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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. John's chapter.

College, as we know, is a time for experimenting. As students and young adults, we make a lot of discoveries about ourselves during our college years. Through this experimentation, they can figure out their likes and dislikes on a range of topics, including their sexual desires and kinks.

Since 54.18% of college students claim they are having sex in college, it brings up questions for first-year students and those who are virgins: what sexual discoveries they will make about themselves during their undergraduate years?

Understanding sexual preferences are hard, and accepting them is even harder. Unfortunately, fetishes and kinks are labeled and denounced in our culture to this day. To many that are unaware, there is a difference between a “kink” and a “fetish.” According to the Kinsey Institute at the University of Indiana, a fetish is “a strong sexual preoccupation with an object, material, or body part,” while a kink is a term used to encompass a variety of “atypical” sexual preferences one has. There is an entire spectrum of fetishes and kinks from admiring feet, popping balloons, and wanting a stranger to break into your house, to wearing a swimsuit and soaking in a bathtub full of ramen noodles. Thanks to the internet, the opportunities for many students to have an understanding of sex, kinks, and fetishes are endless. 

Fetishes and kinks are becoming increasingly prevalent in the media and are presenting a variety of messages to Americans and other viewers across the world. Shows like TLC’s “Strange Sex” present real people and their unique sexual preferences. James Franco’s documentary “Kink,” about the website Kink.com illustrates the inner workings of the fetish pornography industry that is extremely popular today. Even though both “Strange Sex” and “Kink” create an “other” of people who have an atypical sexual preference, these two pieces allow people to learn about sexualities and will enable them to become more aware of their choices.

Talking about sexual preferences, regardless of what they are, is difficult at first. When discussing fetishes with a sophomore, they explained the difficulty of negotiating their kink in their relationships. They stated that “it is hard to find a balance between making sure your partner feels comfortable and respected while still maintaining the integrity of your desires and fulfilling them.” They encouraged couples to try everything because “you never know where you will end up.” 

Kinks and fetishes should not be given a bad rep, especially to a demographic that is in college. Kinks, fetishes, and sex are known to be fun, exciting, and unique, which makes these experiences memorable. It is problematic to call sexuality abnormal since there is no normal. Things that you might like in the bedroom might seem strange or odd to someone else, and vice versa. There is no harm in experimenting with yourself and others. As long as you aren’t offending or hurting anyone and practicing consent, keep experimenting with yourself, and find out what you like.

Ivy Bourke

St. John's '23

St John’s Student who is studying Sports Management with a minor in journalism. I plan to change the sports world for the better and have women be represented in all aspects of the world.