Ask Naughty Nurse Kimpy is an advice column that addresses readers’ most burning questions on sexual health/relationships. STIs, birth control, is it real or is it fic, sexual positions--you name it. There are no stupid questions, only ones that are too embarrassing to ask someone you know. If Naughty Nurse Kimpy doesn’t know the answer, she’ll find an expert who does!
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Facts Behind the FictionTime for a Special Edition of ANNK: Facts Behind the Fiction. This week features one of our Resident (S)experts, Jeanne, talking about common (and not so common) sexual terms that can sometime confuse readers.
Fetish vs. Kink
Recently, I was contacted on Twitter by someone who was confused about the difference between fetish and kink. This isn’t very surprising to me, since often in the world of fan fiction we use slang version of real life sexual terms in a way that can be a little misleading.
I’ve got a kink for Angst fic.
I love fetish fic.
While there is nothing wrong with using this kind of slang in the world of fan fiction and fandom, having, what can be inaccurate, definitions of these terms can cause problems when someone is trying to understand sexual subcultures in the real world. Not to mention, it can lead to confusing conversations.
A fetish or sexual fetisim is the sexual turn a person feels from an object or from a specific situation. The desire or fetish revolves around something very specific. For example: feet, dressing up like a cartoon character, popping balloons, etc.
To break this down even further here are two examples.
Marla is turned on by the sight of a man in suits and often asks her husband to wear one every once in awhile to spice up their sex lives.
Carla has a spanking fetish and cannot orgasm until her boyfriend has turned her bottom bright red before intercourse.
While Marla is turned on by seeing her husband in a suit, she doesn’t need him dressed that way to orgasm. Conversely, Carla needs the spanking to achieve sexual satisfaction. In summation, it’s Carla’s need for the spanking that makes it a fetish. She could just as easily have a fetish for men in suits. It’s not the object or situation, rather the person’s requirement of it to get off that makes it a fetish.
Kink is an all encompassing term for a variety of sexual practices that range in intensity from a playful addition to someone’s sex life to something that is required to achieve sexual satisfaction. This range is quite wide, from the tamest form of play like blindfolding a sexual partner to extreme bondage. Here is a short list of what falls under the header of kink: Bondage, spanking, domination, submission, medical fetishism, sounding, water sports (not talking about polo kids), etc. Here is a detailed list of kinks for the curious and/or brave.
Please keep in mind these are generalizations and that all sexual kinks/fetishes are HIGHLY personal. They will vary from person to person, but the important part to remember when using these terms is that a kink is an all encompassing term and fetish is very specific.
Topping and Bottoming vs. Dominance and Submission
Topping, bottoming and switch (or versatile) are slang for sexual roles, particularly among gay and bisexual men. A top penetrates both during anal and oral sex, a bottom receives the penetration and a switch can do both. These terms originated in the gay community, but it is important to know that they are related to behavior and cultural attitudes.
There is no hard science to support that any one is hard wired as tops, bottoms, etc. It is a sexual preference that can sometimes be associated with personality quirks, but people should avoid stereotyping based on sexual positions. The most masculine or manly men could just as easily be a cock hungry bottom as any flamboyant twink. A man’s apparent masculinity has no connection to his preference in sexual position.
Dominance and submission is a set of behaviors where one individual gives another individual control over them in an erotic scenario or as a lifestyle. There are also individuals, known as switches, who can inhabit either role. These roles are not directly tied to sexual intercourse. In fact, physical contact isn’t necessary to play out a scene.
Where does the confusion come from?
The BDSM community derived or borrowed the terms top, bottom and switch from the gay community. While they are used in a similar vein, where a master might top (or penetrate) a submissive they are not dependant upon each other. That meaning, a submissive might top their dominant, yet still be submitting to the control of said dominant.
Are your eyes crossed yet? It’s easy to see how it could all get a little muddled. The easiest way to keep things clear are to remember that topping and bottoming refer to physical positioning during sex. While dominance and submission are psychological (power) roles.
Are there sexual terms, slang and lingo that leaves you scratching your head? Click the banner below, fill out the form, and get your answer in the next installment of Ask Naughty Nurse Kimpy.