There’s a lot of stigma around sex, period. That’s no surprise. But for those involved in kink and fetish communities, that stigma can turn into judgement very quickly. We’re here to talk about the differences between kinks and fetishes, explain why they’re perfectly normal and how intensive communication is key to successfully being kinky or exploring a fetish.
What Are Kinks and Fetishes?
To start, we need to make one thing clear: kinks and fetishes are not the same thing. A kink is something unconventional that can turn someone on – like being tied up during sex – but isn’t required for them to be turned on. Fetishes, on the other hand, are a desire that must be incorporated into sexual encounters in some way to turn the person on.
Common kinks include role play, Dom/sub dynamics and ropes. Fetishes that we hear the most about include feet, urine play and voyeurism. Of course, there are billions of people in the world so there are bound to be billions of kinks and fetishes – some are unattainable in a realistic way, while others are easy to try out. There are very few limits to things that turn us on, as we are not always in control of what our bodies and minds respond to.
There’s no general trigger for fetishes and kinks. For some people, kinks like adult baby diaper-wearing or parent play can come from having difficult relationships with parental figures in their lives. For others, like leather lovers, latex fans or spankers, an association was made in their brain early on between sexual arousal and their fetish or kink. For yet others, control (either having it or losing it) drives their desires.
Consent and Communication
The two most important things to keep in mind when engaging in kink and fetish play are consent and communication. These can be uncomfortable or even dangerous situations, and being explicitly clear about what you will and will not do is important. If you’re engaging in a fetish or kink, a long discussion with your partner(s) about limits is absolutely necessary.
Consent is key in all sexual encounters, but it is especially important when pushing limits. If you have a kink about tying up your sex partners, you can’t just take out a rope midway through and tie them up – the conversation should begin before you even start getting sexual.
Some practitioners of specific kinks and fetish make it a full lifestyle choice. Dom(me)/sub dynamics, for instance, could be a ‘bedroom only’ activity, or the dominant person can have complete control over the life of their submissive. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as it is done with consent and a complete understanding of the relationship.
Finding people into your specific desires can be difficult. Luckily, we have the internet! Apps like The PRSNLS encourage you to want what you want and let your freak flag fly. As long as there is consent, communication and trust, any sexual experience is a great one.