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Fetish & Kink 101: Destigmatizing the Taboo

The diverse and ever-growing world of fetish and kink, once considered taboo, is becoming more accepted as a normal part of many people’s sex lives. Far from scary, fetishes and kinks are meant to be fun and arousing. In our role as a sexual health and wellness resource we are here to celebrate all kinds of consensual (and kinky!) sex between adults.

Before we get into why we think kinky sex should be destigmatized, let’s define the differences between kink and fetish– even though many use them interchangeably, there are some differences between the two terms.




What is a fetish? What is a kink? What’s the difference?

By definition, a “fetish” is a sexual attraction to a body part, object, or activity, while a “kink” is the use of “nonstandard” sexual practices. We asked Maverick, a current leather title holder, to explain more on the differences between the two terms and here’s what they had to say: “While most people use fetish and kink interchangeably, a fetish is something that is tied to sexual gratification whereas kink is a broader term used for anything really outside “vanilla” or normal sex. All fetishes are kinks but not all kinks are fetishes. Someone who has a fetish for choking, or say feet, need that as part of their sexual interaction in order to achieve gratification, whereas someone who has a kink for spanking does not need spanking to be part of their sexual interaction in order to reach gratification.”


Why is destigmatizing non-standard sex so important?

Sexual fetishes and kinks have been around as long as sex itself. And as with much of sexual expression, have been fraught with stigma and shame. However, fetishes and kinks are a staple of the LGBTQIA+ community and are an important part of its history of defiant sexual expression, boundary-pushing, and liberation from heteronormativity.

Stigma against fetishes and kinks can lock us into a whole new closet just as oppressive and dangerous as the one we already got out of. Embracing our passions gives us the best chance at finding pleasure and satisfaction in safe, sane, and consensual ways. Destigmatizing kinky sex provides each of us with the safety that comes from being able to be open and honest with our partners, counselors, and medical team.


Types of Kinks and Fetishes

Now that we’ve defined what fetishes and kinks are and explained why destigmatizing them is so important, let’s explore some of the most popular ones and tips on how to safely explore your kinky side.


BDSM and Impact Play

BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadism, and masochism. This umbrella term describes several different practices. Bondage, for example, can mean being tied up with rope, bound by leather restraints or held in a cage, or otherwise incapacitated. It can be as simple as constraining your partner’s hands with a shirt or as intricate as a complex suspension rig attached to the ceiling. You might wanna work your way up to this (or not!). Partners who enjoy BDSM are generally either dominant (dom/dominatrix) or submissive (sub). A “switch” is someone who plays either role depending on the scene. A “scene” is a sexual scenario that the participants arrange ahead of time. Dominance can take many forms, such as ordering the sub to perform certain acts, withholding orgasm, humiliation, and/or impact play with whips, paddles, hands, or other gear.


Any time you plan to tie up a partner or impact their body, first be sure you have consent and understand the use of any gear you are going to use. Try any whips or other tools on yourself first. Know how much force it takes to create a sensation without really hurting someone. Be kind to someone’s behind! Use restraints with “easy off” closures and/or learn quick release knots.

Negotiating the terms of a scene before you begin is also important. Decide on a safe word and/or safe movement that indicates that the sub wishes to stop the scene. Choosing a word or movement (like saying, “watermelon” or drawing a circle with your toes) allows participants to play safely with the concept of consent.



BDSM scenarios often include roleplay and may involve a power dynamic (think doctor and patient fantasy or executive and secretary). Other roleplay scenarios could include living out a scene from a movie, like superheroes making love after saving the world or the villain being overcome with desire for the hero. Pup play, furries, age play and more are all types of role play. The only limit is your imagination!


Pup Play

Pup play or puppy play is acting as if you were a dog, usually while wearing a dog mask. This means getting down on all fours, barking, playing, and cuddling. Participants have said that this type of play allows them to release the mental chatter, cares, and worries of daily life and just “be” in their bodies. And get treats!



Similar to, but different from, Pup Play is the furry fandom. Participants in this subculture dress up as animal characters. Unlike their pup cousins, they retain human characteristics and intellect much like animated animal characters seen in movies and TV shows. Some furries have no interest in mixing sex with their hobby, while others do. Having sex in character is known as “yiffing.”


Leather, Latex, and Lace 

Dressing up can be a part of roleplay or a fetish in and of itself. Some people just love the feel of leather or latex on their skin. Others like how certain fabrics conform to or flow from the body. The look or feel of certain clothing such as lingerie or rubber gloves can be a great turn on. Feel free to experiment!


Body (part) Worship

Of all the body part worshiping out there, the foot fetish/worship is probably the most well-known. But body worship can mean anything from armpits to fingers or belly buttons. Licking, sucking, touching, and dressing (e.g. putting shoes on) a particular body part can also be a part of the enjoyment.


Bodily Fluids

It is a common fantasy for someone to like their partner to share their sexual fluids. Many penis-having folx like to see their ejaculate on their partner’s face or chest, in their mouth, anus, or vagina. Other bodily fluid fetishes include urine (watersports/golden showers), saliva, blood, or feces (scat).


There is risk involved in sharing any bodily fluids with a partner. Even fluid bonded partners will need to be certain they are knowledgeable and careful when considering sharing blood or bodily excretions that could contain harmful bacteria. Always know the status of all partners (and yourself) involved when engaging in this type of kink. Need a status update? Come into Kind Clinic for free HIV & STI testing!


But wait, there’s more! 

There are more kinks and fetishes than we could possibly list, but here are a few more that might tickle your fancy!


Age Play – pretending to be a different age

Electrostimulation – the use of electrical stimulation during sex play

Gaping – quickly removing objects such as butt plugs or hands from the anus, such that it stays open for a short time

Hentai – a type of animated porn, usually involving monsters or aliens with tentacles

Impregnation fantasy – the desire to be impregnated

Klismaphilia – being sexually aroused by getting an enema

Knismolagnia – being aroused by tickling or being tickled

Objectum Sexuality – having sexual desire for an object such as a car

Pony play – pretending to be a horse or pony

Pregnancy Fetish – the desire to have sex with pregnant people

Ravishment Fantasy – the fantasy of being “taken by force” and then turned into a willing partner

Sounding – inserting items (sterile rods) into the urethra

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