Kink vs. Fetish: What’s the difference?

Oh boy. Here come the keyboard warriors. Before you pollute my comment section, hear me out.

So in the furry fandom (more specifically the adult side of it), we’ve deemed this month “Kinktober” for whatever reason (a portmanteau of “kink” and “October”). While I’ve never been one to subscribe to most vanilla kinks, I’ve sort of brushed the idea off to the side.

That was until I started seeing some of the art being made for it. As soon as I did, I knew I had to make this.

So what got my jimmies all rustled? A piece of art popped up on FurAffinity’s homepage that claimed to be participating in Kinktober. It featured a bear plushie with a hole in in its bum with a dribble of cum seeping out. I thought nothing of it at first. “They’re into a harmless fetish that I’m not. Cool beans.”

As I continued down my feed, the realization hit me. That wasn’t a kink. That is the very nature of a fetish. “What does it matter, Nikolai?” I hear you ask. Bare with me now.

What’s the difference?

To understand why this irritates me, I need to explain to you what the difference between a kink and fetish is. A kink is something that enhances the sexual pleasure of your partner. For example, your sexual partner having thick thighs might be a kink. Another might be someone wearing a full leather suit while you spank them like the naughty boy/girl they are. You’re not attracted to the item itself, but rather the person you’re having sex with wearing or using said item.

On the other hand, a fetish completely replaces the sexual partner with an item. In the case of this bear plushy, people who enjoy this sort of art or item have a plushy fetish. People who enjoy having sex with inflatable pool toys have an inflatable pool toy fetish.

For the longest time, I thought I had a underwear fetish. I love bulges, tents and asses in underwear. 75% of the art that I’ve downloaded from e621 features it in one way or another. It gets my blood flowing and my engines revving. Since I thought that the main component of my kink was underwear, it had to be a fetish. I was sorely disappointed when I realized it was nothing more than a kink.

Why does it matter?

So why does this irritate me? Well, for obvious reasons- a kink is not a fetish, and a fetish is not a kink. I’ve been seeing the two being conflated, and it gets me knickers in a wad. Wikipedia even has the two mixed up:

“The term “kink” has been claimed by some who practice sexual fetishism as a term or synonym for their practices, indicating a range of sexual and sexualistic practices from playful to sexual objectification and certain paraphilias” From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at

A kink has nothing to do with paraphilia (the experience of intense sexual arousal to atypical objects). Now, I may be wrong, but until a psychiatrist tells me otherwise, I think I rest my case.

What do you think? Do you think this was a fair breakdown? Leave a comment below.

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