The new book Deviant Desires explores the vast and
complex facets of human sexuality. NSFW, obviously.
Posted on November 29, 2017, 22:33 GMT
In her new book, Deviant Desires: A Tour of the Erotic
Edge, researcher Katharine Gates explores the vast and
complex facets of human sexuality. At the center of the book is
her “kink map,” a visual outline as complex as the human
psyche which connects every kink from feet
fetishes to superhero bondage. Still, each kink is always
explored with mutual consent among like-minded adults and a
shared excitement for breaking sexual taboos.
Here, Gates speaks with BuzzFeed News on her new book and
shares insight into the psychology behind into
some of the more curious kinks. Warning: Graphic images
I’ve always been fascinated with the ways in which anything and
everything can be sexualized. I come out of the punk/DIY ethos
of the 1980s, so I was drawn to these fellow misfits who had a
drive to create their own erotic materials because mainstream
porn just wasn’t doing it for them. I wanted to understand what
makes certain objects or scenarios exciting to their fans, and
whether the most exotic or seemingly bizarre kinks might offer
up some clues to the nature of the erotic imagination in all of
Deviant Desires is about the nature of the erotic
imagination. I interviewed creators and participants in various
scenes and tried to capture the idiosyncrasies of each person
while going for an overall picture of what makes a particular
turn-on appealing to its fans. I wanted to celebrate authentic
people doing what moves them both erotically and emotionally.
It’s my hope that people will stop kink-shaming and come to
appreciate the bravery, creativity, and humor of the people I
profiled. I hope readers will develop new respect for their own
oddities and maybe get some insight into the erotic imagination
in general. As long as everyone is giving their enthusiastic
consent, why shouldn’t adults get to have imaginative playtime,
People often ask me, what is the most common kink? The answer
is definitely feet. In fact, the love of feet is so common that
we probably shouldn’t consider it “kinky” at all. We’re
probably wired to respond sexually to feet — after all, they
have the same apocrine sweat glands you find near the breasts
and genitals. The hormones from these glands almost certainly
triggered sexual response in our prehuman ancestors, but now
that we are “civilized,” we are told to reject feet as objects
of erotic attention.
In the world of kink, feet may become the protagonists of
complex erotic plotlines. One of these is “gas pedal pumping” —
fans of pumping enjoy watching their partners press on the gas
pedal of a car in a simulacrum of sexual intercourse. Most
pumpers have a preferred type of footwear and make of car. Some
want the scenario to be filled with anxiety, such as a car that
refuses to start. Others want to see their partner display
mastery over sports cars. Some prefer seeing someone stomp on
failing brakes, in a drama of peril that ramps up excitement.
Ponyplay is a variation of BDSM in which one partner takes on
the role of horse and the other takes on the role of trainer.
There are few rules to the play, but in general the horse may
not speak or use their hands. Usually, the human pony is
treated as a beloved pet and role-play can involve the trapping
of “real” equestrian activities, such as saddles, bridles, show
gaits, riding, cart-pulling, etc. This is NOT bestiality! For
the human pony, the excitement derives from the sense of
freedom in becoming something else, something free to be
sexual, playful, and affectionate.
Related kinks: puppyplay, piggyplay, etc.
Balloons combine the touchy-feely and smelly power of latex
with the excitement of growth and the fear of explosions.
Balloon fans may enjoy watching their partners orally inflate
them, or they may want to pop the balloons in a variety of ways
using other core kinks such as cigarettes or feet. Partner play
can involve bouncing on large balloons.
Core kink: Latex
Related kinks: Inflatable clothing
Macrophiles like to fantasize around extreme size discrepancies
between partners. One might be a 50-foot woman and the other an
ordinary-sized man. One might be an ordinary-sized man and the
other a tiny woman. The tiny might be at the mercy of a cruel
or kind giant who keeps them as a pet or tortures them
mercilessly with feet or by engulfing them in a giant mouth or
ass. It’s an imaginative form of extreme power play.
Core kink: Sometimes feet, sometimes mouth
These are extreme variations of footplay, wherein the foot
lover wants to be crushed under the weight of their partner’s
feet. In the case of “crush freaks,” the drama unfolds as a
helpless creature such as a bug or worm stands in for the foot
fan. The creature is tortured and trampled underfoot as the
crush freak imagines themselves orgasmically exploding under
the pressure. This kink in particular can be ethically
challenging for even the crush freak to accept.
Wet and Messy covers all sorts of play that involves gooey,
liquid substances being poured over the body. In general, we’re
not talking about bodily fluids (that’s another kink), but
rather ordinary substances such as mud, baked beans, or pies.
Sploshers often prefer to do this clothed, as “ruining” a nice
set of shoes or outfit intensifies the sense of abandon and
freedom from social taboos. There are WAM subsets for people
who prefer mud (mudlarkers) or water (wetlook).
Core kink: Goo
Related kinks: Quicksand, pieplay
Some fans of erotic power exchange find the trappings of
conventional BDSM boring — paddles, whips, and chains are part
of some distant historic period tainted with the aura of
slavery. Instead they play with the props we all know from
doctor visits; objects like catheters, enemas, speculums,
needles, and retractors are all ways of pushing against the
bodily boundaries while feeling as if we are being cared for by
a loving professional.
Core kinks: latex, PVC, steel
Related kinks: Adult babies
In cannibal play, one partner is transformed into a “piece of
meat” for the mutual enjoyment of both. Meatgirls and meatboys
love the idea of being the center of attention, the object of
their partner’s voracious sexual and oral appetites. Consensual
role-play usually involves bondage, and sometimes fire play,
knife play, and biting. Oral sex, or “eating out,” is often the
dessert. While the fantasies can get quite dark, actual
role-play is often more lighthearted.
Core kinks: Skin, mouth
In superhero play, partners wear spandex costumes based on real
or invented superheroes. It’s a variant of BDSM employing the
excitement and clichés of popular culture entertainment. The
costuming, or transformation into a superhero, is erotic in
itself, but role-play usually also involves predicament bondage
and can be combined with mess or growth play. This kink is
currently primarily found in the gay male community.
Core kink: Lycra, spandex
Related kinks: Slash fanfic
Smoking fans want to see their partners casually and
masterfully inhale deeply from a cigar or cigarette. They enjoy
watching the oral skills of a smoke-ring-blower or French
inhaler. Part of the excitement comes from seeing a partner
indulge in a guilty pleasure without regard for social rules.
“Naughty” smokers might be naughty in other ways. Cigars and
cigarettes can also be tools for BDSM or humiliation play,
where one partner blows smoke in the other’s face as a form of