Fetishes vs. Kinks: What Is The Difference?

How many times have you thought about fetishes and kinks? A lot I imagine. I have a few kinks, and I’ll be honest, I would sometimes refer to them as fetishes. That is because, until recently, I didn’t see that the terms weren’t interchangeable. It isn’t fetishes and kinks but rather fetishes vs. kinks.

Riding crop, a whip flogger, leather handcuffs and a mouth gag on red satin, kinky sex toys for dom / sub sexual games and other forms of kink

There is a difference between the two, and if you are anything like me, you won’t have twigged that they aren’t the same until just now. So what is the difference, and how can you tell if you have a kink or a fetish?

One and the same?

For so long, people have used the terms fetish and kink interchangeably. They think that they mean the same thing, and so they’ll switch one word for another in order to vary their sentences a little bit. I’ll admit that I have done the same in the past, simply because I didn’t twig.

Often, the terms are used in order to talk about a sexual interest someone has. Typically the sexual interest will be one outside of the norm or not vanilla, and while some are eager to hide their interest, others will proudly proclaim it for all to hear.

I’ve heard people say “I have a kink involving…” or “my fetish is…”. A lot of the time the people using these terms are ones involved in the BDSM community, and so should know the difference. Then again, most of the time we just don’t think about it.

For those who love feet, it can be a fetish or a kink
Original source: Gif Image

Fetishes vs. kinks

It seems that there is definitely a difference between the two terms, and when we think about it, we know that there is. We just don’t realise it a lot of the time… so what is the difference between fetishes vs. kinks?

A kink is a relatively broad term, which is used to describe an alternative sexual interest, fantasy, or preference. It might be BDSM related, but it could also be anything outside of the typical vanilla sex that we have come to see as the ‘norm’.

A fetish is a little more specific. While it refers to an alternative sexual interest, it is a sexual interest that the person finds necessary in order to achieve gratification. They cannot achieve sexual pleasure and gratification without this fetish to help them fulfil it.

Spanking tends to be a kink, but sometimes it becomes a fetish
Original source: Wiffle Gif

Need clarification?

If you still aren’t clear on it, don’t worry. Here’s some examples to help you. For me, I have a kink for a number of different things. I like being tied up. I also like to be the one doing the tying. I enjoy being spanked, watching my partner pleasure themselves, and talking dirty.

These things aren’t, however, necessary for me to feel sexual pleasure. Yes, they feel good, but in order to achieve release and gratification, I don’t need them. They aren’t important to help me get there. This is why they aren’t fetishes.

Someone who really helped me to understand this was Kelsey Borresen of HuffPostUS. She summarised it brilliantly, as you can see below:

“Think of it this way: All fetishes are kinks but not all kinks are fetishes. What might be a kink for one person ― you get turned on by seeing your partner in leather chaps ― could be another person’s fetish.”

Fetishes are great, so be proud of them
Original source: Giphy

Is it a kink or a fetish?

The difference between fetishes vs. kinks is one that most of us have never really considered, but it is definitely there. However, it can be difficult for us to come to terms with whether we have a fetish or a kink.

A large number of the sexual interests I have are kinks. As far as I can tell, I don’t have a particular fetish. I do, however, have a lot of kinks. There are a number of sexual interests I have, but they aren’t necessary for my gratification.

Where do you sit on the scale? Are you firmly in the kink area for most of your interests, or have you a number of fetishes you’d like to talk about? You can tell us about them by leaving a comment below.

Lara Mills
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Lara Mills

Lara Mills is a writer who has four years of sex industry expertise behind her. Since she entered the adult industry, she has worked on the Escort Advertising forums, before moving into her current role three years ago.

Since then she has gained a fine reputation with her blogs on sex advice, sexual health and amusing news stories from around the globe. She is also a campaigner for the rights of sex workers from all over the world.

In her spare time, Lara keeps herself active by going running, and is something of a film buff. She also loves to go travelling.
Lara Mills
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