How To Be Kinky

Want to add a little something extra to your sex life? Try these BDSM sex toys to explore your kinky side!

How To Be Kinky

How To Be Kinky

How To Be Kinky

Updated
September 24, 2019
Medically Reviewed by
4 minute read

Kink” can mean many different things to different people. As a general principle, you can think of kink as encompassing desires, fantasies, and activities that fall outside the boundaries of what is considered “normal” by mainstream culture.

What is kinky sex?

Kinky sex includes role-playing, power exchange (where partners adopt dominant or submissive roles), the use of restraints (bondage) and toys, incorporating pain or other intense sensations, exploring ultra-specific fantasies (sex in a tree, face-sitting, unicorn masks—pretty much anything you can imagine!), and more.


Kink can be elaborate or simple, a fun extra or the main event.

Kink can be elaborate or simple, a fun extra or the main event. If you’re curious about incorporating elements of kink into your sex life—but don’t know where to start—adding toys during sex play can be a fun, low-pressure way to explore. Read on for some suggestions!

How kinky am I?

Some people are totally into kink and enjoy a wide range of kinky activities in their sex life, some people like a little bit from time to time, while others are not interested at all. Your interest in kink can also change over time, you might become more or less interested in kink as you navigate personal and relationship changes. Some partners you might be interested in trying kink with, but not with others, so it can depend on the dynamic with your partner.

What are my kinks?

If you’re just starting to consider kink you might not be sure yet what kinks you’re into - or if you’re even into kink at all. Discovering your kinks can be a fun journey in itself. 

But how do you know what you’re into? Here are five ways to help you discover what kinks you’re interested in (and what you’re not):

  1. Read or listen to erotica with kinky scenes in it
  2. Watch porn that’s a bit kinky
  3. Fantasize about what you could try
  4. Reminisce about things you’ve tried in the past
  5. Browse kinky toys in a sex toy store

Are you getting turned on by the idea of trying any of the things you’ve encountered? Any power dynamics that make your spine tingle? And toys you’d like to get your hands on?

What are some kinks? 

There are so many kinks out there. Basically, if you can think of it it’s probably someone’s kink. So the sky’s the limit. Here are some common kinks:

  • Sensation play
  • Spanking
  • Pain
  • Bondage
  • Power play
  • Role play

Let’s explore each one and the kinds of toys you can try if you want to experiment with this type of kink.

What is sensation play?

One of the simplest—and most effective—ways to add a little “extra” to otherwise routine sex is to focus on sensations and body parts that are often ignored. In an effort to provide maximum pleasure to their partners, many people go straight for the genitals: slowing down and devoting more time and energy elsewhere can stoke sexual tension, enhance sensitivity, and amp up arousal.

Toys for sensation play:

A feather tickler applied to your partner’s chest, butt, or limbs can increase anticipation and help them to surrender to the sensations in their body

A pinwheel can provide a range of sensations, from a light tickle to a firmer prick

A blindfold can heighten awareness of other sensations by temporarily putting the visual part of the brain on pause

Erotic spanking and playing with pain

For many people, “kink” is synonymous with S&M—or sadism and masochism, the enjoyment of inflicting, or receiving, pain. While there’s much more to kink than whips and paddles, toys designed to deliver a judicious jolt can be a lot of fun. Some people find that mild pain can enhance the sexual experience by bringing on an endorphin rush and helping them to be fully present in their bodies.

Impact and pain toys you might be interested in:

A paddle can deliver a satisfying smack to the butt and thighs

A flogger can give a range of sensations, from a gentle “thudding” impact, to a sharp sting 

Nipple clamps can be a wonderful way to inflict pleasurable pain on an erogenous zone; many kinds can be adjusted to provide just the right amount of pressure

What is bondage and power play?

Another core element of kink is power exchange, wherein partners adopt—and sometimes trade-off—dominant and submissive roles. Many people are very turned on by submitting completely to their partner’s desires—or demanding submission from their partner. Bondage, or getting tied up, can be part of this dynamic and is another option for kinky play.

Bondage toys to get you started:

Handcuffs or restraints can provide partial immobility, leading to a sensation of submission and surrender

Chastity devices let you lock down—literally!—your partner’s genitals, putting them under your power

A collar can be a powerful symbol of ownership and control

What is role play?

Taking on a role that’s different than the one you inhabit in your everyday life can bring a powerful sense of liberation, adventure, and fun to your sex life. Many people enjoy playing with professional roles, gender expression, and social expectations to act out fantasies and free themselves from the constraints of “normal” behavior.

Toys you can use to try out role play:

A harness can help you to embody your inner warlock, Valkyrie, or medieval dungeon master

Cat ears or other animal costumes can be a fun way to give voice to your animalistic desires

Sexy lingerie whatever your gender can be a fun way to exaggerate, or subvert, gender norms

Trying Kinky Play With Your Partner

Kink can be fun, satisfying, and empowering. It can encourage closeness and bring new depth to your sex life. As with anything new, however, it is best approached with care, sensitivity, and plenty of discussion.

BLOCK: Kink can be fun, satisfying, and empowering. It can encourage closeness and bring new depth to your sex life. 

If you’re thinking about incorporating kinky play into sex, talk with your partner before, during, and after; listen to their concerns, address your own, and don’t be afraid to slow down or stop if something doesn’t feel good. Particularly when using toys designed to restrain or inflict pain, safety should be your number-one priority: take time to read instructions, use them only as directed, and check in frequently with your partner to avoid injury. 

Although kink encompasses a whole world of experiences and sensations, it doesn’t have to be mysterious or complicated. Feel free to experiment, be silly, use your imagination—and have fun!

E.A. Klein

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

E.A. is a freelance writer who also works at a small nonprofit. As a student of cultural anthropology, she researched and wrote about kink/BDSM, abortion, harm-reduction approaches to substance use in the LGBT community, and cross-cultural understandings of gender, sexuality, and the body. She has designed and implemented a sexual health curriculum for adolescent girls in the developing world and worked in a variety of community health settings. Her writing has appeared in The Establishment, Edible magazine, The Seattle Lesbian, Slog, and elsewhere.

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