Can you explain the difference between fetish and kink?



(1) I have a video covering this exact question on the difference between a kink and a fetish.

Firstly, a fetish is primarily a function of the sexual response of an individual. I believe “fetish” is better understood on a sliding scale of “causes pronounced, distinct arousal when presented” to “required to orgasm”. It’s a continuum between “not fetish” and “fetish” and outside of clinical terminology (which I use in the video above for the sake of clearest differentiation) and it is sometimes hard to categorize something as “already a fetish”, “could become a fetish” “in the process of developing” ect. As people rarely just wake up with a fetish one day that they need in order to have an orgasm – it develops over time with repeated exposure and stimulation among other factors. As far as what a fetish is, it’s something that causes atypical, pronounced arousal compared to what is considered “normal” for that culture, situation and that time period. A good example of this is breasts. Many people like them, and get turned on by them, but when it becomes the focus of your sexual arousal and fantasy to the increasing exclusion of other sexual content or elements that is when it goes into fetish territory. Some people also have multiple fetishes, but usually only 1 – 2 are extremely prominent.

Kinks on the other hand, at least in BDSM usage typically refers to merely something you enjoy doing that is not considered vanilla or is not “normal”. Like having a kink for flogging, or whips. Not needing it to cum, not needing it as part of your sexual fantasies. Merely enjoying something (sexual enjoyment or not) that is outside of mainstream “normal” / vanilla activities. Most people in the BDSM world have dozens of overlapping kinks, compared to the number of fetishes one person usually has. 

TL;DR: Kinks = weird shit you like doing, Fetishes = unusual stuff you need to get off / have an orgasm. 


Nice, clear explanation of the formal/clinical differences between kinks and fetishes!  Fun note: in the literature “fetish” isn’t necessarily a judgmental term – for instance one can have a “healthy fetish” for the genitals of one’s preferred partner.  

In technical technical terms a “fetish” has more often referred to non-living objects like shoes or rubber, while attraction to body parts (forearms or breasts or feet or long hair, for instance) would be called a “partialism.”

And long as I’m overcaffeinated and man’splaining, Sigmund Freud, who was generally considered a bit of a tightass, believed one had a “perversion” if and only if their fetish or kink was so severe they could never engage in sex for reproduction.  (Readers often misunderstood him as saying perversion was any sex that didn’t lead to reproduction, which really would have been tightass prudery, but that’s not actually what he said.)

Finally, the general consensus in the literature still insists that fetishes are almost unknown in women!  To which one can only say… Heh!

Anyway, I hadn’t run across anything by  @evie -lupine before.  She’s awesome!  Great D/S and pet play resource, gives great advice, offers excellent critiques of problematic behavior in kink too.  Instant follow for me.