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Exploring the Differences Between Kinks and Fetishes

Understanding Sexual Diversity

Kinks and Fetishes

Misconceptions and ambiguity frequently arise in discussions about personal preferences. Common queries such as 'What exactly does this signify?' or 'Why would someone be interested in that?' reflect widespread confusion, particularly regarding the differences between a kink and a fetish. For much of my adult life, I mistakenly believed the two terms were interchangeable.

Boy oh boy was I wrong. 

So….What is the difference between kinks and fetishes? 

Defining Kinks and Fetishes


Kinks include a broad spectrum of unconventional sexual preferences that typically deviate from what society deems as ‘normal’. This can range anywhere from bondage, to feet, role-playing, voyeurism, leather, humiliation and more. Kinks are explored by individuals or between consensual partners/groups. They are used to enhance pleasure and intimacy and offer opportunities for experimenting and connection. 


Fetishes, on the other hand, denote specific sexual interests or obsessions with particular kinks. The fetish is necessary to a person’s sexual arousal and pleasure. Fetishes usually involve a strong attachment to the object of desire. 

Key Differences

While kinks and fetishes may fall under the same category as non-vanilla sexual interests, they mean two different things. Kinks are diverse interests that encompass a wide range of preferences and activities. Someone can have many different kinks, and use them as a way to explore their sexuality. Kinks are usually flexible, as in they do not always need to be a part of the play. While a fetish is something that an individual has found necessary to their sexual satisfaction. Often without that fetish, that individual can not ‘get off’.  

Embracing Sexual Diversity

Understanding the distinctions between kinks and fetishes helps us form the vocabulary to be more inclusive and understanding of human sexuality. Both kinks and fetishes are valid expressions of sexual desires, and reflect the unique range of individual desires and preferences. 

Cheers to learning new things and growing!


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