Sexology 101

Kink and Fetish: What’s The Difference? So is it a kink or is it a fetish? Is there a difference?

In many circles, kink and fetish are widely considered to be taboo, gross, or weird. Moralists far and wide would jump at the opportunity to tell you you’re a sexual deviant for wanting to be tied up during sex.

Unfortunately, sexual fetishes are often misunderstood and stigmatized because they can be so intense. But as long as the experience is positive and both partners feel good about it, it’s actually healthy.

We often hear the words kink and fetish thrown around. So is it a kink or is it a fetish? Is there a difference? We’re discussing that today.

The Differences Between Kink And Fetish Aren’t Always Black And White

There aren’t actually any solid black and white boundaries between the two. There is no way to completely define the two terms perfectly because they overlap and connect in many ways. That being said, while the two terms are connected, there are a few big differences.

 Being Kinky

When you or someone else says they’re “kinky,” it usually signifies a person who practices sex outside of traditional guidelines. Kink often refers to BDSM, but not always! Kink can refer to anything outside of the social “norm.” Trying something kinky isn’t as much about the “thing” itself as it about upping the ante on sex.

Kink and Fetish: How They Differ

A fetish differs from kink in that you are not using a specific thing to just enhance intimacy or connection, but are actually sexually attracted to that thing. A fetish is typically a fixation on something nonsexual, such as feet, bubbles, tickling, leather, latex, cotton panties, etc. The nonsexual thing turns them on sexually. Read: 7 Common Fetishes That Are More Popular Than You Think.)

Kink, on the other hand, can vary, shift, and advance over time. You might find that being spanked turns you on, only to find later that you enjoy spanking others even more.

Unlike kinkiness – that can change freely along with preferences, interests, and partners – fetishes tend to have deeper roots in the psychological and physiological levels of our being.  (Read: Introducing a Fetish Into Your Relationship.)

For instance, the difference between enjoying leather as a kink and loving leather as a fetish is where the sexual attraction is founded. A person who has a leather fetish is sexually attracted to leather itself, not just the person wearing it and will often need leather to be a part of their sexual experiences in order to get turned on.

Again, kink and fetish overlap and blend quite a bit and fetish is a category under the kink umbrella. If someone is into kink or a part of the kink lifestyle it could mean many different things about them and it is a very general term.

However, a fetish is very specific and describes a person’s need for contact with a particular object for gratification. Don’t assume that just because someone is kinky that they have a fetish.

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