Are you the kind of person who dares to dare? We all like less common interactions and using our creativity to get maximum of excitement and the most intense, repeated orgasms in sex and BDSM sessions.
That is why we are big fans of the kinks! Or are they fetishes? We are here today to clarify when it comes to these two terms, because there are many people who tend to use them interchangeably.
So if you don't know the difference, don't be ashamed... It is an easy mistake to make. And after we go through this article, we may come to a clarification of the terms with which we call our personal tastes and sexual interests.
What is a kink?
A kink is essentially anything that can be classified as a BDSM and unconventional sexual act. Basically, it is the opposite of the majority behavior called "vanilla", but this is also a free definition, because a kink is unique and personal for each person or couple.
What is a fetish?
A fetish is in the same realm as the kink, but it is rather an abnormal desire for something, such as for an object, a part of the body (usually non-genital), a certain type of material, etc. In fact, almost anything can be fetishized. For example, a growing fetish is the foot fetish: arousal, pleasure, appear worshipping one's feet.
What is the difference between a kink and a fetish?
Let's consider two examples.
First, a BDSM lifestyle lover who, together with his/her partner, experience impact plays and bondage, using whips, floggers, rope, spreading bars, movement restriction elements... this couple also loves role-playing, dressing appropriately to the roles they chose to play during BDSM sessions: they are a kinky couple.
Another great follower of BDSM is utterly excited thinking of experiencing the torture of his sexual organs. For him, this is the most important pleasure, he believes that no other erotic stimulation can compare to what he feels during play involving the torture of his sexual organs (CBT). For this one, CBT is a fetish.
Between the two examples, there is a difference.
But, there might still be a term you may not have heard of yet:
Paraphilia is when a person has extraordinary sexual desires that are often classified as extreme or dangerous. Some examples of paraphilia would be necrophilia (sexual acts with a corpse), scat play (defecation or sexual obsession with feces) and zoophilia (a sexual desire for animals).
So while a kink and a fetish are two different things, both could become paraphilia whether they become extreme or dangerous.
Are kinks and fetishes always sexual?
Not necessarily, even if the terms "kink" and "fetish" are almost always used in connection with sexuality.
It is worth mentioning that there are people who are not necessarily aroused and have orgasm because of their fetishes or kinks, but feel pleasure in hearing, looking, tasting or due to the sensations produced by their kinks and fetishes in a non-sexual way. And then, there are those who declare themselves as asexual and who can also have kinks and fetishes of their own.
Some common kinks and fetishes:
It is not possible to present an exhaustive list of kinks and fetishes. It would simply be impossible to know or educate other people about every kink and fetish that exist, because they are unique to each individual.
Jessica O'Reilly, Ph.D., said:
“Sexual fantasy is highly varied across the spectrum, so fetishes might simply be one element of our diversity in terms of sexual interest and arousal. That means we’ll have different tastes just like we do in food.”
Here are, however, some of the most common fetishes:
- altocalciphilia: the person is sexually aroused by high heels, usually worn by women;
- diapers: sexual arousal is caused by wearing and/or using a diaper. This is often associated with scat play, urine play, humiliation, age play and dominance;
- latex: some people have as sexual preference latex clothing;
- socks: other people are sexually aroused by wearing or watching and admiring others wearing stockings (such as silk stockings with tape in women).
Is it okay to have kinks and fetishes?
Yes and no. It depends on the choice of fetish, its intensity and how harmless it is.
For example, it has been shown that many of those who are active in BDSM, with a lifestyle full of kinks and fetishes, actually have higher levels of socio-economic functioning, are very intelligent and in good harmony with themselves. Kinks and fetishes could have a positive connotation in these cases.
On the other hand, there are also fetish disorders. When there is an intense sexual attraction to something (such as an inanimate object or part of the body), that is coupled and with significant personal clinical stress or (auto) impairment (social, professional, or other).
Interesting fact: fetish disorder is more common in men, unlike women. Specialists say this disorder is almost exclusively diagnosed in men.
Do kinks and fetishes develop over time?
Now that we know a little bit about fetishes and kinks, can we ask ourselves where they come from? Are they innate or acquired? Are they a genetic trait that we carry with us alive?
According to Dr. Richard Krueger of Columbia University Medical Center, in general, a person can accidentally come into contact with leather clothing, inflatable dolls or non-sexual parts of the playmate's body, such as the foot, toes...: they find them pleasant, and then use them in a sexual context.
With this, let's take a look at what another expert has to say about developing a kink or fetish:
Samuel Hughes, research scientist at the University of California, decided to start extensive research to discover why people develop their kinks and fetishes. He found that those who had one or more kinks or fetishes fall into one or more of the following five categories:
- childhood: in this case, the kink or fetish occurs around the age of 10, before the notions of kink or fetish are understood or could cause sexual arousal;
- self-exploration: between the ages of 5 and 14, a child and then a pre-teenager could start looking for certain kinds of erotic activity, to become aware of their own body, to discover what they like;
- introspection: Between the ages of 11 and 14, pre-adolescents are aware of some of their interests and are able to appreciate how those recently discovered interests influence their lives, positively or negatively.
- community: at this stage it is all about the young person realizing that others share the same types of fetishes, which happens around the age of 11. This community is usually discovered through the Internet, events, groups or conferences after 18 years of age. This sense of community most often gives a sense of belonging and allows the young person to perceive his fetishes and kinks in a positive light;
- exploration outside: this means that a person actively participates in the accomplishment of his/her kinks and fetishes, often involving practicing with a BDSM play partner.
Switching from taboo to common behavior
Finally, it can be interesting to know that a kink or fetish can turn into something common, depending on how society evolves.
For example, a study was done by Gary Brooks, author of Centerfold Syndrome, on MBA students at Stanford. He found that 88% of these test subjects "read" Victoria's Secret lingerie catalog, while the classic Playboy magazine went virtually unnoticed. Why is that?
Fifteen years ago, underwear was considered a fetish. And those who grew up in the era of Playboy magazine probably continued to believe that it was taboo to look into it. Today's difference is that viewing and marketing lingerie are socially accepted.
Another interesting example of fetish becoming common over time is very large breasts (surgically enlarged). Remember Baywatch? Pamela Anderson was running on the beach in her red bathing suit, tight on her body, which was a show in itself, partly erotic, but also because it was new and exciting. Today, the plastic surgery industry is booming and admiring a deep neckline with surgically enlarged breasts, it is an almost common event.
And let's not forget the Victorian era, when the sight of bare ankles was a special event that could send someone to the edge of orgasm!
To sum up, it is obviously hard enough to define what a kink or fetish is because it is often very personal and unique individual experience, but also because of the way society evolves continuously.
However, if you discover you have a kink or fetish, you should not feel strange about it unless those kinks or fetishes cause significant personal problems or impairment of your personality, in the latter case, you needing to seek the support of a psychologist.