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Kinkster

Updated: SEPTEMBER 22, 2022
Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on January 11, 2021

A kinkster is a person who enjoys sexual activities that are considered to be outside of the sexual norms of their culture. It is derived from the term kink, which, in connection to sex, refers to most types of sexual play that aren't heterosexual, cisgender copulation for procreative purposes.

What is considered “normal” in sexual expression and relationships in Western societies is largely based on settler/colonial views of intimate relationships. Our current Western ideas of what is vanilla and what is kinky are deeply embedded in a Judeo-Christian European perspective on a right/wrong way to express our sexual and romantic desires.

However, just because a certain behavior is seen as part of the Western kink community does not mean it would be seen that way in other cultures of across history; the same is true for what is viewed as vanilla. For example, research published in the American Anthropologist demonstrates mouth kissing is rare as a sexual expression globally, but is embedded as vanilla/normal in Western Colonized civilizations.

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Anyone of any gender, sexual identity, or in any kind of relationship structure can be a kinkster. Frequently, the term kinkster is most often associated with people who enjoy BDSM (pain and impact play, humiliation, dominance, submission, etc.) and those who participate in polyamory.

However, it can be much more widely applied to people who have fetishes and other desires, including feet, rubber, watersports, leather, Shibari, voyeurism, sensation play, impact play, pet play, role play, and more.

Being a kinkster can mean different things to different people. Some kinksters will engage in kinky activities during sex some of the time. Other kinksters are exclusively interested in kink-related activities. For some people, being a kinkster is limited to the pleasure they seek during sexual encounters. Others, however, will merge their identity as a kinkster into their daily lives, incorporating that part of their personality in their employment, fashion and social activities.

Some kinksters form social groups that can focus on meeting other kinksters for casual discussion and information-sharing. These gatherings are called munches. They can be designed for a relatively broad kinky audience, or focused on specific kinks and cater to smaller groups.

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Kinksters also have many different options to meet to engage in kinky sex, including sex clubs and events that cater to kinksters in general or specific kink themes. Kinksters have also carved out a significant place for themselves online, with many different communities and dating sites that offer the opportunity to meet for sex and to share feelings as well as to seek out tips and information.

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More About Kinkster

The term kinkster is a good example of sexual language evolving from a place of scorn and embarrassment to embracing difference. First coined by Elisabeth Sheff and Corie Hammers, the growing use of kinkster replaces more derogatory terms such as pervert and deviant. While some in kink communities may use these words affectionately or for humiliation purposes, as a term, kinkster is both more inclusive for the kink community, and less stigmatizing when used with more mainstream people. Kink has been emerging from the sexual shadows and more people are coming to understand that kinky sex can be a part of their lives. Removing caustic language markers will help more people embrace their kinkster selves.

Unfortunately, this brave new kinkster-friendly world is still evolving and over the years, people who are into kinky sex have had to create and innovate in order to meet other like-minded sexual souls. One way kinksters used to silently meet was by adopting the hanky code. By wearing different colored hankies in a specific pocket to signify your sexual or kinky preferences, queer and kinky folk could silently peruse and cruise in safety from societal prejudices. Being out in certain places could (and still can be) very dangerous. Hankies were a community language to communicate desire and safety.

While kinksters have always had to look out for each other, they have also been at the forefront of other aspects of sexual security. Understanding and embracing consent is a hallmark of the kink community. Much of the exploration and learning about consent that is being imbued into mainstream society has come from kinksters. When playing with power structures in a sexual context, affirmative consent is a critical element that needs to be understood, embraced and championed. This ideal is reaching out across kink communities and making headway in mainstream sexual culture, with kinkster sex-ed advocates helping to lead the way.

On the other side of the coin, it is important to note that not everyone who has adopted the term kinkster and become part of the community is a safe person. As in any group, there are people who use the term kinkster and who abuse and manipulate their roles in relationships and the community. Anytime someone feels that they are physically, mentally, financially or spiritually unsafe or harmed they should seek help immediately, no matter what title or role they or their partner identify with in a kink role/space.

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