I would have said that I was into kink but had no fetishes. Having done some research I am now confused. At times I have even wondered if I am still kinky. It is hard because I move in worlds where what we do seems to be the norm. I know that in other circles it would not be seen that way. But is kinky in the eye of the beholder, or is it a societal thing? To be a kink does it have to be unconventional for you, or unconventional for others? If a fetish is something that you need in order to feel aroused or gain sexual gratification, is that only about objects, items and body parts, or can it be about kinks too?
Am I Kinky?
One thing I have thought about quite a bit from time to time, is whether or not I am still kinky. There was a time when I didn’t practise kink. I wanted to though. I thought about it, a lot really, but I didn’t speak about it much, and I definitely didn’t do it. Back then I described my tastes as on the kinky side of normal, but in terms of actual experience, I didn’t have a lot. I suppose you can be kinky without practising it. It is something that you know turns you on, but you are not in need of it enough to actually seek it out in a forceful way. That was me.
When I met someone who was also into kink, that opened a door. Well being honest, quite a few doors opened, but for a while I was lost in the new found freedom to explore the things that turned me on. We sparked off one another, we pushed each other, we enjoyed doing all of the things that we had always wondered about and never tried. We were kinky. And I loved it. It felt addictive and it felt like something I could not ignore. The way we were together made me feel that if I didn’t embrace it, then that would become something I regretted for the rest of my life.
Kink and D/s
When we started D/s, I think that part of the motivation for HL was the kinky sex on tap and we both really enjoyed exploring together. At first, I thought I was really into kink, but the more time has gone on, I have wondered if actually it was the idea of doing something slightly taboo and forbidden that turned me on. As time progressed, I felt more and more that what I needed was Dominance and submission. The rest worked as a vehicle itself, but without those elements, the kink didn’t seem to quite hit the button the same.
In addition, as long as the Dominance and submission was present, the kink didn’t seem to be necessary in quite the same way. Words alone would be enough, which was led me to explore erotic humiliation as one of my main kinks. I would say that is probably the central kink for me. I don’t need it, but it certainly adds an edge when it is present. It can push me deep into the submissive space where I am able to truly let go of myself and experience things on a different level.
Alternative Sexual Interests and Alternative Lifestyles
That is what I seek, and I am not sure it is a kink. Kink seems to pretty much be an umbrella term for anything which involves alternative sexual interests. What is seen as being alternative will depend from person to person and also be in line with cultural norms and expectations, as well as generational differences. It tends to include all aspects of BDSM, so bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism. Often I think that other types of relationship will also fall into what society sees as kinky, so non-monogamy and polyamory, although, again, I am not sure those in the relationships would agree.
I guess there is a difference between alternative sexual interests and alternative lifestyles, and that is where I struggle to define what we do as simply a kink. Living in a power exchange relationship is not just a sexual thing for us. It is a lifestyle choice, and while it feeds the sexual charge between us in many ways, it is not purely about the sex. It allows us to live much more harmoniously together and to create the levels of intimacy, trust and openness that we might not sustain as easily without it. It allows an emotional connection which supports an intense physical connection during sexual play.
All Fetishes are Kinks but not all Kinks are Fetishes
The difference between a fetish and a kink is that where a kink is something that is used to enhance sex, usually a fetishist needs their interest to be part of sexual play in order for them to become aroused. Fetishes are often based around an interest in a particular object or body part – feet, legs, fur or latex, for example. The presence of the fetish will often arouse the fetishist so that they experience the play in a sexual way. It is not to say that they can’t have sex without it, but it will likely not be an experience on the same level.
There may be overlap between kinks and fetishes. You might enjoy bondage and being restrained in cuffs because that is one of your kinks. This will enhance the play for you but would not be a requirement in order for you to achieve maximum arousal. If leather is a fetish and you are retrained in leather cuffs and harness then this will might offer a much fuller and more complete experience. The smell, the feel, the association could make all the difference. So while a kink can add another layer to sexual experience, it isn’t a requirement in the same way that it might be for a fetishist, who might need it in order to get adequately aroused.
Is D/s a Fetish?
In terms of objects and body parts, I have no fetishes. There are things that I like in terms of both but they don’t provide the depth of arousal that is described above, so for me, they are more of an interest. But I do need Dominance. Without it, I can have an experience which is pleasant but it does not feel in any way the same. Vanilla sex can be a connector, but it is no more than that in terms of the way I experience it. D/s play, on the other-hand, will allow me an intensity of feelings on a whole other level.
This is more on a mental level rather than a physical one, but being in that mental headspace allows me to experience the physical sensations and translate them mentally in a way I would not be able to do without it. It feels like a necessity, although I am not sure you can call D/s a fetish. For me it feels more than a kink too though. It is something I can do without, but not if I want to feel the level of arousal that I get with it, if that makes sense.
Making Sense of Things
I suppose that all things experiential become hard to classify, categorise and therefore create a meaningful hierarchy to define and explain them. There is so much overlap and sexuality is such a vast area. I see being submissive as an integral part of me. I have always been sexually submissive, meaning that has always been the role I have naturally taken. In itself, that will not allow me to achieve arousal because I also need the dominance for that to happen. In other areas of our relationship, I have also found that being submissive is helpful, although this was not something that I did naturally in the same way as I did in the bedroom.
With both, I need the dominance to make them work fully. Without it in my lifestyle, I will need to keep very tight control on things and micromanage in an attempt to reach ridiculously high expectations which can lead easily to neglect of my self and ultimately a burn out. Without it in the bedroom, I will respond on a physical level but my mind will not let go. It will not switch off and it will remain fully on the outside of the experience in a somewhat detached way, so to become fully engaged in the experience, I would need the dominance to be there.
In terms of classification, being Dominant or submissive does not fall into sexuality as being something which is seen as being an essential part of the person in the same way that some other things are. It is still perceived to be very much a choice, rather than something you just are or something you need. As the whole area of sexuality gets more exposure, however, society is learning more about the complex ways that attraction and sexual enjoyment are experienced. I hope that this means that those who are into alternative lifestyles, kinks and fetishes will become more widely understood and accepted, as even within BDSM communities, there can be ignorance and misunderstanding.
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