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The VICE Guide to Kink

Discover your kinks and how to explore them, whether you’re into BDSM, balloons, findom, or feet. - By Gina Tonic

I first discovered kink the same way most people do: From some kid in school sharing a horrific video on their phone during lunchtime. In the years since, clips of people smearing shit on their chests or getting bonked by tentacles—or on special occasions, both—have become simultaneously easier and harder to come across. 

Fetish porn is readily available when you seek it out, with sites like OnlyFans and similar offshoots catering to extremely niche kinks. But stumbling onto a kinky video by accident might happen less often now, with places like Tumblr and TikTok enforcing stricter standards on the kind of sexual content, if any, allowed on their platforms. 

What is kink?

As NYC-based psychotherapist, sex therapist, and BDSM expert Dulcinea Pitagora explains, kink can be generally defined as “any eroticized interaction that falls outside the statistical norm of heteronormative sex”. Exploring kink, even if you’re unsure if you yourself are kinky, “can broaden your horizons, enrich your sexual repertoire, and increase tolerance of others”, they say. Being aware and empathetic to the weird and wonderful ways people have sex will only be beneficial in building more compassion for others—and who knows, you might discover a new way of shagging that you didn’t even know you were interested in.

Where to start? Right here. This list is far from exhaustive, but it hits enough of the big ones to get you started on a deep dive into your dirty side. 

Foot fetish

A kink as old as time, the foot fetish is so mainstream by now that punters on Love Island bring up their toes in their intro videos. Foot fetishes can range from liking a manicured toe in your gob during missionary all the way up to foot worship, where massaging and smelling your partner’s foot gets your rocks off. (You don’t have to be weird about it!)


BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism and refers to engaging in any or all three of these acts. Bondage means being tied—or tying someone else—up. Discipline refers to one partner enforcing rules (usually sexual, sometimes not) onto the other. And sadomasochism covers those that get off on inflicting pain (sadists) and those that get off on the opposite (masochists). Sadomasochism and discipline are typically practiced by those involved in a dom/sub relationship, which brings us to… 

Dom/sub relationship

Dom stands for dominant, sub stands for submissive. In a dom/sub pairing, one person takes on the role of being in charge while the other enjoys being bossed about in all manner of ways. Dom/sub roles are one of the more common kink relationships, with a variation of the dynamic regularly worming its way into pop culture discourse—remember everyone claiming former British PM Liz Truss was a submissive last year?


Cuckolding is, in layman's terms, when a person gets off on watching their partner get shagged by someone else. Dulcinea Pitagora explains that this scenario is usually enjoyable to the cuckold due to the feelings of humiliation. “The most common type of [cuckolding] scene has involved a male cuckold who is sexually aroused by the fantasy or reality of his female partner having sex with another man, usually someone who he considers more virile,” they say. “Any of the partners can be any gender, and this role play happens in queer and trans communities in a variety of configurations.”

Balloon fetish

A looner is the term for someone with a predilection in their privates for balloons, from blowing them up, rubbing them on their bits, to popping the bastards with a loud bang. If you’ve ever felt aroused from any process of playing with balloons, this could be for you.


A spit kink can range from enjoying seeing a sexy girl dribble to wanting to be spat on yourself. If you fancy anything involving excess saliva, you can probably class yourself as a spitter or spittee, the official terms of the spit kink community. This one isn’t always about being degraded—but when it does include humiliation, it can be super hot. Trust me!


If you have a sticker covering the webcam on your laptop, this kink might not be for you. Voyeurism is a pretty simple fetish, where a person is turned on by being watched while engaging in a sexual act or over the idea of watching another person enjoying themselves. It can also be classed as CNC if the scene revolves around the one being watched “not knowing”—with prior negotiated consent, of course—that they’re being peeped at. 

Consensual non-consent (CNC)

Lola Jean, headmistress of the sex education platform Seven Days of Domination, describes consensual non-consent, or CNC, as “an ideally heavily negotiated roleplay that involves a person saying ’no,’ being forced, or some other sort of verbal or physical resistance that the top will purposefully push past. Though there can be the presence of the word ’no’ or ’stop,’ that doesn’t mean there is a lack of communication or signals that can be used to stop a scene.” Couldn’t have put it better myself, so I won’t.

Knismolagnia (tickle fetish)

This one falls under the broader genre of sensation play, and it’s pretty straightforward. If your partner is sporting a stiffy when scratching at you with a feather, it’s not impossible that the act of tickling is what is turning them on. Flutter your fingers in someone’s armpits and see if they get a wide-on. If they do, it’s likely your partner has a tickle fetish


In this variation on the traditional dom/sub relationship, the findom or findomme specifically enjoys having control of their submissive’s finances. You might’ve stumbled across this one online, where the occasional reply guy calls himself a paypig or piggy bank and offers to send out cash to any gal who gets in touch to bully him. Whichever side of the coin you fall on, this one requires boundaries and tact to make sure nobody’s getting ripped off in their quest for fulfillment. 


Sounding is one of those kinks that isn’t as straightforward as the name may lead you to believe—it doesn’t involve ears or noise but rather metal rods of varying sizes being pushed into your wee hole. Lola Jean puts it in a bit more professional terms: “This can be done on vulvas or penises, though is much more dangerous for vulvas due to the limited length of the urethra.” 

It’s also a kink that you should engage in with very high hygiene standards. “Sounding,” she says, “should not be engaged with casually. Using improper or unsterilized equipment can lead to serious infections.” To find out if you’re into sounding or not, Lola Jean recommends getting in touch with a professional sex worker for a lesson on the practice.

Giantess fetish

One of the most popular kinks in recent years, the giantess fetish involves edits and artful angling—and in some corners of the internet, digital drawings—to make women seem a hundred times larger than they are in real life. The horniness is not brought about solely by how big these broads are, however, but rather how puny and small guys are in comparison. Think of it as a physical manifestation of domination, courtesy of fantastical size differences. 

Cock and ball torture (CBT)

This CBT is not to be confused with the kind of therapy that requires worksheets between sessions. Instead, it’s cock and ball torture. From trampling on genitals in stilettos to prodding a prick with a cattle rod, CBT can be anything you want it to be as long as it involves teasing and/or absolutely obliterating someone’s dangly bits.

Role play

Lola Jean and Dulcinea Pitagora consider role play as kink, but both note that not all kink involves role play. While role play encompasses many more specific dynamics under its umbrella, what distinguishes role play from other kinks, as Lola Jea clarifies, is engaging in “a type of play where two or more people embody characters or ‘act out’ pre-negotiated scenarios”. The activities can be sexual in nature, though they do not have to be. Roles can be as classic as dom and sub or more complicated, like puppy and owner, but if you’re pretending to be someone (or something) you aren’t day to day, it counts as role play.

Golden showers

This one is just pissing on someone or being pissed on, be that in the shower, on a rubber-sheeted bed, or in the street. If the thought of getting urinated on—or the opposite—gets you hot and bothered, then this kink is undoubtedly for you. Piss play doesn’t stop short at golden showers either, it can encompass anything from drinking pee to wetting yourself on purpose. If it involves wee wee, you’re in the club. 

Sploshing (food play)

My mam always told me to not waste food, but does it count as squandering a resource if it leads to a big fat orgasm? I don’t think so. Sploshing involves smearing, sitting in, and fucking about with food—usually cake, sometimes chocolate sauce and, in one episode of A Very British Brothel, custard—to cover your or your partner’s body. 

Free use

Free use is somewhat aligned with CNC in that the active enjoyment of this kink is in the refusal of refusing. If you’re into free use, you’re allowing your partner to fuck you when and wherever they like without consulting you first. Of course, this one only really works if you have had a long convo about what you’re looking for and set up your boundaries and safe words first, but other than that it’s a cheeky one if you find possessiveness gives you the horn.

Breeding kink

This one is exactly what it says on the tin, but Dulcinea Pitagora puts it in terms that are far more dignified and detailed. “A breeding kink is typically understood as penetrative sex that involves a male's penis ejaculating inside someone—anally or vaginally—without a condom,” they tell VICE. “The focus of a breeding fetish is internal ejaculation, which is different from an impregnation fetish, where the goal or role play is centered on impregnation or a role play thereof.” 


You know that feeling of strain and yearning when you’re just about to cum? Edging is about getting right up to the precipice of an orgasm and then stopping yourself. Doing this over and over can make the final orgasm feel especially strong, but some people can also get off on the fact that they never reach that end goal. 


From hentai drawings to tentacle dildos, this kink is all about being teased and filled by tendrils from undersea creatures or fantastical beings from outer space. The joy of getting penetrated by an object that isn’t human but is still sentient is a whole industry in itself when you delve deeper into the world of alien eggs and dragon phalluses. But for whatever reason, tentacle kink is one of the most pervasive of exotic probes in pop culture and porn.


A lot of kinks involve particular clothing, but the fan favorite in the world of fetish always ends up being rubber. Rubber enthusiasts love wearing, you guessed it, rubber or latex in traditionally sexy (thongs, bras, chaps, catsuits) and unconventional (blouses, for instance) ways.

Puppy Play

Anyone who’s witnessed a pride parade can recognize pup play from the elaborate masks involved. Especially popular among gay men, puppy play involves a special kind of submission where you are treated and expected to act like a pet dog. From sniffing crotches to eating out of a bowl, get ready to crawl about on all fours if you want to give this one a go. As with all the kinks on this list, pup play can range from really casual—wearing a collar occasionally—to extremes of living 24/7 as a doggy, even sleeping in a cage next to your master’s bed. Whichever way you go about it, I’m sure there’s a comforting feeling to be found in giving up control and autonomy to a loved one to chase tennis balls about instead.

The world of kink is as wild and varied as an encyclopedia—and there’s undoubtedly some queen out there with an actual encyclopedia kink, too. What an admittedly incomplete list like this boils down to is that almost everyone has some sexual proclivity for an act or object that isn’t inherently sexual. And being able to be turned on by a typically unsexual entity or exploit is bloody fab. In a hellish world, finding joy where you can—like feeling fanny flutters from looking into someone’s belly button—is a privilege worth celebrating.


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