Sex
Cute young couple thinking about what kinks to explore

37 Kinks To Try For A Spicier Sex Life

Bondage, dirty talk, and power play, oh my!

urbazon/E+/Getty Images

Curious about kink, but not sure where to start? You’re not alone. Part of the thrill of kink is doing something that feels a little bit taboo, but kink tends to be a moving target; one person’s “kinky” is another person’s typical Tuesday night. Preferences will be different for everyone, and it’s all about finding what makes you feel good. If you’re ready to experiment, I’ve got you covered with the ultimate list of kinks to try, where you’ll find sexy acts, titillating dynamics, and hot ideas for a spicy sex life. If you’re interested in exploring your turn-ons, this list is a great place to begin.

To explore kink on your own, you can masturbate, consider a specific fantasy you have, or find porn or erotica focused on the elements from this list that catch your eye. Many kinks can be enjoyed entirely solo, but if you decide to include other people in your kink, make sure you have a conversation with your partner(s) before trying anything new — and continue checking in while you play. Like all healthy sex and intimacy, kink is rooted in consent and communication.

If you’re new to kink, it can help to stick with clear, direct communication about your desires (for example, clearly telling your partner “yes” or “no” while playing — and “no” means “no”). You can also use safe words — where you choose a word or phrase that’s easy to remember if you want a kink scene to stop — or something like the “green, yellow, and red scale” which can help you communicate your level of comfort in a simple, straightforward way. This can be helpful for beginners since the system is widely understood, and you’re less likely to forget a color than an off-the-wall word you came up with moments before play.

So, without further ado, here is a list of kinks to try if you’re ready to spice up your sex life.

Bondage

Bondage is a common gateway kink, meaning it’s often one of the first kinky things people try. Bondage or restraint typically refers to being tied up or restrained and can be achieved in countless ways, but it’s important to make sure you’re doing it safely. Whether you want to be tied up or you’re restraining a partner in some way (consensually, of course), your best bet is to use tools intended for bondage, such as skin-friendly bondage rope or easy-to-use velcro restraints. Be sure to keep the rope or other restraints away from joints and never put rope around someone’s throat.

Impact Play

Impact play is an umbrella term that encompasses different forms of impact, like spanking, flogging, paddling, and more. You can start exploring with household objects if you want to try out toys without making an investment — both silicone spatulas and wooden hairbrushes make great impact toys.

When exploring impact play, aim for the body parts that have either the most fat or the most muscle to ensure your bones and internal organs will be protected. On most bodies, the safest place to start is the butt — just make sure you avoid the tailbone. The softer your tool, the more areas of the body are fair game — for example, an open palm can gently strike many areas of the body but a wooden hairbrush should stick to the butt and thighs.

Spanking
Henry Horenstein/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Spanking — perhaps the most common form of impact play — usually starts with a bare hand striking someone's bottom. You may also hear it called “bare-handed spanking” or “over-the-knee spanking” as these are some of the most common methods and positions. Fun fact: Spanking is such a popular kink it has its own community of enthusiasts, known as “spankos.”

Face-Slapping

Being slapped in the face is hot for many people. Because it’s an edgier form of impact play — both emotionally and physically — it’s essential to learn how to do it safely. There are delicate bones in the face, and the neck is also susceptible to harm. If you’d like to try face-slapping, use just the fingers of your hand and aim for the soft hollow of the cheek. Begin with the lightest possible tap and work your way up — with lots of communication and clear consent from your partner(s), of course!

Flogging
Riou/Photodisc/Getty Images

Flogging is a form of impact play using a flogger — aka a toy made of multiple straps attached to a handle. Generally, the straps or “falls” are made of leather or suede, but they can be made of any material like bunny fur or a vegan option like rubber. Because the falls tend to be soft, more areas of the body can be used for flogging than when you’re using stiffer toys like paddles or canes. Just make sure you avoid the face!

Power Exchange

Power exchange is another umbrella term that encompasses a huge swath of BDSM including dominance and submission. When playing with power exchange, both people come into the situation as equals, and one agrees to give the other power and control for an agreed-upon amount of time. For example, a dominant might decide what their submissive will wear to a party or who they’re allowed to speak to at an event. This power may be used in sexual ways — such as orgasm control — but more subtle forms of control (e.g., psychological) are also popular.

Submission

Submission is usually considered to be half of the domination-submission power exchange. In this kink, the submissive partner agrees to give control to the dominant partner for a set time, often called a “scene.” Even during this time, however, the submissive partner can change their mind or stop the play by using a safe word. Sometimes, submission is even emphasized through clothing or jewelry, such as wearing a collar.

Domination
Viktoriya Dikareva/Moment/Getty Images

Domination is considered to be the other half of the domination-submission power exchange. In this case, the dominant partner assumes control for an agreed-upon period of time, or until a safe word is used. Sometimes the dominant partner goes by an honorific such as “Sir” or “Mistress,” or a title unique to the relationship. Sometimes, it’s hot to be dominated and it can be hot to be the dominant partner — you can always experiment with your partner(s) and see what makes sense for you.

Dirty Talk

From sexting to IRL, dirty talk is a common turn-on and something that’s frequently explored during kink. It can be as simple as giving someone a few explicit compliments or as involved as spinning elaborate fantasies while role-playing. Whatever dirty talk phrases you choose, have fun experimenting and notice what turns you and your partner(s) on the most.

Hair-Pulling
Ruslan Malysh / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

Not to be confused with having your pigtails yanked on the playground, kinky hair pulling is a whole new ballgame. To give it a try, spread out your fingers, slide them into someone’s hair at the base of their skull, and then make a fist — so you’re grabbing as much hair as possible. This way, you avoid the sting of yanking just a few hairs and can enjoy the experience of a firm tug.

Role Play

Role play can involve outfits and props or can simply be a departure from your usual personality. Want to play doctor? Naughty nurse? Whatever it is, experimenting with role play can be a major turn-on. Perhaps you want to try being a little bossier than usual in bed. Pro tip: If you’re playing a role that’s different than how you usually are, giving that role a name can make it easier to explore. For example, if you usually go by a nickname or other shortened form of your name, using your full name might be a sexy way to represent your new, bossy self.

Sex Toys
Trying a new kink using a sex toy

While commonplace for some, sex toys can feel kinky or taboo for others, especially when introduced to partnered play. Even a simple vibrator can turn things up a notch, and more if your partner gets to drive it. You can also switch up your usual play by adding a body-safe butt plug to the mix.

Exhibitionism

Exhibitionism means enjoying showing off or being seen. You can try out an exhibitionist thrill by performing a strip tease for your partner, by going further and inviting other people into the bedroom, or even checking out a play party. Remember: Exhibitionism, in terms of kink, is only done consensually.

Voyeurism
Julia Davila-Lampe/Moment Open/Getty Images

Voyeurism is when you’re turned on by watching other people. But unlike the peeping Tom at a window, in a kink context, voyeurism is done consensually. You can experiment with voyeurism by watching porn with your partner, watching them masturbate, or a number of other ways.

Opting for a party where you can see other people getting it on is another way to explore voyeurism. There’s even a saying at play parties: “voyeurism is participation.” That’s because exhibitionists need an audience, and even without an exhibitionism kink, an audience can add to the energy of a kinky scene. (This is also one of the thrills available in a threesome, where someone can have front-row seats to their personal show!)

Sex In Public

The thrill of being caught or exposed while hooking up heightens the fun for some people, similar to the thrill of exhibitionism. However, public sex is illegal just about everywhere, so you might want to stick to sex parties when exploring this kink.

For a bite-sized taste of this kink, you can enjoy the secret thrill of toys under your clothes, such as nipple clamps or vibrators. Even sending or receiving dirty texts while out in public could be exciting. Just be mindful of bystander consent, and don’t rope anyone into your kink who hasn’t signed up for it.

Threesomes
Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images

Threesomes and group sex regularly top the list of common fantasies. Having more bodies around can facilitate a variety of other kinks, including voyeurism and exhibitionism. Threesomes can also be a great way to explore your sexuality or try new things by bringing in partners with a unique skill set.

Sensation Play

Sensation play encompasses many activities that are generally light and enjoyable, and can generally heighten pleasure during sex. This type of play is an excellent example of kink or BDSM play that doesn’t include physical pain. There are lots of tools and toys you can use to provide sensations, from a Wartenberg wheel to bits of fur or feathers for tickling or teasing. Sensation play is often combined with blindfolds so that each sensation is a surprise.

Temperature Play
Vincent Besnault/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Temperature, a type of sensation play, uses tools like ice cubes or hot wax to provide contrasting or intense sensations for a thrill. Some sex toys, like those made of stainless steel, can also be warmed up or cooled down. Just make sure their temperature doesn’t become extreme enough to be physically harmful or damage tissue, especially if used internally.

Electrical Play

Electrical play is on the riskier end of the kink spectrum, especially for folks with medical conditions. The idea is to get a thrill from electricity, and because of the increased risk, it’s crucial to do your research before diving in. For example, people with heart conditions or epilepsy can be at even higher risk of complications when it comes to this kind of play. Please check with a doctor about your specific health and medical history before giving electrical play a try. (This is one of the many reasons it’s valuable to find a kink-friendly doctor you can be open and honest with!)

There are a variety of toys designed for this specific kink. For instance, you’ll often find violet wands or Tazappers at sex or kink parties — which give a concentrated static shock on the point of contact — and also put on a good show. You may even have devices you can use outside of their intended purpose at home — such as a TENS unit — but using medical devices outside of their intended purpose can be dangerous, so always do your research and consult a professional to practice safely.

Biting
Karan Kapoor/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Long before Twilight came out, people enjoyed biting each other during sex. This is a common kink that can spice up any hookup or makeout session, but be careful that you don’t go full-on vampire — breaking the skin and being exposed to someone’s blood is a serious health and safety hazard that shouldn't be overlooked.

Anal Play

Anal play can involve penetrative anal sex or stimulation that remains external such as massage or rimming (oral/anal contact). The anal area is highly sensitive, so even gentle touch can be pleasurable, and play doesn’t have to be extreme. Be sure to include lube in your anal play — delicate tissues are easily damaged, and lube can help reduce friction.

If you’re mixing anal and vaginal play, use gloves or wash your hands carefully to avoid cross-contamination that can lead to infection. That goes for condoms and toys, too. Remember to switch to a new condom before moving from anal sex to vaginal sex and be sure to sanitize toys between uses (using a condom on the toy makes this process easier).

Strap-Ons & Pegging

Strap-on play involves wearing a harness that attaches a dildo to your body. Sex and relationship advice columnist Dan Savage coined the term “pegging” for when a strap-on is used by a woman to penetrate a man, but any combination of bodies or genders can enjoy strap-on play. If it’s your first time giving penetration, an easy way to start is to lay on your back with the other person on top so they can control the rate and depth of penetration, and you can relax and enjoy the show.

Orgasm Control
Drazen_/E+/Getty Images

Orgasm control means letting one partner have complete control over when, or if, the other can have an orgasm. In its mildest forms, this can involve saying “please” and begging before having an orgasm. In more extreme cases, control can involve days or even weeks of denial before an orgasm.

Humiliation Play

Erotic humiliation or embarrassment is a psychological form of BDSM. It can be verbal, such as dirty talk or teasing, or physical, like having someone perform potentially embarrassing activities like stripping or crawling on the ground. Embarrassment and humiliation are both highly personal and dependent on cultural context, so it can take a while to find the right buttons to push in your own humiliation play.

Sensory Deprivation
Viktoriya Dikareva/Moment/Getty Images

From blindfolds to headphones, there are numerous ways to take one or more of your senses away to heighten your sexual experience. Sensory deprivation can help you focus on the other sensations you’re experiencing and make them more intense because you don’t know what will happen next. There’s no need to buy a fancy blindfold to explore; anything from a scarf to a necktie will do the job.

Age Play

Age play can seem controversial at a first glance. The kink typically involves one or both partners role-playing an age different from their own, with the person playing the younger role sometimes called a “little.” When in this mode, people may enjoy activities such as coloring, watching cartoons, or playing lighthearted games. When there is a sexual element, it is sometimes referred to as “dark age play.”

As with all kinks, it’s important to consider your motivations and the motivations of your partner(s) before play begins. Age play is a sensitive subject for many, so it should be approached with caution.

Watersports

Also known as “golden showers,” this kink involves playing with urine, often with one partner peeing on the other. While some people may be turned on by the sight, thought, or sensation of urine, always discuss things openly with your partner first to ensure their comfort and consent.

Rough Sex
urbazon/E+/Getty Images

Rough sex is an umbrella term that can include many of the kinks in this list, from spanking to hair-pulling, face-slapping, and more. Rough play may also involve pinning a partner down or tearing off their clothes (consensually, of course — don’t ruin their favorite outfit!)

Gags

Being gagged — either with a ball-gag, scarf, or rope — is another common form of kink play. Many people find drool gags — usually a ball secured by a strap — to be part of the turn-on. Be very careful when playing with gags, though, as they can be a choking hazard if not secured properly or if they restrict the airway.

Spitting

Spitting can be an element of power exchange or humiliation, or it can be part of messy oral sex or handjobs and fingering. Like any fluid exchange, make sure you’ve had an explicit check-in with your partner before you add spitting to the mix. Some may find it hot, but others may not!

Wax Play
Nadiia Borodai/E+/Getty Images

Using candles to drip hot wax can be a thrilling form of temperature play or sensation play. The randomness of the wax drops keeps the recipient guessing (especially if they’re blindfolded) and once the wax is scraped off, the skin is extra sensitive. Be sure to use body-safe candles with a low burn temperature, or start with something even more gentle like a massage candle.

Clamps

From nipple clamps to clothes pins, some people enjoy the intense sensation provided by a clamp. Part of the fun of using clamps is the feeling of blood rushing back to the place you’ve pinched once the clamp is removed — it tends to make the area very sensitive, and sensations are heightened. If you’re a fan of clamps, you can even attach multiple clamps together with a string so they can be pulled off together, creating a “zipper.”

Food Play
eclipse_images/E+/Getty Images

From a bit of whipped cream in a sensitive spot to making someone a human sushi platter, sometimes it’s sexy to play with your food. If you’re mixing food and sex, be aware that many foods (especially those containing sugar) can lead to yeast infections — so it’s best to avoid bathing suit areas and use a condom if you’re experimenting with any form of food penetration.

Pet Play

Have you ever wanted to let your inner kitten, puppy, or pony out to play? Pet play is your chance! In this form of kink, you can start with a simple role play with your partner(s) and then add as many toys or props as you’d like. There are even public events and dedicated retreats for fully immersing yourself into pet play roles, if that’s more your speed.

Tickling

Like any other kink, people may be into the “giving” or “receiving” side of tickling. Tickling kinks or fetishes are a great reminder that BDSM isn’t all serious business, and laughter belongs in the dungeon, too. If tickling turns you on, there are a variety of toys and techniques you can use — focus on what feels best for you!

Sadism

Sadism is one of the two meanings of the “S” in BDSM, and typically means being turned on by giving pain. The term comes from the name of the infamous French writer, Marquis de Sade. In a kink context, sadism only includes giving pain consensually, such as during spanking, flogging, or electrical play — so, as with other forms of kink, be sure to check in with your partner(s) to see what they’re down for.

Masochism

The “M” in BDSM, masochism, means being turned on by receiving pain and is another kink named after an author; we get this one from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. It’s worth noting that just because someone likes pain in some contexts doesn’t mean they like all forms of pain — so, always check in with others first. For example, you can be a masochist but still hate trips to the dentist — although a bit of masochism may explain why some people (ahem, me) enjoy getting tattooed.

Now that you’re full of ideas, it’s time to get kinky! Don’t be afraid to experiment with something new, and always remember to use clear communication with your partner(s) to make sure you’re practicing kink safely. You can even share this list with someone you want to play with and see if the same kinks jump out at them — maybe you’ll find something you’re both into! Apart from this list, if you want to learn more about kink, you can also check out The Topping Book and The Bottoming Book by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton. Have fun!