A List of 25 Sexual Kinks and Fetishes We Know You're Curious About
Written by Ryn Pleuffer on Jul 18th, 2023
SO YOU LIKE it when your partner spreads your limbs, ties you to the bedposts, and talks dirty to you. Or maybe it turns you on to kiss your partner's feet, smell their hair, or even wear their underwear. The list of kinks and fetishes out there is pretty much endless.
Kinks and fetishes aren't just a natural part of being a sexual human; they're also common, according to research. To look at just one example: A 2017 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that nearly 50% of the general population has tried some form of BDSM—an umbrella term encompassing Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism, and Masochism.
Before we get into our list of popular kinks and fetishes, you might be wondering what the two terms mean. "There's not what I'd call a bright-line difference between the two," says Carol Queen, Ph.D., Good Vibrations staff sexologist and co-author (with Shar Rednour) of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone.
Queen defines a kink as any erotic interest outside what's perceived as the "norm". A kink can be part of a person's overall sexual makeup (i.e., you occasionally like to be spanked), or very much the focus of a person's eroticism (i.e., you want to get spanked every time you have sex). A fetish, Queen says, usually involves an object or a specific body part (or its function) that is the focus of a person's sexual interest.
FYI, some people also define fetish as something people need to get turned on. "I actually tend to use [the term] a bit more broadly, as a reference to things that really amp up someone's arousal because they're so turned on by them," Queen says.
If you want to explore a new kink or fetish, do some research before trying it out, especially if it involves risk. "Turn to the BDSM world first; find out who the people are in your community or region who participate (and are well-regarded) in these kinds of play (or any advanced play you might be interested in)," Queen recommends. "Some of these folks will do classes or arrange teaching time with interested people." When it comes to high-risk activities like blood play and breath play, Queen implores people to learn from top-end practitioners. Queen also recommends reading Playing Well With Others.