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Another Guide for the Perplexed (with apologies to Maimonides)


“Sex comes to most of us with a twist.”
―Iris Murdoch, The Nice and the Good

Kink is in the air, whether it shocks you to your core or leaves you wanting more.

Kink is everywhere, in the clothes you dare to wear, the body parts you bare, the language(s) you speak and even the foods you eat.

Kinks of various kinds pervade art, entertainment, media, technology, business, sports, gaming, politics and protest, not to mention human sexuality, romances, relationships and your deepest secret fantasies.

Susan Marilyn Block, Ph.D., Director of the Dr. Susan Block Institute for the Erotic Arts & Sciences.

Personally, I enjoy a variety of kinks (see below), and I often mix them, like tasty spices and saucy sauces, into the main meal of my marriage.

As a sexologist and sex therapist in private practice for over 30 years, as well as a talk show host  and best-selling author who deals with sensitive sexual subjects, I’ve helped thousands of people to accept, express and enjoy their kinky feelings, handle their related problems, and share their kinks and fetishes consensually with fellow adult kinksters, or even with someone new. Very often, helping someone to handle their kink(s) is a gateway to guiding them into a better, healthier, happier life in general.

So… how kinky are you? Do you want to be kinkier? Or maybe not so kinky?

Is your favorite kink an erotic pleasure beyond compare or a deep dark secret you’re afraid to share?

Or is it a complex kinky combo of the two?


The Joy of Kink

Come with me on a fascinating, stimulating, sex educational journey  through the dazzling and powerful, yet often perplexing and hazardous world of kink in history, art, entertainment, relationships, fashion, food, religion, politics, protest, love, war and your brain.

First, let’s define our terms. In conversation, dissertations and pillow talk, people use the word “kink”  to convey a multitude of ideas, objects, turn-ons, turn-offs, activities and fantasies in a million different ways, some of which are “kink-positive,” others negative, and many are very confused.

Virtually any fetish could be considered kinky, though a kink isn’t necessarily a fetish.

So, what does kink mean?

Before the word entered the sexual lexicon, the original meaning of “kink” was—and still is—a “twist,” “bend,” “curve” or “turn,” such as a “kink” in the road or “kinky hair.” The word kink was first recorded in the 1670s as a Dutch nautical term for a twist or knot in a rope, probably related to the Old Icelandic or Norse kikna, meaning “to bend at the knees.”

Over a century later, in 1803, U.S. President and consummate wordsmith Thomas Jefferson took the word “kink” out of the mundane world of ropes and roads and into the psychological realm by writing about a “mental twist, a whim.”

With all those knotty ropes, bent knees and twisted Jeffersonian whims, I’m sure many 19th century individuals *in the know* were saying—or at least whispering—the word “kinky” to describe or at least suggest bent, curvy or twisted sex, as well.

‘Intercourse or Impartial Dealings.’ An American cartoon of 1809 by “Peter Pencil” showing President Thomas Jefferson being robbed by England (King George) and Napoleon as a result of Jefferson’s embargo policy.

After all, an erotic kink is also a twist, curve or turn away from conventional, “straight” and narrow, “vanilla,” penis-in-vagina (PIV) sexual activity between husband and wife for procreational purposes only, under the covers with the lights out. Anything else would be fair game to be designated kinky, and by the mid-20th century, it officially was.

The problem was—and still is—that so many people have such strong disapproving opinions about unconventional sexuality, that they can’t resist imposing negative value judgments on kink… even in dictionaries!

I’ll bet you know people like that.  I certainly do.

As of this writing, defines kink as “bizarre or unconventional sexual preferences or behavior” and the Cambridge Dictionary explains it as “a strange habit, usually of a sexual nature.”

Bizarre? Strange? While these definitions might have some validity—and giggle value (if you’re into poking fun at your own kinks)—they are disdainful and kink-negative.

Sure, some kinks are a little “bizarre,” like my sex therapy client who enjoys getting tarred and feathered, Puritan punishment-style.

Then there’s my ammosexual client who imagines being cuckolded by AR-15-brandishing cartoon characters with even bigger weapons between their legs.

Saran-wrapped kink. Photo: Jux Lii

However, kinks can be as sweet and wholesome as apple pie… especially if your kink is for splosh.

With a hat tip to Alex Comfort, whose Joy of Sex: A Gourmet Guide to Lovemaking was a Bible for the Sexual Revolution of the 1970s, come let us explore the joy of kink.


Need to Work the Kinks Out?

“Girl, you really got me goin’
You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’
Yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can’t sleep at night”
The Kinks

In many definitions, “kink” denotes something that needs to be fixed or straightened out…such as “a kink in your back” (ouch!) or the idea that “we need to work out the kinks.”

That could be true, as The Kinks themselves would sing, your kinks could keep you up all night or get you into trouble.

However, it’s just as possible that exploring your kinks—consensually and responsibly—turns out to be one of the greatest, most exciting, most meaningful, healing, enlightening and therapeutic parts of your life.

Enjoying a little kink with Mo Johnson and Amor Hilton on DrSuzy.Tv. Photo: Jux Lii

It could even work out that nasty kink in your back!

Is a Fetish a Kink?

A kink can be physical or psychological, and usually, it’s both.  The same is true of a sexual fetish, which is a profound, undeniable, erotic desire for something. It can be anything, but not just anything.

A fetish is something special—at least, for the fetishist. It could be for an inanimate object, activity or situation. It could be a yearning for something, perhaps an article of clothing, such as high heels, lingerie, a boot or a burqa; or a body part, like breasts, butts, feet or hair. One could also have a fetish for an activity, like watching, being watched, spanking or being spanked; or a situation, such as a mistress/slave, teacher/student, doctor/patient, seductress/neophyte, goddess/gangbang or cuckold/hotwife/bull relationship.

Some psychologists call this strong, deep-seated, sometimes compulsive, erotic need a “paraphilia,” but that’s medically loaded, so we’ll stick with “fetish” for now.

Whatever the fetish object, activity or situation might be, the fetishist invests great power into it. The fetish object might exude great sexual power for the fetishist, great religious power, or perhaps a mixture of both.

In the classic sense, the sexual fetishist requires the fetish object—or at least, a fantasy of the fetish object—in order to have sex. The male fetishist needs this thing, activity, situation or fantasy to get an erection; he cannot get excited without it, and he may become obsessed with it.

If latex turns you on, it’s a kink. If you need it for orgasm, it’s also a fetish. My Latex Dress: Mademoiselle Ilo.

For the human female, sexual arousal and fetishism are a little more mysterious and difficult to pinpoint. One could say that the female fetishist needs the fetish object to desire or enjoy sex. More often, it seems that human females attempt to excite male fetishistic desire.

So, what’s the difference between a kink and a fetish?

Technically, the term “kink” doesn’t indicate the same intense need as the term “fetish.” Virtually any fetish could be considered kinky, though a kink isn’t necessarily a fetish.

That’s the clinical difference, but in the real world, there’s a lot of overlap, and people often use the terms interchangeably.

Kink can be good, bad or neutral for the individual, the couple and/or society. Usually, I think, kink is good! Read on to find out why…

Are You into Taboo?

“If I tell you
If I tell you now
Will you keep on
Will you keep on loving me?
If I tell you
If I tell you how I feel
Will you keep bringing out the best in me?
You give me the sweetest taboo…
…. There’s a quiet storm
And it never felt this hot before
Giving me something that’s taboo”

Kink can be a little—or a lot—taboo.

It may be as public, legal, harmless and heart-warming as wearing a diamond-studded collar with a heart locket given to you by your beloved spouse.

Nevertheless, there is always a forbidden “Sweetest Taboo,” a transgressive element to kink, something that’s a little (or a lot) “off” the beaten track, with an edge of danger, even if trust is strong and all safety precautions have been taken.


The word taboo stems from the Fijian “tabu,” Polynesian “tapu” and Hawaiian “kapu,” all of which mean “not to be touched.” This is not because the taboo object is gross or dirty, but because it is extremely sacred, a religious object forbidden to the uninitiated.

Interestingly, many such sacred objects were and are phallic in nature, such as a flute, spear, baton or totem pole, or round and vaginal like a bowl, chalice or the Holy Grail.

Of course, these strict prohibitions render the “tabu” very intimidating, but they also make the uninitiated extremely curious and perhaps aroused by touching—or just thinking about touching—that which is taboo.

As the great French mid-20th century erotic philosopher, Georges Bataille, said, “transgression” is a cornerstone of human eroticism. That is, sometimes we’re turned on by something we also find wrong, shameful, humiliating or forbidden.

In Eroticism: Death & Sensuality, Bataille discussed civilized humanity’s ongoing struggle between sensuous pleasure and shame that generates eroticism and, to a certain extent, kink.

Shame is a horrible feeling… [but it] is also an essential component of the forbidden boundaries that we find so exciting to transgress, tease, crisscross, break, spank, overthrow or just throw out the window of inhibition.

A lot of people use the terms “shame” and “guilt” interchangeably. Though they are related, they mean very different things.

You feel guilt when you feel badly about something you did, like cheating, stealing or hurting someone. In many cases, guilt is an appropriate feeling for having done wrong, though we often blow it out of proportion.

You feel shame when you feel badly about who or what you are. Shame is almost never appropriate but, unfortunately, we all know the feeling. Shame is that terrible feeling of self-blame that comes over us like a hot flash of mortification following a perceived failure, or the fear of being disgraced. Unlike guilt, which is usually over something you did recently, shame is most often rooted in childhood trauma. One of the worst aspects of childhood trauma-rooted shame is that it tends to inhibit us—sexually and otherwise—through adulthood.

Goddess Soma Snakeoil embraces Boi after a particularly kinky session on the bondage cross. Photo: Moriah Diamond


So, shame is really bad, right? Well, yes, for the most part, shame is horrible, painful, debilitating, irrational and can lead to harming yourself or others. Lurking fearfully and tearfully among our vast spectrum of emotions, shame can be a monster in penitent’s clothing.

However, as Bataille points out, shame is also an essential component of the forbidden boundaries that we find so exciting to transgress, tease, crisscross, break, spank, overthrow or just throw out the window of inhibition.

Engaging in nonconsensual kinks, like coercive or inappropriate sex, yet channeling those urges through consensual BDSM, is a great way to find that arousing erotic friction, release, adventure and fulfillment.


The consenting adult enjoyment of kink can be a positive, even therapeutic solution to processing childhood trauma as well as everyday problems like stress, anxiety and loneliness, not to mention horniness.

Sexual kinks can cause problems—sometimes big problems, like drug addiction, divorce, crippling shyness, sexual assault and even homicide.

However, if handled with care, they can be the opposite of a problem. Indeed, the consenting adult enjoyment of kink can be a positive, even therapeutic solution to processing childhood trauma as well as everyday issues like stress, anxiety and loneliness, not to mention horniness.

As long as you can handle them responsibly, be grateful for your kinks!


There are as many kinks as there are people.

Actually, there are more, since the majority of kinksters enjoy more than one kink. However, the following are some of the most popular, according to surveys and my own anecdotal (but considerable!) experience as a sex therapist in private practice since 1991, as well as hosting shows and bacchanals celebrating “Kink Month” every October since 2015.

I’ve considered myself kinky since my first Threshold Society play party back in 1989. I was blown away! I only wish I could have read an article like this before I attended that party. Instead, I embarrassed myself by interrupting a scene to ask the smiling, shackled woman at the center of it if she was “all right.” She was. But talk about breaking the mood! Fortunately, she and everyone else there laughed good-naturedly at my naïveté and proceeded to teach me the ways of kink.

Getting a much-deserved spanking (a couple decades later) for rudely interrupting the first Threshold Society scene I ever saw.

Indeed, we can all learn from past mistakes–kinks in the road of life–and hopefully you can learn from some of mine.

If your favorite kink isn’t here, never fear! Check out our “What Can We Talk About?” page, call my show on Saturday nights (626.461.5212) or, if you need to talk privately, call our kink-positive Therapists Without Borders anytime: 213.291.9497.

The ABCs of BDSM

Though there are almost as many different kinks as there are stars in the sky, a lot of them fit under the Big Tent of BDSM, which breaks down to Bondage & Discipline (B&D), Dominance & Submission (D/s); Sadomasochism (SM).

If you want to engage in BDSM play, I recommend you study this ancient, somewhat esoteric practice, preferably with an experienced BDSM practitioner, then start light and gradually ease into more intense activity. Take classes at DomCom (check out DomCon 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) or other BDSM conventions, or splurge on private instruction.

When engaged in responsibly, the safe, sane and consensual (SSC) exploration of BDSM can be an excellent, peaceful yet exciting and very bonoboësque channel for erotic power exchange. A step beyond SSC is RACK: Risk-Aware Consensual Kink.

That may sound like alphabet soup, but SSC RACK can be a way to express violent impulses without hurting anyone, including yourself. It can involve sexual psychodrama, safely and imaginatively releasing aggressive forces that fester in our subconscious, so they don’t explode into destructive behavior.

American Ammosexuality is out of control. The uniforms can be sexy, but keep all real guns and ammo OUT of kink play! Photo: L’Erotique

In our modern militaristic, ammosexual culture, it’s no surprise that many of us have violent fantasies and desires. Of course, acting on these fantasies nonconsensually would be unethical and criminal, not to mention heinous. So… what to do about them?

Complete suppression is usually the only solution on the table, even though it has long been proven to be ineffective and, for many, impossible.

What about BDSM? It’s certainly no panacea, and kinksters can be abusers like anyone else. However, the conscientious practice of safe, sane and consensual BDSM can effectively channel these feelings, even helping to curb domestic violence and perhaps other types of violence as well.

Studies have yet to be done on this subject, but based on over three decades of experience as a sex therapist, a relationship counselor and a kinkster, I say: Yes! Kink can be that healing.

Can conscientious kink practice help to foster conditions for world peace? Considering the chances of WWIII, it’s worth a try. So, on a recent FDR podcast, we sounded the antiwar kinkster’s *battle cry*:


Domination & submission

“There’s a new game
We like to play you see
A game with added reality
You treat me like a dog
Get me down on my knees
We call it master and servant
It’s a lot like life…
Domination’s the name of the game
In bed or in life
They’re both just the same
Except in one you’re fulfilled
At the end of the day
Let’s play master and servant”
Depeche Mode 

Consensual sexual domination—when one partner takes charge and the other voluntarily gives up their power—is a cornerstone of kink, and submission is its flip side. D/s could involve body worship, impact play, bondage, humiliation, sissy maid service a “money slave” relationship or any number of other activities involving power exchange.

This seems like a good time to note that the kinky *games* old Tommy Jefferson played with his longtime sex slave Sally Hemings were wrong because he actually—legally—did own her. We will never know if Sally had a good time with Tom because she was never allowed to make that choice to be with him. Unlike Sally, a consenting adult kinky BDSM “slave” can choose to stop the scene and/or leave any time they want. Their “slavery” is just an illusion (or should be). Nevertheless, it can be very powerful.

It’s also very popular. According to a 2016 study in the Journal of Sex Research, 47% of women and 60% of men fantasized about dominating a partner. A YouGovAmerica study showed that 53% of Americans say that they enjoy dominance or submission, with the most common answer (28%) being that they like being both at different times. About a third (33%) say that they don’t want to be either dominant or submissive, while 14% either don’t know or “prefer not to say.”

Something tells me that those that “don’t know” or “prefer not to say” are the kinkiest of all. My guess is that they enjoy some kind of submission since folks tend to be most embarrassed to admit to that…

Would you be a “slave” to the right Master or Mistress? Photo: Moriah Diamond

It’s funny how ashamed so many of us are of our yearning for sexual surrender; even though, when you think about it, surrender is an essential aspect of orgasm.

However, surrender may be expressed in some seemingly odd and disturbing ways, like humiliation, i.e., being stepped on literally or figuratively, sexually denigrated in some fashion—such as being called a “dirty slut,” “worthless turd,” “pencil-dick,” “piggy bank” or “cum receptacle.”  To an outside observer, this might seem crazy; why would someone get aroused from being degraded and seemingly exploited?

The answer is complicated and varies from person to person. For example, if humiliation is your kink, you might have a sexual anxiety so great—such as fear you’ll be exposed as the horny loser you think you are or that someone will laugh at your penis—that your libido actually floods your bloodstream with arousal to kill the (emotional) pain before it kills you. So yes, your humiliation kink might be saving your life.

Freedom is the greatest aphrodisiac, but restraint is a close second.

Nevertheless, it’s confusing, unnerving and can be very tough to talk about… even though talking about it with someone who cares and understands is often the best thing for you.

If you’re struggling with your own desires for humiliation or other controversial forms of erotic domination, it might benefit you to talk with a therapist, a very knowledgeable dominatrix or another kink professional.

DomCon Mistress/submissive Ritual Photo. Photo: Juan

The Therapists Without Borders at the Dr. Susan Block Institute are experts in these areas, and your confidentiality is guaranteed. Call us anytime you need to talk: 213.291.9497.


Bondage, aka restraint, is a popular kink, and not just because of those kinks in the ropes!

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Freedom is the greatest aphrodisiac, but restraint is a close second.

Satirizing “Enhanced Interrogations” of Kink Supermodel Dita Von Teese in Shibari Rope Bondage (2001)

Besides those eternally kinky ropes (jute being a favorite), types of bondage might include handcuffs, shackles, collars, straightjackets, spreader bars, harnesses or four “50 Shades of Grey” silk ties fastened securely around your wrists and ankles. There’s also psychological bondage. Before engaging in certain types of bondage, you might sign a “binding” contract which, though it lends a certain seriousness to the proceedings, probably wouldn’t hold up in a court of law.

In a typical bondage scene, you might also be blindfolded, hooded, muzzled, dominated, restrained by a ball gag, locked up in a chastity belt, strapped down to a medical examination table, put into a posture collar, led around on a leash, shut up in a cage, zipped into a sleep sack, suspended from the ceiling, put into a sling, turned into a piece of human art with beautiful Japanese Shibari or Kinbaku, tied spread-eagle to a four-poster bed or latched onto a St. Andrews’s Cross while being spanked or flogged.  Then again, for some of us, the kinkiest form of (psychological) bondage is the wedding ring.

For more about bondage and how it can be used for pleasure, adventure, personal discovery and healing therapy, click Bondage Therapy.


“Dick and Jane were on a date
Dicky said it’s getting late
How’s about a little kiss?
Well, Jane grabbed her ankles and said how about this:
Why don’t you smack my bottom?
Smack my bottom!
Won’t you smack my bottom ’till my tiny little heiny glows?”
The Wetspots

To spank means “to strike or slap the buttocks, usually with the palm of the hand,” according to Webster’s. Spankings may be given for real punishment—as in spanking children against their will—or pleasure—as in spanking among consenting adults.

Spanking Nina Hartley with The Bonobo Way. Photo: Jux Lii


Spanking children isn’t kinky; it’s child abuse.

On the other hand, erotic consensual adult spanking is one of the most popular kinks there is, whether or not you were spanked as a child.

The pain-laced pleasures of adult “erotic spanking” range from light slaps on the butt during lovemaking to more formal, over-the-knee (OTK) roleplay to a mistress smacking her naughty slave’s reddened rear within their D/s (dominance and submission) lifestyle.

Ms. C practicing therapeutic impact play. Photo: Ajay

Here at the Institute, we love consenting adult spanking of all kinds, including impact play with whips, floggers, paddles, books (read it or get red from it!) or belts—with or without roleplay.

We certainly do a lot of spanking on DrSuzy.Tv, especially on certain holidays like Spanksgiving, Lupercalia, Krampus, Full Moons, Happy Nude Rear parties, birthdays and all through Kink Month. Not only do many of our shows—from Spanking the tRump Turkey on Spanksgiving to Lupercalian Whipping to A Spankophiliacs Delight (warning: this one includes very hard spanking)—feature impact play, we have created several excellent spanking education resources for you.

Want more? Of course, you do! Click on these links:

Body Part Kinks

Breasts – The most common all-American fetish might be the one so many men—and a lot of women—have for the female chest, perhaps connected to our deep need for nurturance. Find out more about breasts, boobs, nipples, mammaries, lactating, the all-natural bosom vs. surgically enhanced porn star boobs, coitus a mammalia and more—plus what it all means and how it can (seriously!) heal you—under Breast Therapy.

Buttocks – Coming in for a close second as America’s (and the world’s) favorite fetish would be a “nice butt”… but what is “nice”? What’s the bottom line? That depends on the fanny fetishist, their culture and personal taste.  Some “like big butts and [they] cannot lie.” Others prefer cute little buns, a heart-shaped ass, a strong muscular posterior or a soft cushy tushy, a panty-clad bottom or a stripped bare derrière. Some butt-lovers are into anal sex, doggy-style, spanking, squeezing, licking or worshipping that fine behind.

But… what about the person with the “nice” butt? Assuming all is consensual (no pinching without permission!), the bottom is truly the “seat” of human pleasure, physiologically speaking, with lots of touch-responsive nerve endings that are in deliciously close proximity to the genitalia. Since there also tends to be a fair amount of padding down there, it is not so sensitive to consensually administered pain. And yes, a lot of people have a fetish for having their own butt played with! For more about butts, see the Spanking Links above or click on Anal Sex Therapy.

Feet – A kink for feet is a little less common than boobs or buns, but foot fetishists are a passionate bunch. Not that they usually come in bunches, as many are embarrassed to admit to their kink. Nevertheless, once upon a time, here at the Institute, we held fabulous Foot Fetish Salons with massage, tickling, trampling and foot bondage workshops, followed by shrimping cocktails and tequila toe shots, a few of which are featured in our classic Feet for Lovers video.

Playing Footsie on F.D.R. Radio.

For more foot fetish information, try playing footsie with these links:

Ejaculate Male and female ejaculation are normal aspects of sex and climax. Most of us enjoy orgasm, of course—though women squirting is controversial and even banned by some governments that confuse female ejaculate or amrita with urine.

However, some people have an intense fetish for cum (or come). This is one kink that is probably enhanced by frequent porn-viewing—especially in terms of male orgasm or semen—as so much of straight and gay male porn focuses on the “money shot.”  In case you’re wondering why “ejaculate” is in this Body Part section, it’s because just before you shoot, your cum was part of your body.

Medical Kinks

How about “playing doctor”? Are you aroused by giving or receiving a medical exam or other “sexy nurse,” doctor or patient fantasies? These are some of the more common medical kinks, and with hospitals and health workers of all kinds looming large through the Coronapocalypse in our lives and in the media, medical fantasies are more popular—though also more taboo—than ever.


Knowledge is power, and sexual knowledge is sexual power. 

One rather controversial type of medical kink that’s been in the news is the anesthesia or sleep fetish, an offshoot being Sleeping Beauty Syndrome, which actor Bill Cosby was convicted  of engaging in nonconsensually, though that conviction was overturned.

Obviously, pharmaceutical and medical kinks like this can be extremely dangerous when pursued irresponsibly. However, kink-positive therapy and sex education can help you to enjoy them in a safe, sane, consensual manner.

Exhibitionism & Voyeurism

Almost everyone wants to see and/or be seen. These are the driving forces of voyeurism and exhibitionism, as well as the entire entertainment industry (not limited to porn) and social media.

What does it mean to be seen? To be seen is to be immortal, if only for a moment, through the eyes of another. Triumphant. Shining like a star. Recognized. Celebrated. For that moment, you might feel you rule the world. You are an “influencer”—of billions or just one special witness to your wonderfulness. That’s the thrill of exhibitionism.

A Fiery Exhibitionist (the Great Cat Imperio, aka “The Anal Artist”) surrounded by voyeurs. Photo: Jux Lii

What about seeing? To see is to go behind the curtain, to gain knowledge of the taboo, a taste of the apple or the delicious eye (or ear) candy, the euphoria of esoteric awareness.

Knowledge is power, and sexual knowledge is sexual power. No wonder you feel so excited and even powerful when you see someone or something special that turns you on. No wonder we all can appreciate the erotic thrills of voyeurism

We may or may not call ourselves voyeurs. However, at least sometimes, all of us like to watch.


Do you enjoy sex with more than one partner… maybe even at the same time? Are you drawn to threesomes, swinging, orgies, play parties, designer relationships or consensual gangbangs? Perhaps you’re not such a party animal, but you still like sexual variety, preferring polyamory, which means “many loves,” not just many lovers.

Call it communal ecstasy… like you’re at the best concert ever, plus orgasms.

Whether you’re only fantasizing or living the dream, all of these sex and relationship forms could be considered “kinky,” since they are all nonmonogamous. Most human societies around the world promote, endorse and sometimes compel “monogamy”—which has different meanings, but generally entails being sexually exclusive with one person for life—usually the person to whom you’re married.

There’s nothing wrong with monogamy. In fact, for me personally and probably for most people, private couple sex is the most intimate, meaningful kind of sex there is. However, there is also something very special and truly wonderful about the “collective joy” (with a hat tip to Barbara Ehrenreich) of group sex that partner sex simply cannot duplicate. Call it communal ecstasy…like you’re at the best concert ever, plus orgasms.

In a way, nonmonogamy is more natural than monogamy. That’s why so many people cheat!

Bonobos, whose Latin name pan paniscus conveys their affinity for pansexuality (named for the Greek god Pan, Lord of the Wild), are our closest great ape cousins. Along with common chimpanzees (pan troglodyte), bonobos have been practicing consensual nonmonogamy for many thousands of years—at least. Moreover, the bonobo *brand* of nonmonogamy is a cornerstone of their lifestyle, since it is a vital aspect of the bonobos’ ability to make “peace through pleasure” in their communities.

Bacchanalian Orgy in the Womb Room. Photo: Irwin

Do bonobos ever get jealous? Of course, they do. But love is not a zero-sum game for them, and they just have ways to work it out through sex and affections. For instance, among humans and bonobos, the best cure for a lover’s quarrel (as long as it’s not over anything serious) is kinky make-up sex.

Our Great Ape nature is to share our love and lust, yet most of our strictly monogamous human societies denounce pansexuality in all its various forms, sometimes condemning it as “Satanic,” and certainly giving it that taboo quality that can turn any natural erotic feeling into a kink.

Of course, I’m just scratching the surface of pansexuality here, so click on the links with the pansexual kinks that most appeal to you:

Group Sex Therapy
Sex at Dawn” interview with Dr. Christopher Ryan
Ethical Slut” interview with author Janet W. Hardy
American Swing
Multiamory Show
Designer Relationships
Gangbang Sex Therapy
Pansensuality Show
Pan in Lupercalia 2020
Bonobo Nonmonogamy lecture
Bonobo Nonmonogamy journal
#GoBonobos in 2022


“She’s my best friend’s girl
But she used to be mine”
The Cars

Cuckolding is a special kind of pansexual kink, and the cuckold is a very special kind of kinkster.  He (though “cuckqueens” exist, the typical cuckold is a “he”) is sexually aroused by the fantasy or reality of his sexual partner—usually his wife, girlfriend, or a woman he finds attractive, often called a “hotwife”—having sex with another partner, most likely a virile, well-endowed man, called a “bull.”

Cuckolding could be centered on consensual kink—which is usually best for all involved—or it could involve cheating (not recommended). Cuckold fantasies are extremely common; in part, because they are driven by a basic biological phenomenon called “Sperm Wars.”

However, many cuckold fetishists feel torn and fraught with anxiety over being aroused by something so denigrated in society. Ironically, that conflict itself tends to create greater arousal. Like most kinks, it’s best to accept the desire for cuckolding, though it need not always be acted upon in real life.

For more about cuckoldry, click…

More Kinks More Fun

Don’t see your particular kink or fetish listed here? Have no fear! There are many more below, and even more on our “What Can We Talk About?” page.

Listen Up, Class! Photo: L’Erotique

And here’s an even more extensive List of Kinks, as well as here and here, with everything under the sun, including the sun itself, which some people with “actirasy” find arousing. See, it’s not just bikinis that turn on the beach bums.

Gender Fluid Kink

Nowadays, “gender” is a psychologically and politically freighted term. People have strong ideas about what’s right and wrong in all shades of the gender spectrum (who you are)—as well as in terms of sexual orientation (who you like)—and some are fighting hard for their ideas to gain or maintain acceptance. There’s a lot at stake.

Adding erotic fuel to the gender fires, arousal isn’t always politically correct. In fact, it’s often unintentionally the opposite of what you believe is “right,” as part of the excitement of kink lies in its taboo nature and shock value.

True transgender people aren’t necessarily kinky, and their transition isn’t a kink; it’s their life.


Some call it “the best of both worlds.”

On the other hand, there are many folks of all genders who enjoy crossdressing or sissification just for the kink of it. For some, especially the sissies, the more politically incorrect, the kinkier!

On the other side of the equation, there are many folks who have a kink or fetish for lovers who are transgender.

Something about the combination of so-called male and female characteristics drives some sexually people wild.

It’s more popular than you might think, since many trans admirers are embarrassed to talk about it.

It may be politically incorrect to say, but some call it “the best of both worlds.”

Need to talk privately about your trans interests, desires, problems or fantasies? Call our Therapists Without Borders anytime at 213.291.9497. We’re here for you.

Kink in Nature

Humans aren’t the only kinky creatures on the planet. In fact, I often call bonobos the “kinkiest apes on Earth” as they enjoy many of the kinks I’ve described here.

That is, they engage in a variety of consensual erotic behaviors that are not for procreation purposes, or really any *purpose* other than pleasure. Keep in mind that pleasure is a very important, worthy purpose, especially in Bonoboville. That simple exchange of kinky pleasures makes bonobos the Most Peaceful Apes on Earth, never seen killing each other in the wild or captivity. Kink is also the basis for bonobo bisexuality, ecosexuality, bonobo female empowerment, male well-being and bonobos’ penchant for sharing, making them the Most Socialist Apes on Earth, as well.

Does that mean if humans were kinkier, we’d be more peaceful, female-empowered, male-nurturing and egalitarian? Does being consensually kinky mean valuing lust over greed?  I certainly think so, and that’s one of the principles of “releasing your inner bonobo” through practicing The Bonobo Way.

Playing Footsie with Bonobo Lana at the San Diego Zoo. Photo: Theron Marx

Humans and bonobos aren’t the only ones. Many nonhuman animals indulge in kinky activities. Haven’t you ever had a dog hump your leg?

I’m not trying to encourage bestiality (on the contrary), so hold your horses on that notion (then again, Adam Driver as a centaur is pretty hot). I just want you to rest assured that, in general, your kinks are perfectly natural, and we perverted humans aren’t the only kinksters-in-residence on this planet.

Most of nature is quite kinky.

It’s the dirty—as in polluting—aspects of humanity that are the problem… not our kinkiness!

Pro Tip: Just because kink is as natural as any kind of sex doesn’t make it good. If you want kink–or any kind of sex–to be good, you have to learn a thing or too. But then, that’s why you’re reading this!

Kink and Culture

Though the rest of nature is at least as kinky as we are, over the millennia, we humans have put our unique anthropocene spin on kink through our culture, art, architecture, technology and politics.

Viewing a Venus of Willendorf replica at the Erotic Museum in Las Vegas. Photo: Jux Lii

It’s difficult to say just where erotica ends and “regular” art begins—especially “in the beginning.”  Arguably, the first form of human performance art may well have been kinky dancing. The oldest sculpted art piece in the world, the Venus of Willendorf (24,00-22,00 B.C.E.)—big breasts, belly, hair and a distinct vulva, but no face—is pretty kinky. Is it goddess worship or prehistoric objectification or both? Some have even called it a sex toy.

Heresy? Hardly. Many of the most respected artists in history, now enshrined in our most honored museums, including the Vatican (hello kinky Michelangelo), were considered kinky in their day.

Revolutionary art like Picasso’s Cubist Demoiselles of the brothel—as well as fascist, state sanctioned art, like Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will—can be considered kinky, twists and bends in the ropes of tradition that shock and disturb some people, while arousing and inspiring others, and sometimes shocking and arousing at the same time.

Of course, kinks of all kinds can be found in popular music. From the Beatles to Marvin Gaye, Prince, MJ, Depeche Mode, Sade, Cardi B, Lil Nas X and the list goes on, musicians have thrived on kink. And let’s not forget our favorite kinky song, inspired by the Bonobo Way, that you often hear during kinky scenes on DrSuzy.Tv, Carmina Formosa’s “The Kinkster.”

Special mention goes to that great British Invasion band of the 1970s, The Kinks, whose name is the same as this article and whose hit song “Lola,” about a comic-romantic encounter with a crossdresser, would now be considered politically incorrect but back then, was revolutionary, wry and very kink-positive.


 Kinky Fashion

“It will make or break him
so he’s a got to buy the best
cause he’s a
Dedicated Follower of Fashion”
The Kinks

Kink is a huge part of fashion, from the boudoir to the Met Gala to the street.

One of the most popular categories of fetish clothing is “intimate” wear, including lingerie, stockings or pantyhose, panties, high heels, boots, corsets and more. However, any type of fashion can be kinky, such as a latex catsuit, a cowboy hat, a bikini, a nun’s habit, superhero costume—whatever gets you off when you put it on.

The late great Bettie Page was the 1950s icon of fashion kink, an influencer long before there were influencers, setting the tone for many generations to come. Check out my extremely rare 1996 interview with the incomparable Bettie Page.

Program from our 1996 Interview with Bettie Page. Design: Maximillian R. Lobkowicz

Sultry Dita Von Teese, who attended our Bettie Page interview when she was just 19 and who did another interview on DrSuzy.Tv while engaged to the ultra-kinky and controversial rock star, Marilyn Manson, is another paragon of kink fashion.

Texture is as important as style, popular choices being leather (deliciously animalistic, but politically incorrect for animal rights sympathizers), lace (somewhat see-through and oh, so romantic), latex (gives you that slinky second-skin feeling) or nylon (divinely stretchy, semitransparent and nostalgic).

Uniforms are often considered kinky, including military (all branches, but especially sailors), school, athletic, police, firefighter, nurse and the uniformed fashion kinks march on.

Conveying eroticism, beauty, horror, mystery and mastery, as well as concealing the mask wearer’s identity, the mask has been an important part of kinky fashion… since there were masks (going back at least 9,000 years)!

One could say, in a way, masks have always been kinky—twisting and turning the features of the human face to obscure one’s identity or for dramatic effect. As of this writing, with the Coronapocalypse still raging off and on, masks are also protective (as they were against various plagues throughout history). Learn more about kinky, sexy masks in “Masks Are Sexy.”

Some fashion isn’t so obviously kinky—like business suits, chef’s aprons or skating skirts—but kinksters-in-the-know just know.

Very often, kinky clothing connects to another kink, such as adult baby diapers connect to golden showers and mommy fantasies.

We heard Dave Bautista had a kink for strippers, so we surrounded him with several. Photo: Thonix

As in all types of fashion, there are trendsetters. Celebrities contribute a lot to kinky fashion, though they also copy it, from Madonna to Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Miley Cyrus, Kanye, Beyonce and so many more, serviced by subtly (or not so subtly) kinky high-fashion designers like Thierry Mugler, Alexander McQueen and Versace, influenced by underground sex workers, Goth gals and Dominatrices.

Sometimes, kinky celebrity fashion goes beyond boots and masks into kinky emotional territory. As I write this, Kanye West is now the world’s most famous cuckold. Obviously, watching his ex-wife Kim Kardashian dating Pete Davidson is agony for Ye. But as he actively milks it for all it’s worth, blasting his public disgrace all over social and mainstream media, he also appears to be in the throes of a kind of celebrity cuckold’s ecstasy.

Literary Kink

One of the best, most sapiosexual ways to get yourself and/or your partner into a kinky mood is to read something stimulating. But what?

You might be surprised to find that some of the best kinky erotica is in the Bible. Yes indeed, Brothers and Sisters, Lovers and Sinners, sing Hallelujah and open your Old Testament to the Song of Songs and the Book of Esther, both surprisingly sex-positive. For sex-negative kink, consider hanging with the guys in Sodom and Gomorrah.

Anaïs Nin’s Delta of Venus is classic early 20th century erotica, much of it kinky, which the great diarist wrote during the Great Depression for a dollar a page. More emotional and subtly kinky are her famous diaries; read them unexpurgated.

Some of the finest, most taboo, profoundly eloquent and absolutely riveting, literary kink is in the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy (no relation to Bill Cosby’s sleep fetish!) beginning with The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, written by the great Anne Rice (who just passed away) under the kinky pen name of A.N. Roquelaure. Many years ago, before the Interview with the Vampire author got mega-famous, I had the honor of interviewing her for an article I was writing for the San Francisco Bay Guardian about “interesting couples.” Anne’s intensely romantic relationship with her husband, Stan Rice, whom she’d met in high school (and who happened to be my English professor and chairman of the San Francisco State University Master’s degree program), was certainly “interesting.” Though the great author was much more conservative than hippie me, I was very impressed by Anne’s deep love for Stan, as well as her sparkling brilliance, wit, gothic horror stories, and her signature *kinky nun* look—high-collared white lace blouse and black maxi-skirt that matched her bangs crowning her cascades of jet-black hair. A couple years later, when I was just learning about BDSM, a more experienced kinkster turned me on to Anne’s Beauty books, and I was blown away.  A woman of many literary facets, Anne also wrote the famous erotic novel Exit to Eden under the pen name Anne Rampling, though that didn’t have the impact (for me) of her penetrating, no-holds-barred, no topics-off-limits Beauty books.

As I reflect upon Anne’s death (12.11.2021), I feel her Thanatos-enraptured spirit has come home. I also realize that Anne Rice opened an erotic dungeon door for me with her kinky Beauty.  Indeed, Anne and Stan Rice were my role models for a very special kind of wild, creative, romantic but enduring, and rather kinky love, inspiring my own marriage to Capt’n Max.

I’d also recommend the excellent kinky erotica of a few of my favorite DrSuzy.Tv guests: Stan Kent (on Urban Erotica, Pyrophilic Bday Spanking Gangbang, Spring Showers and more) tells a captivating tale of British boarding school impact play, Caning Able, that will make you laugh as it turns you on, and Eden Baylee (on Female Masturbation Education) explores intimate seasonal kink in Spring into Summer. Rachel Kramer Bussel (on Shameless Erotica and Daddy Please!) has penned and edited many great kink books, including Anything for You: Erotica for Kinky Couples, an excellent kink primer for an adventurous duo. Most of Rachel’s marvelous books and anthologies are released by Cleis Press, a major publisher of great kinky erotica and how-to books.

I’ll also mention one kinky mega-bestseller that I didn’t particularly like: 50 Shades of Grey. Due to a confluence of forces, this ultra-poorly written trilogy managed to generate a huge and passionate interest in kink from typically kink-ignorant, conservative, sex-negative and fairly sex-starved, suburban matrons. Despite—or maybe because—it’s so poorly written, it struck a nerve that showed the world at least one, very important, widely overlooked phenomenon: the most unlikely women crave kink.

Need more? Read more…
55 Most Erotic Books
Click for Some of Rachel’s Picks


Cinematic Kink

Films are filled with kink, whether the filmmakers intend for them to be kinky or not. It can be good or bad, light or dark, kink-positive or very negative, and your feelings about it have everything to do with you, your tastes and your desires.

Of course, kink is very popular in porn—to the point you often can’t tell where the porn ends, and the kink begins. The fact that most modern human societies offer very little in the way of explicit sex education leaves pornography as virtually the only alternative. These days, porn is so ubiquitous, it has almost as much effect on our sexuality—positive and negative—as friends, family members and role models. Thus, many people blame what they have been told is their porn “addiction” for their more controversial kinky desires.

Porn might enhance or refine your desire for certain types of kink, but it is hardly ever the root reason you feel that desire.

We can also find plenty of kink in mainstream movies where it is often presented in a negative, misinformed light, but occasionally it is handled with care, sensitivity, humor, wisdom, great artistry and intense eroticism.

Here are just a few select films and TV shows that feature kink(s). Some link to trailers, and others to the entire film. This list is by no means comprehensive or even a “best of,” just a jumping off point for your kinky film-watching endeavors.

 I’d lustily recommend all these movies and many more, but unsurprisingly, I can’t recommend 50 Shades of Grey (2015) any more than the badly written book of the same name… though the slickly produced, rather bland film did introduce some aspects of kink—and, unfortunately, a lot of misinformation about kink relationships—to millions of mostly fresh eyeballs.

That film factoid in and of itself is kinky.

Culinary Kink

Food and sex are two of the most basic, universally needed elements of life. Combine them, and it’s kinky!

Splosh ”n’ Art with Daniele Watts, Chef Belive, Gypsy Bonobo and Jiin Christou. Photo: Zane Bonobo

Here in Bonoboville, splosh is one of our favorite kinks. Check out Dr. Susan Block’s Speakeasy Journal of Splosh ‘n’ Art featuring Daniele Watts, Chef Belive and a big yummy, kinky mess.

Kink and Fantasy

“There is no limit to imagination
I’m into every type of stimulation
Getting kinky is an excitation
I gotta have that kink!”
Carmina Formosa

Fantasy may be reality’s much-maligned stepsibling, but it is a huge part of human consciousness. For better and for worse (mostly worse these days), many people live in fantasy more than reality.

Kinky, vanilla or a multi-flavored combo, your sexuality is fueled by three basic types of fantasy. There are…

1) Fantasies of your past, aka your memories filtered through time…
2) Fantasies of your future, aka your hopes and dreams, and…
3) “Pure” fantasies—wild reveries that never happened and that you never really want to have happen—but which haunt and stimulate you like a kinky parallel universe.

Kinky fantasies rise and fall like waves rippling through your brain—regardless of whether you want them to or not. You may be able to control your actions, including your speech, but you can’t control your thoughts. So don’t make like the “thought police” and bust yourself for your kinky fantasies

You might be able to force yourself to think or not think about a particular subject for a while, perhaps via distracting yourself with something else. You could try not to watch porn. As many experts advise, you could watch a cooking show, go for a walk, do yoga, call a friend, get into gardening, read a book, volunteer at a soup kitchen or maybe go to Church instead.

All of that sounds good, but is any of it really a substitute for sexual fantasy (unless you’re sitting there in the pews fantasizing about your smoking hot minister)?

Sooner or later, you will find your mind wandering back to whatever is playing in the Erotic Theater of Your Mind… which could well be that troublesome fantasy, whatever it might be.

Roleplaying Our Mystical Masked Agwa-Infused Aztec Mystical Ritual Fantasy. Photo: Unscene Abe

Fantasy is not reality; often it’s the opposite. However, sometimes a troublesome fantasy indicates a real-life problem that should be addressed. But what if you feel you can’t talk about it with anyone in your life? Maybe not even with your spouse. Maybe especially not your spouse. Or what if you’ve tried, but they’re not interested—or what if they lashed out at you?

If that’s your situation, you might consider talking with a therapist, someone who won’t judge you and who might be able to help you make sense of your feelings, as well as realize you’re not alone.

Though kinky fantasies can be problematic, they can also provide hidden mental health benefits, killing the pain of trauma and fear with arousal.  Think about it: If erotic fantasies never played in your mind’s multiplex, then your inner horror movies—or just the constant awareness of your own anxiety—could give you a heart attack!

So, be grateful for your kinky fantasies; they are gifts!

Just as your dreams can help you to cope with your real-life problems, so can your fantasies, though they tend to do so when you’re awake. Your kinky fantasies can also be keys that unlock the doors of your repressed personal history.

Sexual fantasies and erotic dreams, especially when accompanied by orgasm and perspective (not necessarily in that order), can help to release the stress and trauma of past abuse, bullying, sickness and suffering. They can also help you relive good sexual memories. However, your fantasies aren’t just about your past. They can also prepare you for the future. Fantasies can be hazy or detailed rehearsals in the erotic theater of the mind for sexual acts you haven’t yet experienced.

Kink is international, non-denominational, and even beyond human; remember, Mother Nature is a kinky MILF.

Your sexual fantasies evolve and change as you do. If they are troublesome in any way, it might be helpful to share them with a sex therapist who can help you to put them in perspective—through discussion, kink-positive roleplay, sexual psychodrama, hypnosis and other techniques—reducing their negative power over you.

For various reasons, many people struggle against their own fantasies. However, fighting fantasies is like fighting ghosts… they’re slippery creatures! Rather than fighting a losing battle, I suggest you find ways to “make friends” with your fantasies— including the kinky ones.

You may not want to act out all your kinky fantasies in real life—and you probably shouldn’t—but you can accept them as very personalized gifts from the Erotic Theater of your Mind, and use them to release stress and come to terms with the many layers of your sexuality.

You might want to explore them over the phone where you can close your eyes and enter the Erotic Theater of the Mind without worrying what you or the person on the other end of the phone looks like or what you’re really doing. Then you can explore your kinks together on the dark fertile ground of your imaginations.

Kink & Politics

Politics and kink have long been intertwined, at least since Caligula made his horse a senator.

And then there was Napoleon’s message to his beloved Cougar Josephine: “I’m coming home. Don’t wash.” The great Bonaparte apparently had a kink for strong, natural, feminine aromas.

In fact, the relationship between kink and politics is much older than that. We can trace its origins to the earliest expressions of religion which, as a general, almost universal rule, tends to ritualistically mix kink with politics, even while solemnly condemning kink as sinful.

Sound confusing? Consider the first book of the Old Testament which has “the Lord,” a supremely sadistic voyeur with a penchant for painful punishments, punishing His naughty children, Adam and Eve, for cavorting with His forbidden phallic Snake and biting into His delicious taboo apples that then magically make them feel both horny and ashamed. Then they have sex and cover their nakedness with those fetishistic fig leaves, ruining God’s Original All-Nude All-the-Time Floor Show.

Looking at the Judeo-Christian human origin story this way—which may be kind of funny, but isn’t such a stretch—you could say that all of humanity’s kinky desires stem from God the Father’s original, unreasonable and eternal abuse of His Children (us).

God fingers Adam from a Heavenly Orgy of Angels (that suggest the outline of the human brain). Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo. 1508-1512

No wonder we have a chronic epidemic of sexual harm inflicted upon the young by the clergy… who are, at least in the Catholic faith, expected to be celibate. Talk about kinky—as in twisted!

From the Biblical to the historical, kink has always been political. As the sapiosexual folks at Karada House say, “Kink does not exist in a vacuum… it cannot be separated from politics, history and lived experiences.”

That doesn’t necessarily make kink more or less liberal or conservative, Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Socialist. It doesn’t make kink Abrahamic, Asiatic or atheistic. Kink is international, non-denominational, and even beyond human; remember, Mother Nature is a kinky MILF.

Good kink is a little more narrowly defined, being, above all, consensual.

However, many consensual kink activities are based on nonconsensual forms of domination, torture, gender debasement and trauma practiced by various political and religious groups and individuals. For example, floggers, whips and canes have been used—and are still used—to nonconsensually punish, coerce, hurt, intimidate and dehumanize real prisoners, slaves and nonbelievers.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t thoroughly enjoy a consensual flogging; of course, you should!

However, awareness of an item or activity’s political history adds an important layer of meaning to your kink experience.

At the turn of the 20th century, kink rose to the forefront of politics with the kink-weaponized Starr Report, featuring sex that’s “not sex”—which is actually a great definition for kink!—including teasing, phone sex, oral, a cigar, DNA on a dress and the lasciviously detailed, Puritanically-driven impeachment of President Billy Jeff Clinton.

Some political activists use kink to entice an audience and make a point. For instance, a topless FEMEN protestor, with the words “God is a Woman” written on her bare chest, grabbed the baby Jesus from the Saint Peter’s Square Nativity scene before a Vatican cop stopped her, inadvertently becoming a player in her kinky political theater scene.

Kink and sex in general can be a leaky business, especially when combined with politics, so one should always be prepared to either plug that leak or go with the flow.

Another great example is my longtime friend and DrSuzy.Tv guest, Mistress Tara Indiana, who ran for President in 2016 on the Female Supremacy Party ticket, promising to “whip America back into shape, one middle-aged white man at a time.”

When she lost that election to Trump, Mistress Tara formed a FemDom collective called “Dominatrixes Against Donald trump” (D.A.D.), aka “Women Who Pee Standing,” to “highlight the hypocrisy, injustice and double standard that’s applied to sex workers and the politicians that hire them. A Dominatrix who pees on Trump can be sent to jail, while Trump can pay to be peed on and he gets to be President.”

D.A.D. did a very kinky political performance art piece on DrSuzy.Tv, spanking and humiliating a Trump surrogate, forcing him onto his knees to take it from behind and then onto his back where several of us squatted over him to give him the golden showers referenced by the Steele Dossier.

I ran my own kinky U.S. Presidential campaign back in 1992 (on the Block Party ticket, of course) and was Vice Presidential running mate to the late great kinky political poet Frank Moore’s 2008 U.S. Presidential Campaign. Much of my own writing combines kink and politics, especially my post-911 Terror Journals and other Counterpunch articles.

Obviously, I’m very open about my own kinks, but most people prefer to keep their kinks private, and I strongly believe in the right to that privacy.  However… what can you do if and when your secret kinks are leaked by a political rival in the middle of your election campaign?

You could lie and deny like Trump, or maybe tell the truth, like Manhattan City Council candidate Zack Weiner who bravely copped to his kink. It may have cost him the election (though he was already behind… so to speak), but fellow kinksters—many of whom are also voters—will always honor his honesty.

Kink and sex in general can be a leaky business, especially when combined with politics, so one should always be prepared to either plug that leak or go with the flow.

Kink, Trauma and Pathology

Trauma and kink might seem to be diametrically opposed, but they are very much related, as we discussed in our fantasy section. Trauma can contribute to a desire for kink, and caring consensual kink can help to heal past traumas.

First, to be clear, being kinky itself is not a sign of trauma, nor does enjoying fetishes or BDSM imply a pathology or psychological disorder. A Journal of Sexual Medicine study of the Psychological Characteristics of BDSM Practitioners concluded that “BDSM may be thought of as a recreational leisure, rather than the expression of psychopathological processes.”

“Though mental health providers have historically pathologized kinky behavior as ‘Sexual Sadism and Sexual Masochism Disorders,’” according to the Gender and Sexuality Therapy Center’s Healing From Sexual Trauma Through Kink, “there is research that shows people who practice BDSM are less neurotic, more extroverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive, and have higher subjective well-being than non-kinky people. A similar U.S. study found BDSM-identified couples reported less stress as well as increased intimacy following play.”

Over the years, many kink-positive sexologists have helped to slowly remove the stigma of pathology attached to BDSM and other fetishes, but Charles A. Moser, MD, PhD, stands out. Dr. Moser’s “research on kink and his contribution of over 100 scholarly articles over 45 years, most on alternative sexualities, created an evidence-based conversation in psychiatry that coincided with the social changes that have made de-pathologizing kink an intellectually credible effort,” writes Russell Stambaugh, an award-winning sexologist and clinical psychologist who has also made significant contributions to the study and normalization of kink.

Though kink itself is not pathological, the desire for kink is sometimes tied to childhood abuse, early illnesses and accidents, relationship issues, problematic family dynamics, domestic violence, humiliation, schoolyard bullying and other forms of trauma. These kink-fueling traumatic events often occur in childhood when we are most vulnerable and impressionable, but you can also contract PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) leading to kinky desires from being involved in war, occupation, poverty, inequities, climate catastrophe, the pandemic and more.

In this crazy, mixed up, “civilized” world, many are trauma survivors, and some of us are kinksters. Some of us even utilize our kinks to heal the pain of trauma, transforming it into erotic pleasure, restoration and inspiration.

To learn more about the many fascinating intersections of trauma, kink and therapy, check out Trauma Shrink and FemDom Kink, or just continue reading.

Kink Therapy

Since kink is not usually pathological (well, not unless you’re Jeffrey Dahmer), can it be therapeutic? Can practicing consensual kink actually help to heal trauma?

In a way, this entire article is about the therapeutic benefits of kink. The science behind kink therapy is rarely discussed due to the traditional sexual squeamishness of Western medicine, particularly as practiced in the good old Puritanical U.S.A.

Yet the evidence is clear. Biochemically speaking, we know that pleasure is a painkiller (see above). When your kinky psyche associates arousal with the experience of consensual, expected pain (no sucker-punches please!), endorphins rush into your bloodstream, and the pleasure—or even just the anticipation of pleasure—helps you to handle the pain… at least to a point.

When arousal is in the driver’s seat and pleasure is riding shotgun, then pain—both physical and psychological—is forced to take a backseat. In fact, a little bit of consensual pain—or maybe a lot (if you’re a “pain slut”)—tends to heighten the pleasure.  Spanking and other forms of impact play are especially effective, cathartic forms of therapy, as Russian studies have shown, along with our own anecdotal research conducted here at the Block Institute.

Why would someone who was beaten as a child find it healing to be spanked as an adult? The bottom line is consent. A child cannot and likely would not consent to being beaten. But the consenting adult might find that a structured spanking with clear boundaries from someone for whom they feel both lust and trust gives them a cathartic, therapeutic release they can’t get from just talking about it.

Kink can heal the body and mind in a multitude of manners—from relieving stress to building confidence, dissipating depression, reducing painful shyness and working through past trauma.

However, it’s important to note that involvement in kink can also create its own trauma, even among consenting adults, as we’ve seen in recent news stories about celebrity kinksters stepping over the line and into abuse. Best to tread lightly and take it slow, using—and respecting— “safe words,” as you go.

Kink-Positive Therapists Without Borders

“That Puritanical shame still prevails
Cause when the Puritans came all they built were jails.
But we’re living in a modern society
And we can all afford to be a bit more kinky.”
Rose Kelso

As kink becomes increasingly accepted into the mainstream, more and more forms of therapy are emerging that address it in a healthy way. Kink-positive sex therapy can help individuals deconstruct their past traumas, learn to identify and explore ways to release fears and feelings of shame, as well as truly embrace their always-evolving sexuality.

Whether you need serious psychotherapy to investigate the origins of your kink(s) and/or the best way to handle them or you’d prefer to just enjoy a fun kinky fantasy roleplay—or a combination—our kink-positive Therapists Without Borders here at the Dr. Susan Block Institute are some of the best in the world.

You can experience your kink therapy session via webcam, phone or text anytime you like 24 hours a day. In-person sessions are also available, though our physical facility is temporarily closed due to pandemic concerns. However, we are always open to talk with you!

Need to talk about a kink that you can’t talk about anywhere else? You can talk to us. Call anytime: 213.291.9497. We’re here for YOU… and your kink(s).

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© February 7. 2022 Susan Block, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Dr. Suzy,” is a world renowned LA sex therapist, author of The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure and horny housewife, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels. For speaking engagements, call 626-461-5950. Editorial Assistance on this article provided by Adriana Gomez-Weston and Crysta Swindell.


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  • Virgin Phone Sex Therapy
  • Erotic Retreat for Couples at Villa Bonobo in LA
  • Premature Ejaculation Combat Tips Techniques
  • “The Porn Star Experience”
  • “The Girlfriend Experience”
  • Erotic Theater Therapy: Fantasy Roleplay
  • Secret Sexual Fantasies
  • Bonobo Liberation Therapy
  • Striptease Therapy
  • Religious Sexual Abuse Therapy
  • Sext Therapy
  • Sexual Surrogate Therapy
  • Crossdressing Phone Sex Therapy
  • Tease & Denial Phone Sex Therapy
  • Boot Phone Sex Therapy
  • Dirty Talk Phone Sex Therapy
  • Stockings and Pantyhose Phone Sex Therapy
  • Tickle Fetish Phone Sex Therapy
  • Cheating Phone Sex Therapy
  • Golden Shower Phone Sex Therapy
  • High Heel Phone Sex Therapy
  • Interracial Phone Sex Therapy
  • Group Phone Sex Therapy
  • Domination Phone Sex Therapy
  • Foot Fetish Therapy
  • Squirting World
  • Telephone Sex Therapy For Women Only
  • Taboo Phone Sex Therapy
  • Spanking Phone Sex Therapy
  • Humiliation Phone Sex Therapy
  • Guided Masturbation
  • Fetish Phone Sex Therapy
  • FANTASY ROLEPLAY Phone Sex Therapy
  • Erotic Hypnosis
  • Cuckold Phone Sex Therapy
  • Bi-Curious Phone Sex Therapy
  • Anal Phone Sex Therapy
  • Man 2 Man
  • Medical Fetish Phone Sex Therapy
  • MILF Phone Sex Therapy
  • Mom Phone Sex Therapy
  • Oral Phone Sex Therapy
  • Panties Phone Sex Therapy
  • Premature Ejaculation
  • Sex Addiction Phone Therapy
  • She-Male Phone Sex Therapy
  • Sissy Phone Sex Therapy
  • Anesthesia or Sleep Fetish

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International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality

Therapists Without Borders Since 1991