Psychotherapy, Sex, and Kink

Sex has many functions and is one way of creating and expressing connection and attachment, whether temporary or enduring, between individuals, groups of individuals, or within communities. 

Many people feel that their sexual desires and modes of sexual expression don’t fit into what is considered conventional. When this is the case, it can cause a person to anticipate being judged or misunderstood by others; it can feel like a dilemma. What is acceptable? To oneself? To another? 

A therapist from Toronto Psychotherapy Group can address your concerns about sexual desire and the forms that sexual expression with others in your life takes. It can be freeing to explore your particular way of expressing sexual connection, in conversation with a psychotherapist, especially if this area of your life feels like a source of difficulty.

Defining Kink

Kink, or kinky sexual expression, shared between consenting adults, can be a way of creating and expressing intimacy that can encompass the erotic, sexual, physical, psychological, and the spiritual. It can be an exploration and expression of power dynamics. It can be a place for the unfolding of fantasy and creativity. Often it is the combination of many aspects of an individual that come forth within a co-created and shared experience with another, or others. Sometimes one experiences their kinkiness alone within their fantasy life.

Even the idea of being kinky—being different or not a part of what is thought to be the norm—can in itself be the kink that excites someone. There are innumerable ways of pushing against sexual boundaries or taboos, and it is this heightened, creative, or unusual sexual expression that is eroticized.  The description or definition what is or is not kink varies widely.

Commonly linked with kink are the following:

BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. These forms of activity are often, but not exclusively, related to sex. Safe and consensual play and engagement are paramount in the BDSM community. 

Sexual fetishism is the desire, or the sense of need, for a particular trait, object, or material an individual might find at times necessary to achieve a heightened sense of sexual arousal.  A particular body part or physical trait might be fetishized. Often the body part is not generally thought of as sexual, such as with feet, body size, skin colour, hair colour, the wished-for presence or absence of body hair or scents, etc. Body alterations and modifications such as tattoos, piercings, and implants of various kinds can be fetishes, as can costumes or particular items or styles of clothing.  

How Psychotherapists Work with Sex, Kink, or Fetishes

Therapists whose profiles appear on the Toronto Psychotherapy Group website listing kinks and fetishes as areas they work with will engage with you in open, reassuring, and nonjudgmental conversation. The aim of the process for both of you will be to explore the mysteries of your personal history and context, spoken and unspoken, with respect and curiosity.

Seeing a therapist to address the place of sex and kink in your life will involve some or all of the following:

  • Exploring the nature of your particular sexual expression(s) in ways that do not pathologize them, but are affirming and foster a sense of self-acceptance.
  • Facilitate supportive conversation about your draw to your particular kinks or fetishes 
  • Address any discomfort including internal shame or stigmatization you might feel about your kinks or fetishes, to promote a sense of ease and freedom within yourself.
  • Engage in conversations about how you might begin to explore your particular sexual interests, if you are not already, in ways that feel safe and comfortable for you.  This could also lead towards opening conversations with your partner(s) or friends about your fetish and kink interests.
  • Offer supportive conversations as you find a place within a fetish or kink community, if that is an expressed desire, or conversely, talk of how you might feel isolated within a community you do not feel part of. 

To consult with a therapist who works with sex and kink, and who will work with you to clarify your specific concerns and treatment goals, view our directory of professionals.

To consult with a therapist who works with kinks and fetishes and who will work with you to clarify your specific concerns and treatment goals, view our directory of professionals.

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