A List of Kinks and Fetishes

Since kinks and fetishes vary from person to person, here are 25 to consider. Some will make no sense to you or maybe even disgust you—and that’s OK. As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks. Maybe, just maybe, there’s something on this list that excites you.


Age play

Age play is an umbrella term for a kink that involves someone roleplaying at a younger age than they actually are. Think a baby, child, or toddler. These relationships can range from platonic to more sexual and BDSM-oriented, like in a DD/LG dynamic. Like many kinks and fetishes, the exact definition of this term varies widely from person to person.


Balloon fetish

Are you sexually aroused by the look, shape, and/or feel of balloons? You may be a “looner.” Whether you get off on popping it (or not—these folks are called “non-poppers”), rubbing it, or blowing it up, this is a highly personal fetish. How you interact with the material is up to you.


Bondage

Bondage, by definition, means the act of tying up or restraining a sexual partner. Whether it entails rope, handcuffs, a spreader bar, or a blindfold, bondage combines psychological and physiological stimuli, making it appealing.


Breath play

Erotic asphyxiation (otherwise known as “breath play”) is a dangerous sexual act that eroticizes limited oxygen. “Many types of kink play can carry danger or the risk of harm, but breath play is among the most potentially dangerous (as is choking, which makes it especially dismaying to see it in porn and see that it is becoming normalized),” Queen. People participating in breath play must have a solid understanding of the neck and anatomy. “You need to know what you are affecting, and how, re: brain oxygenation and more,” says Queen. “This is 1000%, not a beginner activity.”


CBT

Cock and Ball Torture, also known as CBT, is a sexual activity in which the male genitals are subjected to pain. This can range from mild constriction to the misery of testicle crushing (which can occur via the squeeze of a hand, a swift kick, or a clamp to the scrotum). Wax play, penis flogging, penis trampling, testicle stretching, urethra play, and erotic electrostimulation also fall under this kink.


Clothed female/naked male (CFNM)

The CFNM acronym stands for Clothed Female Naked Male, which basically sums up the straightforward nature of the fetish. In this dynamic, a clothed, dominant female typically objectifies and wields her sexual power over a naked man.


Cuckolding

This term is tied closely to BDSM since it overlaps with domination, submission, and humiliation. Basically, cuckolding is a kink or fetish where a guy gets hot, bothered, and humiliated by his spouse or partner getting it on with someone else.


Dominance and submission

D/s is one facet of the umbrella term BDSM (or Bondage and Disciple, Dominance and Submission, and Sadomasochism). D/s is generally about power dynamics, a situation where one person dominates or has power or control over another. The other person submits or gives over their rights and desires to another. But, how D/s is defined depends upon the people who practice it.


Erotic electrostimulation

Also known as erotic e-stim, this sexual practice involves using specially designed power sources to stimulate the nerves of the body—primarily, the genitals—for sexual pleasure. Think EMS, TENS, violet wands, and made-for-play units. E-stim is often associated with BDSM play and should be explored cautiously, as it can be dangerous if not done correctly.


Exhibitionism

When a person experiences sexual excitement from the idea of being naked, engaged, and observed in a sexual activity, they’re into exhibitionism. This consensual kink should not be confused with mental health conditions that involve sexual arousal without consent.


Foot fetish

Podophilia, the technical term for a foot fetish, is one of the world’s most common fetishes. One study found that fetishes related to human body parts were the most prevalent fetishes. Foot fetishes, or podophilia, accounted for almost 50% of the preferences of this group. A quick Google search for “food fetishes” returns more than 15 million results. Foot fetishes can be specific to size, shape, adornment (think jewelry or nail polish), sensory features, and the type of interaction. For example, some fetishists are super into footwear instead of the actual feet.


Hirsute fetish

If you’re aroused by women who take an au natural approach to grooming and let their (leg, armpit, and pubic) hair down, you may have a hirsute fetish. This fetish is pretty straightforward: a sexual attraction to female body hair. Despite societal pressures to be clean shaved, a 2021 YouGov Body Image Study showed that 35% of Americans prefer if women shave, while 7% said they should not shave.


Hotwifing

Hotwifing” is a closely related kink to cuckolding, where people offer up their significant other to outside partners as a matter of pride (instead of humiliation).


Humiliation

For some folks, humiliation is their fast track to sexual pleasure. They may like to be degraded, embarrassed, insulted, or humiliated during sex. Some forms of humiliation are verbal, while others are more physical. Some combine the two. Before you delve into this sort of play, get a read on your partner’s wants, limits, and desires since this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. And if this kink isn’t something you’re comfortable with, that’s OK too.

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Impact play

If the thought of striking your partner with a hand, toy, or object for sexual gratification seems extreme, it doesn’t have to be. This sort of sensation play can range from sweet love taps to smacks that leave a mark for days. This power exchange extends far beyond spanking. The idea is to strike safe erogenous zones (butt, upper thighs, etc.) that trigger an endorphin high. It’s not all about pain (but it can be, depending upon what both people want) and more about the psychological elements.


Knismolagnia

Knismolagnia is a fetish where people derive sexual pleasure from the sensation of being tickled, tickling others, or simply watching someone get tickled. It’s basically a fancy term for arousal by tickling. Often, with this fetish, no sexual activity is involved, and people can orgasm from tickling alone.


Latex fetish

The attraction to latex and rubber can be fetishistic. Wearing garments made of these skintight materials is closely linked with the S&M community. Some people also find sexual appeal in the actual material, whether they wear it or not. For others, the smell of rubber is enough to spark arousal.


Masochism

Masochism makes up the “M” in BDSM. This kink centers on pain and can range from light hair-pulling g to extreme cock and ball and torture. It’s a fairly common kink: A 2017 survey found that 10% of respondents were somewhat or very interested in exploring pain in the bedroom.


Orgasm control

Often described as “edging” or “peaking,” this kink involves putting the brakes on an orgasm right before the point of release. Sure, it takes some mental and physical practice to control your orgasms. But once you get the hang of it, the ebbs and flows of pleasure leading up to climax feel pretty damn good. A similar “stop-start method” involving stimulating the penis until just before orgasm and then stopping until the urge to ejaculate goes away has been used for decades to treat premature ejaculation.


Pantyhose fetish

People (usually men) drawn to this fetish experience sexual excitement by wearing pantyhose, admiring those who wear pantyhose, or some combination of sight and tactile sensations. They may also get off on handling worn pantyhose.


Rope bondage

Rope bondage, or shibari, is a Japanese form of sex play using rope restraint methods. Such play can be rough sexual or soft, and sensual (and everything in between). It really depends on what dynamic the top and bottom desire. (A “top” is the person tying; a “bottom” is the person being restrained.) Want to learn more? The authority on the topic is The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage by Midori. As for rope, Twisted Monk has been the gold standard since 2004; the site also has several helpful how-to videos on everything from how to select the right rope to basic ties.


Sadism

If the idea of inflicting pain on others excites you, you may be a sadist. From biting and bondage to hot wax and handcuffs, this type of play encompasses a variety of physical and psychological power exchanges. Sure, some people are into more extreme activities; still, a Reader Survey by Dr. Justin Lehmiller indicates that most people who practice S&M are into “safe, sane, and consensual” play.


Voyeurism

Voyeurism is the act of deriving sexual pleasure through watching someone else—or multiple people—engage in sexual activities. The legality of the kink depends upon consent. From an ethical standpoint, voyeurism is only a kink if all parties consent. You can 100% create scenarios that feel non-consensual—if everyone is on board and agrees. However, shooting an upskirt video or recording someone without permission is a punishable crime.


Wax play

Wax play is a kink in which hot wax, usually from a candle, is dripped or poured onto a partner. It falls under “temperature play” in the kink world. It is not something you want to happen without preparation and communication. Sure, it can be used in a BDSM context to create fear and sensation in an intimate setting. But lower-temperature liquids, like massage candles, can be used for straight-up sensual scenarios free of power dynamics.

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