What is the difference between a kink and a fetish? And are either of them anything to worry about?
I often see postings on Internet sites about people who are "experimenting" with a balloon fetish, or just "getting into it." And I think they're using the term in too broad a sense. Now, I'm not going to get into a fight over semantics, but I think the difference is worth noting. If you are experimenting with a sexual variation, like sexual activity with balloons, for example, I don't think you are participating in a fetish; I think you are trying out a kink.
It's something you are deciding to do, something you want to try out. It's not something that you feel compelled by some inner feeling to do, and most likely if you decided to give it up tomorrow, you could do so without any difficulty.
This applies to any kinky sex you might decided to experiment with, not just balloons, but since this is a blog about balloons and sex, we'll stick to that topic.
And as kinks go, I think balloon play is probably a pretty good one. It's harmless, with a low risk of injury. Balloons are fun, sensual, and yet in some ways kind of scary, though in a superficial sense. That is, the balloons won't really hurt you, but popping them might give some enough adrenaline rush to provide some extra stimulation.
I wouldn't know. I can't see balloons the way others do without it being influenced by my very real fetish, something I did not choose, feelings that just happened to me along the way, starting very early in my life. They are ingrained in me, and I can't just decide that I don't want to be turned on by them (or afraid of them or emotionally attached to them) and change my feelings overnight.
If I did want to make such a change (and I don't), it would be a long battle, and I truthfully believe that some vestige of those feelings would just never go away. And that, in my opinion, is the difference between a fetish and a kink.
That and the fact that I am convinced that not all fetishes are sexual, whereas all kinks are, by their nature. There's nothing wrong with that; I have nothing against kinky sex or experimentation as long as no one gets hurt, but I do care about the difference, personally.
Now, what about the second question: is kinky sex or fetishism anything to worry about?
I once had a commenter on Twitter tell me I need to see a psychiatrist. I was tempted to reply: "I don't think you'd agree with what the psychiatrist had to say." (I resisted the temptation.) Because according to the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), which is what the psychiatric profession uses as a guide, fetishism in itself is not any kind of disorder.
There is something called fetishistic disorder, but that only comes into play if the fetish interferes with the subject's daily life. I wouldn't qualify. It's true, I do sometimes get very anxious when I'm around balloons in public, but that has little to do with my fetish and everything to do with my phobia.
So, whether you're doing balloons as a lark, or you're in it for the long haul through no choice of your own, there's nothing to be concerned about.
As long as nobody gets hurt.
NOTE: If you arrived here from Wikipedia, you should know that citing my blog as a source for what DSM has to say is a bit misleading to say the least. To see my opinion about that, click here.