Kink; what is it?

Written By Mary Collins.

Kink, being kinky or kinkiness is generally described as any unusual sexual acts, fantasies or ideals. The word kink was originally used as it was seen as a “kink” or bend away from the conventional sexual practises, described as straight or vanilla. As what is usual/ expected in bed will vary from culture to culture, the definition of kink and what exactly it entails vary widely.

Most people associate it with things like BDSM, which itself refers to a wide range of activities; BD is Bondage and Discipline, DS is Dominance and Submission, SM is Sadism and Masochism. These are generally considered a bit out there universally, the world of kink is far more widespread than you think. Furries, nappies, choking, foot fetishes, scat (poo), pee, blood, knife play and everything in between. Some people get sexually aroused by stealing, by trees, by watching people freeze, by dead people, and anything else you can possibly think of. With kink, the sky is the limit!


Fetish is used interchangeably with kink now, but technically it means something you strongly prefer to get off with. There is a big difference between liking silk sheets if someone has them and bringing your own set from home.

Paraphilias are strong sexual responses/ arousal to unusual objects/ people/places that goes beyond the threshold of fetish. These are usually extreme (even for kink) and can negatively impact your ability to function.

Scene; a designated time where you “play”, i.e. act in your discussed-and-agreed-upon BDSM roles. For example, you may wear the pants day to day, but in this time limit/ place, your partner is Dominant. (** Anyone, dominant of submissive, can end a scene for whatever reason!)

Aftercare; scenes can be very intense and emotional; aftercare is where you sit down with your partner after a scene and discuss what just happened, how you both feel, what you liked and disliked, and generally come back down to reality.

Soft limit; something someone would consider, and maybe consent to under strict conditions/requirements, e.g. you’re unsure about spanking, but you’ll try it if they don’t hit your back.

Hard limit; something that someone does not and never will consent to. Breaking a hard limit is grounds for ending a scene, or even a relationship.

SSC; safe, sane, consensual

These are the 3 main tenets of any kinky behaviour. Safe; every effort has been made to prevent health risks, and everyone is aware of the risks involved, if any. Sane; activities are undertaken or agreed to while in a good frame of mind (like being drunk means you cannot consent, for example). Consensual; everyone who is there is there because they fully want to be (remember, consent is an enthusiastic yes, not the absence of a no).

Safety word

You may have heard of people using a “safety word”; a safety word is a word you use when you want to stop whatever activity you’re doing. Why not just use no, you ask? If being tickled “against your will” is your fetish, then you’ll probably say no when you’re getting tickled as part of the role play, right? If that’s the case, how will your partner know when you’re acting and when you’re playing? A safe word is usually totally unrelated to sex, Pineapple, for example; if your partner screams “Pineapple!” you immediately stop and check in. Some people use the traffic light system too. Red = stop, orange= slow down/stop/approaching my limit, green = go.


Sometimes kinky fantasies don’t always translate well to real life, and that’s ok. You may love the idea of something, but if the reality isn’t what you imagined, that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. You can always enjoy the fantasy without having to deal with the nitty gritty.

So you think you’re kinky

We live in a culture where sex is everywhere, but no-one teaches us how to talk about it. For many people, talking to your friends about the weirder things you like in bed is uncomfortable, if not outright horrifying. If you can’t even tell your parents you’re not a virgin anymore, how could you imagine telling them you like being hung from the ceiling and whipped? This is where the internet is a great resource. There are several websites and forums that cater to every kink/fetish/paraphilia imaginable (literally, ANYTHING). A great place to start is It’s kinda like Facebook for kinksters. After you can sign up, tick off what you like/ join groups (like facebook) then you can talk to people with similar interests. They even organise meetings, or as they’re referred to in the kink community, munches. There is no sex at a munch; you just meet other people who are also a bit kinky, talk about experiences, get advice, etc. (There are even munches in Cork you can attend, if you join Fetlife and sign up).

Why am I kinky? I just want to be normal

Some people like kink for the same reason some people like blue; you just do. Some people are born that way, some people pick it up along the way, everyone is different. It’s not wrong to like kinky things, even though it may feel that way. If you are having trouble coping with kink- related desires, you can seek out a kink positive therapist, or contact the UCC counselling service at 021 4903565, or at