Fetishes and Kinks

I have always been attracted to beauty, be it in nature, art or with the human body, but I think all of us are similar. Beauty can have a dark side when only the visual elements attract attention. However, as a photographer it is my goal to capture the souls of my clients, offering different dimensions to the beautiful essence within each person. Body and mind combine to create a fascinating and deeply sensual whole, and it is this sensuality and exploration which often adds to the intimate relationships between people.

As a South African, my own sensuality was limited. Sex was unspoken about and portrayed through a puritanical lense. Censorship in South Africa was harsh and uncompromising and even implied nudity was banned. As a teenager, I had never seen a naked woman and was naive to the mysteries of sex. I was determined to find out more, but my knowledge was limited. In many ways, social media still censors the wonder and beauty of the human body. Like each of us, I embarked on my own sexual journey, but it was only when I was invited to photograph a BDSM dungeon that I fully began to understand the pleasure fetishes bring to so many different people.

There have been many attempts at understanding the fetish from the psychological community. None of them explain the deeply sensual experience enjoyed by its participants. This is because fetishes are sensual and embodied rather than abstract or theoretical. In order to be enjoyed, fetishes must always be practiced with consenting adults, and always photographed safely and respectfully. This article forms part of a regular feature which shares the mystery of fetishes and what it means to photograph them safely and respectfully. I begin by explaining some of the more common fetishes I have observed. I am no expert, and would leave richer descriptions to participants. However, I present some broad defintions, as they are widely understood:

BDSM is an acronym for bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism. One is either dominant or submissive or indeed a switch which is a person that sometimes likes to be dominant and at other times submissive. Although some may think that this is pure kink, in some cases it does not even involve sex at all, sometimes it is more about the mental act than the physical act.

BDSM acts usually introduce a SAFE word that when uttered brings everything to an immediate halt. Informed consent is known as Safe, Sane and Consensual, (SSC) or RACK, Risk-aware Consensual Kink. Usually, the word is totally unrelated to sex for example ‘tin can’.

BDSM is also about aspects of sex where we may like to be controlled or to control. Breaking the word down it can be viewed as follows:

Bondage; Restricting movement. Discipline; rules and punishments that are agreed upon before ‘the session’. Dominance; the act of showing dominance over a physical partner. Submission. Following the dominant partners actions and wishes. Sadism and Masochism or Sadomasochism; pleasures emotional or physical felt through receiving pain, masochism, or inflicting pain, sadism.

Dominance (dom) and submission (sub), within BDSM is all about consensual power exchange, dominance is the one half where one would get sexual pleasure from taking control, this can be done mentally or physically.

Submissive’s get sexual pleasure from being mentally or physically controlled.

This one is pretty self-explanatory; it is where one likes to be restrained or restrain others. One will often use many kinky toys, dildo’s, vibrators, and other sex toys during a session. Restraints can include anything from items of clothing to cuffs, shackles, mounts, spreader bars, specialised bed gear, etc., or merely having their wrists restrained by their partner.

Role Play

Where people take on a character outside of their normal lives as part of a sex scene. Some people will construct and entire scene, for others it could be something as simple as donning a police, fireman’s or nurses outfit. Your imagination is the limit to how you can role play. The first time I photographed role playing was for a couple that wanted to do medical role play where there was a doctor and a patient and for their next shoot, they introduced a second patient.


Some people enjoy being called a bitch or a slut, but set the boundaries before you call your partner names. Intense language can have a negative effect on many people, however as not all acts of BDSM are physical there are those that get sexual excitement our or being humiliated and degraded. Remember your kinks are not your values.

Now that we have the basics covered, lets get into some of the other kinks and fetishes.

Foot fetish

Podophilia is where sexual arousal is triggered by legs, stocking, shoes and in particular the feet.

Underwear fetishism

One that gets sexual excitement from bra’s, panties, stocking or other items. Some people get excitement from wearing them, others from handling, smelling or watching someone put the items on or take them off. I know several models that have OnlyFans pages or similar have some of their clients purchase worn underwear. There are several websites dedicated to the sale of such.


Sexual attraction that younger women or men feel for older men and women.

Body piercings and tattoos

Stigmatophilia wis the sexual attraction to tattoos and piercings. Some will have a passion for tattoos and piercings then there are those that have an outright sexual attraction towards them, known as stigmatophilia.


Shibari is and ancient form of artistic Japanese rope bondage. Shibari is very artistic and there is an art in the act of tying. I believe the art of erotic bondage is called Kinbaku but most people still refer to the artistic rope tying as Shibari.


A voyeur derives sexual pleasure from watching others getting undressed, enjoying sex or partaking in self pleasure. Voyeurism is often secretive, and the voyeur may enjoy going unseen. Exhibitionists enjoy being watched and voyeurs like to watch.


This would be an impact tool such as a riding crop, paddles, canes, whips etc. As whips can cause serious injury both internally and externally, they should only be used by professional dominatrices. I would recommend that if you do decide to use them in your role play, start with a beginner-friendly option or seek some instruction from a professional dom.