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Kink and BDSM: Is There a Difference?

Tickle.Life Editorial Team  |  Oct 02

Kink and BDSM: Is There a Difference?

Define Kink 

Kink is a broad umbrella term that deals with consensual and non-traditional sexual behavior. Research studies on kink started to happen in the 1970s. In recent years, kink has gained representation in many literary forms. 

When we define kink, it involves showing interest in atypical sexual activities. Some examples of being kinky include erotic role plays, sexual fetishisms, sensations, etc., 

Here, it takes you to a whole other level of headspace, which can be thrilling and exciting. In kink sex play, it includes oral, genital, and anal sex. 

With kink, sex often gets referred to as playing and a session as a scene. When you take part in a kinky activity, you should respect your partner's boundaries and consent.  Here is what Angel Russell, COO of Tickle.Life says about the need for consent.

BDSM/Kink without consent is abuse. When the APA put out the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), they made a clear distinction between mental illness and healthy, valid kink/BDSM activity. That distinction is consent. If you don't have the consent of everyone involved, you don't have BDSM or kink. There are many ways to gain consent (verbal, non-verbal, written, etc.) and they're all important parts of how you negotiate BDSM before doing it, check-in with each other during a scene, and follow up with each other afterwards. The whole process of negotiating and check-in are important to the health and wellbeing of everyone in the scene. 

Besides, all activities related to kink don't involve sex, as it can also be about people leading a different form of life that alters from their day-to-day lifestyle. 

In simple terms, you can divide kink into nine main categories, and BDSM is a part of it. They include:

Impact Play 

While you define kink based on impact play, the focus is on striking your partner during the scene. With impact play, you can satisfy multiple kinks simultaneously. It is because impact play also comes under BDSM and can work well in different role-playing scenarios. 

You can try this out as part of a power exchange while training your partner. When you inflict pain, it will enhance the skin's responsiveness.

With impact play and its examples of being kinky, you can increase pleasure and explore more about yourself. Besides, you can also try impact play as a form of foreplay during your masturbation sessions. Here, it is known as self-spanking or self-flagellation. 

Whenever you engage in impact play, you have to discuss boundaries, safewords, and consent beforehand. Other than that, it is best to avoid taking part in impact play, especially when you are drunk.

Sadism and Masochism

Sadism is when a person acquires pleasure by inflicting pain, and masochism is when a person gets pleasure through pain. Both of them may or may not be the sexual nature of a person. Similarly, there is sadomasochism, which came into prominence in 1916¹. Here, the person will gain pleasure from inflicting and gaining pain.

Besides, it doesn't always have to be a painful act. It can also deal with humiliation and hardships. In most cases, sadism and masochism act as ways to enhance your sexual contact. However, it can be a substitute for the same as well. 

Whenever you plan to engage in kink sex involving sadism and masochism, ensure there is initiation through request and subtle cues. 

Bondage

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Photo by Artem Labunsky on Unsplash

Bondage is part of a power play that focuses on gaining pleasure through control. Here, you can gain pleasure by restricting your partner. However, remember that it has to be consensual, and you have to respect your partner's decision. 

Bondage also stands for the B in BDSM and is a way of acquiring sexual gratification. While engaging in this, the dominant person can use props like handcuffs, ropes, cages, sexual furniture, etc. You can also try this out by holding the hands of the submissive in a particular position.

Cuckolding

Cuckolding is one of the examples of being kinky, where you get aroused from the thought or reality of your partner getting intimate with someone else. As per Dr. Lehmiller², there are two types of cuckolding fantasies, and they are:

  • Voyeuristic cuckolding: It includes fantasizing or watching your partner having sex with another person.
  • Exhibitionistic cuckolding: It refers to the fantasy or reality of your partner viewing you have sex with someone else.

As per a survey study performed by Dr.Lehmiller³, women think more about exhibitionistic cuckolding. And, men prefer voyeuristic cuckolding over the other one. Besides, cuckolding as a kink sex activity has a close relationship with your personality and attachment style with your partner.

Dominance and Submission

As per research study⁴, 51.1% of men and 39.4% of women stated that they were sexually aroused when they were with a dominant/submissive partner. There were 673 respondents in this survey. In a dominant/submissive relationship, there can be a better understanding of what you and your partner want. 

Here, both the partners will be enjoying the power aspect.  But, in sadism and masochism, it is the physical sensation or pain that plays a crucial role. Both partners can switch power from time to time as well in dominance and submission.

Besides, you can bring dominance and submission-based power games into role plays. You can try on different role plays, including teacher and student, doctor and nurse, employer and employee, etc.,

Exhibitionism

Exhibitionism is an example of being kinky, where you acquire sexual arousal with the thought or reality of being seen naked. As per Dr.Lehmiller⁵, you don't require liquid courage to become a true exhibitionist. From a psychological point of view, exhibitionism is about exposing genitals in front of others, especially in a public place. 

However, in reality, there are different types of consensual exhibitionism. It can be situation-based, and you have to ensure that it is safe, sane, and consensual. It is pertinent to look into the legalities of exhibitionism and sex in public in your area. 

Other than that, you can now try exhibitionism by using technology. Here, you can try out skype sex, sexy selfies, and even create short videos. But, you have to ensure safety and also prioritize your comfort level.

Sensory Deprivation

The focus is on taking away one or more senses during kink sex. By doing so, it heightens the pleasure acquired from the other senses in your body. It is a form of sensation play that you can include in BDSM as well. For instance, if you are blindfolding your partner, you can enhance their sense of touch by using props like a feather, hot wax, ice, etc. 

Other than these, you can also try a sense of hearing by prioritizing the dominant's voice. When it comes to the sense of smell, try out scented candles. You can also try out food play, where the focus is on arousing the sense of taste.

Humiliation Play

In humiliation play, another example of being kinky, the focus is on humiliating the partner. However, before you start engaging in it, you should ensure that you have consent from your partner. Besides, there is a need to establish safe words that both of you can use while engaging in humiliation play.

Here, you can try drawing on your partner's body, writing humiliating names, or wearing such clothes. Even though they are punishments, all of them have to be consensual.

Role Play

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Photo by Kamaji Ogino from Pexels

As per a study by Simon Fraser⁶, role plays are the most famous form of sexual kink. You can do it in different ways by using props, costumes, and locations. Rehearsing the scene beforehand can also spice things up for you both. 

During kink sex, you can bring in erotic elements that are sexually arousing for you and your partner. Nowadays, you can give a virtual twist to your role-play sessions. You can try role-playing in chatrooms, video games, and skype calls too.

Define BDSM

BDSM is the abbreviation of bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism. Here, the focus is on power exchange and includes power play. There have been many misconceptions and taboos associated with BDSM. However, as of now, there are several scientific types of research happening concerning BDSM. You can read more on BDSM here.

What is the Difference Between Kink and BDSM?

BDSM is the subset of kink, and the concept of kink varies for each person. In simple terms, kink is a broad category of sex that involves power dynamics. It can be anything that is out of the ordinary for you. However, when it comes to BDSM, power exchange is the main component that comes to play. But, many people use these terms interchangeably.

You can find out about the difference between kink and fetish from here.

References

¹https://grammarist.com/usage/sadism-masochism-and-sadomasochism/ 

²https://www.lehmiller.com/blog/2020/10/12/how-many-women-fantasize-about-cuckolding

³Ibid

⁴https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322963522_Sexual_Arousal_by_Dominance_and_⁵Submissiveness_in_the_General_Population_How_Many_How_Strongly_and_Why

⁵https://www.lehmiller.com/blog/2013/2/27/are-you-an-exhibitionist.html

⁶https://www.thebeaverton.com/2018/03/report-popular-kink-among-millennials-role-playing-couple-owns-house/

Cover image from Pexels


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