Remember that 30 Rock episode where Liz Lemon hires a woman for her writers’ room who presents as a “very sexy baby?” First: Go watch it. Second, for those of you getting revved up at the thought of an attractive adult infant, I have one word: autoenpiophilia.
Otherwise known as paraphilic infantilism, this one describes someone who derives sexual pleasure from dressing up as, or acting like, a baby. “Often times there’s a mommy figure or a daddy figure and this individual is playing the role of a child,” Lehmiller says. “Maybe they’re being fed or nursed, or wearing or using diapers, or engaging in other infantile behaviors.”
“Research suggests that there’s often an element of BDSM that overlaps with paraphilic infantilism, where the person is taking on a very submissive role,” he adds. You can readily see where a parent/infant relationship might lend itself well to dominant and submissive roles, and where certain elements of this costume (namely the diaper) might aid in sexual humiliation.
Bondage as a type of activity where you restrain your partner with things like rope, non-stick tape, or cuffs. “Bondage is a trust exercise above all, and can be done for its own sake (Japanese bondage, in particular, is aesthetically beautiful and sexy to do), or to add to other kinds of sensation, from intercourse to spanking and more,” says Queen.
That should be practiced with caution as any kind of bondage that is too tight is not only uncomfortable but can cause permanent nerve damage. To make sure you’re practicing bondage safely, it’s best to school yourself on best practices and most importantly set boundaries to ensure the safety of all those involved in the practice. One common practice is the use of a safe word, which signals that the bondage needs to end immediately.
Electrostimulation can be considered a subset of sensation play. It involves creating arousal through a sensation of electric shock. “Electricity play uses toys/devices that issue a mild shock or sometimes a zappy-feeling pulse. This is different from vibration and can get fairly intense-feeling. Most are below-the-waist only because it’s important to keep electricity away from the heart,” says Queen. It is important to learn the ropes of this kind of play before delving into it, since using the wrong tools can be dangerous. Beginners shouldn’t use intense-shocking tools like tasers, Queen warns. “Those aren’t beginner-level at all and require quite a bit of know-how to avoid damage.”
One beginner-friendly tool McDevitt recommends is a controlled sex toy that allows you to combine the familiar pleasurable sensation of vibration with electrostimulation, like the CalExotics Impulse Intimate E-Stimulator Dual Wand. Tools like these offer several levels of electrostimulation that are safe for partners just introducing electrostimulation to their relationships.
A foot fetish means you’re sexually aroused by feet, also referred to as foot partialism. People with foot fetishes may be attracted to seeing feet in certain footwear such as high heels, they might enjoy interactions with feet including massaging or toe-sucking, while some prefer embellishments on the feet such as a fresh pedicure or a tattoo.
In certain cases, a person may appreciate the feet more than the person they’re attached to, says Queen, but [feet] should really be looked at as an added source of a turn-on, not a substitute for a real connection with another person. “In fact, you can think of any kink basically this way: a “cherry-on-top” erotic treat, or a way to focus desire and arousal.”
Sexual kinks like gagging can fall under the umbrella of dominant/submission play, says McDevitt. “[It] is a vehicle for increasing the helplessness of the sub by making them drool, unable to speak, and humiliated.” Again, the practice of gagging should involve consent and communication. “Approaching a partner with a desire to explore a kink together should be clear, respectful, and I recommend also, with a sense of curiosity instead of demands,” says McDevitt. While you might think of these practices as purely sexual, they’re not. As with anything, there is emotional risk, so if you aren’t comfortable talking about gagging, electrocuting, or whipping your partner, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
A fascination with mirrors, or more specifically, watching yourself in sexual situations is known as katoptronphilia. “People who like this kind of play may have a mirror by their bed, or masturbate to their own mirror image,” explains Queen. In other words, katoptronphilia essentially means you enjoy having sex in front of a mirror. To bring katoptonphilia into your bedroom, make sure you have your partner’s consent and be sure to be strategic about where you place your mirrors, so you can catch the best glimpses of yourself.
Like many, this practice is often portrayed in porn, but Queen says it’s important that porn isn’t your only guide to new activity. “Porn is not intended to be how-to material, unless it is clearly advertised as such. There is [however] a small but significant genre of what I call ‘ex-ed,’ explicit educational movies.” If you want to learn more, reach out to a sex therapist or read up on materials written by them.
Autoenpipohiles might also take great interest in a baby bottle, potentially filled with real breast milk—and that can be a fetish, too. Lactophiles, according to Lehmiller, are “people who either want to watch a woman who’s lactating or consume her breast milk.” A Lactophilic relationship might involve man and a woman who’s expressing breastmilk—the latter derives sexual pleasure from suckling the former in what’s referred to as a “nursing relationship.”
Sadism is typically defined as arousal at the thought of causing pain, but not just any kind of pain, explains Queen. “‘Pain’ is a tricky word in BDSM. It’s not comparable to enjoying menstrual cramps [since, literally nobody likes that!], or the sensation of getting your finger caught in a door. Kink community people tend to like the term ‘intense sensation’ better, since when someone is engaged in being spanked or whipped, pinched or pierced, or whatever may be going on, their experience may be vastly different from feeling pain in other contexts.” Instead, this sensation of pain will bring on a rush of endorphins, which to put into context, Queen compares to a runner’s high. If someone is into sadism, it’s best they look for a partner who’s a masochist, in other words, who enjoys receiving the pain.
Many sexual kinks and fetishes can fall under the umbrella of scene play, explains Queen, since many people in the BDSM community center their kinky activities within a scene. A scene is a preplanned story including roles that you and your partner will commit to during foreplay and/ or actual sex, think: school teacher and naughty student.
“The one overarching thing often said about kink is that it is erotic play that includes the whole body, not just the genitals,” Queen explains. “Sensation play can definitely include the genitals, but it is also common to engage parts of the body we don’t think of as erogenous zones–like the back.” In sensation play, there’s a focus on the body and the many sensate experiences we can have, so flogging, massage, temperature play involving ice cubes or candles that melt at a lower temperature, tickling and other kinky play can all fall under the category of sensation play.
Somnophilia, sometimes referred to as sleeping beauty syndrome, is defined as getting arousal from a person who is seemingly asleep or unconscious. This kind of fetish also involves an exchange of power, where the person awake is in a dominant position. However, it should always be approached with consent, as should all sexual kinks and fetishes, says McDevitt. “All should be approached with informed consent. Everyone should be sober. Everyone should know what to expect, and trust that acting on these kinks can be stopped anytime, for any reason.”
Consensual voyeurism involves consensually observing others undress, have sex or engage in other sexual acts. This isn’t to be confused with spying on people without their consent, which is definitely inappropriate, not to mention illegal. Instead, in this scenario the person you’re observing should enjoy being watched and may even be putting on a show. “This can show up in many ways, including watching a partner masturbate, going to a strip club together, watching live cam videos, etc,” says McDevitt. Queen adds that consensual voyeurism can also typically take place at a swingers party or play party—parties where people participate in BDSM activities.
Quirofilia can also be known as a hand fetish. And since any eroticization of a specific part of the body is often referred to as partialism, quirofilia is sometimes referred to as hand partialism. A person into quirofilia is especially drawn to fingers and hands. Queen says that this fetish really isn’t too surprising, since hands are such significant sexual tools. “Many of us have daydreamed about the feeling of hands all over us, so this just takes such an erotic focus a few steps farther.” Quirofilia may involve an attraction to certain parts of the hands, manicures or certain acts performed by the hands, from washing dishes to handjobs. If you have a hand fetish and want to explore it with your partner, you should talk to them about ways you can introduce it into your sex life, maybe as a form of foreplay.
In that same vein, let’s all turn our attention back to that Sex and the City episode wherein Carrie kink-shames her politician boyfriend (played by John Slattery) who enjoys having people pee on him. That’s urophilia, Lehmiller says, or a fetish for “people who are sexually aroused by being urinated on, also colloquially known as ‘water sports.'”
There may be a BDSM element at work here, too, Lehmiller notes: The person getting peed on is clearly submissive to the other, and having someone’s pee drip down your body might also evoke some feelings of humiliation.