelude to sexual activity. Bringing this type of information or request in the middle of sex puts the other person(s) in an awkward position where saying `no` will ruin the mood or make things awkward, while saying `yes` will make them feel not so great. In the heat of the moment of course let lust take over and ask for what you want but remember that the more `extreme` your kink/fetish is then the more preparation and understanding it might take.
For example, if you really enjoy someone biting your genitals during sex or foreplay, then there’s nothing wrong with asking them to do exactly that in the heat of the moment (again, remember that no means no and, more importantly, visible discomfort is also a no). Regardless of what your kinks or fetishes may be, no one should be forced to participate in them either knowingly or unknowingly.
How do I get started?
First, there’s no need to rush. If you have newly discovered a kink/fetish or known about it for a long time and now want to start doing it, just take your time. If it’s something that can be done on your own,
then make sure you’re being safe. Some kinks/fetishes, if done improperly, can cause harm which is obviously best to avoid. Do some research and make sure to take any necessary precautions.
Should you wish to start incorporating others into your kink/fetish then start with a conversation. Invite the other person(s) to freely discuss any of their kinks/fetishes alongside you and create a safe zone free of judgement. Your partner(s) may bring up something that you have zero interest in and never want to try in your life, and that’s perfectly fine! Just politely explain that those specific kinks/fetishes aren’t for you and continue the discussion. Healthy communication is, and always will be, at the forefront of great sexual experiences. The more open, honest, and free of shame you are when approaching these situations then the more you will get out of them. Be careful not to make it all about you though. Kinks/fetishes should be fun and enjoyable for all involved and shouldn’t focus exclusively on one person getting sexual pleasure (unless, of course, that’s your kink!).
After talking it over with your partner(s) it might help to make a checklist for one another. List out all of the kinks/fetishes that you discussed separately and place a tick or cross next to each one. This is a quick and easy way to express your interest and you can have some fun with it – think up symbols for options that you’re unsure of, that you don’t think you’ll like but you’re willing to try, that you like the idea of but find the practicality of it difficult. From there, you can steadily try different items on the list and it can become something to look forward to with your partner(s).
At the end of the day, kinks and fetishes are supposed to enhance our sexual experiences and the primary focus should be on having fun. If you have to force something, or the final outcome is less than desirable, then maybe it’s time to shift focus or look for a more compatible option. Kinks & fetishes aren’t as serious they sound, and taking them too seriously can siphon all of the fun out of them, relax and let yourself be awkward, stupid, eager, and let yourself have a good time.