Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting the Kink out of the Fetish

For those who have been following my blog they will remember that I explored the use of toys, BDSM and fetish.  If you missed it, click HERE.

I find that it’s always good to revisit a covered subject from a different angle.  There are two sides to a coin, right?  Well, sometimes there are many ways to answer the same question.

A challenge for reviewers of erotic romances is in describing the content of their reviews when it comes to fetish or kink.

Marion-Webster defines kink as unconventional sexual taste or behavior.

As for fetish, the online dictionary has this to say:
c : an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression
2: a rite or cult of fetish worshipers

Those are the dry versions and strict interpretations and don’t really touch the reality.  All that the websites tell me is the psychology of a fetish.  But humans have taken the term and made it a lifestyle.  Since romance is all about living, loving and a state of being – that of being in love - and erotic romance explores the more graphic side of the bedroom, reviewers need to be aware of the difference.  

In the world of romances that push the envelope and for people who live the BDSM lifestyle, fetish takes on another more intricate and profound layer.  The object or bodily part referred to may be the focus of the moment but it’s a tool, a means to show another level of trust, of need, of experience and heightened sexual awareness – and of the person (the Dom) in charge of meeting that need, feeding that trust and controlling the experience to the benefit of the one being obsessed about (the sub) – there is a huge difference between that and kink.   To that end, toys are used.  As mentioned in the previous post, those toys are intrinsic to the experience and are wielded by a master.  They are not used a few times and forgotten.   They are expected, demanded and part of the whole.  They are part of a consistent pattern, with reward and punishment and the use of spanking, deprivation or overstimulation to enforce the pattern and/or the pleasure.

Kink, on the other hand, dabbles.  The couple or couples in question might do it in an elevator, in the dressing room of a department store, on the boss’s desk when he or she isn’t around or behind bushes where anyone who comes by might hear or even see them. (exhibitionism)  The heightened sexual frenzy from being so “naughty” ramps up the excitement and the protagonists experience the thrill of a lifetime.  The couple might even spy on a foursome engaging  in sex on a balcony in full view (voyeurism) and get really turned on.  They might try a little tying up of the hands with nylons or underwear, or spank a few times and find they like it.  They might even continue spanking on and off, but it’s not their lifestyle.  It’s a choice for the moment, an experiment or an exploration of what they like as a couple.  They aren’t going to suddenly start going to the clubs, buying the jewelry and have those actions and choices dictate to them on the outside world. It’s usually private, singular and just between them.  There is also the significant lack of the Dom/sub component.

 As for voyeurism, they can have perfectly fine sex behind closed doors without the stimulus of watching other people first.  It’s a take it or leave it thing but they certainly can enjoy it – a lot. But it’s still a kink.

Another aspect of kink is getting turned on by women in  F**me pumps,  seeing toes in brightly painted toe polish or seeing a man’s navel or pecs.   It snags their attention and hits their erogenous buttons. Like when a guy wants the woman to wear her 4 inch heels during's because he finds it visually pleasing, stimulating and increases his enjoyment. That’s kink by life’s definition.  It can be naughty, saucy and sensually arousing by the sheer unusualness of it.  It’s never dangerous, intrusive or degrading.   It is NOT because it’s a requirement to get off.

However, if it’s the psychological version- these same “fetishes” take on a very unhealthy aspect, making the person with the ‘fetish’ unable to perform, find satisfaction or function without it.  Case in point, a man will rob a woman’s home just to be able to smell her underwear and is so obsessive about it, he becomes a scary threat.   Readers will only find villains who go to that extent.  I hope.  The reason I include this type of fetish is for reviewers to be aware.  Do not use the label or tag of ‘fetish’ with this type of behavior.  If you do, readers will be expecting some fun BDSM scenes and instead get something nightmarish.

This whole exercise is to clear up any confusion between choosing to label actions in a story as kink or fetish.

A couple in a glass elevator getting their jollies from doing something sexual in full view of the public by the guy doing something sensually stimulating to the woman as he’s hidden from view behind her is a kink. 

A couple in a glass elevator where the male Dom orders the submissive woman not to orgasm while he inserts a vibrating dildo from behind and orders her to move ever so slightly like she’s  f**’g it , and as he croons to her, tells her what her punishment will be if she dares to orgasm,  is labeled fetish.  

Reviewers, please be aware of what the difference is between kink and fetish.  There are some readers that in no way want to read about elements of the BDSM lifestyle in their books but won’t mind a little kink.  The information you provide helps readers make the best choice for their time and money. 


Wendi Zwaduk said...

Good wow, there are only a couple ways to say this was an enlightening piece without putting my foot in my mouth or saying something blue. Hee hee!!

Xeranthemum said...

LOL-Thanks, Wendi!

This wasn't an easy post to write. But I had some great friends in the know who helped me out.

:-) - and, I'd rather something 'blue' than something 'purple'.