Iishieboo's Thoughts

Erotic Vocabulary: Fetishes and Kinks

I choose to spend (at least much) of my time in the world of fetishes and kinks. It's a world that fascinates me and whose language is at once deeply entrenched and still forming. The nuance of individual sexuality is in no small part confounding to the process of forming an accurate, equally nuanced vocabulary. Combine that with the general discrete nature and, often, shame associated with eroticism and sexuality, and it's no wonder that language surrounding these topics tends to form around active communities where people experiencing similar drives and emotions have the opportunity to speak openly. BDSM, being a large and largely encompassing group has contributed much to sexual vocabulary, and within, has its subsets of kinks and fetishes with their own unique lexicons.

That being said, I have noticed and felt a lot of frustration and confusion around accurately expressing sexuality and the effects of eroticism. One example of this stood out when I posted my "You Like Feet" audio file. I got a number of responses to this audio from men who, in messages generally wrote something like, "I don't usually like humiliation audios, but I like this." The fact that this point came up numerous times surprised me. I never considered "You Like Feet" to be anywhere near "humiliation." In fact, I consider it erotic embarrassment, which, in my mind, is completely different and separate from humiliation. Similarly, I've gotten a number of positive responses to my article on erotic embarrassment. It seems the idea resonated with people in the same way it resonates with me. I do not like being humiliated, but I do like being safely, lovingly embarrassed. (I hope to talk about the differences between humiliation and erotic embarrassment in a future post.) Like humans only being able to see colors they can name, having a term for the feeling of a lack of sexual power within a safe relationship and space, allowed me and others to differentiate erotic embarrassment from humiliation.

There are two words which are common and often used, even by the general population, to talk about "alternative" sexuality; these words are "fetish" and "kink." These words are almost ubiquitous and, because of that, you may guess that they are well-defined. I have found that to be untrue, however, even within sexual communities.

Merriam-Webster defines these words as follows:

Fetish noun

1C: an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression.

Kink noun

6: unconventional sexual taste or behavior.

"Fetish" certainly has a clearer definition in part because "kink" is considered slang. Still, neither are great definitions. Let's look at Dictonary.com instead:

Fetish noun

3: Psychology. any object or nongenital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation.

Kink noun


1. bizarre or unconventional sexual preferences or behavior.

2. a person characterized by such preferences or behavior.

These, I think, are slightly better, but still not exceedingly clear. In Merriam-Webster's definition, a fetish is necessary for sexual gratification, while it is only a habitual erotic response according to Dictionary.com. It seems that "kink" could be considered a stand-in or slang term for "fetish" according to these definitions. I have seen much more nuance in the realm of eroticism. I suppose that is because that's where nuance matters. But, even then, they seem to be used largely interchangeably and without much confidence by the speaker. I do not use them interchangeably. To me, these two words are related but very different.

Let me explain how I use and define these words.In short: A fetish is a large, overarching erotic fascination and a kink is an additional sexual or erotic interest.

I think Dictionary.com is more accurate when they say a fetish is a "habitual erotic reponse or fixation." I consider myself to have a tickling fetish (not a tickling kink), for example. That is because my interest in tickling formed at a young age and was pervasive throughout my budding sexuality and remains to this day. I had and have no similar fascination for, say, bondage, though I enjoy it.

I don't mean to say that a fetish must be formed in childhood. Mine did, but I think the main point is that a fetish is something that is the main draw of the fantasy. I fantasize about tickling or being tickled without necessarily the addition of either sex or kinks. I do not fantasize about simply being tied up without the addition of sex. For me, bondage makes sex kinky, but tickling is my fetish and does not require sex to be enjoyed. Here is how I might define "fetish" and "kink":

Fetish noun

An object, non-sexual action, or non-genital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic reponse or fixation without the need for more conventional sexual contact either real or fantasied.

Kink noun

An erotic interest necessarily additional to real or fantasied traditional sexual contact and / or a fetish-based scene.

I want to be clear here: Having a fetish doesn't mean you never fantasize about or engage in sex, simply that a fetish doesn't require the addition of sex where a kink requires either sex or a fetish to make it satisfying.

One term that seems to be agreed upon within the world of eroticism is "vanilla." People who do not enjoy or engage in any form of alternative sex are vanilla or they enjoy vanilla sex. I think this is a good term. It's clear, well-understood, and has the benefit of being a little playful. Therefore, I have used it as the basis to explain my own thoughts on the words "fetish" and "kink."

Vanilla is a flavor. We can think of it like an ice cream flavor. The fundamental difference between a fetish and a kink is if it is a flavor or a topping. A fetish is the flavor of ice cream you enjoy (and you may enjoy more than one, of course). It is the main draw of this sweet experience. A kink is a topping, something additional that increases your enjoyment.

This way of thinking about these terms makes them highly subjective. Nothing can really be absolutely defined as a fetish or kink. This is a benefit, I think. People's sexualities, even within communities, are highly nuanced. For some people, tickling may just be a kink they enjoy. These definitions allow for clarity amid unique sexualities.

Language and vocabulary are important. Sharing ourselves and understanding one another are incredible gifts. Any language in regular use is a living language. I don't think we should be afraid to author new terms and definitions to aid in communicating about the deeply influential topic of our individual sexualities.

Erotic Embarrassment

Embarrassment is one of those uncomfortable emotions most of us try to avoid. The feeling of tripping over our feet, saying the wrong thing, or being pointed out as the odd one is something we recognize early and work our whole lives to dodge. When we are young, many of us try to avoid the scrutiny of our peers by blending into the crowd. Being singled out is embarrassing because it is socially dangerous and humans are social creatures.

What, then, when a core part of you deviates? What, then, when yout have a fetish? I knew I was different from a very young age, catching tickling scenes in cartoons and feeling the early stirrings of arousal rush over me. "If everyone felt this way when they saw it, they wouldn't put it on TV," I thought. That realization shoved me past the border of normalcy; and, from then on, along with my arousal came the spotlight of embarrassment.

This is not to say, dear reader, that people whose sexuality is considered typical do not experience embarrassment surrounding sex and their sexuality. Of course they do. However, this embarrassment seems to tend to arise due to a lack of open and frank conversation, comfortable and free exploration, or, as with a fetish, some idea that one is different (even if one is not).

I would argue that a large part of the appeal of tickling is the embarrassment. A tickler can cause their ticklee to grin, giggle, laugh, shout, beg, wriggle, agree to practically anything. A tickler might coo silly, mocking words or challenges the ticklee has no hope of completing just to compound the ticklee's embarrassmet. The whole idea of one's body and reactions being out of one's own control is embarrassing. It is, perhaps, the most embarrassing.

You can't control yourself. You don't have a choice.

Based on this idea, even arousal itself may become embarrassing. A person may be aroused despite their wishes and determination. A man being examined by a doctor may feel his penis starting to swell regardless of the awkward situation.

Beyond all of what is embarrassing because it is beyond our control, many people are excited by the reminder of their sexual interests. And sometimes the reminder that those interests are deviant is key. Is it because we spend so much time hiding our sexual selves, especially if we have a deviant interest? That may be true for me.

The Origin of a Tickling Fetish

I have been fascinated by tickling since before I can remember, certainly before I was a consciously sexual being. This leads me to wonder if my fetish had any starting point or if I was wired differently from the get-go. Nature or nurture? Because tickling is such an innocent thing and often done with very, very young children, it is possible that my fascination developed at a very young age. and that's why I have no memory of a moment of epiphany.

Many people in the tickling community have similar experiences to me; they don't know when or how their fetish developed. Others, however, have a clear memory. So, who knows?

I tend to lean towards nurture.


This is my first blog post here on my new site. All I can do, I suppose, is introduce myself. I'm Iishieboo. Most people who find this may know a little bit about me based on where they've seen me. Some may know almost nothing.

As stated on my homepage, I have a deep love for sexual things. I have a fetish myself, that has affected me since before I was a consciously sexual being. There is already evidence of my interest on this (to date) quite sparse little site. The thing that has fascinated me sexually most, and for the longest time is tickling.

I imagine I'll get more into detail with that eventually.

For now, I will briefly outline things that interest me. This is, by no means, a complete list as I'm always discovering more things to think about and finding new ways to think about things I've already thought about. (Hehe!)

In the tickling world (and I suppose in the "BDSM" world as a whole), I am a switch. That is, I enjoy both dominant and submissive roles when those roles are called for and in fantasy.

Aside from tickling, I also enjoy the power dynamics that come with different erotic interests. These can often be taboo as they generally involve a person with more power and a person with less power. Real-life situations are often short-hand for these power differences and give us a familiar setting in which to play: doctor's offices, lecture halls, et cetera.

I love the mental and emotional aspects of eroticism. I like exploring a person's thoughts and feelings when it comes to things that arouse them. I like learning why certain things arouse an individual.

Personal secrets of an erotic nature are very special and I have no plans to give all mine away here. Still, if you check back, I'm sure you'll learn quite a bit about me eventually.

Thank you for reading. And thank you to the appropriate person, to my friend, who has helped and encouraged me so much. I'm just getting started so I guess there will be more of that. (I'm so very lucky to say.)

Keep being fascinated, fellow weirdos.