Here I explain what kink is, why people might like it, why people might not like it, & how it can be done safely và consensually. Quite a few people have been asking me to lớn write about this.

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Think of this as a general overview. If you want to vì kink you are going khổng lồ need to vì chưng a lot more reading và research than just this article.There are link throughout to other articles here about sex and kink, as well as other resources I would recommend. I’ve included those at the end.

What is kink?

How vày people lượt thích it?

You don’t actually have to vì it

Kink ≠ Sex




Safer BDSM


Most articles about kink are for adults & there’s probably a good reason for that. In order khổng lồ practice kink you need lớn be pretty good at communicating about sexuality related things. You will also need to find other people who are good at this too and who you can trust. This is harder to bởi for younger folk. So although this trang web is for over 14s, I think you need khổng lồ be quite a bit older to vị a lot of this stuff. (Readers here are in their teens and twenties). You will see that it takes a lot of hard work that you just might not be experienced enough to vì chưng yet. Though sadly this is true of a lot of adults too.

This is an explainer. Just as with all sex education, just because I’m explaining it, doesn’t mean I’m encouraging it. There are no sexy pictures below, I’ve tried not to lớn be too graphic, or heavy, và I vì chưng try to make my stupid uncle jokes throughout. Okay, on with the article.

What is kink?

‘Kink’ is a set of pleasurable activities that people choose to vày together that in other contexts are not pleasurable or usual. It’s also often called BDSM. BDSM is now just a general term which applies to activities, or fantasies, or scenes, that involve a consensual exchange of power. Where it’s agreed that one person has more power over another person (for a mix period of time). What these people bởi vì is agreed in advance. It might involve physical control, sensory deprivation, restraint, or pain, humiliation, being told off. All the kinds of things that might usually be deeply unpleasant but in kink can feel wonderful.It’s something that a lot of people just fantasise about.

There’s a lot of overlap with rough sex, but kink is more about creating a scene or a vibe where people play with power. Rough sex is just doing various rough sexual activities together. Anyway, I’ve written about that here.

Often the word ‘vanilla’ is used khổng lồ describe things that are not kink, or kinky. Vanilla is not boring or worse than kink, it’s just not kink.Sometimes kink is used really broadly to define anything that isn’t penis in vagina sex in a monogamous loving relationship. In this article kink is more about activities that can also be called BDSM.

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Or buy my book Can We Talk About Consent? Thank you. Now on with the article.

How bởi people like it?

A lot of people like kink, or have kinky thoughts, desires or fantasies. Perhaps most people at one time in their life. Remember kink is a huge range of things with different levels of intensity. Agreeing to lớn be: tickled, or blindfolded, held down, have pain inflicted, be handcuffed, being told off, called a name, be degraded, chased, or held captive are just some of the thousands và thousands of things people can bởi or fantasise about. A lot of people have thoughts about what they might lượt thích to bởi vì to (or be done by) James Bond for example.

It can be playful, funny, joyous, intense, thrilling, scary (in a good way), and deeply intimate. It can be a safe way for people to feel very intense feelings & experiences. They might laugh, cry, growl, zone out, feel helpless, all powerful, or in pleasurable pain. People who: vì sport, or rock climbing or parkour, watch scary films, or go to lớn theme parks, or loud music gigs, often report some of these same sensations.

So it’s no wonder that a lot of people either vì some khung of kink, or fantasise about it. It’s also very popular because it can really help people khổng lồ figure things out about their non-kink selves too. Whether it’s dealing with past experiences, or thinking about their gender, or sexuality, or just the ability for them khổng lồ experience an incredibly different mindbody experience that they might usually experience in their everyday lives.

It’s not for everyone

However, it is really not for everyone. Some people only lượt thích to vày things with partners that are very mutual, with very small amounts of exchange of power. That’s completely fine and should always be completely fine.

One of the issues that we have in culture is that people think that we should always be extending ourselves và pushing ourselves to vị more. I say no. If anything we should be encouraging each other to vì chưng less. Many people are completely put off from doing BDSM because of having something done to lớn them during sex which was BDSM without their consent.

If you’ve seen Normal People, và more importantly, read my Sex Ed guide to it, you’ll know that Marianne becomes kinkier as the show goes on. Connell was horrified by this. Different people like different things. If you don’t lượt thích kink you shouldn’t shame people who do. Lớn quote feminist anthropologist Gayle Rubin

“Most people find it difficult lớn grasp that whatever they like to bởi sexually will be thoroughly repulsive to someone else, and that whatever repels them sexually will be the most treasured delight of someone, somewhere.”

Gayle Rubin, Thinking Sex, 1984

There is no evidence that people are harmed from kink than from any sexual activity that people vì chưng together. It’s not less consensual, doesn’t cause more emotional harm or mental ill-health. There’s no evidence that people who are into it are ‘damaged’ more or less than anyone else.

You don’t actually have to vì chưng it

A lot of people fantasise about kink but might not be up for actually doing it in real life, either now, or forever. It’s the same as sex, you might have fantasies that you would never want khổng lồ do, or can’t do, but that doesn’t make them any less hot. Fantasising about something is entirely different from doing something.

We live in a culture where we are told that we have to lớn act out our fantasies because of FOMO, but that is total rubbish. It’s important to remember that often when people try khổng lồ put their fantasies into action it’s often rubbish. Fantasies about kink (or kinky things) are really common & it’s totally okay to lớn have them and it’s totally okay not to bởi vì anything about them.

Kink ≠ Sex

Whether kink is sex is up lớn the people doing it, but it’s really important to lớn remember that kink is not sex for everyone. It’s common for people not to lớn experience orgasms, or genital arousal, or ejaculation when they vị kink. Some do, some don’t. There might be a bit of overlap or that they might do things that are more sexual before or after a kink scene. This all means that ace folk (asexual) can & do practice kink or have kink fantasies.

This blurring of kink và sex is fine, but I also think it’s important lớn make it clear which is which sometimes. For example, porn often shows activities which have what a lot of people would consider kink – things like spanking, or choking, or pinning people down or restraining them.

Sometimes they might subtly show how these things are done consensually. So they might say: things lượt thích ‘you want this don’t you’ or they might put their hand on someone’s bum before spanking it. Maybe one of the actors nods their head và establishes eye liên hệ while being restrained or held by the neck. However a lot of the time porn doesn’t clearly show this stuff. Another example of porn not being a great source of education about sex – but you knew that right? Some would argue that this feeds into the cultural view about what sex is, more on this below.


I’ve written about Tops và Bottoms so I don’t want khổng lồ repeat myself too much. In kink and BDSM there is usually some kind of playing with power. It could be that one person plays the role of being in charge (dominant) throughout a whole scene, or the other person is submissive throughout, or you could choose khổng lồ switch. This depends on how you feel about how this fits your personality. But you need khổng lồ talk about this first. How are you going to bởi vì a kink scene if you are both doms, or subs for example? What do you want lớn get out of it?Is there a feeling you want lớn experience during it?

It’s a role

Kink is a way of trying out different ways of doing you in an entirely different context. It’s a bit of a cliche about the ‘high powered politician*’ being a submissive in a kink scene but it does give you an idea of how kink works for some people. If someone spends their time caring for other people all day they might really enjoy spending some time being totally & utterly helpless. Perhaps someone who is hesitant and cautious in their day khổng lồ day might really enjoy feeling all powerful và godlike as a dom.

The most important bit is talking about it though. It has to be as consensual as possible. You’re not playing the role of a nasty growly person if you don’t talk about it first, you are just being a nasty growly person. Even more than that, talking about it makes it happen. To vày kink, or BDSM, is to lớn be intentional and very different, that’s the point. It’s about creating contexts where you are able to bởi things that are not usual. So if you’re not talking about it, are you really doing kink?

(*this is one of the storylines of the TV show Billions – it’s great).


The most important thing about anything we do is that it is consensual. That we are freely choosing to lớn agree to do various things. This is also true for BDSM and kink. Without consent, kink & BDSM is violence and abuse. It is completely different to lớn violence or abuse in relationships which is not agreed to lớn in advance. In the same way that any sexual acts done without consent is sexual violence.

We’ve talked about how with sex there are lots of ‘should stories’, or ‘societal scripts’ of how to do it. You know, kissing, ‘foreplay’, and then entry sex in exactly three different positions until orgasm. Often, instead of talking about what they actually want, people just follow this script. So they have some idea of what is going to lớn happen even if they don’t talk about it.

With kink và BDSM, we don’t have that. It can involve so many things, done in so many different ways, that we can’t just rely on following a script for how it’s done. In my view, we shouldn’t vày that for sex either. Consent và communication is just as important in BDSM as it is in sex. We just that we don’t treat sex and consent as seriously as we should.

Good consensual practice (as I’ve written about a lot on here,oh and in this book) are about paying attention khổng lồ the before, during, & after. This means that (just lượt thích with sex, or watching a film with someone) you need to be able to communicate.


Before you bởi any kink activities with anyone else it’s really important to talk about the things that you want lớn do, what you might want to vày but are unsure about, or the things you definitely don’t want khổng lồ do. Just as I’ve advised you to bởi vì here for if you are working out what kinds of sex you might want khổng lồ do.

Think of all the different kinds of kinky activities you could do and make a list. I think it’s always a good idea to lớn come up with your own, so just wordstorm everything you can think of & write them down, whether you are into it or not. There are lists of kinky activities on the internet you can go & find và there are some good ones here at Love Uncommon.

Some of the broad categories of things khổng lồ think about are how you might like to be/or do:

RestraintPainMarked / markServe / servedDisciplineHumiliationControlled / be controlled

If you vì go googling for things, there might be stuff that you might not like to see or even think about (also there are so many complex names for everything). So you might want to lớn just kiểm tra out the links at Love Uncommon, or use your imagination khổng lồ come up with your own lists.

Working out what you might like

Go through each one và either go tick, question mark, or cross. Or give each one a mark out of 10 from -10 ——— 0 ———— 10+ If you are new khổng lồ kink you might not know exactly what you do want, but you might know what you don’t want.

There might be some things that you know straight away that you don’t want. Things that go on the no các mục could be, anything that you know might trigger a trauma response in you (eg words you might get called), or might make you hyperventilate (eg being tickled), or if there’s a particular part of your body that is off limits. This is also a good point at which you should talk about your needs (which we should all be doing anyway).

When you are doing these before chats it’s also a good idea to lớn talk about what kind of emotional states you might be interested in experiencing. For example, bởi you want to lớn feel elated, afraid, suffering, a release, serving someone, or being served, or the feeling of being intensely cared/caring?


Just as with sex, it’s important to lớn remember that consent needs khổng lồ be on-going and a scene can very quickly go from consensual to non-consensual. So talk about what kinds of communication strategies you are going to lớn rely on during a kink scene. Remember that some of these might not be available lớn you, for example you can’t establish eye contact with someone who is blindfolded. Someone might not be able khổng lồ speak if you have put a rolled up pair of socks in their mouth (clean or dirty, your choice). So you are going lớn have to lớn talk about how you vị on-going communication. Perhaps you might tap each other (like in wrestling, kinky af), or squeeze each others hands?

If you are the person taking control in a scene it’s on you lớn be doing check-ins. So find ways of creating pauses throughout where you stop & ask. You can find ways to vì chưng it in character, you just have to use your imagination.

Slow it down

One thing that often makes kink a little different from sex is that things can be a lot slower. There are often pauses while people arrange each other, or get tied lớn things, or about to lớn be spanked. Rather than ‘killing the mood’ doing these things deliberately can actually increase the tension và the feeling. This also means there’s more room for checking in and doing something consensually.

If you are the dominant one, or the top, you can & should use these moments khổng lồ make sure it’s okay. Using your words lớn explain what’s going khổng lồ happen & why. Or starting off a bit slower or lighter lớn give them a chance lớn get used khổng lồ it. Maybe slowly placing your hand on them very lightly so they know what is going lớn happen next (and can change their mind if they want to).

People get really into safewords, as if this is the only thing to lớn think about when doing kink. Lol. The reason that this is an issue is that for some kink scenes someone saying ‘no’ might be part of it. So if this is likely, you could have another word to lớn communicate, or another mix of words. Red, amber, green is very popular. Red = stop; amber = ease up a bit; green = this is all gravy (sometimes literally). Don’t choose something that might be difficult to say, or remember, like pamplemouse. Also if someone is saying no, and you’re not sure, assume it’s a no until they tell you otherwise. If someone says lớn you that you aren’t allowed to use your safeword, they are doing abuse và not kink.

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This is all going lớn feel really different to lớn a lot of things that you’ve done before. It’s different và you don’t know how it’s going to go exactly. That means there is no excuse not to be doing really good consent work. So either learn khổng lồ get good at this, or don’t vì chưng kink (or anything else for that matter. Don’t. Do. Anything.)


Just lượt thích sex, going on a rollercoaster, eating a Hawaiian pizza, or watching Derby County, kink puts people in a very different mood at the over than when you began. Be really aware of that at the end và allow some time khổng lồ decompress. Things can get really intense when you are playing around with restraint, deprivation, humiliation và power. Make sure that you make time for this at the end and factor that into your timings.