Kink is a broad term used to define sexual activities outside of the “norm.” It means
different things to different people.

In some instances, kink may refer to sexual activities where there is conscious playing
with power dynamics such as bondage, dominance/submission, or sado-masochism,
(together commonly referred to as BDSM).

Another element of kink is fetish, which is defined as a sexualization of inanimate
objects. However, this definition is too limited. In fact, fetishes can be inanimate objects
but may also be body parts. Some common material fetishes include leather, latex,
plastic, nylon, silk or satin or any other garment, or object that people find to be sexually
arousing. As for body parts, some individuals have strong fetishes for feet, breasts,
hair or particular body proportions. For example, some people will seek out partners
only with really long hair, hair of a particular color, beards, etc. Fetishes can also be
extended to certain behaviours that people find greatly enhance their experience of
sexual excitement.

There are as many variations of kinks and fetishes as there are individuals practicing
them. For some people, kink is essentially role-play exclusively confined to the
bedroom/playroom, whereas for others it becomes a significant part of their lifestyle.

Historically, most forms of kink were thought to be signs of mental illness or, at the
very least, a lack of stability and good judgment. Today, much of it is understood
to be an individual?s healthy indulgence of his or her imagination in their sex life.
Generally speaking, none of these behaviours or fetishes is considered a problem if
engaged in by consenting adults and causing no permanent harm. Still, many argue that
kink becomes problematic if one can only engage in sex with kink and can’t otherwise
attain sexual fulfillment. However, most now agree that kink in itself is not the issue, as
long as people are finding sexual satisfaction and desired relationships.

The most common reason why members of the kink community seek counseling is
in fact not their kink behaviour. They seek out kink-friendly counsellors so that when
they are discussing whatever issues they want to work on, they do not have to censor
themselves or be judged on this part of their life. Another reason may be that people
are trying to discover whether their particular fetishes or attractions are quote “normal”.
The journey of sexual self-discovery is not a simple one; it can be very helpful to have
a professional validate that kink is not unhealthy and can be considered as being within
the range of normal human behaviour.