A Is for Anilingus
No shame in this game: Anilingus is a sex act that stimulates your partner's anus via licking, penetrating with the tongue, kissing, or any other type of oral stimulation.
A Is for Abrasion
A BDSM subcategory involves becoming sexually aroused from harsh or scratchy surfaces such as sandpaper or steel wool.
A Is for Actirasty
There are a number of fetishes that revolve around the weather. There’s brontophilia, the sexual arousal from thunderstorms, chionophilia, the sexual arousal from snow, and actirasty, the sexual arousal from rays of sunlight. While you might feel an intense amount of joy after a particularly long winter, when the sun makes its much-anticipated reappearance, actirasty is a fetish that involves a person being aroused through direct exposure to sunlight. In practice, this can tie into another kink—public and outdoor sex—but it crosses over into actirasty when the warming sensation of the sunlight leads to physical pleasure in the parts of the body it reaches. Depending on the person and the preference, this can lead to orgasm.
B Is for Bondage
Bondage is a form of restraint. It’s a sex act that falls within the BDSM umbrella, which is an acronym for “bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism” and a group of common sexual fantasies. Some people enjoy being tied up, while some enjoy tying up their partner, and others like both. Someone who enjoys both the dominant and submissive role is referred to as a switch. Typically bondage uses kinky sex toys such as handcuffs or rope, but it can also be as tame as you using a scarf, a tie, or a T-shirt to restrain your partner's wrists when you're getting it on. To get into it, you can tie someone up to a bed frame using a tie or scarf or, if your bed frame isn’t kink-compatible, you could start by simply binding the arms together. To up the ante, you can purchase shackle mounts or suspension bars.
B Is for Blindfold Sex
Blindfold sex, also known as amaurophilia, is a gateway to more BDSM play. The kink involves a preference for being blindfolded during sex, having sex with someone who is blindfolded, or even having sex in complete darkness. Blindfold sex can involve a silk tie or satin blindfold placed over the eyes, one which is close-fitting, but not overly tight. This practice can be super arousing for some, as it necessitates an element of surrender—you need to have built trust with the partner who is not blindfolded. “At its core, you're giving up control to another person and allowing them to take control,” says Gigi Engle, ACS, a certified sex educator and resident intimacy expert at 3Fun, an app for open and polyamorous couples. Plus the element of sensory deprivation can help a person’s senses, aside from sight, to be magnified. “When you’re blindfolded, all of your other senses become enhanced. You feel your partner’s touch on your skin more acutely, smells become more vibrant, and orgasms can even be more intense.” Blindfold sex can also be a popular kink among people who struggle with anxiety during sex, with the blindfold offering comfort and a sense of escapism.
C Is for Cuckolding
“Traditionally, cuckolding is when a heterosexual couple agrees to both explore the turn-on of the female sleeping with other men and humiliating her male partner about the fact that she’s sleeping with someone else,” says Horn. The male partner need not be present—perhaps he gets off on the mere thought of his partner having sex with someone else. For others, there’s an element of voyeurism to the cuckolding as well. This kink isn’t just for heterosexual couples—people of all genders and orientations can enjoy cuckolding varieties. If you’re turned on by the idea of your partner sleeping with others yet don’t necessarily want to go through the emotional tax and risk of them literally having sex with others, you can explore this kink through dirty talk or virtual sex with a third party.
C Is for Claustrophilia
While a number of kinks are tied to having sex in public, open spaces, claustrophilia is the opposite. Claustrophilia involves the sexual arousal produced by being confined to a tight, enclosed space. The sensation of being physically trapped can lead to sexual gratification for some. “There can be a cocoon-like feeling to being in tight, confined spaces,” says Engle. “Some may also enjoy the fear element of being closed in. Fear has been shown to produce a sexual response in some, which is why people sometimes get horny after scary movies or roller coasters.” Claustrophilia can simply involve sex in wardrobes or airplane restrooms or, as some progress deeper into the kink, there are tools that can be purchased, including cages, coffins, confinement rooms, or vacuum beds (where an individual is adhered to a frame using a latex envelope).
D Is for Dominance
Dominance is one half of BDSM, the DS part (dominance and submission), and is all about a consensual power exchange. With this particular kink, the dominant partner derives sexual pleasure from taking control. The submissive partner allows their dominant partner to, well, dominate them à la 50 Shades of Grey. Important note: Though the books and movies did help make BDSM kinks more mainstream, they’re not totally accurate. Despite what the movie would have you believe, there’s no research that suggests dominants enjoy DS activities, such as spanking their partner, due to childhood trauma. And nope, you do not have to sign any sort of contract—all you need is enthusiastic consent from all parties involved.
D Is for DIY Porn
The act of creating DIY porn is closely tied to exhibitionism and voyeurism, where one person is aroused by being watched and the other is aroused by watching. DIY porn is a way to cater to both kinks and take it to the next level by capturing the act on camera. Both the process of creating the homemade porn and playing it back is all part of the fun. Because of the recording element, consent is a must, as is trust. Those creating DIY porn will want to discuss and establish certain boundaries before engaging, including whether they consent to their face being shown, and how and where the footage will be stored.
E Is for Electrostimulation
Electrostimulation involves using the power of electricity—i.e., getting an electric shock—for kinky, sexy fun. Obviously, getting shocked can be dangerous, so electrostimulation begins to get into another type of kink called edge play, which refers to risky BDSM behavior that runs the potential of doing actual bodily harm. Electrostimulation is part of CBT (cock and ball torture) sessions in which a domme shocks her sub’s genitals by rigging them to electrical contraptions—typically either a wand (see Z on this list) or a system that stimulates nerve endings called a transcutaneous electrical nerve endings stimulation unit—that can be purchased from specialty kink shops. This is one of those preferences for which you need to be extremely careful to take the correct safety precautions, use an ironclad safe-word, and obtain continuous, enthusiastic consent.
E Is for Erotic Asphyxiation
Erotic asphyxiation, also known as breath play, is a fetish that involves limiting the supply of oxygen to the brain during sex in order to heighten arousal and intensify orgasms. Depending on whether it is performed on a partner or on oneself (autoerotic asphyxiation), erotic asphyxiation is a type of sadistic and masochistic fetish. During the act, some people find pleasure in the exchange of power. “The turn on has deep psychological implications that can give opportunity to explore different roles during sex,” says Engle. “Choking highlights the giving and receiving of control. Giving someone permission to choke you, or visa versa, is allowing you to take on dominant and submissive roles in bed. This is something many of us long for: a release from control or the power to take it.” But the risks outweigh the pleasure of this kind of release. Erotic asphyxiation can result in an irregular heart rate, cardiac arrest, brain damage, and even death. There is no truly safe way to perform erotic asphyxiation; instead, those interested might try light choking, after carefully communicating consent and clear physical boundaries, but even that comes with risk. “It's important to address that choking during sex is extremely dangerous and should be done with caution,” says Engle. "There are many risks. Just because you saw choking in porn or are interested in it does not mean you should run off and choke your partner. This play needs to be done with extreme caution and care.”
F Is for Foot Fetishism
This is one of the most common fetishes out there, especially for heterosexual men. Someone with a foot fetish is literally turned on by feet—thinking about them, touching them, seeing them—and could potentially get off on everything feet. They often want to engage in foot worship, in which they treat their partner’s foot like a holy object: kissing, caressing, and massaging it. So even if you don’t have a foot fetish, having a partner with one can be extremely enjoyable as it means there could be foot massages galore in store for you. But like all kinks, foot fetishes exist on a spectrum. Humiliation can also play a strong role in a foot fetish: The fetishist may want feet shoved in their face and mouth, or to have their partner walk all over them, touting how filthy their feet are and how pathetic the fetishist is to enjoy such an activity. Other foot fetish activities include giving pedicures and smelling the feet or shoes that said feet reside in throughout the day.
F Is for Food Play
Food play, also known as sitophilia, refers to a kind of fetish in which individuals are turned on by food in an erotic setting. Fruits and vegetables shaped like penises can be incorporated into food play, with zucchinis, cucumbers, and bananas being used for vaginal or anal penetration, but the fetish can involve a more sensual, aromatic incorporation of food. This can include drizzling melted chocolate or whipped cream over the body and licking it off or using frozen fruits like cherries or strawberries to create cooling sensations along the neck, breasts, or thighs. This play can be arousing in the way they heighten the senses of smell, taste, and feel. Says Lyndsey Murray, a certified sex therapist and the owner of Relationship Matters Therapy, a practice that helps individuals and couples improve their relationships and sex lives, “Usually I find there is a link between a certain food and particular memories or fantasies someone may have that are associated with that food. The link between the food and the eroticism could be imagery, sounds, and even smells.” When it comes to food play, be prepared. To minimize clean-up, lay down a protective layer over the bed or perhaps take matters to a floor that can be easily wiped down. To avoid potentially irritating or uncomfortable physical sensations, steer clear of spicy ingredients or foods with a rough texture.
G Is for Gagging
Gagging refers to lightly choking on an object to the point of making gagging sounds. Often people with penises will get off on their partner gagging on them—and the knowledge that they’re big enough to induce gagging noises. Likewise, the partner going downtown may enjoy having something thrust far enough down their throat that they start to gag. It doesn’t necessarily take a giant object to induce gagging—something smaller can do the trick too. However, if gagging becomes uncomfortable or if you feel like you’re going to throw up (if that’s not something you want to do), you should stop at any point you feel even a little bit off. Remember, kink is all about continuous consent and what makes you feel your sexiest.
G Is for Gerontophilia
Gerontophilia is classified as an erotic age orientation where a person is sexually attracted to elderly people. While it’s common for people to romantically gravitate towards people who are older than them—for example, a twenty-something woman might be attracted to a man in his late forties—this is not gerontophilia because older does not always equal “elderly.” Gerontophiles are attracted to people aged 65 years and older, while not being part of or close to that age group. Gerontophilia doesn’t accurately describe all extreme age-gap relationships—with some people choosing elderly partners for other reasons besides sexual arousal—because it involves a genuine physical attraction to features that are considered elderly, such as sagging skin, wrinkles, gray or white hair, or age spots. While there isn’t much research into gerontophilia, the kink is suggested to arise when a person had their first or formative sexual experience with an elderly person.
H Is for Humiliation
Not all BDSM acts are physical. “Intense language as a use of force can be just as intense, or even more intense, as consensually degrading physical sensations, such as impact play,” Horn says. A common example of humiliation is name-calling and verbal abuse. One of the most common misconceptions about humiliation play is that it’s antifeminist. But the truth is, many feminists enjoy being called names such as “bitch,” “slut,” or “whore” in bed—your kinks are not your values. In a patriarchal world where women have long been told sex is not for pleasure, addressing what gets you off, especially if it’s nontraditional like humiliation, and then engaging it can be a powerful way to take control of your sexuality. As always, discuss humiliation beforehand and keep it consensual. Your partner may be okay with being called a “slut” but not a “bitch,” so be sure to define your boundaries.
I Is for Impact Play
Impact play refers to the use of hands, paddles, whips, or whatever you have around your house (spatulas work great) to hit the body. If you’ve ever playfully spanked your partner during sex, that’s impact play. More than anything else, impact play requires consent and communication. A good rule to keep in mind: If you’re the one providing the impact, stick to areas that are fatty, such as the side of the butt or thighs, and avoid anywhere organs reside, such as the kidneys (lower back) or rib cage. As with any new kink, start small, start slow, and choose a safeword. Impact play can be done alone yet also pairs well with other kinks, such as name-calling and age play. If you’re new to the idea, start with your hands and some good old-fashioned spanking before spending money on more heavy-duty whips and floggers. If anything becomes uncomfortable (and not in a good way), implement your safeword immediately.
I Is for Interrogation Play
Interrogation play is a form of role play with a BDSM edge. People who are into the kink will take on either the role of the dominant, the person in charge of the interrogation, or the submissive, who is held captive and is withholding a secret. “With interrogation role play, people often choose a dominant or submissive identity because it is like an alternate reality from their real life,” says Murray. “Someone who doesn't have a lot of authority in the day-to-day may find it erotic to have that in the bedroom, and someone who does have a lot of responsibility may find it pleasurable to submit to their partner at home.” The specifics of the interrogation are down to the individual and their imagination, but a few hypothetical situations can involve a detective interviewing a lead suspect in a criminal case or a villain torturing a secret agent. To gain information or power, the dominant will test the submissive using BDSM toys and tools including restraints, floggers, or sensory deprivation devices like hoods or blindfolds. As the play continues, each “torture tactic” intensifies. Costumes may also be involved to add to the realism of the role play.
J Is for Japanese Bondage
Japanese bondage is one variety of bondage that is typically done with rope. Kinbaku translates to “the beauty of tight binding” and shibari, which is a bit more mainstream, translates to “decoratively tie.” Decoratively is right: Japanese bondage such as shibari is an art form in addition to a form of bondage (there’s even an entire shibari section on Etsy). Some of the best shibari artists, such as Garth Knight, hold high-art showcases in which their subjects are tied up and transformed into trees. If you’re interested in exploring Japanese bondage, More Shibari You Can Use: Passionate Rope Bondage and Intimate Connection by Lee Harrington and Rigger Jay is perfect for beginners. Just don’t forget your safety shears!
K Is for Klismaphilia
Klismaphilia is a glamorous Greek word that means “arousal by enemas.” If you’re not familiar, an enema is a medical device that squirts water slightly warmer than body temperature into your anus. It’s used by hospitals to relieve people of constipation or to prep for certain medical procedures. (Not quite as glamorous as the Greek word makes it sound.) This particular kink generally refers to receiving pleasure from receiving an enema, although there are those who get off on administering enemas as well. The anus is an erogenous zone, after all, which helps explain why kinky folks have been using enemas for pleasure forever. This kink can also be quite practical—it’s a way to clean and prep the rectum for anal sex.
K Is for Katoptronophilia
Katoptronophilia is the sexual arousal from having sex or masturbating in front of mirrors or reflective surfaces. While the idea of watching yourself in the mirror might seem like a vanity-based pursuit, the fetish is more than that. “We’re into mirrors for a variety of reasons, but voyeurism is the biggest one,” says Engle. “For some, this helps them live out that voyeuristic dream without involving others in their sex life. There is a little voyeur in all of us. We like watching other people do things and taking a peek into the lives of others. Watching yourself have sex is like getting a bird's-eye view into an imagined, private, dirty scene.” Katoptronophilic acts allow people to indulge both their voyeuristic and exhibitionist interests by watching and being watched during sex. It can add a layer of visual stimulation (like watching porn while having sex), increase connection between partners, and help build body confidence.
L Is for Limits
Consent is paramount in kink. If you’re just getting started, or want to slowly introduce BDSM into an existing relationship, both you and your partner should make a list of your soft and hard limits. A soft limit is something that you’re curious about yet unsure if it’s right for you, such as name-calling. A hard limit is something that you are certain is off-limits, such as electrostimulation. Writing out your hard and soft limits with a partner is a wonderful way to get to know another side of each other. Along with implementing limits, it’s important to choose a safeword that is not no or stop, because some couples use such language as a part of their role play. Your hard and soft limits will likely evolve the more you explore, so it’s important to keep having these conversations with your partner.
M Is for Masochism
“Masochism is deriving pleasure from the high sensation most often referred to as pain, be that physical or emotional,” Ortmann says. So if you enjoy being spanked, humiliated, or spit on, you might be a masochist. The term is named for Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, a 19th-century Austrian author who wrote the book Venus in Furs, which details what’s now considered a typical BDSM “master-slave” relationship (he allegedly was the “slave” in his own such arrangement with his mistress). The flip side of masochism is sadism (named after an 18th-century French nobleman), in which someone derives pleasure from inflicting pain of a physical or emotional nature.
M Is for Melolagnia
Melolagnia is a fetish that involves being turned on by music. This doesn’t simply mean having a go-to Spotify playlist when you have sex, but rather experiencing strong sexual reactions in response to music and also fantasizing about certain songs or genres. The arousal can derive from a combination of the musical elements including the singer’s voice, beat, repetition, or even the quality of the composition, all of which can lead to physical sensations like goosebumps, a faster heartbeat, or even more natural sexual lubrication.
N Is for Nylons
A nylon fetish—yep, as in tights—often accompanies a foot fetish. One with a nylon fetish may enjoy the look and feeling of toes, feet, and legs wrapped tightly in nylon stockings. They may want to smell the nylons, or have them shoved in their mouth. if you want to try it, start by wearing nylons next time you get frisky (assuming you don’t mind tearing them), or have your partner tie you up with them or use them as a blindfold for sensory deprivation. (Side note: While bondage is a kink, using nylons for bondage is separate from having a nylon fetish, in which the nylons themselves produce the sexual arousal, rather than their usage.)
N Is for Nebulophilia
Nebulophilia is a lesser known kink that involves sexual arousal induced by fog, steam, dry ice, or smoke. There has been very little research into the kink, but individuals who are nebulophilic might have personal connections to these elements in their past, perhaps they were turned on by a theater performance with a fog machine or even an atmospheric, hazy-looking music video. There’s a chance nebulophilia is linked to one’s perception of risk, wherein the fog or smoke is a sign of danger which stimulates the fear receptors, sometimes leading to heightened sexual arousal.
O Is for Objectum Sexuality
Objectum sexuality—a.k.a. a fetish—refers to a sexual relationship (or attraction to) an inanimate object. The media frequently portray objectum sexuals as freaks and weirdos falling in love with things such as the Eiffel Tower, a boat, or their couch. However, such an understanding of objectum sexuality is limited. By literal definition, a fetish—any fetish—is an attraction to an inanimate object. This includes lingerie, feet, and sex toys, so if you’ve ever fantasized about your vibrator, welcome to the world of fetish. In fact, in the age of rapidly advancing sex-doll technology, we may all soon be a little bit engaged in objectum sexuality. Such perspective is crucial because it helps us understand and empathize with those who do catch feelings for more “out-there” objects, because kink-shaming sucks.
P Is for Pregnancy Fetishism
Aside from the fact that orgasms and having sex near a due date may help induce labor, there are also those with outright pregnancy fetishes: sexual attraction to a pregnant person. Some partners may indeed discover they have one when their partner is expecting, but others are attracted to the rotund pregnant belly regardless of whose body or baby it is. Since, by that same strict definition mentioned before, a fetish is attraction to an object or body part, pregnancy fetishists go wild for the sight of a swollen, round belly. The attraction may also include an interest in lactation, or other symptoms of pregnancy, but such is not automatically a part of the label.
P Is for Public Sex
According to YouGov research, 36% of people in the United States copped to having sex in a public space. While it might be a one-time thing for some, public sex—also referred to as agoraphilia—is a fully-fledged kink for others. “Public sex can feel exciting for some people and can feel worth the risk to be seen,” says Murray. “Doing something you shouldn't do, with the possibility of legal consequences should you get caught having sex in public, and getting away with it can create a great rush of dopamine in our brains and feel like the ultimate reward.” One of the most common places for people to practice public sex are fields, forests, parks, and gardens. Considering the public-facing aspect of this kind of sexual play, and the element of risk, it falls under the umbrella of exhibitionism. “I relate public sex to exhibitionism where the attraction is in the attention someone gets by having someone watch them have sex, but it's always important to take into account if you could be violating other people's consent by participating in public sex, no matter how exciting it might be.”
Q Is for Quirofilia
A specific fetish for hands is referred to as quirofilia, which may manifest as an attraction to fingers, a great manicure, or simply some smoking hot hands. Hands are sexy. They’re used for myriad sexy things, like the underrated hand job, fingering, and back massages. While quirofilia can absolutely use hand jobs, fisting, or fingering (use of hands to directly create sexual pleasure), some hand fetishists might get off on hands doing mundane tasks, such as picking up groceries or doing chores. While fetishes are inherently sexual, many times the activity or object the fetishist is interested in may present itself as nonsexual in nature. What is one person’s chore, such as washing dishes, is a hand fetishist’s wet dream.
R Is for Role Play
Role playing is another common kink, which involves people taking on characters outside of their day-to-day lives as part of a sex scene. This can be as simple as putting on a nurse’s outfit or as elaborate as constructing an entire scene complete with character development. Common examples include doctor and patient (medical role play), boss and secretary, pool boy and rich housewife, or college student and professor. While role playing often comes with costumes and is a fabulous excuse to dress up, an extensive wardrobe is not required. Scenes can be created through dirty talk and pure imagination.
R Is for Robot Fetishism
We’re living in an age where technology can tend to many of our basic needs. Got to install that finicky shelf? TaskRabbit. Need feeding? DoorDash. Horny? Well, that varies. While many of us might turn to any one of the thousands of dating apps to find a willing partner, 22% of people in the United States would quite like to get their rocks off with a robot. In fact, some people prefer it. Robot fetishism, sometimes referred to as robotism, involves individuals who are sexually aroused with robots or other similar beings such as androids or cyborgs. This attraction can exist in reality, by having sex with fully-formed sex dolls or robots, or in a more literary sense, for example, by reading novels or fanfiction about these beings. Robotism can also manifest as role play, so having a human partner who dresses up or performs as a robot during sex.
S Is for Spectrophilia
Especially if you’re a straight woman, it’s been a tough year to get into humans. Those with spectrophilia report a sexual attraction, relationships, or sexual encounters with ghosts who come and have hot sex with them at night. A succubus is a ghost in lady form that, in folklore (or a spectrophilia fantasy), visits her object of desire at night for some hot human-ghost lovemaking. An incubus is the male variety (and also that band). Though the actual existence of ghosts is up for debate (and for excellent Halloween movie marathons), the sexual attraction that spectrophiles report feeling is as real as any other fetish. Kind of puts a whole new twist on the term friendly ghost, though, right?
S Is for Stygiophilia
Stygiophilia is a fetish that involves sexual pleasure from the idea of going to hell or facing eternal punishment. The arousal can stem from the taboo nature of such thoughts. In some instances, stygiophilia ties into the BDSM concept of pleasurable punishment and humiliation. There is little research on the kink, but people who had a particularly religious upbringing—where discussions of hell were common in the church, school, or home—might be more inclined to enjoy this kink, as their religious background can make introducing the idea of hell into sexual play feel all the more forbidden and sexually thrilling.
T Is for Tentacles
First let’s get one thing straight: You can’t have sex with an actual octopus or octopus-like monster—octopuses are animals and therefore cannot give consent. But octopus-like monsters totally exist in tentacle porn, which you can absolutely watch and get off on. It’s hot, not only because it’s so foreign and forbidden but, according to some experts, because it fulfills some other pretty classic fantasy tropes, like bondage and multiple penetration. And if your ideal penis is actually a giant blue tentacle, the sex toy manufacturer Bad Dragon just may help you fulfill your monster fantasies.
T Is for Trichophilia
Trichophilia, also referred to as hair fetishism, is the erotic attraction to hair. The hair in question can be human hair—armpit, chest, pubic, head—or even animal fur, but it is most commonly human head hair. The fetish can involve touching, smelling, or looking at hair, wearing another person’s hair, or interacting with hair in different states—for example, when it is wet, cut, or plucked. It can even involve eating hair, in rare instances. Those who indulge in this fetish might have a strong preference for the type of hair that is part of their fantasy or sexual play, whether it’s a preference for red hair, tight curls, or short, cropped hair.
U Is for Urophilia
Urophilia is a fancy name for watersports, golden showers, or the more direct name, pee play. With this kink, people find urination sexually arousing. There are lots of things you can do with urine, though the most common way to enjoy pee play is to give or receive golden showers. If you don’t remember the reports of that unverified dossier alleging that former president Donald Trump engaged in the act, a golden shower is, well, letting someone shower you (or vice versa) with their pee. If you want to try it out, start in the actual shower.
U Is for Underwear
There’s no denying it, there’s a lot of money to be made in used underwear. In recent years, many people—typically women—have shared their experiences selling their used underwear to people on Craigslist, Instagram, and eBay. So it may not surprise you that the sexual obsession with underwear is a common fetish. “A great attraction to underwear can be due to a combination of our imagination as well as the feel and smell of underwear,” says Murray. “People can imagine what someone would like in their underwear, and what it would be like to feel it and touch it while being sexual with the other person.”
V Is for Voyeurism
A voyeur is someone who derives sexual pleasure from watching others get it on. When we speak about voyeurism from a kink perspective, we’re talking about consensual voyeurism. Very important distinction! Exhibitionists enjoy being watched, and voyeurs enjoy watching, which makes these two kinks a common item on the menu at sex parties or kink events. Things become more confusing in everyday life, because observing someone without their knowledge or consent is absolutely not okay. If you have voyeuristic fantasies, make sure you’re indulging them consensually with willing exhibitionists. That way everyone wins (and gets off).
V Is for Vicarphilia
With the rise of erotic podcasts and audiobooks, vicarphilia is one kink that seems to have become fairly mainstream without many of us knowing it. Vicarphilia is vicarious arousal, a kink where individuals are intensely aroused by hearing the sexual experiences, interests, and behaviors of others, namely those who live different—or usually more thrilling—lives than their own. This can be experienced by listening to a famous musician explain their sexual history on a podcast, for example, or perhaps by reading a writer’s recount of their first erotic experience in their autobiography. The kink is essentially living vicariously through the sex lives of others.
W Is for Whip
Whip is commonly used as an umbrella term for all impact play tools, though it technically refers to an item with a thinner body that produces more of a “stingy” sensation. (You’ll often hear BDSM practitioners refer to sensations as either stingy or thuddy—the latter describing a toy like a paddle.) The most advanced whip on the market is the single-tail, which looks like a snake and can create a cracking noise when used correctly. Single-tails break the skin and can wrap around the body, injuring areas where organs reside, and should only be used by professional dominatrices with years of experience. Even some pro dominatrices will use them only for intimidation, rather than to actually impact their submissive’s body. If you want to try a whip, opt for a beginner-friendly option.
W Is for Wet and Messy
Wet and messy, also known as sploshing, is a fetish where people enjoy being covered in or surrounded by wet food or beverages. “This can involve cake sitting, being covered in frosting, or Jell-O during sex—all that good stuff,” says Engle. “It can also include non-food substances like shaving cream, large amounts of lube, paint, and more. It’s when you get a lot of sexual enjoyment from copious amounts of wet messiness during sexual play, whether you’re having sex or not.” The appeal of sploshing arises from a number of things but ultimately, it’s down to the individual. Some of the main reasons for indulging in the wet and messy fetish is sensory stimulation. “The appeal seems to be the tactile feeling of the substance and in the case of food, also the tasting of things. It’s really an extreme form of sensory play in some ways. It’s about being turned on by messiness, slipperiness, and all that other sloshy goodness. It’s important not to yuck anyone else’s yum. Human sexuality is complex, and we shouldn’t judge anyone on what they like, as long as everyone involved is a consenting adult and the play is safe.”
X Is for Wax Play
Candlelight is fantastic mood lighting, but you can also use the melted wax for painfully good sexual pleasure. Of course, playing with fire (and wax) is dangerous, so it's a good thing the sex toy industry has our backs here. There are candles that exist to burn at a temperature perfect for bodies, so you don’t have to worry about accidental burns. Massage candles also exist. These come in delightful scents such as bourbon or dark vanilla. As the candle burns, the wax turns into massage oil. Enjoy.
Y Is for Yoni Egg
A yoni egg is an egg-shaped device worn inside the vagina typically as part of pelvic floor exercises. A yoni egg is inserted inside the vagina and the pelvic floor muscles tighten their grip to hold the egg in place. They can be quite beautiful—the sexual wellness company Chakrubs sells them in crystals such as rose quartz, jade, and black obsidian. There’s also a spiritual element involved for many yoni egg users, particularly since they involve crystals. There’s some debate over whether there are health risks associated, so make sure you read up on whether this is something you want to incorporate as part of your Kegel routine.
Z Is for Zappers
Zapper is a cute nickname for an electro-wand that is used as part of electrostimulation. These typically look like a magic wand a wizard would use, except they’re used to send shocks to the body. Zappers are often used as part of DS play in which the dominant shocks the submissive. Though it sounds scary, zappers feel like a little sting. Still it is 100% okay if they’re on your hard-no limit list. You can still be kinky and cool without zappers—I’d be shocked (shocked!) if they didn’t scare you a teeny bit.
Z Is for Zentai
Zentai, which stems from the Japanese term zenshin taitsu (full body tights), is a formfitting suit that covers the entire body, including the head, fingers, and toes. It is usually bright in color and made from spandex. For those who enjoy zentai, the arousing factor can derive from the closeness and tightness of the fabric to the skin as well as the pressure this can place against sensitive regions of the body. As zentai is a form of sexual bondage, the suit can make the wearer feel trapped and contained, which is a similar sexual sensation to claustrophilia. For some, the anonymity these suits offer can also bring a particularly arousing thrill, for those who are shy or enjoy a little mystery.
ELEMENTS OF BONDASSAGE
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