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What Defines a Kink?

What does “kink” mean?

Depending on who you ask, “kink” can be either a shorthand for any sexual or sex-related act or behavior that seems to be outside of what many people consider conventional, or a synonym for BDSM, which stands for bondage, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism. Often, people use it to mean both, lumping rough sex, BDSM, and fetishes of all types under the kink umbrella.

In general, role play, spanking, bondage, and foot fetishes are commonly considered kinky. But sometimes, what someone thinks of as kinky can be based in their own experience and perspective. For instance, some vanilla folks consider anal — including any anal penetration or contact — to be kinky, while some BDSM practitioners consider water sports — which involves urinating on or being urinated on by someone else — to be vanilla. For some people, threesomes are kinky, while for others, threesomes are a routine Tuesday evening after dinner.

What’s the difference between kink and BDSM?

The main difference between kink and BDSM is that BDSM includes consensual negotiated power dynamics with a psychological component, where kink is only about the physical actions. For instance, spanking can be both kinky and part of BDSM. If you’re spanking someone because it feels pleasurable for them, brings blood to their butt and thighs and all the fun nerve endings in that area, and feels erotic for you, that’s kinky. But if you’re also spanking them because you both agreed that you have the power in that moment and spanking is an expression of that power, then that’s BDSM. BDSM is also more likely to include pain.

How many people are kinky?

As clinical psychologist and Lover co-founder Dr. Britney Blair tells Bustle, BDSM “is really one of the most common sexual fantasies. Many people have experience