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What’s the difference between a kink and a fetish?

What’s the difference between a kink and a fetish?

What’s the difference between a kink and a fetish?

*Didn’t know there even was a difference? You are not alone. *

Up until recently, I was guilty of using the terms kink and fetish interchangeably too. And it’s pretty common. You will hear and read a lot of people using one or the other as an umbrella term for anything sexual that sits outside of what you might consider vanilla or mainstream sex. But there actually is a difference.

While this might not be important to some people, understanding the difference between a kink and a fetish can help you to better advocate for what you want in the bedroom and help your partner to understand your needs.

What is a kink?

The term “kink” is a big, broad term that encompasses all “non-traditional” sexual acts. Anything outside of the mainstream can be called a kink. This means that, depending on who you are talking to, almost anything outside of penis in vagina sex can be considered a kink. This will usually differ between generations, cultures and religions too. While you might consider using a dildo normal, your grandmother may consider that a kinky form of play.

One way to think about a kink is as something that you can do in the bedroom to enhance your sexual play. It is more an accessory to sex that increases sexual excitement but is not the primary source of pleasure. Activities like bondage, wrist restraints, spanking, role-play, BDSM and group sex can all be considered kinks.

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What is a fetish?

A fetish is the sexualization of something that is ordinarily non-sexual. It is in itself the object of fixation. There is a psychological aspect to fetishization and the object will feel like a necessary part of your sexual experience. A fetishist can typically not experience sexual arousal without the real or fantasized presence of the object.

These can be inanimate objects like high heels or they may be specific materials like leather, latex, silk or vinyl. Body parts can be considered slight fetishistic behaviours too, like a big booty or large penis. It’s all about the object itself becoming sexualized.

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Sex educator Dirty Lola describes the difference like this.

“Fetish is heavily tied to having a psychological need for those specific objects or acts in order to experience pleasure and or orgasm, whereas kinks can add to a sexual experience but aren’t necessarily needed to achieve sexual release.”

Here’s an example

If you see a pair of shiny red stilettos and have an urge to have sex with your partner while they wear them, it’s kinky. But, if the stilettos themselves do it for you and you feel aroused every time you see a pair – it’s a fetish. Kinks and fetishes overlap often, but a kink becomes a fetish when it is viewed as the primary source of pleasure.

New to a kink or fetish?

Some kink or fetish play may require reading articles, books or watching tutorials to master it safely. And if the type of play you are interested in requires another person, then why not study together? This is a great way to ensure that you are both on the same level and keen to explore. If you are with a partner that already has some experience, ask them questions about how they learnt about it. They might be able to suggest some resources for you. Or even sit you down and take you through it in a safe, comfortable and non-sexual setting.

Regardless of which one you are working with, make sure you are communicating openly with your partners. Talking to each other about your desires and consenting to a particular type of play is necessary before you start and throughout the whole session. Have a safe word if you want to, or use the traffic light system.

Green = go

Orange = slow down or back off for a bit

Red = stop!

And don’t forget to look out for verbal cues too. If your partner doesn’t seem to be enjoying it, take a moment to ask if they are ok. For some people, it is easier for them to respond honestly to a question rather than bring it up themselves. Ensuring that someone is having a good time and consenting with enthusiasm is always hot!

Not all kinks and fetishes are for everybody and this does not mean that that person is not sex-positive. While these types of play can be enhancing and exciting for you, that doesn’t mean that they will be for everyone. If someone is not interested, respect that and keep it in the realm of fantasy for a while longer. If you find in the long-run that you can not experience arousal or sexual pleasure without it, then you may need to talk to your partner about how you can achieve this in the future if they do not want to be involved. Yes, it’s a hard conversation but it’s an important one to have.

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Adulttoymegastore is an online retailer of sex toys distributing across New Zealand, Australia and the USA. ATMS was opened in 2009 and is still proudly New Zealand owned and operated, with over 8,000 products from more than 45 brands to choose from! We take great provide in providing the best products to thousands of happy customers, and have many benefits such as a loyalty programme, free samples with every order, and personalised notes.

Adulttoymegastore has a huge range of sex toys including vibrators, dildos and cock rings for every occasion! With fast, 100% discreet shipping, and price guarantee, ATMS has everything you need to make good sex, great!

Emma Hewitt, Sex Educator & Adult Toy Expert
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