From A to Z, Here Are 26 Kinks and Fetishes You Should Know About –

From A to Z, Here Are 26 Kinks and Fetishes You Should Know About

Although kink is becoming increasingly mainstream, most of it is still rooted in subcultures. And because these communities tend to have their own terms and definitions, reading about kink may leave you lost in the dark if you’re curious about exploring the subject. A fetish technically refers to an attraction to an inanimate object, although this includes body parts, such as feet (like a foot fetish). Kink means sexual activities that fall outside of sex that society traditionally considers acceptable. That can include everything from role-playing to Shibari to impact play. Have I lost you yet? To better orient yourself in the world of kink, check out this glossary Glamour created of 26 fairly common kink words—one for each letter of the alphabet, of course. Who knows? Maybe one (or more!) of them applies to you.

A is for Age PlayAge play is a form of role play in which one or both partners pretend to be (and get off on being) an age other than their own. A common example is “daddy dominant/baby girl.” If you’re calling someone “daddy” in bed—or, perhaps more commonly, “baby”—you may already be engaging in light age play. Using these terms is totally OK if everyone involved is into it! “It involves consent of all involved,” explains sex therapist David Ortmann, author of Sexual Outsiders: Understanding BDSM Sexualities and Communities. A more “far out” example of age play is adult babies, in which one party enjoys wearing a diaper and role-playing as baby. If age play turns you on, start out slow by using words like “baby,” or the very on-trend “daddy.”

B is for Bondage

Bondage is a form of restraint. It’s a sex act within the BDSM umbrella in which one partner is bound. Some people enjoy being tied up; some enjoy tying up their partner; and others like both. Someone who enjoys both the dominant and submissive role is referred to as a “switch.” Bondage uses kinky toys such as handcuffs or rope. You can tie someone up to a bed frame or, if your bed frame isn’t kink-compatible, you could start by simply binding the arms together. To up the ante, you can purchase shackle mounts or suspension bars.

C is for Cuckolding“Traditionally, cuckolding is when a heterosexual couple agrees to both explore the turn-on of the female sleeping with other men and humiliate her male partner about the fact that she’s sleeping with someone else,” says sex educator Tina Horn, host of the podcast Why Are People Into That?!. The male partner need not be present—perhaps he gets off on his wife having unprotected sex with someone else. However, people of all genders and orientations can enjoy cuckolding varieties. If you’re turned on by the idea of your partner sleeping with others, yet don’t necessarily want to go through the emotional tax and health risk of them literally having unprotected sex with others, you can explore this kink through dirty talk.

D is for Dominance

Dominance is one half of the D/S (dominance and submission) equation. It falls within the web of BDSM, which itself is an acronym for “bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism.” The dominant partner derives sexual pleasure from taking control as part of the consensual power exchange that is D/S play. The submissive partner allows their dominant partner to, well, dominate them (some of this stuff is rather self-explanatory). And no, despite what 50 Shades of Grey would have you believe, there’s no research that suggests dominants enjoy D/S activities, such as spanking their partner, due to childhood trauma. And nope, you do not have to sign any sort of contract—all you need is enthusiastic consent.

E is for Electrostimulation

Electrostimulation is harnessing the power of electricity for kinky, sexy fun. Getting shocked can be dangerous, so electrostimulation begins to get into edge play, which refers to risky BDSM behavior that runs a potential of actual bodily harm. Electrostimulation is part of CBT (“cock and ball torture”) sessions in which a domme shocks her sub’s genitals by rigging them to electrical contraptions—typically either a wand (see “Z” on this list) or a system that stimulates nerve-endings called a “transcutaneous electrical nerve endings stimulation” unit—that can be purchased from specialty kink shops. This is one of those preferences for which you need to be extremely careful to take the correct safety precautions.

F is for Foot Fetishism

Foot fetishes are one of the most common fetishes out there, especially for heterosexual men. Someone with a foot fetish could potentially get off on everything feet. They often want to engage in foot worship, in which they treat their partner’s foot like a holy object: kissing, caressing, and massaging it. Even if you don’t have one, having a partner with a foot fetish can be extremely enjoyable as it means there are potentially foot massages galore in store for you. Humiliation can also play a strong role in a foot fetish: The fetishist may want feet shoved in their face, mouth, or to have their partner walk all over them, touting how filthy their feet are and how pathetic the fetishist is to enjoy such an activity. Other foot fetish activities include giving pedicures and smelling the feet or shoes that said feet reside in throughout the day.

G is for GaggingGagging refers to lightly choking on an object to the point of making gagging sounds. Often people with penises will get off on their partner gagging on them—and the knowledge that they’re big enough to induce gagging noises. Likewise, the partner going downtown may enjoy having something thrust far enough down their throat that they start to gag. It doesn’t necessarily take a giant object to induce gagging—something smaller can do the trick, too. However, if gagging becomes uncomfortable or if you feel like you’re going to throw up (if that’s not something you want to do), remember that you should stop at any point you feel even a little bit off. Remember, kink is all about consent and what makes you feel your sexiest.

H is for Humiliation

Not all BDSM acts are physical. “Intense language as a use of force can be just as intense (or even more intense) as consensually degrading physical sensations, such as impact play,” Horn says. A common example of humiliation is name-calling and verbal abuse. One of the most common misconceptions about humiliation play is that it’s anti-feminist. But the truth is, many feminists enjoy being called names such as “bitch,” “slut,” or “whore” in bed. Remember to discuss such activities beforehand and keep it consensual. That way, it’s feminist AF to engage in such play. In a patriarchal world where women have long been told sex is just to make babies, addressing what gets you off—especially if it’s non-traditional like humiliation—and then engaging it can be a powerful way to take control of your sexuality.

I is for Impact PlayImpact play refers to the use of hands, paddles, whips, or whatever you have around your house (spatulas work great) to hit the body. Impact play, more than anything else, requires consent and communication. If you’re the one providing the impact, stick to areas that are fatty, such as the side of the butt or thighs, and avoid anywhere organs reside, such as the kidneys (lower back) or rib cage. Start small, slow, and choose a safe word. It’s a good idea to begin with hands and spanking before spending money on whips and floggers. Impact play can be done alone, yet also pairs well with other kinks, such as name-calling and age play. If anything becomes uncomfortable (and not in a good way), implement your safe word immediately.

J is for Japanese Bondage

Japanese bondage is one variety of bondage that is typically done with rope. “Kinbaku” translates to “the beauty of tight binding” and “Shibari,” which you may have heard of, translates to “decoratively tie.” “Decoratively” is right: Japanese bondage such as Shibari is an art form in addition to a form of bondage. Some of the best Shibari artists, such as Garth Knight, hold high-art showcases in which their subjects are tied up and transformed into trees. If you’re interested in exploring Japanese bondage, More Shibari You Can Use: Passionate Rope Bondage and Intimate Connection by Lee Harrington and Rigger Jay is perfect for beginners. Just don’t forget your safety shears!

K is for KlismaphiliaKlismaphilia is a glamourous Greek word that means “arousal by enemas.” Specifically, it generally refers to receiving pleasure from receiving an enema, although there are those who get off on administering them as well. Emenas can be terrifically useful. It’s a medical device that squirts water slightly warmer than body temperature into your anus. It’s used by hospitals to relieve people of constipation or to prep for certain medical procedures. Since kinky people tend to be quite creative, and the anus is an erogenous zone, freaky folks have been using enemas for pleasure forever. The enema’s basic use is to clean and prep the rectum for anal sex—common practice among porn performers.

L is for Limits

Consent is paramount in kink. If you’re just getting started, or want to slowly introduce BDSM into an existing relationship, both you and your partner should make a list of your soft and hard limits. A soft limit is something that you’re curious about yet unsure if it’s right for you, such as name-calling. A hard limit is something that you are certain is off-limits, such as electrostimulation. Writing out your hard and soft limits with a partner is a wonderful way to get to know another side of one another. Along with implementing limits, it’s important to choose a safe word that is not “no” or “stop,” because some couples use such language as a part of their role play. You can always adjust your hard and soft limits the more you explore, so it’s better to lean on the safe side when pondering and discussing what feels right. Always keep in mind that your kinks may not perfectly align with your partner’s, and that’s OK. “Just because you want it doesn’t mean that someone has to do it,” Horn says. Kink is about consent, communication, and compromise.

M is for Masochism“Masochism is deriving pleasure from the high sensation most often referred to as pain, be that physical or emotional,” Ortmann says. If you enjoy spanking, humiliation, or getting spit on, you might be a masochist. The term is named for Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, a 19th century Austrian author who wrote the book Venus in Furs, which details what’s now considered a typical BDSM “master/slave” relationship (he allegedly was the “slave” in his own such arrangement with his mistress). The flipside of masochism is sadism (named after the 18th century French nobleman), in which someone derives pleasure from inflicting pain of a physical or emotional nature.

N is for Nylons

A nylon fetish commonly accompanies a foot fetish. One with a nylon fetish may enjoy the look and feeling of toes, feet, and legs wrapped tightly in nylon stockings. They may want to smell the nylons, or have them shoved in their mouth. The latter use is a terrific way to shut someone up if you’re into BDSM. Have the dominant partner tie you up to the bed and shove stockings in your mouth, or use them as a blindfold for sensory deprivation. Nylons can also be used (if you don’t mind the likelihood that you’ll ruin them for wear) to tie one another up as a form of bondage. While bondage is a kink, using nylons for bondage is separate than having a nylon fetish, in which the nylons themselves produce the sexual arousal, rather than their usage.

O is for Objectum SexualityObjectum Sexuality refers to a sexual relationship (or attraction to) an inanimate object. The media frequently portray objectum sexuals as freaks and weirdos falling in love with things such as the Eiffel Tower, a boat, or their couch. However, such an understanding of “objectum sexuality” is limited. By literal definition, a fetish—any fetish—is an attraction to an inanimate object. This includes lingerie, feet, and sex toys. In fact, in the age of rapidly-advancing sex doll technology, we’re all a little bit engaged in objectum sexuality—and becoming more so all the time. Such perspective is crucial because it helps us understand and empathize with those who do catch feelings for boats, because kink-shaming sucks.

P is for Pregnancy Fetishism

Aside from the fact that orgasms and having sex near a due date may help induce labor, there are also those with outright pregnancy fetishes: sexual attraction to a pregnant person. Some partners may indeed discover they have one when their partner is expecting, but others are attracted to the rotund pregnant belly regardless of whose body or baby it is. Since, by that same strict definition mentioned before, a fetish is attraction to an object or body part, pregnancy fetishists go wild for the sight of a swollen, round belly. The attraction may also include an interest in lactation, or other symptoms of pregnancy, but such is not required.

Q is for QuirofiliaHands are sexy. They’re used for myriad sexy things, like the underrated handjob, fingering, and back massages. A specific fetish for hands is referred to as “quirofilia,” which may manifest as an attraction to fingers, a great manicure, or simply some smoking hot hands. While quirofilia can absolutely use handjobs, fisting, or fingering (use of hands to directly create sexual pleasure) some hand fetishists might get off on hands doing mundane tasks, such as picking up groceries or doing chores. While fetishes are inherently sexual, many times the activity or object the fetishist is interested in may present itself as nonsexual in nature. What’s one person’s chore, such as washing dishes, is a hand fetishists’ wet dream.

R is for Roleplay

Make-believe and playing dress-up does not have to end when you grow up. Role-playing is when people take on characters outside of their day-to-day lives as part of a sex scene. Common examples include doctor/patient (medical roleplay), boss/secretary, or pool boy/rich housewife. And who can forget the classic: schoolgirl/professor? While role-playing often comes with costumes and is a fabulous excuse to dress up, costumes are not required. Scenes can be created through dirty talk and pure imagination. Feel free to use role-playing to tap into alter egos or your favorite fictional characters. Daenerys and Jon Snow, anyone?

S is for SpectrophiliaEspecially if you’re a straight woman, it’s been a tough year to get into humans. Those with spectrophilia report a sexual attraction, relationships, or sexual encounters with ghosts who come and have hot sex with them at night. A succubus is a ghost in lady-form that, in folklore (or a spectrophilia fantasy), visits her object of desire at night for some hot human/ghost lovemaking. An incubus is the male variety (and also that band). Though the actual existence of ghosts is up for debate (and for excellent Halloween movie marathons), the sexual attraction that spectrophiles report feeling is as real as any other fetish. Kind of puts a whole new twist on the term “friendly ghost,” though, right?

T is for Tentacles

You can’t have sex with an actual octopus or octopus-like monster—octopuses are animals and therefore cannot give consent. But octopus-like monsters totally exist in tentacle porn, which you can absolutely watch and get off on. It’s hot, not only because it’s so foreign and forbidden but, according to some experts, because it fulfills some pretty classic other fantasy tropes, like bondage and multiple penetration. And if your ideal penis is actually a giant blue tentacle, the sex toy manufacturer Bad Dragon just may help you fulfill your monster fantasies.

U is for UrophiliaUrophilia is a fancy name for watersports, golden showers, or the more direct name, pee play. That is, it’s people who find urination sexually arousing. There are lots of things you can do with urine, though the most common way to enjoy pee is to give or receive golden showers. (Remember that Sex and the City epsiode?) A golden shower is, well, letting someone shower you (or vice versa) with their pee. Depending on how well-hydrated you are, it’s often golden-colored in nature. I’ll stop: you know what pee looks like. The term experienced a brief popularity in early 2017, when reports of an unverified dossier detailing that President Trump engaged in the act may exist, in case you were wondering why it sounded familiar.

V is for Voyeurism

A voyeur is someone who derives sexual pleasure from watching others get it on. When we speak about voyeurism from a kink perspective, we’re talking about consensual voyeurism. Exhibitionists enjoy being watched, and voyeurs enjoy watching, and such exchanges are not uncommon at sex parties or kink events. Things become more confusing in everyday life, because Peeping Toms are decidedly not OK. “It’s really hard to apply consent here, because we do this all the time [when we watch] someone we’re attracted to,” Ortmann says. If you have voyeuristic fantasies, make sure you’re indulging them consensually with willing exhibitionists. That way everyone wins (and gets off).

W is for WhipWhips are tools used for impact play. You’ll often hear BDSM practitioners refer to sensations as either “sting-y” or “thud-y”—the latter describing a toy like a paddle. “Whip” is used as an umbrella term for all impact play tools, though it technically refers to an item with a thinner body that produces more of a “sting-y” sensation. The most advanced whip on the market is the single-tail, which looks like a snake and can create a cracking noise when used correctly. Single-tails break the skin and can wrap around the body, injuring areas where organs reside and should only be used by professional dominatrices with years of experience. Even some pro dominatrices will only use them for intimidation, rather than actually impacting their submissive’s body.

X is for waX Play

Candle lighting is fantastic mood lighting, but you can also use the melted wax for painfully good sexual pleasure. Lamps can’t do that! Be careful with fire and watch out for a light burn with wax play. But playing with fire (and wax) is dangerous, so it’s a good thing the sex toy industry has our backs (or boobs— wax can be dripped on the entire body). There are candles that exist to burn at a temperature perfect for bodies, so you don’t have to worry about accidental ouchies. Massage candles also exist, such as Jimmyjane Afterglow. These come in delightful scents such as bourbon or dark vanilla. As the candle burns, the wax turns into massage oil. Enjoy.

Y is for Yoni EggA yoni egg is an egg-shaped device worn inside of the vagina typically as part of pelvic floor exercises. They can be quite beautiful—the sexual wellness company Chakrubs sells them in crystals such as rose quartz, jade, and black obsidian. There’s also a spiritual element involved for many yoni egg users, particularly since they involve crystals. There’s some debate over whether there are health risks associated, so make sure you read up on whether this is something you want to incorporate as part of your Kegel routine. A yoni egg is inserted inside the vagina as the pelvic floor muscles tighten their grip to hold the egg in place. Strong pelvic floor muscles can make sex feel better and orgasms more powerful.

Z is for Zappers

A “zapper” is a cute nickname for an electro-wand that is used as part of electrostimulation. They typically look like a magic wand that Harry Potter would use, except they’re used to send shocks to the body. Zappers are frequently used as part of D/S play in which the dominant shocks the subs. Though it sounds scary, zappers feel like a little sting, but it is still 100-percent OK if they’re on your hard-no limit list. You can still be kinky and cool without zappers—I’d be shocked (shocked!) if they didn’t scare you a teeny bit.

Illustrations by Leah Schmidt.

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