Sex + Dating

Some Sexy Kinks Are More Common Than You'd Expect

common kinks
Oren Aks/Thrillist

Here's the thing about kinks: no matter how deviant you are, there's always somebody more depraved. And conversely, no matter how vanilla you like your bedroom entertainment, there's always somebody even more missionary-only, more straight and narrow.

Sexual psychologists suggest that as long as you're having good, consensual (or solitary) fun, you shouldn't really worry about how kinky you are. But sometimes we can't follow good advice -- and far too many of us are shy about copping to our fantasies and desires in the bedroom.

If you get to feeling abnormal, it helps to know you're not alone -- and the internet is exceedingly helpful in this regard (Rule 34, anyone?). Science has also come to the rescue in recent years, with a raft of studies suggesting a pervasively kinky underbelly of our culture. Suffice it to say, just about everyone you know has got a kinky side that falls into one of the following categories.

Bondage

It has been reported (though in an apocryphal, urban-legend kind of a way) that a bound member of the opposite sex is the second most-common sexual fantasy, right after a nude member of the opposite sex. That's why people keep getting tied up on TV shows and in the movies.

About half of all people's fantasies include some kind of bondage, according to a 2014 study conducted by the University of Montreal and published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. That's right -- half the people you've had sex with wanted you to tie them up... whether or not you did.

But what about the harder stuff? The same survey found that 47% of women and 60% of men had fantasies of dominating a partner. Being dominated was popular among 65% of women and 53% of men. Specific acts like spanking and whipping had lower tallies -- but they all figure among "common" or "very common" kinks.

Voyeurism

Ten percent of men have had at least one instance of actual voyeurism in their pasts, according to a study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior. Which is to say, this percentage had actually pulled a peeping Tom, in one way or another, during their adult lives -- not just at summer camp through that one hole in the girls' showers.

In the study, 64% of men reported having a persistent fantasy of watching someone undress without their knowing. So even men who hadn't engaged in voyeurism thought about it. Women are far less interested in this, though about one-third of women reported fantasies of having been watched or seen while undressing or having sex.

Foot stuff

Almost everybody likes a foot rub now and again, and sucking on toes is just good fun. A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research confirmed the conventional wisdom, finding that feet/toes were the most likely body part to be lusted after as part of a fetish.

Approximately 47% of the 5,000 respondents with an actual fetish (defined as sexual arousal by a non-erogenous body part or object not part of the human body) had a foot fetish. Only the Big Four (boobs, butt, penis, and vagina) ranked above feet.

Watching porn

This one's a low-hanging fruit, sure. But watching pornography is just a thing everybody does -- and in 2013, some researchers in Canada proved it once and for all.

The researchers intended to study the impact of pornography on viewers by running physiological tests on men who had viewed porn vs. men who had not. After looking for months, they had failed to find even one male who had not viewed pornography. They had to shift the study to testing differences between men based on their age of earliest exposure to porn.

As for women, Marie Claire surveyed more than 3,000 readers and found more than two-thirds of them occasionally viewed porn, and 10% viewed porn in one form or another every day. Furthermore, the sex shop Ann Summers took a poll of women and found 85% of respondents used porn. Of course, this is 85% of women following a link to a sex poll on the internet... so the sample might be a little bit skewed.

Sex in inappropriate places

Taking sex out of the bedroom was the most common kink reported among the participants in the Canadian study, with 82% of men and women saying they fantasized about sex in unusual places. Now, "unusual" or "inappropriate" is a moving target, depending on how wild your regular sex is. For some couples, the forbidden fantasy is moving from the bedroom to the living room. For others, it's a Victoria's Secret changing room or the bathroom in a restaurant. Others might want the balcony at a movie theater or behind a parked cop car.

As these studies show us over and over, quantity and quality of kinks vary wildly. The moral of the story is clear: we're all kinksters in our own ways. Don't judge somebody (especially yourself) for what gets a motor running.

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Jason Brick is a voracious reader, heroic drinker, and super-cool dad (not necessarily in that order of importance). When not testing the theoretical limits of coolness, he practices martial arts so he can beat people up for teasing him about how much he likes playing Dungeons & Dragons. Find out more at BrickCommaJason.com.