Kinktober Kink vs Fetish. Do I have a kink or fetish?
Ooohh! I am kinky in bed, I like it rough”
“ I think I have a fetish for tall guys, I have dated like two tall guys in a row”
Well, such conversations are pretty common among millennials and Gen Z, now that the taboo around sex is being shunned especially by the younger generation, And popular media has a very important role to play in this change of perspective. We are now being regularly exposed to content, especially over the internet that shows a healthy and non-judgemental representation of sex. However, there’s a catch! Since most of us are consuming such content, we get our dose of sexual knowledge if we may say, from these shows. And while most of them try to spread misinformation, there are still a few missing links.
Let’s talk about kink and fetish for example. Ordinarily, most of us use these interchangeably and most of the time inappropriately as well. We tend to throw these terms casually, without really understanding what these terms mean. So let’s deep dive into understanding what kink and fetish mean and how are they different.
What is Kink?
To put it very simply, kink is an umbrella term that is used to denote any sexual activity that falls outside what society perceives as “normal sexual activity”. It can be something that you do consensually with your partner. Or something that you do to yourself. Now, the obvious question is what comprises “normal sexual activity”? Well, it is honestly very subjective, what may be pretty normal and vanilla to us can be pretty kinky for someone from an older generation. For example, toys in your bedroom might be pretty vanilla for you, but for your mom or aunty, that might be the epitome of kink. So pretty much anything that you consider a bit unconventional and unique when it comes to bedroom stuff can be kinky. Although, as we mentioned, what we consider kinky can be pretty subjective, there are certain things which are considered kinky in general, for example, BDSM, roleplay, polyamory and more.
Okay…so…what is a fetish
Now, a fetish is a very specific requirement, either based on psychology or sensation, that is necessary for an individual's sexual arousal and enjoyment. Now, a person may have a fetish for an inanimate object like leather, high heels, stockings etc. It can also be for a specific body part like feet and breasts. It can also be certain conditions like sex in the bathroom or sex in public. The key point here is that the object or the experience is necessary for the person in question to experience sexual pleasure. However, here again, there are certain degrees of fetish. Some may just need to fantasize about their fetish to experience sexual pleasure, while others need to experience it to be able to do that.
So how are they different?
Well, it is not difficult to see how both of these terms can be a bit difficult to differentiate since there’s a significant overlap between the two. To break it down, kink is somewhat exploratory. You can do something to add more excitement to your sex life and make it even spicier. Many counsellors and sex experts advise a couple to try out certain kinky stuff once in a while to keep the magic in the bedroom alive. In other words, it is not a requirement but an addition. For example, you might want to indulge in BDSM with your partner, try out a little powerplay, try out spanking, and incorporate toys like whips and belts. In other words, kinks enhance your sex life, but they are not an absolute necessity.
Fetish on the other hand is a requirement. People having those fetishes either need to fantasize or experience those feelings to get aroused or experience sexual pleasure. This is where things become a little dark. Some fetishes can be quite dangerous. For example voyeurism. Voyeurism means looking at other people indulging in sexual activity, usually without their consent. Now if a person has a voyeurism fetish, it would mean that they need to be spying on unsuspecting couples to be sexually aroused. Even for something as similar as a foot fetish, they need to find a partner who is completely okay with that. This absolute need becomes a hindrance in the way of having a normal sex life and may also go on to cause problems in their relationships as well. In many cases, when the fetish interferes with their relationships, or steps into illegal territory, many people choose to go to counselors and specialists to help them deal with it.
So…do I have a fetish or kink?
Well, mostly what we have is a kink. We may be inclined to some powerplay, spanking and domination in bed. Or we might have a preference for a certain body type, like big boobs, or tall guys. However, for the most part, these are not absolute requirements. We can enjoy sex without those things too, but ofcourse, they make things much more interesting.
However, if you find yourself absolutely craving for something very specific during sex, be it any inanimate object like leather or heels, or any body part or certain experiences, without which you are unable to get aroused or enjoy sex, then in all probability, you have a fetish for that thing. Now, please do remember that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a fetish. The key is to have open communication with your partner and practice everything safely and most importantly with fully informed consent. And not just fetish, it applies to every sexual activity for that matter. However, if you feel, your fetish is coming in way of healthy sex life and is affecting your relationships, don’t feel shy before talking to an expert. Again remember that it is alright to have a fetish, as long as it is not harming anybody else.