The Fundamentals Series

What qualifies as kink?

While the word kink doesn’t have a clear definition, it’s generally any sexual practice that falls out of convention – commonly considered acts such as loving touch, romantic talk, kissing, vaginal penetration, masturbation, and oral sex. “Kink” itself refers to anything that bends away from that, here are a few categories that commonly fall under the kinky sex umbrella:

  • BDSM. When most people think of kinky sex, they think of BDSM, a four-letter acronym that stands for six different things: Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism. BDSM includes an extremely wide range of activities, from light paddle spanking and dominant/submissive role-playing to bondage parties and pain play.
  • Fantasy and role-playing. One of the most common forms of kinky sex involves creating imagined scenarios. This could be as simple as talking about a fantasy in bed, to as complex as wearing costumes or acting out scenes in front of strangers.
  • Fetishes. One out of four men and women are interested in fetish play, defined as treating a nonsexual object or body part sexually. Common fetishes include the feet and shoes, leather or rubber, pain or sensations.
  • Voyeurism or exhibitionism. Watching someone undress or watching a couple have sex without their knowledge are common voyeur fantasies while having sex in a public place is one form of exhibitionism.
  • Group sex. Threesomes, sex parties, orgies, and more — group sex is any act that involves more than two people.

Keeping kink play fun and safe

Even though kink has a lot of benefits, and even though it can be whatever you and your partner want it to be, there are still a few things you should keep in mind so that your explorations are fun, safe, and positive.

Everything begins with consent

Informed consent isn’t just something that happens before you’re with a new partner, it’s something that should happen before any sex act, especially if you’re trying out kink for the first time. Communication is so important to healthy relationships, but vital when you’re exploring dominant/submissive roles or potentially causing pain.


There are many philosophies for determining what is responsible behaviour and what is acceptable practice to ensure safety and accountability for all participants. Some philosophies focus more on the mindset and the intent of the individuals, while others rely on knowledge and competence in determining what constitutes informed willing participants.

There are many stigmas about BDSM that it is full of danger and abuse, that it is practised by unstable people with no thought to safety or respect. Practices have emerged to provide a guide for creating boundaries and clarity to help ensure a safe way to experience kinks and fetishes, because many carry the risk potential, and because the level of trust and vulnerability required with many aspects of BDSM, abuse and neglect are possible.

The three most commonly practised philosophies are Safe Sane and Consensual (S.S.C), Risk Aware Consensual Kink (R.A.C.K.), and Personal Responsible Informed Consensual Kink (P.R.I.C.K.), each has something of value to consider in ensuring your understanding of how to protect yourself and others participating in BDSM. SSC emphasizes willing participation safely and with a sound state of mind, RACK focuses more on assessment risk through research and clarity, while PRICK directs onus to each participant for assessing their ability to act responsibly.

Many kinksters feel strongly about their personal choice of safety protocols, whether it’s SSC, RACK, or PRICK. This is normally a cause of intense debate and even ridicule. The aim of having a dedicated educational topic for each, SSC, RACK, and PRICK is about learning a little background, some of the pros and cons and/or the advantages or disadvantages of each philosophy. In doing so we will all hopefully gain a deeper understanding of each philosophy individually.

We are not going to tell you which one is the “right one” for you to follow, or the one you currently follow is wrong. It is something that is all about personal choice and personal preference and we should all feel free to choose what works best for us.

Think about and talk about your “hard limits”

Everyone has different limits and boundaries. While being open to new bedroom activities is great, being open about what you don’t want to explore is equally important. Discuss these “hard limits” with your partner openly.

Make sure pain is pleasurable – and without health consequences

A big part of kink is mixing pain and pleasure. While many couples draw the line at light spanking or slapping, those who explore other avenues – such as breast and genital pain – should educate themselves so that they don’t do serious or long-term damage to tissue or nerves.

Aftercare is just as important

When you play and it can get intense, you can feel a great rush of emotions. But as that rush subsides you can suffer a sudden emotional drop. Drop can come in many different forms. Drop is the body’s response to the drop of endorphins in the body after a play session. Most of what you read online are the physical aspects; fatigue, sadness, aches and pains and recovery from marks. There is a more intense side of Drop that gets very little attention because for each person it is different and describing how to recover can take many forms.

The endorphins and other hormones like adrenaline and oxytocin, released during play leave your body in such a way that it takes time to rebuild the balance of hormones in your system. Rebalancing these hormones and taking care of yourself as you deal with any residual impacts to return you to a non-kink state is generally termed aftercare.

It’s also the time to check in with your partner and make sure they’re okay with what just went down.