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Squick

Updated: SEPTEMBER 22, 2022
Reviewed by Kinkly Staff
on September 27, 2022

Squick is a term used to describe the uncomfortable feeling that some people may have when they hear about or see certain kinky acts. This can apply to acts such as bondage, whipping, caning, scat play and blood play just to name a few.

The term squick may have originated in the BDSM community, possibly on a Usenet group focused on bondage. The term is likely a combination of the words "squirm" or "squeamish" and "ick." The term was popularized over time and is widely used in the BDSM community to describe acts that may elicit a gut reaction of repulsion without making any moral judgment about the activity. It has also been adopted by some other communities, including fan fiction.

In general, BDSM includes a very wide range of potential activities, some of which are likely to be unappealing to any one person. So, in response to a question or request about a certain act, a person can say, "That squicks me" or "That squicks me out." It's a way of expressing a hard limit without judgment for other people's enjoyment of it.

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More About Squick

In the BDSM community, kink-shaming - or "yucking someone else's yum" - is highly discouraged; fighting kink shaming is an important goal for creating sex-positive spaces where people can feel safe. After all, sexual tastes (and squicks) are highly personal, and need not be subject to judgement. Because kinks tend to fall outside of societal norms around sexual behavior, having them can make people feel marginalized and misunderstood. However, expressing likes and dislikes is also a key component of practicing BDSM in the safest way possible.

The term squick aims to provide language for people to express how a type of play makes them feel, while still allowing others the freedom to express the opposite. Some people even argue that to express a moral distaste for an act, such as consensual rape play or age play, is to impose your own, personal inhibitions on someone else and therefore restrict their freedom to practice such things consensually with others.

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