The Most Common Kinks and Fetishes in the U.S.

Dr. Evan Goldstein

The Fun Stuff January 15, 2020

In the last few years, you may have noticed that fetishes and kinks are becoming more commonly discussed. Many people are more comfortable discussing their fetishes. In part, we can attribute this to the popularity of media such as Fifty Shades of Grey which catapulted communities like BDSM into the spotlight (inaccurately, though, as many people claim). 

Unfortunately, “kink-shaming” is becoming a thing too. While many fetishes and kinks remain on the fringes of most people’s vocabulary and experiences, studies have shown that for many, they are simply a part of their sexual development and identity development. And the stigma around various kinks and fetishes can take a real toll on those that prefer them.

At Future Method, we believe intimacy should be healthy, judgment-free and safe for everyone, which includes eliminating the stigma around things like fetishes, where two consenting, safe, non-violent adults are involved. We also believe in making proper education backed by science accessible, which is part of our mission and why we run this blog! 


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What are the Most Common Fetishes?

While this isn't the complete glossary of terms when it comes to kinks and fetishes, the most common include:

  1. Masochism: Masochism falls under the BDSM umbrella. Masochists derive pleasure from receiving pain.
  2. Group Sex: Group sex involves threesomes, foursomes and orgies and can involve single people or couples.
  3. Sadism: Sadism is another term that falls under the BDSM umbrella. Sadists derive pleasure from inflicting pain on a sexual partner.
  4. Sports Gear: Sports gear enthusiasts find sports uniforms, pads, boots, cleats, straps and other equipment to be erotic, especially when worn on themselves or their sexual partners.
  5. Armpits: Licking, kissing and even penetrating is involved for those who enjoy armpit play.
  6. Balloons: Also referred to as "looners," some people enjoy blowing up and popping balloons during playtime.
  7. BDSM: BDSM involves erotic roleplaying in bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism and other sexual roles.
  8. Suits: If seeing someone in a uniform or business suit arouses you, you might have a suit kink. Suits are often associated with positions of power, which can lend itself to sexual dynamics.
  9. Used Underwear: It's exactly how it sounds. Some people enjoy smelling, licking and using used underwear for sexual gratification.
  10. Voyeurism: A voyeur is someone who derives sexual pleasure from watching others get it on, though it's important to note this must be consensual.

Pondering all of this, we got to wondering–everyone’s got to be a little bit kinky, right? Even if not, there are certain fetishes that are more prevalent than others, whether individuals will admit to it or not. We’ve peeked behind the curtain in Google search term volume to reveal the various types of kinks and fetishes that rose to the top of the list in every state. Our result? Read on to find out!  

Common Fetish Map of the United States of America

US map showing the most commonly searched fetish in each state


In all its glory, we present the Fetish Map of the United States of America. Which fetishes is your state Googling the most?

We have to commend Texas for staying true to its rodeo roots with a fascination with whipping. The same goes for tough, business-like New York with its leather fetish, and stifling hot Nevada with its...armpit fetish? Okay, that was a stretch. No offense to Nevada. 

Some of the most common fetishes in the United States include masochism, group play, sadism, sports gear, and armpits, in fact. Clearly, BDSM has a strong presence, and so do some other fun ways to play with your partner

This map displays the most commonly searched fetish in every state, but many may also be considered kinks. Wondering the difference, and maybe what some of these fetishes mean? Check out this handy guide to fetishes from A to Z. 

Common Fetishes Map of the U.S. by Region

The map below organizes the most popular fetishes in the South, West, Northeast, and Midwest. 

US map showing the most commonly searched fetish for each region


As you can see, masochism, sadism, or BDSM as a whole is popular in three out of the four U.S. regions–except for the Midwest. We suppose they’re just too polite! Instead, Midwesterners prefer sports gear and group play, though, so maybe they’re not so innocent after all. 

In the South, suits are another most common fetish. The Northeast has a whopping nine tied for most popular, including BDSM, sadism, balloons, edging, group play, leather, nylons, sounding, and of course, the classic foot fetish. What’s going on up there, northerners? It certainly sounds fun. 

The Most Searched Fetish in the United States

We tallied up the most popular fetishes in the United States in order. It makes for a fascinating list of kinks. You can view that chart below.

bar chart showing the most searched fetishes in the united states


As seen in the graph above, the most common kinks in order are masochism, group sex, sadism, sports gear, armpits, balloons, BDSM, suits, used underwear, and voyeurism. We were surprised to learn that there are so many unique popular fetishes in the U.S. Many states have something they alone can call their favorite, which just goes to show how varied human desire can be! And we think that’s a beautiful thing. 

Did the Fetish Map of the United States of America shock you, intrigue you, or teach you something new? We certainly hope so, especially the latter, as that’s our goal here on The Science of Sex. We encourage our readers to practice safe play and pay special attention to how they prepare to play, which can truly heighten any experience you choose to experience by adding an ever-important factor: peace of mind.

About the author

Dr. Evan Goldstein is the Co-Founder of Future Method and the Founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical, the leading private practice in health and wellness for gay men. He received his MD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Goldstein is the go-to butt and bottoming expert, having been published in Huffington Post, Men’s Health, Healthline, and more. Learn about Dr. Goldstein by visiting his practice,


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