kink play for beginners

October 6 is National Kink Day, and here at we’re celebrating by taking a deep dive into kink culture. Curious about the most common kinks? Wondering how to start exploring kink by yourself or with a partner? You’ve come to the right place! Find out everything you need to know with our beginner’s guide to kink play.

The Basics: What Are Sexual Kinks?

In the past, sexual kinks were often a somewhat taboo topic. But in recent years, being kinky has become a sort of badge of honor, proof that you’re experienced in the bedroom and have a refined sexual appetite. The popularity of the Facebook group “Oops, That’s My Kink”, while mostly comprised of tongue-in-cheek memes, is a stark reminder of just how mainstream kinkiness has become. 

Still, though, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what kinks are and are not. A sexual kink is an umbrella term that refers to unconventional sexual practices or fantasies. Because culture is ever-evolving, what falls outside the scope of straight, vanilla, or “normal” sex is in constant flux. For example, while 69ing might have been considered a sexual perversion a few hundred years ago, in the 21st century it’s just another Tuesday (if you’re lucky).

What Is a Fetish? Is It The Same As a Kink?

Fetish, a term often used interchangeably with kink, falls under the kink umbrella but is also technically a separate concept. Fetishes generally refer to very specific requirements an individual must fulfill in order to achieve sexual arousal or orgasm. In essence, all fetishes are kinks, but not all kinks are fetishes.

Ultimate Guide to Kink

Fetishes also often involve a particular object, material, body part, type of person, or behavior. They can range from commonplace (for example, a foot fetish) to obscure or niche, such as climacophilia (a fetish for falling down the stairs—BTW, we don’t necessarily recommend trying this one at home). 

You can learn more about the history of kink, kink theory, and kink in practice by reading The Ultimate Guide to Kink, a book by award-winning author, filmmaker and sex educator Tristan Taormino. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in exploring kink or just learning more about this fascinating facet of human sexuality.

How Do I Find Out What My Kinks Are?

Many people don’t have to go out looking for them—certain personal kinks may become glaringly obvious to the individual over time. Some people report developing a fetish as early as childhood while others don’t stumble upon their kinks until later in life. Others discover satisfying kinks through experimentation and self-exploration.

Others still may find that despite an openness to kink culture, kinks just aren’t for them. There’s nothing wrong with this! Sexual pleasure and proclivities are unique to every individual and may or may not change with time.

A note on safety: Keep in mind that ethical kink practice is rooted in trust, pleasure, and respect. Before you engage in any kink play with a partner, you should always have a serious discussion about topics like hard and soft limits, safewords, and aftercare. Remember, a healthy approach to kink play is one that honors consent, communication, and the emotional and physical well-being of all partners involved.

Exploring Common Kinks

Sometimes, just reading up on certain kinks will provide you with enough—ahem, stimulation—to make you realize it’s something you’d like to explore. For that reason, let’s start with a list of common kinks that just might pique your interest.


BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. While it may sound a little intimidating at first, many people don’t even realize that they themselves have likely dabbled in some light BDSM in the past. 

One study on sexual diversity in the United States found that 30% of surveyed adults enjoy spanking, 22% engage in role playing, 20% like being tied up, and another 13% like to utilize whips or floggers during sex.

Bondage and Discipline

Ouch Beginner's Handcuffs

The key to exploring BDSM is to start small. If the idea of being restrained (or doing the restraining) turns you on, invest in some beginner-friendly bondage tape or a pair of furry handcuffs (a little clichéd, a lot hot). For those with dextrous fingers and a bit of patience, consider reading up on How to Be Knotty, a complete guide to modern rope bondage.  

If you want to experiment with a little bit of everything, you can always invest in an all-inclusive bondage kit. With beginner, intermediate, and advanced kits available, you’re sure to find the one that’s just right for you.

Dominance and Submission

If the power dynamic between dominance and submission are more your style, consider your past experiences. If you’re used to more passive or submissive sexual encounters, think about why that is. Is it because you enjoy being dominated? Is there a part of you that wants to switch up the power dynamic, or do you like the idea of leaning into an even more submissive role? Talk with your partner, establish boundaries and expectations, and work your way up to implements like collars and ball gags or whips and paddles.

Sadism and Masochism

You may be wondering how you can possibly “start small” with something as scary-sounding as sadism and masochism. Here’s the thing, though: it’s not all cock and ball torture (although if that sounds like something you’d be into, we definitely have some recommendations).

The truth is, sadism and masochism can be as mild as hair-pulling during sex, giving hickeys or bites, spanking, or scratching. You even experiment mingling pleasure and pain with toys like nipple clamps or electric stimulators.

Interestingly, sadomasochism can also involve non-physical pain, such as embarrassment or humiliation. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but most experts believe that as long as these practices are consensual and not coerced, they can be a healthy expression of human sexuality. 


Those who have an active imagination or enjoy other forms of non-sexual role playing may be more drawn to this type of kink play. There’s tons of variations, ranging from “the slutty nurse giving you a physical” trope to more...otherworldly interests, such as alien impregnation. 

kink play

If you like visual stimuli, you can always liven up your role play with sexy kinky lingerie or bedroom costumes. Role play is the ultimate chance to explore and act out some of your darkest fantasies (safely) with someone you trust. Pretend to be strangers meeting in a bar, star-crossed lovers reuniting, or a sexy schoolgirl slash French maid who’s also moonlighting as a stripper—no one said it had to be a plausible fantasy.

Need some inspiration? Look no further than The Fantasy Sex Deck: 50 Erotic Role Plays for Adventurous Couples. Each card details a full sexy scenario to act out, plus expert tips for mind-blowing sex.

Fascinations Is Your One-Stop Shop For Kinky Sex Toys

This guide to kinks for beginners is just the tip of the iceberg. Fascinations has so much to offer in the way of kinky literature, fetish apparel, and comprehensive BDSM kits. With the largest selection of quality products in the industry and more than 30 years as a leading retailer of sensual products, rest assured you’ll always find what you’re looking for at

We’re proud to offer free shipping on all orders over $69 and will always ship your items discreetly. See our refund policy for details about returns and exchanges. 

Have questions? Stop by one of our store locations or contact our Customer Service department by calling 866-FUN-LOVE.

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