Defining Kinks and Fetishes

i frequently come across many questions like this one:

Can anyone give me an explanation on what a fucktoy is?! What are the normal (understood) dynamics of a situation involving a fucktoy?


How do we define kinks and fetishes? Cultural theorists Stuart Hall and Ferdinand de Saussure said that we make meanings out of ourselves. The word “apple” can conjure up images of machine products, Adam and Eve, young love or desperate housewives. The word “rose” might signify romance, a first date, an anniversary, or the serial killer in some movie.

When we are confused about what “insert your fetish” means, we are actually confused about what that means to others. Exploring kinks and fetishes is very much a self-reflective process. We look outward to see the un-journeyed territory, and look inward to reflect on where we want to journey.

In an interpersonal context, it is about communication accuracy. Does your “whipping scene” mean “whip to bleed” or “whip to weeping”? It is a construction and exchange of the meanings of symbols. Simply put, there is a signifier – the word “rose”, and the signified – the thoughts of something related to the rose. We often struggle with the denotation (how the word is defined), where the real communication happens in the connotation (the idea the word is expressing).

signifier_signifiedSemiotics illustration by Kiru Sahota

When we discuss kinks and fetishes, it can often be better to use description to describe what that fetish is for you. After all, kinks and fetishes are always going to be subjective.

And, by sharing your symbolism, hopefully you get to communicate more accurately and find the twisted soul that matches yours.

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