An Overview of Kinky Sex

“Kink” is loosely defined as anything outside normal sexual activity. What is considered “kinky” or unconventional is often subjective and informed by cultural norms, thus, there is no universal definition of kink. In this article, we will identify kinky sex based on cultural norms in the United States; however, we acknowledge that every individual has their own definition of kink. Additionally, kinky sex, though uncommon, is completely normal and healthy so long as it occurs between consenting adults.


What is Kinky Sex?

Kinky sex is a broad term that encapsulates all unconventional sexual behaviors.1 Such behaviors include anything that is typically considered outside the realm of traditional sexual activity. Kinky sex can range from incorporating a few extra moves into one’s already-existing sex life to kink communities and apps specifically designed for people with kinky sexual preferences. 2 There are countless forms of sexual expression that could be considered kinks; however, this article will focus on the most popular types of kinky sex.


Kink Communities

Kinky sex is open to all gender identities and sexual orientations. Individuals with kinky sexual preferences typically represent a minority in society, thus, they tend to form social groups based on their unique preferences.1 Many of these groups rely on online social networking in order to meet other individuals with similar kinks.2 Alternatively, fetish and kink social networking sites can serve as online support groups, bringing together a minority group that is often judged by society.2 These communities are categorized by their individual sexual preferences and range in popularity.


BDSM, an acronym for bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism, is the most commonform of kinky sex. BDSM consists of practices ranging from light bondage and erotic spanking to advanced suspension bondage and electrostimulation (applying small electrical currents to the body for the purposes of sexual pleasure).1 Common BDSM behaviors also include blindfolding, dirty talking, teasing, hair pulling, biting, whipping, and choking.1 To learn more about BDSM, click here.


Fetishism is a type of sexual pleasure in which an inanimate object or body part elicits sexual arousal. Fetishes are considered as a type of paraphilia (condition characterized by abnormal sexual desires). The most common objects of fetishism are clothing, specific body parts (feet, armpits, etc.), fabrics, uniforms, and bodily fluids.1 Fetishes are typically healthy, but they can become problematic when a person is so focused on their fetishistic desires that it impedes their relations with their partner or other people, disrupts their everyday life, or causes them mental distress. To learn more about fetishism, click here.

Group Sex

Group sex is a type of sexual activity that involves the sexual interactions between three or more people at the same time. Group sex can range from a threesome involving three participants to an orgy involving four or more participants. Group sex is open to people of all genders, sexual identities, and orientations. More people are beginning to enjoy group sex as an exciting alternative to sex with only one other person, and there are even phone applications specifically designed to coordinate group sex meetups.3 To learn more about group sex, click here.



Swinging involves partners in a committed relationship engaging in sexual activities with another couple. Swinging introduces variety and novelty into a relationship through new sexual partners without damaging the relationship with an affair.4 Some of the benefits reported by swingers include increased quality of sex, more frequent sex, more possibility for experimentation, and more fulfillment of fantasies. To learn more about swinging, click here.

Furry Fandom

A “furry” is a person who dresses in an animal costume that has human-like features.5 Participants in the furry community are extremely diverse in gender and sexual identities; however, furries share the common enjoyment of dressing in a head-to-toe costume and portraying a hybrid animal with human emotions and characteristics. The furry fandom can be sexual or non-sexual. In the sexual realm, furries tend to be very accepting and non-judgmental. All sexual orientations are represented and it is very common for the furry fandom to include LGBTQ individuals.4 To learn more about the furry fandom, click here.

Adult Babies

Adult babies are people who enjoy acting like a baby for both sexual or non-sexual pleasure.6 Those who feel sexual pleasure from acting as an adult baby report enjoying the submissive quality of being infantilized or enjoying the tactile qualities of baby clothes, diapers, and other materials.6 It is important to note that people in the adult baby community have no interest in contact with actual children; rather, they enjoy the act of being a child and having another consenting adult play the role of guardian.


Kink Behaviors

Kinky sexual behaviors are defined as any sexual practice that is outside the norm of conventional sexual activity. Some of these behaviors also fall under BDSM or fetishistic activity; however, many individuals enjoy these sexual acts without identifying as part of a larger kink community.

Role Play

Role play involves acting out a scenario and playing a role outside of one’s self during a sexual encounter. Many typical role play scenarios involve taboo sexual relationships that are not generally accepted by society, such as doctor/patient, teacher/student, and boss/employee interactions.1 Role play allows people to live out their fantasies and experience sex from a different perspective. It also provides new variation of one’s typical sexual routine. To learn more about role play, click here.

Anal Play

Anal play, though growing in popularity, is still considered somewhat taboo and kinky. Analplay ranges from oral-anal sex, or analingus, to fully penetrative anal sex. In the past, anal play was primarily considered a male homosexual practice; however, it is increasing in popularity among heterosexual and lesbian couples as well.7


Pegging is a sexual practice involving a female wearing a strap-on dildo and anally penetrating her partner, male or female. Just like females, heterosexual males can obtain a lot of pleasure, excitement, and enjoyment from anal sex. Pegging remains one of the kinkier forms of anal play, mostly because some men worry about the stigma associated with anal sex being a traditionally homosexual act. Anal play can provide variety and excitement to one’s sex life. To learn more about anal play, click here.

Sex Toys

Sex toys come in many different forms and can be a fun and pleasurable addition toconventional sex. Sex toys can be used solo or with a partner, and can enhance feelings of arousal and climax. The most common types of sex toys are dildos and vibrators.8 Sex toys such as these can enhance pleasurable feelings for both males and females, leading to a higher quality of sex. To learn more about sex toys, click here.


Kinky Sex for Beginners

Kinky sex can be intimidating to those who have never tried it before. Many feel it is too extreme or they fear being discriminated against due to the stigma surrounding kinky sex.9 One of the most appealing parts of kinky sex is how much variety and range there is. A person can experiment with light spanking, biting, and role playing, or they can fully emerge themselves into a kink community or BDSM relationship. Regardless of the level and type of kinky sex one is interested in, here are a few guidelines to make kinky sex enjoyable and safe for all participants:10

  1. Communicate with your sexual partner. A couple’s sex life is one of the most intimate components of a romantic relationship, thus, it is important to make sure you and your partner understand each other’s sexual preferences before trying something new. Be open and honest about your preferences and listen to your partner when they do the same. To learn more about effective communication, click here.
  2. Explore ideas together. Try to incorporate both your and your partner’s fantasies into your experimentation. This will allow both partners to feel equal as you determine what type of sexual experimentation you try together.
  3. Set boundaries. Understand your and your partner’s limits before you start experimenting. Set up a safe word that can be used in situations where one partner wants the sexual activity to stop. Setting boundaries and choosing safe words will minimize the risk of you or your partner being physically or emotionally uncomfortable during your experimentation.
  4. Take it slow. Perhaps start by integrating light spanking here and there, or blindfolding one partner. Get comfortable with each new thing you try before moving on to more advanced kinks and sexual scenarios.
  5. Have fun! Experimenting with kink should spice up your sex life in a positive way. You should not try anything that makes you physically or emotionally uncomfortable. You may find that some types of kinky sex are not appealing, while others are extremely exciting and pleasurable. Do not be discouraged; rather, keep trying to find what works best for you and your partner.

Concluding Remarks

Although kinky sex is still considered uncommon, it is growing in popularity as an exciting alternative to conventional sex. The growing appeal of kinky sex is making it easier for members of the kink community to find other people with similar kinks and for people who are unfamiliar with kink to experiment. Regardless of an individual’s preferences, kinky sex is a healthy expression of sexuality.


1. Rehor, Jennifer. Sensual, Erotic, and Sexual Behaviors of Women from the “Kink” Community. Archives of Sexual Behavior: 2015.

2. Fay, Damien. An Exploration of Fetish Social Networks and Communities. Advances in Network Science: 2016.

3. Bergado, Gabe. The Best Apps for Finding a Threesome. Inverse: 2017.

4. Ehrenfeld, Temma. Can Swingers Have a Happy Marriage? Psychology Today: 2012.

5. What Are Furries? Furry Fandom Information Center: 2016.

6. Michelson, Noah. Inside the Misunderstood World of Adult Baby Diaper Lovers. Huffington Post: 2017.

7. Castleman, Michael. Heterosexual Anal Play: Increasingly Popular. Psychology Today: 2010.

8. A Guide to Sex Toys. Society for Human Sexuality: 2004.

9. Wright, Susan. Second National Survey of Violence & Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities. National Coalition for Sexual Freedom: 2008.

10. A 10-Step Beginners Guide to Exploring the Kinky Art of Bondage. YourTango: 2016.

Last Updated: 27 October 2017.