How are you feeling this month, Friend?

If you’ve been following our Instagram, you know...

...we’ve been sharing an introduction to kink throughout the month of October.

We’ve learned a lot this month! And we wanted to recap and provide a bit more information for you here.

First and foremost, let’s clarify the difference between “kink” and “fetish,” since we’ll be using those terms quite a bit in this newsletter. The term kink is generally referred to as any sexual interest/habit/turn-on that is beyond the “usual” (think: missionary position). The term fetish is then what is necessary for a person to become aroused.

According to a study from The Journal of Sex Research, 45.6% of people fantasize about one or more “non-normal” behaviors. That means close to a majority of us are interested in kink.

In his 2018 book, Tell Me What You Want, Justin Lehmiller surveyed over 4,000 people to determine what kinks were most popular amongst the general public. These were the top seven kinks:
  1. Multipartner sex – orgies, threesomes
  2. Rough sex – BDSM, bondage, spanking, shame play
  3. Variety or adventure sex - doing something new or changing the usual setting
  4. “Forbidden” sex – this is a wide-ranging list including voyeurism and exhibitionism
  5. Passionate fantasies – according to his study, most fantasies did not include emotionless sex
  6. Partner sharing – polyamory, cuckolding, swinging, and open-relationships
  7. Erotic flexibility – also referred to as “gender-bending,” entails pushing the boundaries of one’s usual sexual orientation, cross-dressing, switching gender roles, and more

But what do kinks say about a person?

While kink development does play into identity development, your sexual preferences or interests don’t inherently say anything about your character.

There is a line between the healthy exploration of kinky interests and sexual violence, crimes, disorders, and more. If all parties are of-age and consenting, then there is likely no cause for alarm (though, it’s important to understand the full depth of consent and establish boundaries with all those involved).

There are times when exploring your “kinks” is indeed never appropriate. For example, with pedophilia, necrophelia, or any other practice that leads to the unwelcome harm of another.

However, there are billions of people healthily exploring kinks all over the world – living happy lives and in functional relationships. While some kinks might seem to suggest a penchant for violence, partaking in BDSM, Sadomasochism, etc. doesn’t necessarily mean that you are anything aside from a sexually self-aware person.

In fact, some studies have suggested that those who embrace their kinks may actually have better mental health.


You’re probably not as “out-there” as you think.

There are a hundreds–if not thousands–of different kink communities out there to be a part of. In addition to the kinks we listed earlier, other communities can be found for nearly every interest. For example, many people have interests in trying out adult baby play, paranormal fantasies, puppy play, tickling, sensation play (using ice or heat), urophilia (sex involving urine), sex dolls, and much, much more.

If you’re looking for a way to enter into those communities – or to find even just a partner or two interested in the same things you are – it’s easier than ever!

There are several dating/hookup apps for those who want to explore specific interests: KINKSTR, Whiplr, KNKI, and more. Finding the right community for you is just a few clicks away!

If you already have a partner, there are also many apps that you can share with them or ways to open up discussion on exploring your interests together – a topic we will delve into more in the future.

How do kinks develop?

Samuel Hughes, a psychological researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz, conducted significant research in this field.

His efforts identified five stages of kink identity development:
  1. “Early Encounters” – (ages 1-10) People start developing their future kinks based on early interests. For example, enjoying being caught while playing cops and robbers, or being absorbed in certain television genres. These are usually not sexual feelings.
  2. “Exploration with Self” – ( ages 5-14) People begin to explore their sexual interests on their own via fantasizing, masturbating, etc.
  3. “Evaluation” – (ages 11-14) The identity of self is often developing fully while, at the same time, an internal evaluation of sexual interests and kinks is taking place. As Hughes says, “It can involve feeling stigma over their kink interests, feeling generally different, realizing that not all of their peers share their interests, worrying there might be something wrong with them.”
  4. “Finding Others” – (ages 11+) This stage of kink identity development is when people often begin to discover and connect with a community of others who share the same interests as you.
  5. “Exploration with Others” – (ages 18+) Exploration of kinks with others is the final stage, and where people often feel as though they have fully embraced their kinks and where they may move past the stigma they once felt.

Hughes explains the importance of these identified stages in saying: “Failure to overcome stigma, and especially internalizing that stigma, can lead to anxiety, depression, and suicidality. Studying the identity development of kinky people can help us to better understand how kinky people develop resilience in the face of (the) world.”

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

However, it’s also very possible to develop new kinks throughout your life. Certified Sex Coach Gigi Engle explains in her article for Dame that, “Kinks can develop through simply trying something new and realizing that you really like it. It can also be developed via conditioning, where something eventually triggers a sexual desire out of repetition.”

What we’re reading:

If you’re looking to dive deeper into the wonderful world of kink, then we suggest you check out Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Navigating and Exploring the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities by Lee Harrington and Mollena Williams.

In their book, Harrington and Williams offer important questions to ask yourself prior to exploring the kink community, events you might want to attend in the kink community, how to honor relationships while exploring interests, etiquette in the kink community, and so much more.


Writing prompt:

As I review Hughes’ five stages of kink, do I recognize anything in myself mentioned in the stages?
This voluntary monthly prompt invites you to explore your sexual biography.
Tips on exploring this:
Set aside 20 minutes with your phone on silent and relax yourself in a comfortable space with a pen and paper. Go slow. Start with what comes to mind from your first read of the prompt. Continue writing your stream of consciousness.

Researching our sexual biographies:

Do you consider yourself to have a kink?
Yes          No
Each month we ask a question in support of our leading mission at My Sex Bio. As we grow we plan to help fund and supply research for sex education. The results of these questions may be shared on social media as well as the following month’s newsletter. These results will also help curate relevant content for our readers, like you, moving forward. Responses are voluntary and anonymous.
—The MY SEX BIO Team
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