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The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fetishes and Sexual Expression

A woman lying in bed, her hands gripping the sheets.

Sexual fetishes and sexual expression are now mainstream. From that book series about Christian Grey and his red room to the Billboard number 1 hit by Rihanna that exclaims her love for whips and chains, discussions surrounding kink are here – and here to stay. What once was shamed and taboo is now out in the open, and more of us are experimenting with kinks and exploring our sexual fetishes. But, in order to have a fulfilling sex life and to look after your emotional, physical, and sexual health, you need to know what is what in the world of fetish and kink. Thankfully, we are here to guide you!

In this ultimate guide to sexual fetishes and sexual expression, we will explore all the types of kinks and fetishes, so by the end, you are a sex pro!

What does vanilla mean sexually?

Creamy vanilla ice cream with fresh vanilla pods and a hint of mint.

Vanilla sex refers to conventional sex acts and relationships. The kink community uses it to describe sex that does not involve BDSM or fetish play. However, the term ‘vanilla sex’ is pretty subjective. For example, in a 2019 survey by Vice, 2% of those who answered the survey considered oral sex to be kinky, and 70% considered anal sex as kinky. So, when it comes to anal sex, 30% see it as vanilla.

There are common misconceptions about vanilla sex, too. You may think that vanilla sex is boring. But it isn’t boring for those who have sex this way! Everybody is unique in their sexual expression and desires, and if it works for you, then stick with it.

Are sexual fetishes common?

Yup! Sexual fetishes are pretty common. In a 2016 study of 1040 people, nearly half reported an interest in ‘unusual’ sexual behavior, such as voyeurism and fetishism. This is just one of many studies that show us that the ‘unusual’ regarding sex is now becoming the ‘usual.’

Many sexual fetishes are totally normal. As long as everyone involved gives consent and understands the situation, sexual fetishes can be a great way of exploring your desires and expressing your sexuality.

Types of sexual kinks and sexual fetishes

Man and woman relaxing in bed in each other’s arms

So, what are the different types of sexual kinks and sexual fetishes? Well, there are a lot of them! If you imagine it – it probably exists (do clowns turn you on? Refer to kink #1934674: coulrophilia).

Before we dive into the common types of kinks and fetishes, we need to define what these terms refer to. They aren’t the same! Kink refers to non-conventional sexual practices, and fetish refers to sexual arousal from a nonliving object or a nongenital body part. So, a fetish is a kind of kink.

Now we know what the terms mean, let’s get to it! Which kink floats your boat? This is not a complete list of sexual fetishes and kinks at all, but here are some common ones that you may relate to.

Role play

Woman is holding man‘s tie and looking at him full of sexual promises

Role play infamously hit the screens in Sex and the City when Samantha discovers that her current date is an actor. Samantha has the best idea – role play! Enter Detective Smith, ready to save the world one seltzer at a time.

Role play refers to playing characters in a sex scene. Of course, we know the classic nurse-patient role play, but this sexual kink can involve anything. Forrest nymph and tree cutter? Air hostess and business class flyer? Anything goes in the world of role play.


Bondage refers to the act of tying up or restraining your partner in sex. It usually occurs in BDSM sex, where there is a power play dynamic, where one person is dominant, and the other is submissive. An intro to bondage includes things like handcuffs, then moving onto other types of bindings such as ropes, scarves, and spreader bars. They are all used in this type of kink.

Dominance and submission

Lesbian couple is about to try dominance and submission fetish

Dominance and submission refer to power play in sex. In this kink, one person has power over the other, and the submissive gives their body and pleasure over to the dominant. This type of kink is usually discussed in detail before sex to keep everyone safe.


Cuckolding is a kink where one person gets turned on by the thought of their partner having sex with others. It is a form of consensual non-monogamy. The partner being cuckolded might be there to watch their partner have sex with others, but this isn’t always the case.


Humiliation refers to when a person is turned on when they are degraded and insulted in the bedroom. Name-calling and impact play are common in this type of kink, and it is usually connected to dominance and submission play. 

Man is grabbing his partner hand while trying impact play

Impact play

Impact play is the whips and paddles of the kink world. It refers to play that involves spanking or striking your partner for mutual sexual satisfaction. In order to do it safely and consensually, you and your partner must discuss your hard limits beforehand.


Sadomachocism is all about the giving and receiving of pain. It may be physical pain, such as impact play, or psychological pain, such as humiliation or orgasm denial. There is a huge range of sadomasochism play, from hair-pulling to cock and ball torture.


Voyeurism refers to sexual gratification gained from watching others have sex. This is a common sexual kink, but it must be consensual.

Breeding kink

Having a breeding kink means that you get turned on by sex that could lead to pregnancy. People with this kink usually have sex without a condom but use other ways to stay safe. They don’t actually want to get pregnant; instead, the risk turns them on.

Foot fetish

Have you come across too many articles online written by people claiming to have earned hundreds of dollars selling pictures of their feet? This is because people love feet! Foot fetishes are a very common fetish that involves sexual arousal regarding feet. This fetish is often linked with the submissive kink, where someone worships another person’s feet.


Electrostimulation refers to the kink of using electrical stimulation for sexual pleasure. People with this kink use specially designed machines to give themselves or their partner an electric shock. This electric shock may be on their genitals or other parts of their body. Because it can be extremely harmful when not done correctly, always research safety precautions before engaging in it.

Intro to BDSM

Sex whip on a red background

BDSM is a pretty popular sexual kink. But, it can be dangerous if not approached in the right way. So, we want to give you a crash course in BDSM, which includes the rules of BDSM and tips on how to get things off the ground.

BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism. A lot of kinks and fetishes involve aspects of BDSM, such as foot fetishes and impact play. But how can we explore this side of our sexuality safely?

Rules of BDSM

Two women with blue hair laying in bed, smiling and looking at each other.

Because this form of kink involves power play and impact play, it is essential to research the topic and think about it deeply before getting involved. Incorporating safety measures into your play allows you to look after your physical and emotional well-being.

So, what are the basic rules of BDSM?

  • Consent is key. We are talking about enthusiastic consent here. If it is a hesitant yes, it is a no. BDSM is quite overwhelming for beginners, so only engage in acts you are totally sure about.
  • Sexual Boundaries. Before engaging in BDSM, have a proper discussion with your partner surrounding what is acceptable and not acceptable – and be specific. Are you okay with spanking on the butt but not on the thighs?
  • Stay sober. Never engage in BDSM under the influence of drink or drugs.
  • Make sure you are checking in with your partner during scenes.
  • Use the right equipment. If you are into spanking, purchase a flogger that is designed for this purpose.
  • Research techniques. Make sure you know how to tie your partner up safely.
  • Always have a safe word. You can also use the red and orange system. Orange means to slow down and change what you are doing, and red means stop.
  • Incorporate aftercare into your sexual routine.

How to get into BDSM

You know you like this kind of stuff, and you know the rules of BDSM. So what’s next? If you are looking to get started in BDSM, communication and knowledge are essential.

Discuss your kinks and BDSM desires with your partner, and allow them to open up about theirs. Never push the subject with them. If they are interested, explore the world of BDSM together.

Take your time to figure out what you both want from BDSM. There are sexual questionnaires online that can help you and your partner learn what you are interested in. Watching porn either by yourself or with your partner can also help you get to know what turns you on in BDSM!

Now you’re ready to take your kinks into the bedroom, make sure you are going slowly. You may want to dive in headfirst, but break down your kinks and try them in different sessions. Start with something small, like a feather tickler or a set of handcuffs. Then, the next time you have sex, you can try out ropes.

Celebrate your sexual fetishes and stay safe

Smiling man and woman relaxing in bed together.

We hope this guide has helped you get to know your sexual kinks and fantasies. The world of sexual expression has so much to offer, and it is super fun to experiment with new ideas and ways of having fun.

Make sure you are staying safe and following the rules of BDSM when engaging in your kinks and fantasies. By keeping everyone safe, you can explore your sexuality and connect with your partner.

Disclaimer: #Dating’s blog posts are for you to view at your discretion, and the sexual health insights presented are for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and readers should seek professional guidance if appropriate.


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