Photo by Deon Black on Unsplash


In truth, I must start by saying that when I came to write about this topic, I was faced with the stark fact that I know, very little about it.

Aside from a few online blogs, articles and youtube videos, my formal understanding of sexuality is exceptionally limited. I am not a sex therapist, psychologist or councillor. And as I started to write here, it hit me just how little I actually know.

I think what I will attempt to do here then, is just write with best endeavors based on experience and what research and info I’ve found online. My aim here is anyway, is not to be academic but partly to document my own experiences and anecdotes/experiences with others and to open others minds up to other peoples experiences and just to the idea it’s ok to talk about such things.


I’m a kinky person. I believe I’ve been kinky all my life. However, I’ve spent most of my adult life with a total lack of understanding as to why I am the way I am and with little to no information/support around what it all means. In it’s place I’ve substituted understanding for shame, guilt and fear. I still live “in the closet” about my sexuality on a day to day basis. Nobody in my day to day life, not even my partner knows about my sexual tastes. This isn’t easy and I’ll definitely dedicate time to writing about this separately. I suspect there are probably many people out there like me! You, might be one of them. So I comfort myself a lot with the idea that I’m not alone!

I think it’s this however that has primarily given me a fascination with kinks/fetishes and the “why” around how I got to be the way I am – and how other people got to be the way they are.

On the Origins of Sexual Fetishes and Kinks

Many (I would say most) of us have sexual tastes that we either don’t think much about, or are just a routine part in our sex lives. But if we start to examine these carefully, I think it can be quite interesting.

Why is it she really REALLY likes men with beards?

Why does he only get turned on when she wears stockings during sex?

Why do they like to dress as a baby? Or find it sexually exciting to be treated like a dog?

There are as many fetishes and kinks as you can think of. People literally can see anything from shoes to Islamic terrorism to frustration about Brexit as sexy (yes, I’m not joking about those last two!).

I think the first thing (and the last thing) to say here is that, as far as I can see, sexual kinks/fetishes are generally totally normal. They are also, I believe, very common and not necessarily all a mental illness that needs to be fixed.

So if you take nothing more away from anything I write here at all, it’s to drop the shame and embarrassment as far as possible. Whatever your thing is, as long as it’s not harming you or anyone else (at least not long term!) then really, you should accept yourself and try not to worry about it too much.

We should also, I believe, “cut others some slack” when it comes to their kinks and fetishes. I think we are a far too quick to judge in this area what is “deviant and wrong” and what is “normal” – and this stops conversation.

Unless of course humiliation is your thing? In which case you are a dirty pervert and you should be ashamed of yourself 😉

This was my attempt at a joke. I better move on.

Equally, if you don’t really have any kinks of fetishes – you just like sex with another person, with no “funny business” – that’s totally ok too! The spectrum of human sexuality is absolutely vast and pretty much everything on it is ok. You aren’t “missing something” if there’s nothing special you like. And you aren’t “abnormal” if there’s something you do. We’re (mostly) all good.

Whether you are “kinky” or “vanilla”, I’m going to try and explain here where I believe fetishes/kinks come from in my opinion. I suspect this will be another article that I have to update in future as I learn more.

But whatever the case, hopefully it’ll be an interesting ride at the very least and will serve as a “primer” for other articles I write here on similar topics.

The difference between fetish and kink

I should probably start by just tackling the definitions of these words so we’re on the same page as it were.

Generally it’s accepted that the definition of these two things is very slightly different.

A kink is a strong sexual preference or desire, based on a particular fantasy or object/person/item of clothing etc (or “thing”).

A fetish is a sexual NEED, based on a particular fantasy, object/person/item of clothing etc (or other “thing”).

In other words, a fetish means someone will generally need that thing to get sexually aroused. Without it, sex doesn’t really work for them.

A kink, someone can still get sexually aroused without – but they like it/prefer it and find it enhances their experience.

This is the “online” definition for fetish and kin I’ve come across and to be honest, it doesn’t feel like a brilliant separation to me of the two terms. However, it’s the best I’ve come across so I’ll use it here. I find that lots of the time, the terms are used somewhat interchangeably in conversation anyway.

So why do people have these?

Where kinks/fetishes come from

As with all things psychology, human behaviour and sexuality, there isn’t one nice clear answer here. Also, there seems to be actually quite a limited amount of actual academic research in this area to draw from.

Therefore, let me give you my opinions. These are based on nothing more than my own feelings/thoughts and hanging around internet communities where kinky people coalesce for the last few years if I’m honest but hopefully given the lack of academic info, they may contribute somehow.

Whether someone develops a sexual kink/fetish and what it is, can be influenced by a massive number of factors. Their childhood, the culture they grew up in, their family life and their personality (especially how they react to very emotional events in their life) all play a major role in how a person will also develop in their sexuality. For me, there are four main areas/reasons people have kinks or fetishes although I would accept there may be others of course I’ve not yet figured out.

I will have a go at describing them as best I can.

1. Escaping Reality/Slipping responsibility

Many of us have pressures and stresses in daily life and also responsibility that weighs upon us. I think all of us recognise this and many of us want to find ways of escaping these things. Even if it isn’t conscious – we crave an escape sometimes from the things we have to do. Be it taking care of the family, a stressful job or just the responsibility and weight of being a human in general.

For most people, this is done with hobbies and particularly what I would call “escapist” hobbies. By this I mean hobbies where we leave our world behind for a short time and immerse ourselves in something totally different, where we are something totally different.

The best example I can give you of this is video games. I’ll hold my hands up, I use them for escapism all the time. To forget about the pressures of my job, a couple of hours (at least!) pretending to be a racing driving or the captain of a space freighter really helps!

But there are other things like going to the cinema (especially “experience” cinemas like Secret Cinema), roleplay games (dungeons and dragons) or escape rooms. There are also alcohol and drugs of course too.
Essentially, though, many of us seek anything which lets someone escape the real world for a while, slip into another dimension or BE someone/something else.

Some people just do this with their sexuality instead. It’s the same need and mechanism, it’s just flowing through a different “channel.”

Imagine a senior politician for example, or the CEO of a large business, who like to be sexually submissive. Anecdotally speaking, it seems a common trope? The wealthy businessman who sneaks off behind his wifes back to visit a dominatrix and enjoy all sorts of perversions. Staying with anecdote, we also seem to always portray this as “weakness” or “deviance” and that these people are “weird”, “mentally ill” or unhealthy in some way.

But I actually think, for some of these people, it’s the same thing as slipping off to play video games for a couple of hours?

For the job of a CEO or senior politician is not just a job – it can become a life in itself? There is no clocking out. The boundary between what is job and what is self is blurred. These roles come with power – and with power comes responsibility. And with both come pressure. Often a vast amount.

And so for some people like this, going from having vast amounts of power (and responsibility) to have absolutely no power at all, for a short period of time is relaxing , maybe even therapeutic?

In the same way that drinking a glass of wine and watching a film slows you down from 100mph at the end of the week and lets you escape your reality and pressure, so becoming someones sex slave for a period of time also lets some people escape.

Perhaps consider also, the middle aged guy, or gal – family, kids, the boring grind of day to day life. The spark has gone from marriage. Feeling desired and sexy has been replaced by the day to day monotony of arranging school trips, cleaning up dog hair and the mundane arguments about which energy provider will be best.

Again, such people may want an escape. Just for a short time. To slip off into another world where they ARE desired and where worrying about what time the kids finish school isn’t a concern.

And so escapism I think is a major reason why some people are drawn to kink and fetish.

2. Association (classical conditioning)

Classic conditioning, (or “association” as I call it) is pretty simple to understand and is actually known by a lot of people as a “pavlovian response.”

Essentially it’s where someone learns to associate one thing with another. It can occur at any time of life but is especially common during childhood and teenage years.

Usually the association is a strong positive emotion, often sexual, or arousal with an object or place/situation.

Examples? Perhaps during their early masturbation experience, someone rubs their genitals on a soft toy, either by mistake or deliberately as part of experimentation. Perhaps not knowing what they are doing – they learn to associate the toy with feelings of sexual pleasure/comfort and they are potentially on their way to stuffed toy fetish.

Personally speaking, based on what I’ve seen/experience, I would expect this type of fetish/kink development is probably not that common but I also know from first hand experience its entirely possible.

3. Simulation. Reliving past emotional stress/simulation

This I believe is one of the two biggest reasons people develop kinks/fetishes.

In our lives, things happen to us which are emotionally demanding/unpleasant. It causes what many refer to as “trauma” – essentially, psychological wounds. It’s entirely possible to hurt your brain in the same way you can cut your arm for example and how people react and heal from that hurt can differ massively from person to person.

For some people, generally those who are “divergent” in their thinking , kinks can be a way of dealing with things like this. Through fetish and kink, a person can relive a difficult or traumatic event in their life (or a close association to it) but in a controlled and “simulated” environment, where they can re-explore what happened to them and perhaps, see what would have changed outcomes.

As usual, an example of what I mean is best.

I spoke with Kathryn for a number of months on Twitter. She was my dominatrix for a time – but we also made excellent chat buddies. Kathryn grew up in Canada. We talked about our pasts and she explained to me where her kinks came from.

When she was 18, she got a boyfriend who wasn’t nice to her. He was manipulative and aggressive, often physically threatening her into doing what he wanted. Whats more, he was involved in a crime gang and some drug dealing and occasionally prostitution.

Being 18 and inexperienced, she didn’t know much better and thought this guy was just dangerous and cool and that he’d take care of her. It’s a story of abuse as old as the hills themselves sadly.

One day, he took her to a hotel and she had to go to a room, where there were two men she didn’t know. She was pressured into performing oral sex on one of them whilst the other watched. She was paid for doing it but her “boyfriend” (I don’t think thats the right term, he sounds like a total prick…but anyway…) took some of the money too.

She didn’t want to do it and said so – but he kept telling her she should. And she desperately wanted to please him because she loved him. Not longer after escaping from that abusive relationship she had somewhat of a breakdown and tried to kill herself. Fortunately these days things are alot better for Kathryn and she has settled in the UK with a husband and two children.

She believes (and I think shes right) that her kinks and desires came mostly from that event. She liked to be in charge when having sex – giving her husband instructions on what to do. She also very much liked humiliating men on Twitter and having them give her money for it. But what was most interesting were her fantasies around others watching her have sex.

What Kathryn fantasized the most about when we got down to sexy chat, was having other “slaves” watch her have sex. In this fantasy, she would have sex with her husband but he would be rough with her (grabbing her throat, slapping her legs and pulling her hair) – although she remained in charge of this. And it was all fine just as long as there were people watching – mostly men – who all really lusted after her and desired her and wanted to give her money – but they couldn’t have her. This played into a cuckolding kink for her and was the thing she really found turned her on the most it seemed.

For me, as an armchair psycho-analyser, it seemed fairly clear. Kathryn wanted to relive the time in the hotel in some way. She wanted to be back in a sexually submissive position – as an object- but remain in charge and perhaps run over the event from a slightly different (and safer) perspective?

This “mechanism” however which I believe Kathryn was using, is usually linked to what I believe to be the single biggest reason for kinks and fetishes, particularly those involving humiliation and submission. Indeed, often it’s a case of simulation and the following reason together for the overwhelming majority of people…..

4. Turning a loss into a win

This mechanism is where someone will take something negative emotionally from the past, or something they are worried/upset about now or for the future and turn it into a “win” by sexualising it. It’s very common I believe of negative experiences that happen around the age of adolescence

The examples of this are absolutely endless. Kathryn’s example above likely also involves this but I can think of heaps more examples :-

Event/TriggerCould become…
The teacher at school shamed me in front of the whole class when I was younger and I felt terribleI am actually sexually excited by particular people in authority humiliating me, potentially publicly
The dentist gave me a filling and I was terrified throughout. It hurt but they wouldn’t listen to me complain and I had to be quiet and just get through it.I love medical fetish. Examinations, latex gloves and the smell of disinfectant plus a dominant who wants to experiment on me really turn me on and makes me very horny.
I had a huge crush on a girl at school, I was really in love with her. But when I eventually told her she laughed at me, then told people about what I said and I was bullied and shamed for my feelings. Later she got a boyfriend and I’d see them holding hands. It was very hurtful.I get most aroused by NOT have sex with girls. I like them to call me a loser, humiliate me. I might like to be NOT allowed to have an orgasm when I masturbate or to have to wear a chastity device to stop me from doing so. Far from being upset by this, I actually really like it.
I’m very afraid my country may be overrun by Islam or that I’ll be killed my islamic terrorists. I misunderstand/don’t understand islam and fear that shariah law will be imposed here and I will have to live in a country I don’t like.I am turned on by the idea of having to dress like a muslim women (even though I am a man) and being forced to have submissive sex with muslim men who conform to stereotypes. This isn’t frightening to me, it’s actually really sexy.
The teacher at school ALWAYS made me tidy the shoe rack where the kids put their shoes. They smelled funny and I didn’t like it. The other kids laughed at me that I always had to do it. I was embarrassed.I love womens shoes and feet. They really make me sexually excited, especially if they smell bad. I love nothing more than to kiss them/lick them and I really like other women to laugh at me whilst I do it. It’s embarrassing but it feels really nice.
I’m addicted to pornography and masturbation. I’m ashamed of this. I know my situation and that it isn’t good for me but I don’t know how to get help to recover. I worry people will shame me if they know.Porn and masturbation is my fetish. I’m addicted but its ok because this is my kink. When I think about how I’m not in a health position with it, it just makes me feel more desperate and this makes me even more sexually excited. I’m such a loser for porn and it’s really hot!

These are just very rough examples of how kinks/fetishes MIGHT work for some people, they are not intended to be completely accurate (indeed they can’t be, quite often, each person arrives at their own fetish/kink in their own way) but in each case you can see, a loss is being turned into a win.

Something that was a negative experience (or something thats expected to be) is being turned into a positive one. Through this mechanism, the thing we are afraid of (or that hurt us in the past) can no longer hurt us. We’ve “owned” it, because now we really like it and it brings us pleasure rather than causing us fear. It’s a rewiring of upset, fear, shame, guilt or pain to connect that to something we attach a positive emotion to – lust/sex.

To deviate slightly from kinks, this particular psychological method I find the most fascinating potentially of all things a human mind can do. To really get off track for just one moment, the other place I believe this mechanism can be found is in martyrdom and suicide bombers.

Consider the young Palestinian man who is to attach a bomb to himself and blow himself up on a bus.

In any other form of war, generally, if people from your “team” die, it’s considered a loss. You want to keep people alive. Additionally, suicide, is normally (amongst most peoples) see as negative.

However, in the corrupted version of Islam our young man has been taught, actually, dying like this is a win. Not only will he serve his country and people and be honoured and respected greatly by them but he will also go to heaven and receive great rewards from Allah. To die as a martyr is then not a loss – it’s a win and one that young men should crave.

It might be a bit controversial but I think this is the same psychological mechanism being used – just without sexuality involved.

I would note that, sometimes it can be combinations of the factors mentioned above that play into someones kink/fetish creation. It’s actually very common that 3 and 4 exist together. But I think that any one of these, or a combination, with a person with the right personality type are enough to create fetish and kinks for sexuality.

I find this area as a whole fascinating and look forward to reading and learning a lot more in future about it!