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What Is Kinky Sex?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 29, 2021

Kinky sex is a catch-all term for a range of consensual practices -- called kinks -- that include role play, power dynamics, or fetishes. Kinky sex requires direct communication between partners about desires and limits to make sure that it is a pleasurable experience for everyone involved.

Kinks can be simple or complex and include spanking, group sex, polyamory (multiple relationships), costumes, exhibitionism, and voyeurism. You might be interested in one particular kink or several, or you might prefer different experiences depending on the partner.

Kink can often be a way for partners to increase feelings of intimacy. Some activities can be dangerous, though, such as slapping, whipping, or bondage, and require clear understanding between partners about boundaries. It’s important to make sure that any type of kink play prioritizes partners’ safety and comfort. 

What Is the Difference Between Kinky Sex and BDSM?

BDSM is a broad acronym that stands for six components: bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D&S), and sadism & masochism (S&M). This type of sexual practice is about being in control or giving up control. It’s a type of kinky sex, but kinky sex does not necessarily have to involve BDSM. 

Myths and Misconceptions About Kinky Sex

One misconception about kinky sex is that it’s not OK to say no. It’s important to remember that you can always say “no” in any situation. Even if you agreed to something ahead of time, it’s completely fine to change your mind.

Another misconception is that kinky sex involves abuse. Contrary to this thought, kinky sex should not involve any kind of abuse. Instead, it should be an opportunity for partners to build trust with one another.

It’s important to check in often with a partner to make sure that the experience is a positive one.

There are lots of different ways to have kinky sex. It can involve a complex setup and lots of accessories, or it can be very simple. You can do it monogamously (with just one partner), with multiple partners, or by yourself. It’s often defined as sex that’s outside of traditional sexual practices, but that is hard to define.

Kinky sex is perfectly normal. It’s healthy to explore your fantasies in a consensual (mutually agreeable) way. Many people enjoy kinky sex, and it’s no one’s business except the parties involved.

How Kinky Sex Works in Relationships

Make sure to start slow so you don’t get overwhelmed. Talk to your partner beforehand about your expectations. This can be a great way to share your fantasies and desires. 

It’s also important to talk about what you don’t want to happen, especially your specific limits. Some types of kinky sex involve a one-time scene, while others are 24/7, meaning that the partners role-play as dominant and submissive at all times. It’s important to discuss what you’re comfortable with and when to indicate things have gone too far.

How to Explore Kinky Sex (Solo or With Partner)

Begin by educating yourself about how to carry out your desired experience safely. Research ways to minimize risks and have a pleasurable time. There are classes, groups, and meet-ups for people to get to know others in the kink community. 

Pace yourself. You don’t have to buy lots of toys right away. Exploring a kink, especially with a partner, takes time.  

Safety Advice and Special Considerations

The most important thing about any type of kink play is consent. It’s important for partners to talk about their boundaries ahead of time and to establish a safe word for if things go too far. The word should be something you would not usually say in bed.

People should not feel pressured into any kind of sexual act. Kinky sex requires clear communication and trust, and can make you feel closer to your partner.

Aftercare is an important way for partners to bond mentally and physically following an intense sexual experience. This can include discussing reactions they had to the scene, cuddling, hugging, and caring for body parts that may be sore from sex play.

Many sexual activities carry some risk, but erotic asphyxiation (choking) is never safe. It can lead to serious injury or even death.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES: 

BuzzFeed: “25 Facts About BDSM That You Won't Learn In “Fifty Shades Of Grey’.”

Cosmopolitan: “8 Things to Know About Aftercare When You've Just Had BDSM-Style Sex.”

Cosmopolitan: “A beginner’s guide to kinky sex.”

Cosmopolitan: “What is BDSM? An expert guide to BDSM sex for beginners.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “BDSM.”

Psychology Today: “How to Explore Your Sexual Boundaries With Your Partner.”

Psychology Today: “What Is Kink?”

Self: “9 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About BDSM.”

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