Many have heard the word “kink” in reference to sexual play and preference, but what does it really mean? A kink in sex is considered anything other than “normal”, or what some would say “vanilla”, sexual acts. Acts or play that is not typical of routine sex, one could say. Kink first came to be recognized with sex from a Dutch word, as “kink” refers to a twist or bend in a rope. See below for more information on rope play. Kinks can be passive, using them to spice up your bedroom on occasion. Kinks may be more routinely required depending on the person.
Obviously kinks can be experienced through real life play. Although, some say you can live out your kinks via fantasy, or imaginative ways. You don’t need a partner to satisfy your kink! Deriving satisfaction from your kink non-physically can still give you gratification and release. But this can be dependent on you and your own mindset in regards to sex.
“Kink” is a word that is used as an umbrella term of sorts, which is where kinks like BDSM, fetishes, and sensation play all reside under the term. Many kinks are associated with others, like how financial domination falls under the BDSM category. Fetishes also fall under this umbrella of kink, where the fetish is necessary for a person’s arousal. Kinks are not considered “necessary” for sexual arousal, and this is where the two terms differ somewhat. For example, you can have a kink for gagging, where you can still enjoy a sexual interaction without it. But, a fetish for gagging would mean gagging is a required type of play for your arousal and sexual completion.
The most important part about exploring your own, or your partner’s, kinks and fetishes is consent. For truly pleasurable sexual play with your partner, there must be a dialogue of consent. Most think of consent as a simple “yes” and “no”, but in order to explore various types of sexual play safely, there must be a conversation of what is and what is not acceptable to each partner. In many kink and fetish communities consent is the key to not only feeling a connection to your partner and having an erotically good time, but consent is vitally important when it comes to the safety of each person and the trust between partners. Without the trust and safety consent provides, there is no clear line of what would then be considered abuse.
Below is a list of some common kinks and fetishes with definitions and relations to each other:
BDSM (or the official title, Bondage and Discipline, Domination and Submission, Sadism and Masochism), includes various types of play and fetishes. Domination and submission are two very popular categories within BDSM and kink play, where usually one partner is dominant over the submissive partner. The act of dominance and submission is done consensually between partners, where the dominant one holds the power of the sexual dynamic over the submissive. Sadism refers to a sadist who enjoys inflicting pain on someone else. Sadism does not require sexual acts paired with sadistic acts, but is usually paired with a masochist. Masochism would be the complement to sadism, where the person erotically enjoys receiving pain.
Bondage for instance, is a form of restraint used in sexual play. It is connected with the domination and submission section of BDSM, since here the play is focused on the power exchange between the people involved. Rope bondage is a type of bondage play, and is considered a more advanced form of bondage in the BDSM community. More intense rope play (such as adding suspension) requires more trust with your partner and more in depth conversations about consent.
Impact play is a type of play where the submissive is struck by the dominant for the gratification of one or both sides. This does not have to be sexual in nature necessarily, but since there is a power exchange involved this type of play would fall under the BDSM category.
Amaurophilia, more commonly known as blindfold sex. This is a type of BDSM play that can be used as a gateway to more intense BDSM play. This kink involves a desire for being blindfolded during sex or sexual play.
Financial domination falls under BDSM for the domination side of this fetish, but it can also be a kink to some. This involves giving total control of one’s finances to someone else. This fetish can also be looked at on a spectrum of sorts, where an extreme side would be having total control over someone’s finances. The lesser side is like being kept on a strict budget, being ordered to purchase certain things, or given an allowance.
Orgasm control or Edging is considered a part of the BDSM umbrella. This is where the submissive partner is brought to the brink of climax and then forced to stop — often done repeatedly. Edging can be done without a partner, but is most often associated with letting your partner control the timing of your orgasm. This is often achieved through the use of bondage but is not required.
Humiliation or erotic humiliation, lets a person reclaim embarrassment by getting off on it. Humiliation play is a type of consensual power exchange, also related to BDSM but not always directly. One example of humiliation play would be Cuckolding. A cuckold kink is about being turned on by your partner having sex or commiting sexual acts with someone else. The stereotypical cuckold tends to be a man watching his female partner have sex with another man. However, people of any gender might enjoy this dynamic. Humiliation in cuckolding has to do with the humiliation of the partner watching; whether they aren’t “good enough” to get their partner off or the general humiliation of their partner seeking out someone else to have sex with.
Wax play is a form of temperature play in which wax from a candle is dripped onto a person’s skin, in order to introduce a slight burning sensation. This is considered a moderately advanced form of play in the BDSM community since. There is usually some sort of power imbalance associated with wax pay. Wax play would be considered a type of Sensation play. Also known as sensual play or sensory play. This is an act where senses are engaged in various ways to heighten erotic pleasure and induce sensuality. Amaurophilia (blindfold sexual play) and play with ice are some other examples of sensation play. Sensation play as an activity is meant to impart pleasurable and arousing sensations upon a partner, usually during sexual play.
Exhibitionism has to do with getting turned on by being observed during a sexual act by others not participating. The act of exposing in a public or semi-public context of one’s intimate parts may be considered as a form of exhibitionism. Whereas more intense exhibitionism would be almost a performance of sex or sexual acts in front of a group of people live. On the other hand, Voyeurism is a fetish where one can receive sexual gratification by watching other people engage in sex. Voyeurism is considered a complement to exhibitionism.
Roleplay is a very tried and true fetish, where different parts are played by each partner that lead to a sexual conclusion. Examples of roleplay include teacher and student, nurse and patient, supervisor and employee, a delivery or hired person (like pizza delivery or someone coming to clean your pool) and the madam or sir of the household, etc. Ageplay is a form of roleplay in which an individual acts or treats another as if they are a different age. This is roleplaying between adults, and involves consent from all parties (just like any other type of play or fetish). Ageplay is not necessarily sexual, but can be depending on your own kinks and fetishes. A specific type of ageplay is Autonepiophilia, which is also known as paraphilic infantilism. This fetish describes someone who derives sexual pleasure from dressing up as, or acting like, a baby.
Urophilia is a fancy name for piss play, golden showers, and watersports. Often during this type of play, there is a degree of domination and submission, relating again to BDSM.
Klismaphilia is a sexual arousal by an enema. An enema is a medical device that squirts water slightly warmer than body temperature into one’s anus.
Pregnancy kinks can also include more than eroticization of having sex with a pregnant person. It can also include the sensuality of lactation, darkened nipples, swollen ankles, or any other signs and symptoms of pregnancy.
Foot fetishes are marked by a sexual interest in feet, which can be the entirety of the foot or focused specifically on aspects of the foot, such as the toes, arch of the foot, or ankle. Some take foot fetishes even further, finding enjoyment of feet in particular shoes, pedicures, or having someone use their feet to stomp them or on various items. This more intense type of foot fetish could be related to BDSM, in regards to a power imbalance and humiliation kinks.
Sitophilia, also known as food play. This refers to a kind of fetish in which individuals are turned on by food in an erotic setting. This can mean different types of food (or drink) for different people. Examples are fruits, seafood like oysters, chocolate, whipped cream, frozen foods, alcohol like champagne, etc.
This list is not comprehensive. I would advise doing your own research online for more in depth questions, concerns, or finding other kinks and fetishes not discussed here.
So where can you find a kink community here in Indiana? The top website I recommend for finding community groups and events related to kinks and fetishes is Fetlife.com. It is a site you can connect with people all over the world, and even here in Indiana. The membership is free, but you can make donations to access different features and boost your account. Other sites like Facebook have private groups dedicated to “newbies” entering the kink world. This is a way to get into more experienced, play-specific groups. With a little research, I have found 2 of these groups that are based here in Indiana.
All it takes is some time to find a group you like and then making connections is up to you. Another group call Club House 2050. It is easy to find on Facebook and Instagram. This group is centered around swinger groups (if that’s your jam). Other groups like Indiana Leather Club, and Indianapolis Kink Society are available online to get involved in.
Written by: Sophie Hochstetler
Sophie is an IU journalism graduate. She is passionate about the taboos surrounding sex and the pleasure industry here in conservative Indiana-land. Sophie is also an advocate for sexual assault survivors. She is a born and raised Hoosier, enjoys reading fantasy books, spending time with her cat, and getting dirty outside in nature.”
She pronounces her name, Sophie (so-fee) Hochstetler (hoe-stet-ler). Feel free to email us at email@example.com