How about we skip the small talk?
Your responses are anonymous and not associated with your Grindr account
Choose as many as you like
Choose as many as you like
Finding others who fit your search, hang tight...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

Kink vs. Fetish: Alexa, Play Selena Gomez

So, you like leather daddies and the occasional spanking? You’re kinky, girl. Or are you fetishy? Here’s Grindr’s rundown of kinks versus fetish.
Editorial team
April 16, 2024
May 21, 2024
min. read
Table of Contents

Are you into big feet? Whips and chains get you going? Do you yearn for the thrill of car sex? Welcome to the club, you kinky bitch.

Variety is the spice of life, especially in the bedroom (or your favorite local glory hole). Your unique sexual kinks and fetishes make sex more thrilling. Exploring sexual quirks doesn’t just heighten your own sexual experiences; it creates new experiences for your partners.

But what exactly is the difference between a kink versus a fetish? How long can your kink list be? And where do fetishes come from? Buckle up (or hog-tie yourself) and prepare to learn. We’ve compiled a guide to getting freaky with everything about kinks and fetishes

What are kinks? 

Kinks are non-conventional sexual activities or fantasies. Basically, anything that goes beyond your run-of-the-mill vanilla sex can be considered a kink. You can also call them paraphilias if you’d like to get your tongue around a little Greek. (We sure would.)

Does this definition sound vague? Let’s look at an example.

Missionary sex? That’s vanilla. Missionary sex while you’re handcuffed to the bed and screaming for Daddy to punish you? You’re a kinkster, honey.

Kink can be playful, intense, and even frightening (in a good way). It’s also a sex-positive, consensual way to explore new emotions and sensations that build intimacy and excitement with your partner.

Here are 10 common kinks for guys:

So, what’s considered kinky and what’s not? Since it’s described as “nonconventional,” the definition of kink depends on the time and place. Enjoying a dense jungle of pubes might seem strange these days, but it was as vanilla as Oreo filling in the 1970s.

Like all sexuality, kink is a spectrum. Spanking might feel kinky to your partner, whereas it’s second nature for you. Listen to your partner and respect their sexual limits. 

And remember, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying “vanilla” sex. An orgasm is an orgasm. All physical and emotional intimacy is equal as long as it’s safe and consensual. 

What are sexual fetishes?

Sexual fetishes are specific objects, activities, scenarios, or body parts that a person finds intensely sexually arousing, even though they aren’t directly linked to sex. Fetishism varies widely and is often unique to each individual. Although scientists haven’t pinpointed how fetishes develop, they may be informed by life experiences our brains associate with arousal. 

Unlike general sexual interests, a fetish usually plays a central role in one’s sexual satisfaction. For some, the fetish may be a preference that enhances sexual experiences, but for others, the fetish may be required for sexual fulfillment.

Not everyone who appreciates a juicy butt has a fetish. But if spanking a fat booty with a paddle is the only thing that will get you to orgasm, you’ve probably got a spanking fetish. 

Here’s a list of fetishes to get your juices flowing: 

Body fetishes

Have you really been on a dating app if a man hasn’t asked you for a foot pic? Foot fetishes are common; some guys just can’t fight the allure of a high arch or freshly painted toenails. But body fetishes (aka partialism) extend to all body parts, including heads, shoulders, knees, and toes. Worship, massage, or simply looking may be all that’s needed to get a body fetishist aroused.

Likewise, exposure to bodily fluids (e.g., urine, poop, or blood) are common fetishes. Who’s up for a golden shower

Object fetishes

Object fetishes associate inanimate objects with intense arousal. The object doesn’t have to be sexual by design. Shoes, balloons, rubber ducks, Wonder Bread — anything can evoke strong emotional connections. Sometimes, they’re used in role-play fantasies and power dynamics; sometimes, the fetishist just finds them hot. 

Material fetishes

From the cold steel of handcuffs to the soft touch of a plush toy, many tactile sensations can be arousing. Material fetishes often go even further, celebrating the smell, texture, and sound of materials like rubber or leather as powerful erotic stimuli. Visuals may play a part, but these fetishes often focus on feeling — silk against bare skin, the squeeze of a rubber suit, or the comfort of a heavy wool jacket. 


Role-play fetishes

An Oscar-worthy role-play performance is enough to push many over the top. Role-playing is often about the excitement of exploring identities and power dynamics removed from our daily lives, whether it’s pup play or pretending to be a plumber that’s come to snake the drains. Dominant-submissive role-play isn’t just about letting your man dick you down; you might be a bad bitch type-A Virgo who needs a space to cede control.

Sensorial fetishes

Sensorial fetishes are central to bondage and sadomasochism. Although many associate BDSM with pain, the practice revolves around pushing your sensorial boundaries to their limits in numerous ways. That might include intense spanking and impact play, bondage, orgasm control — even tickling. Likewise, sensory deprivation, like blindfolds or earplugs, can stimulate arousal by heightening other senses. 

Psychological fetishes

Psychological fetishes tap into the mental aspects of desire, with arousal centered around the mental or emotional state the activity puts you in. Power dynamics are usually the focus.

Many fetishes heighten the sense of danger or vulnerability (e.g., voyeurism, exhibitionism, humiliation, hypnotism, dominance, and submission). These fetishes might involve cuckolding your partner, sending surprise dick pics, or using dirty talk to praise or degrade your partner

Hold up (and tie me down): What’s the difference between a kink and a fetish? 

So you like surprising bae with leather chaps and a riding crop every once in a while. Does that mean you have a leather fetish? Kinks and fetishes both exist outside the boundaries of conventional sex acts, leaving room for plenty of sexy crossovers. But when exactly does a kink move into fetish territory? 

Fantasy vs. necessity

Think of a kink as a dessert and a fetish as a full meal. You can (hypothetically) live without chocolate and ice cream. But you can’t go without food altogether. 

Similarly, a kink is a treat. Your sexual arousal doesn’t depend on kinks. They enhance your sexual experiences and overall sex life. Conversely, a fetish plays a dominant role (pun intended) in your concept of sexual gratification. For some, their fetish is necessary to become sexually aroused or reach orgasm.

Fetishes tend to get a bad rap. They’re often met with stereotypes or demonization, especially for those who dabble in masochism, sadism, and other domination acts. But there’s nothing problematic about linking your sexual arousal to a fetish as long as it’s consensual, safe, and doesn’t adversely impact your day-to-day life.

Don’t let others make you feel like a freak for being freaky. There’s someone out there for everybody. Lean into your fetish and seek community around your desires; you’ll find gratification in and out of your sex life. 

A common thread of consent

Kinks and fetishes share a common trait: consent. Any sexual activity that involves unwilling participants isn’t an erotic quirk; it’s abuse.

The world of kinks and fetishes thrives on open communication, trust, and mutual respect. Whether it’s a brand-new, casual, or committed relationship, always discuss expectations, comfort levels, and boundaries in detail. Set up precautions like safe words before exploring a kink or fetish to ensure everyone’s experience is positive, fulfilling, and fun. 

Find your certified freak

There’s a thriving kink community out there that’s eager to help you get nasty — no matter how unconventional your desires may be. Find it on Grindr. Download the Grindr app today and put those whips and ties to good use.

Share this article

Find & Meet Yours

Get 0 feet away from the queer world around you.
Thank you! Your phone number has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We’ll text you a link to download the app for free.
Table of Contents
Share this article
“A great way to meet up and make new friends.”
- Google Play Store review
Thank you! Your phone number has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We’ll text you a link to download the app for free.
“A great way to meet up and make new friends.”
- Google Play Store review
Discover, navigate, and get zero feet away from the queer world around you.
Already have an account? Login

Browse bigger, chat faster.

Find friends, dates, hookups, and more

Featured articles

Related articles

Find & Meet Yours

4.6 · 259.4k Raiting