Brits have lived through a year like no other, with lockdowns and working from home forcing couples to be more close, and often more intimate than ever.
And sexpert Kate Sloan says that there have been some dramatic changes in the fetishes that are getting people hot and bothered.
She explains: "A fetish is a non-standard sexual interest, usually focused on a particular object, body part, or act.
"While the words ‘fetish’ and ‘kink’ are sometimes used interchangeably, broadly speaking, a kink is any non-standard sexual interest and a fetish is a more intense kink that may rise to the level of a fixation for some people."
She's provided a rundown of the fetishes that people are expressing more interest in over the past year, with online mattress sellers MattressNextDay providing the stats on which fetishes are on the rise.
10. Role Play
Role play – playing at being different "characters" with your partner – has seen a 5% increase in online search in the past year.
Kate says: "Try meeting up with your partner at a bar or restaurant and pretending you're two strangers on a first date. This is a good roleplay scenario for beginners because you can essentially play the character of yourself, just in a different situation."
Sexual humiliation – deliberately humiliating your partner to provoke sexual excitement – up 26% in the past year.
Kate advises: "Erotic humiliation is the act of embarrassing someone in order to excite them sexually. It's important to negotiate beforehand so you know which topics are and are not okay to use as humiliation fodder.”
Bondage, which already benefitted from a massive boost over the past decade thanks to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, has seen a 31% surge in search traffic over the past year.
However, Kate warns, it's important to play safely: "Always leave at least two fingers' worth of space between the restraints and the person's skin so that you won't cut off their circulation."
Using our natural sexual jealousy to provoke an erotic response has seen an increase in search traffic of 61%.
Kate advises that you don't have to actually invite someone else into the bedroom: "While many people find this to be a hot fantasy, you don't have to actually incorporate another person into your play to experiment with cuckolding kink. Instead, you can talk dirty to each other about the third party that one of you could have sex with."
Domination – the D in BDSM – is up 62% in the past year.
Kate says domination isn't as simple as it might sound: "While it may look like a dominant is just bossing around a submissive, "making" them do whatever the dominant wants, in reality dominance is a collaboration between both partners and it can be very fun to "force" someone to do something you know they actually want to do."
This less well-known kink is up 70% over the past year.
Kate explains: "The practice of treating someone like an object, whether that be an object of sexual desire or a literal object."
However, she advises: "Good aftercare is crucial for objectification play – spend some time with your partner after an objectification session just hanging out and unwinding, perhaps by having some snacks, hydrating, and talking about what you just did together in a kind, affirming way.
“This can help you transition more smoothly back into "real life" after such a psychologically intense experience."
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Kate says "to gag someone is to push an object/body part into their mouth". Online searches are up 73% in the past year.
Kate advises: "Have a safe-signal, since the person won't be able to talk and say their safe word; they could, for example, tap their partner's arm twice to signal that they want the gagging to stop."
3. Impact Play
There's been a huge increase in Impact play, a term that covers spanking, paddling, flogging and caning. Search traffic has gone up by 141% in the past year.
Kate says it's important to do some preparation: "You can also use a stoplight safe-word system, where green means "keep going," yellow means "please pause and check in with me," and red means "stop immediately."
Sploshing – getting wet and messy during sex – has seen a 250% increase in interest over the past year. This messy fetish can involve food items – some people really get off on having a custard pie mashed in their face for example – but in some cases people will use more offbeat substances such as mud or oils.
Kate advises: "The most important thing with sploshing is to do it in a location that's easy to clean, like in a bathtub or on top of a large plastic tarp. Don't get any sugary substances in or near the vagina if possible, because of the risk of a yeast infection; if you do, rinse the area ASAP."
You might think we've all suffered enough over the past year but deliberately suffering pain for sexual pleasure has seen a 300% rise in online searches.
Kate explains: "Masochism is a sexual interest in receiving pain, whether it be through biting, scratching, spanking, or something more intense like wax play. Pain releases endorphins in the body which many people find exciting and/or blissfully relaxing."
Kate's number one tip for anyone interested in trying out masochism is to establish communication protocols with the person or people who'll be administering the pain. "For example," she says, "you can use a 1-to-10 scale to quantify the pain you're feeling at any given moment, and to express how much pain you'd like to be feeling."
Daily Star would like to take this moment to remind readers to play safe, and always discuss whatever you plan to do with your partner beforehand.
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