So you’ve got a kink… or is it a fetish?

A question that is fraught with the possibility of offending, especially in these days of the perpetually-offended but in the interest of education and expanding limits, it’s research that was whole-handedly dove into (Fisting) and it’s thrilling to report that the experience has broadened my horizons and hopefully might help broaden yours too!

I was lucky enough to have a contact with whom to speak of such things. BJ has been running classes on kink and fetish in Melbourne since 2005. He took time out from his busy schedule to answer a few of my pressing questions and his generous answers were a fascinating insight into a fascinating world.

The Difference Between Kink and Fetish

When asked about the difference between kink and fetish, BJ says, “I think over the years this has become very blurry and people can be a little divided on it. I generally see “fetish” as a sexual attraction or fixation to a particular object or body part whereas I see “kink” to be more focussed on intimate activities that may fall outside the norms.

“I will try and give you an example here, someone may have a strong sexual attraction to black leather military boots. That in my mind is a fetish.

“Another person may be sexually aroused by licking their Master’s black leather military boots. That is an ‘unconventional’ sexual activity and therefore in my mind a kink as their sexual interest may lie more in the submission or servitude rather than the actual boots themselves.

“And of course, people can have a fetish and a kink.”

The most important and respectful thing to remember is that everyone’s boats get floated by different things and if someone gets off on being constrained by stunningly exotic and intricate knots (Shibari) by a master of that discipline, well, that is powerful stuff and even if it’s not to your tastes, you may be able to admire the pure artistry of such a kink.

Have you always had a niggling, sneaking suspicion that perhaps you are a bit too taken with toes? (Podophilia)

Podophilia. Image: Nick Page

What about the un-ignorable tingle you get when you daydream about being gently tasered in your special place, or indeed, inside your special place! (Electrostimulation)

Well then rest assured and step into your power, dear reader, because there are products available that can help you with that noble pursuit.

But more than what you’re doing to yourself at home, there are communities out there, in real life and online, where you can socialise and build relationships with like-minded people.

Take a Kink Class

If you happen to be in any of the major Australian cities and possibly even in a town nearby, you can do a quick search on Facebook or Google to locate a kinky group of peeps near you.

In Sydney and Melbourne especially there are seminars and meetings of various groups facilitated by experienced and passionate facilitators who want to educate and spread the word about how exploring your particular kinks can be healthy for you, physically and mentally!

Image: Warm Orange

Bear in mind that when talking about (and exploring) kink, you should not necessarily rely on the depictions of kink that you see in porn.

Porn certainly has its place in life but it’s probably not for hard-hitting research on how to suddenly incorporate your chosen kink into your boudoir – you might get a rude shock if you’ve got a partner and they react somewhat negatively to you letting loose a gushing hot stream over them because you saw that in a porno yesterday and thought in the heat of the moment that it might be a great idea to introduce that particular kink unexpectedly into your repertoire! (Urophilia)

Be Safe

There’s also the safety aspect of exploring kink that you do not see in porn, as BJ explains, “‘Safety’ is the keyword there. Porn is rarely a very good representation of how to safely conduct kink sessions. Porn is made for the voyeur to get them off or create a fantasy you may not achieve in everyday life. It’s not there to educate.

“In most cases, precautions are there in the background on a porn set to make sure that things don’t go wrong but at the end of the day they get the chunks of footage they need for the viewers’ arousal, and all of the boring but highly essential safety procedures is done off-camera,” BJ emphasises.

“Please get your information from instructional manuals, blogs, videos, books and workshops [or] seminars. Please do not use porn, fictional novels, or movies as your reference guide. Some kink related activities have very minimal risks involved whereas some others if done incorrectly, can seriously harm you or literally kill you.”

BJ singles out 50 Shades of Grey with regard to an example of dodgy representation, specifically calling out a bondage scene, saying,  “An example is in 50 Shades of Grey where they use zip ties to bind the person. In reality, zip ties are extremely dangerous as they can continue to get tighter on the wrists and cut off circulation.  Great in a fantasy perhaps? But not so good in reality.”

“Things can easily go wrong and people have died from their kink adventures so it is best to get all of the right information before going on your journey.”

Is it easier to be kinky in 2022 than it was twenty years ago? Kink and fetishism have certainly been made more mainstream in the last decade thanks to the dubious likes of 50 Shades of Grey but despite its questionable depictions, that, along with the power of the internet and the access to community and information it provides must make it easier to connect over kink in 2022 than it did at the beginning of the century. 

Image: Maria Vlasova

BJ says, “Yes, I definitely think so. There is far more diverse educational content out there and it is in the mainstream more than ever before. Back in the early to mid 1990’s when [a famous fetish company in Melbourne] started running classes on BDSM topics, people would be surprised that there would actually be classes teaching people how to tie each other up. A lot of people would think it was a joke. These days, it is completely a different story as people are more open to exploring themselves and others and we have found they also start exploring much younger also.”

“Of course, there is still some stigma attached to particular activities but I just don’t hear the same level of kink-shaming I used to hear as I did back 20 years ago.”

Kink is Not Just a Cisgender Persons’ Game

It also makes sense that kink is not just a cisgender persons’ game, with a growing number of transgender and non-binary people discovering, among a huge range of other things, the joys of having slightly warmer-than-body-temperature water squirted into their anus – which, just so’s ya know, is “arousal by enemas” (Klismaphilia), – you learn something every day!

BJ says he’s seeing a lot more diversity in the clientele coming into his and his business partner’s establishment but says that could also be because they themselves have adapted to the times and dropped all reference to gender operationally in the business, saying “A very large proportion of our particular clientele identifies as “gay male-identifying” as historically that was our focus so we have some biased data there.

“However, more recently we have moved away from pigeonholing genders and have really just dropped genders altogether from all our business operations to make everyone feel welcome. Since then, we have definitely seen a big spike in visitors from the trans and gender diverse communities as I think that they feel more welcome in our space now which is extremely heart-warming for us.

“We believe that how someone’s gender and sexuality amalgamate is their journey, which can be complex for any individual but no one should ever let their gender hold them back from exploring and finding their own sexual identity.”

It could also be argued that exploring kinks can be good for your mental health. The very act of quietening your mind enough for you to be able to tune into what your body and mind find a secret turn on (oh you’ll be surprised!) means that maybe you’ve started to learn how to silence the chatter in your mind… all the better to hear yourself with my dears!

BJ continues, “The ability to be able to express oneself openly within a scene between two consenting adults, free from any restraints of societal expectations is one of the true joys of life!  When you are fully able to express yourself and your sexuality with a person (or people) the liberation you can feel is second to none.”

Nerve Endings, Ejaculation Denial, Remote Controls, and More!

When asked about what he feels the five most unusual kinks of the day are, that people might be surprised to hear are kinks, BJ has some (refers to notes) intriguing answers:

Electric Sex: A lot of people hear the term “Electric Sex” and think it is about giving someone an electric shock. However, the sensation is probably closer to a deep-down vibration that goes beneath the skin and creates different stimulation paths and circuits. The pulse causes involuntary contractions which can be exhilarating.

Sounding rods: There are a lot of nerve endings throughout the urethral passage of a penis and through sounding rods, these can be stretched and stimulated.  Peehole play is a whole (!) lot of fun!

Chastity: Whether it’s erection denial or ejaculation denial, a lot of people find the torment of chastity to be intense for tops, bottoms, and sides.

Remote/Online play: The ability to control a device from across the room or on the other side of the world opens up amazing options for connecting with partners near and far.

Pumping: A lot of people think about pumping only in terms of growing the size of your genitals, but the actual act of pumping can also be extremely pleasurable in and of itself.

I don’t know about you, but I have been enlightened.

Remember, if you’ve felt a tingle in your dingle or your mingle upon reading this article, don’t ignore it! You’re now that much closer to turning that tingle into full-on bell ringing, Colette style!

But have you considered ringing that bell with a tentacle?

That’s right, tentacle kink and tentacle porn is a thing and one that is gaining more mainstream attention, thanks to pop culture references in television shows such as Archer. So yes, if you’ve ever thought the idea of a suction-cupped tentacle might make a great sex toy, there are places you can go online to get that!

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