In human sexuality, kinkiness or kinky (adjective), is a term used to refer to a playful usage of sexual concepts which are overt, accentuated, unambiguously expressive of sexuality. The term derives from the idea of a "bend" (cf. a "kink") in one's sexual behaviour, to contrast such behaviour with "straight" or "narrow" sexual mores and proclivities. The term "kink" has been claimed by some who practice sexual fetishism as a term or synonym for their practices, indicating a range of sexual and sexualistic practices from playful to objectifying and paraphilic.
Kink sexual practices go beyond what are considered conventional sexual practices as a means of heightening the intimacy between sexual partners. Some draw a distinction between "kink" and "fetishism", defining the former as enhancing partner intimacy, and the latter as replacing it. Because of its relation to "normal" sexual boundaries, which themselves vary by time and place, the definition of what is and is not kink varies widely as well.
What is kink? It’s the opposite of plain ol’ vanilla sex, the opposite of doing it in the same position 2.4 times a month, the opposite of just lying back and thinking of England. Kink is dramatic, deliberate, and dirty. When people talk about spicing things up, kink is Tabasco sauce. It’s the kind of extracurricular activity Christian Grey enjoys in the bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by E.L. James, give or take a Red Room of Pain. Being kinky might mean bringing props into the bedroom, it might mean acting out dark fantasies, it might even mean wearing something absolutely ridiculous—but then again, being kinky might just mean using a swear word or two when you’re makin’ lurve.
Most people define kink as anything they’d never do in bed—whether that means dressing up like a puppy dog (complete with collar, leash, and bone-gag) or simply doing it doggy style. Stuffy types will say that kinky means deviant, implying that those who do things a little differently in bed are touched in the head. We prefer the termunconventional—or better yet, creative—implying that those who do things a little differently in bed are just doing things a little differently in bed. When you compare it to the alternative—doing things the same way in bed for the next half century or so, potentially with the same person—who wouldn’t want to get their kink on?
A more technical term for kink is BDSM, which is short for bondage & discipline,domination & submission, and sadism & masochism. In layman’s terms, that includes tying each other up (rope, handcuffs, etc.), dressing up, role-playing, headgames, mindfucks, exploring fantasies, exploring orifices, exploring pain, exchanging power, wearing (p)leather, wearing rubber, wearing spandex, whipping,spanking, paddling, tickling, playing with food (see also sploshing), playing withtemperature, playing doctor (see medical toys)…we could go on (we do, actually—just keep reading: Every bolded word leads to an entry in this encyclopedia of sorts).
Of course, one book couldn’t possibly cover every single fetish out there (that’s what the Internets is for!). You name a body part, inanimate object, substance, or item of clothing, and someone out there has fetishized it. You name an activity, and someone has sexualized it. But while your particular interest or inclination might not be specifically addressed, we hope you’ll at least feel at home in one of the more general entries. You’ve got a thing for Crisco? Then camp out at the sploshing entry. You like to meow? Try animalism. And so on.
The list above might remind you of the things you do in bed, or the things you would like to do in bed, or the things you would never dream of doing in bed, or the things you think nobody should ever do in bed. And these categories are ever shifting—we bet there’s at least one thing that grossed you out a decade or two ago that you now engage in on a regular basis (and if there isn’t, you were either a very kinky teenager or you need to get out more). If this book tempts you to muddle your categories even further, then we’ve done our job—but even if it just gives you a proxy thrill spying on Other People’s Kink, then we’ve done our job, too. Because we’re not here to tell you exactly where you should draw your boundaries—everyone draws theirs in a different place, and what does it matter, so long as we all draw the shades? (And keep things safe, sane, and consensual, of course.) Rather, we just want to remind you that leaving your comfort zone and crossing your own personal boundaries every now and then—wherever they may lie—is one of the best ways to keep things hot ‘n’ heavy. Or at least entertaining.
This book is intended to be a fairly light-hearted introduction to kink, and was written with beginners in mind—beginners who may have had their curiosity piqued by Fifty Shades of Grey and are looking for a little more information, inspiration, and guidance. If that’s the case, you may want to start with all the entries marked with the tie icon (symbolic of the famous woven tie Christian Grey uses to restrain Anastasia Steele)—they will give you a lot more information on all the activities and toys you read about in the famous erotica series. From there, make it a choose-your-own-adventure book by following any bolded words you’re interested in to their own dedicated entry. Or just start at A and don’t stop ‘til you get to Z—or ‘til you’re compelled to try something out with your partner, whichever comes first. If you’d like to purchase any of the accessories we discuss, always go for quality: that means safe materials, ergonomic design, care and cleaning instructions, and warranties. We recommend LELO products throughout this book because their pleasure objects always meet—and exceed—these standards (plus they’re gorgeous to boot!). Encourage your friendly neighborhood sex shop to stock these kinds of well-made products—that way, you’ll boost your sex life and the local economy! (For more shopping advice, see Appendix A at the back of this book.)
But a word of warning: we cover topics E.L. James wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot vibrator, such as watersports and scat play. We know the majority of our readers will never be interested in these things, even if Christian Grey paid them to be. But we’ve included them to help illustrate just how wide the world of sexuality is, maybe open up your mind a little in the process, and—we’ll admit it—give you something bat-shit crazy to talk about at your next cocktail party. As newbies, if none of the entries in the book shock or squick you, then you’ve got stronger stomachs than we do. And if none of the entries crack you up, then you’re better people than we are.
Yes, this book probably won’t be of much use to people already in the BDSM scene, i.e. people who have made kink a lifestyle choice, many of whom tend to take their kink very seriously. (Never let it be said that getting whipped on a weekly basis automatically gives you a thick skin.) But we didn’t set out to earn any awards from the Eulenspiegel Society—those folks have long outgrown this kind of introductory manual. (For more advanced—and more earnest—reading, check out any one of the titles recommended in Appendix C.)
We have nothing against such learned kinksters, bless their assless chaps, we just don’t think that you have to become one of them in order to get a little pervy every now and then. You also don’t have to be a former theater major to get into role-playing, you don’t have to use the “official” lingo if you’re bad at second languages, you don’t have to wear a gimp suit if you’re more the fleece hoodie type, you don’t have to join an online support group for your fetish of choice, you don’t have to like pain to enjoy a light spanking, you don’t need baggage to like being dominated, and you don’t have to embrace goth style to appreciate vampirism (that said, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus is a seriously good soundtrack for kink). But if you do do any of the above, that’s cool, too. After all, how will you know for sure you don’t like something unless you try it?
But before you try something kinky, you need to bone up on it, as it were—because many kinky endeavors are dangerous if not done correctly. Yes, there is a wrong way to have sex, especially when it comes to BDSM. And the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy certainly doesn’t spell it out for you. So while our book is far from comprehensive (you’re not going to be able to wield a 12-foot bullwhip after reading it, so don’t even think about it), it will help learn you a naughty trick or two.
Yes, we said “learn.” We know there are purists out there who think that the best sex occurs naturally, spontaneously, and without any props or planning. We say, dry spells occur pretty naturally, too. And if you think the planning spoils the fun, then you’re not doing it right—it’s long-term foreplay, people, not homework! (See communication.) Besides, what’s so unsexy about putting a little effort and forethought into your sex life?
Those same purists also like to claim that kink is just a way to avoid true intimacy. And sure, if you can’t ever get in the mood unless your one-and-only has a ball-gag in place, then we might start to wonder. But as an element of a healthy sex life, exploring your dirtier, darker fantasies with a partner requires a boatload (or a buttload, if that’s your thing) of trust and communication, which can bring you closer than even the most teary-eyed, face-holding, make-up sex. Think of kink as the X-rated version of that trust-falling game they used to make you play at camp. Sure, you could get kinky with a near stranger, but we think that most of the activities in this book are best practiced—or hottest—with a long-term partner (then again, we’re kind of stuffy). After all, you can’t brew a little sadistic hate without its opposite: true wuv (or something like it). And what’s the fun of breaking a taboo if you’re with a stranger who has no idea you just crossed the line? Who’s gonna high-five you?
It comes down to this: We believe that every person’s sex life should contain at least one act they’d never share over brunch or beers—if nothing you currently do makes you blush that much, then keep reading (either that or shut up and let everyone else enjoy their pancakes, would ya?). John Waters once said, “I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty.” In the absence of a vengeful higher power, consider this book a friendly reminder of how dirty sex can be.