What are kinks and fetishes? Where do they come from? Can we get rid of them? Sex coach Dr Lori Bisbey tells all on living with a kink or fetish and how to embrace them.
A kink or fetish is something that is taboo and people have been shamed for them throughout history. Movies like 50 Shade of Grey have told us the people with fetishes are violent, abusive or predatory.
But this is not the case.
Floozy sat down with sex psychologist and host of The Great Sex Experiment, Dr Lori Beth Bisbey, to learn about the reality of what kinks and fetishes really are.
What is a kink?
“A kink is any sexual activity that’s outside of the norm,” said Dr Bisbey. “At one time, oral sex was outside of the norm, so that would have been considered kink. They change depending on time, culture and what’s popular in society.
“It’s mathematics. What are most people doing?”
What is a fetish?
“In psychology and psychiatry, a fetish is something that drives a person’s attraction. It’s something that a person is attracted to or someone or some activity that they cannot have an orgasm without that particular thing present.
“For example, somebody who has a leather fetish, if there is no leather around for them to touch, feel or smell, they would have to fantasise about it in order to have an orgasm. They couldn’t have sex without the fetish object or activity.”
What are the most common fetishes?
Here are some of the most common fetishes according to Dr Bisbey:
- Foot fetishes
- Cross dressing for the purposes of sexual arousal
Are fetishes problematic?
“It may be odd, it may be strange, it may hurt you (not permanently),” said Dr Bisbey. “But as long as it’s consensual it’s not problematic. People have a right to take the risks they want to take.
“The only thing that I label as problematic are where the object of your fetish cant consent and is sentient, or alive. If you have a fetish for a sparkly cup and that needs to be present in the room, it’s not really going to be a problem, but if you are a zoophile (someone who wants to have sex with animals) that’s a problem because the animals can’t consent.”
How common are kinks and fetishes?
Although there are no exact studies on such a taboo topic, Dr Bisbey assumes that roughly 30-50% of the overall population will have a form of kink of fetish.
How do people discover a fetish?
We are sexual beings from the day we are born. We are always discovering our bodies so a lot of things enter our pleasure map. So some kinks and fetishes are accidental things.
They’re often really difficult to figure out where they come from, and it is useless anyway.
“A large portion of the time, you won’t figure it out.”
How could you introduce a kink or fetish to a partner?
If you are already aware of a kink or fetish, you should already be talking about it with your partner at the beginning of the relationship to ensure that you are sexually compatible.
“If you’ve gotten involved with somebody and you’re deeply committed, and you’re deeply in love,” explained Dr Bisbey. “But you’re not sexually compatible, that’s a big, big deal. “If you haven’t brought it up, and you’ve been with the person a while they can feel betrayed, because you haven’t presented all of who you are. Come prepared with information so that you can normalise things for them.”
“If you’re looking to explore a kink, start out by reading erotica, watching porn (remembering that it’s entertainment) and figure out what your responses are and figuring out whether you like it.
You can introduce things to your partner by saying “hey, I was listening to this story, I thought it was kind of cool, what do you think? You can do it in a really subtle way.”
What are the issues for relationships?
Although there is nothing wrong with a fetish, it can cause issues if your partner is not willing to indulge in that same fetish.
This means that you have to fantasise while you’re having sex with your partner, and not present with your partner.
“The sex isn’t going to be as good for either of you,” Dr Bisbey explained. “In those situations, we try and work to see if we can broaden the fetish and also to see how you can find a partner that actually likes the same thing, that’s ideal.
“Or if you’re monogamous and you have a partner who doesn’t, if we can find a part of it that they like, you work with it so that a person can be more present.”
Is there a way to get rid of a fetish?
“There is very little success for treating a fetish. We understand that the intensity of the pleasure that it provides is so immediate and quick that it’s very hard to intervene and for you to not respond.”
Our passion maps are formed when we are quite young through nebulous way and so rewriting your passion map is really hard.
“In an intro session I will ask why. A lot of times it is because they are ashamed and they think its bad. I then explain that it is better to come to terms with it and feel okay with yourself.
“Once you’re okay with it then you can decide to act on it or not, but it’s about being comfortable.”
Dr Bisbey is currently touring in the UK doing Talks about kinks and fetishes. You can find where she is going next here.