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Wolverine Claws, Sensation Play, and Other Ways to Explore Kink

In our new Netflix show, Sex, Love & goop, a few of the participants explore kinks. A kink can refer to any unconventional activity, object, or dynamic that can turn you on and enhance sexual pleasure. For some of us, a kink can come as a surprise—like, Oh, didn’t know I enjoyed feather ticklers so much. And for some of us, a kink comes later in life, as our sexual interests change over time.

Whether or not you consider yourself a kinkster at the time of reading, you may thoroughly enjoy mixing up your sex routine. Start by playing with new sensations (maybe blindfold up). See what excites you (*lights massage candle*). And explore what feels good. It’s an avenue for nonjudgment and an open mind. And with a partner, it can be a way to build intimacy and trust and practice asking for what you want and need.

Some kinks, but not all, fall under BDSM. Because we’ve got (gold) handcuffs on this page, we think it’s obvious but important to say that this is for adult eyes and that all sexual play should be consensual and desired by all parties involved. Also, for those wondering: Kink is different from a fetish. In general, the term “fetish” describes something that is lifelong, is integral to a person’s sexuality, and needs to be present for that person to experience sexual pleasure. A kink may increase pleasure, but pleasure doesn’t depend on it.

There are near-endless kinks and ways to play. Some of the most common ones involve novel sensations and textures, power and restraint, and sexual taboos. If you read this intro and did not skip right to the wolverine claws, thank you for your time, and now here are the most spectacular toys we’ve discovered in this realm.

  1. Impact Play:

    Paddles, Crops, and Floggers

    Pick an impact toy based on what kind of sensation you’re looking for. Paddles can be gentler on the body because they have a larger surface area and force is distributed more widely. (Of course, this depends on what kind of force you put behind them.) Focusing on the fleshy parts of the body, start with gentle pats and then work your way up to solid smacks if you’d like. Communicate with your partner throughout: What intensity feels best? Do you need to make any adjustments?

  2. Agent Provocateur Patent Leather Paddle
    Agent Provocateur Patent Leather Paddle goop, $195
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  3. Coco de Mer Leather Round Paddle
    Coco de Mer Leather Round Paddle goop, $125
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  4. Kiki de Montparnasse Play Paddle
    Kiki de Montparnasse Play Paddle goop, $144
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  5. Floggers are characterized by a bundle of loose, flexible tails. They’re a nice choice if you’d like to play with stinging sensations.

  6. Coco de Mer Small Leather Flogger
    Coco de Mer Small Leather Flogger goop, $65
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  7. Kiki de Montparnasse Braided Whip
    Kiki de Montparnasse Braided Whip goop, $295
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  8. Some impact toys resemble the crops made for riding horses. The shaft of a riding crop is long and springy, and the flexible leather loop at the end can make a satisfying thwack.

    Agent Provocateur Crystal Whip
    Agent Provocateur Crystal Whip goop, $380
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  9. Pick up a ruler to explore role play and fantasies—and extra credit if you have a desk to bend over with this one.

    Coco de Mer “Teach Me a Lesson” Ruler
    Coco de Mer “Teach Me a Lesson” Ruler goop, $20
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  10. One thing to avoid if you’re new to this: bullwhips. Long, single-tailed whips are difficult to control, can easily cut the skin, and can hurt in a way that’s not so fun or sexy.


  1. Sensation Play:

    Texture, Temperature, and Other
    Sensory Stimulation

  2. It’s not all leather and whips. Softer sensations from pom-poms, feathers, fur, and other light materials are often super pleasurable.

    Coco de Mer Feather Tickler goop, $85
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    Coco de Mer Feather Tickler
    Coco de Mer Feather Tickler goop, $85
    SHOP NOW
  3. You can explore gentle sensations with harder materials, too. Take these oak claws, which feel wonderful when you stroke them up the inner thigh or against the waist. A metal-chain flogger sounds intense, but it’s heavenly when you delicately drip it over the body. A Wartenberg wheel, which looks like a pinwheel covered in small spikes, gets rave reviews for its prickling sensations. Or keep it simple and scratch with your fingernails.

    Steelwood Designs Hand-Carved Antique Oak Hands
    Alexis Steelwood Hand-Carved Antique Oak Hands goop, $95
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  4. Temperature can be in play, too. Consider a massage candle, which melts into a nourishing body oil at a low enough temperature that you can pour it directly onto skin. (While you’re at it, try exploring sensual massage, which can be a kink on its own.) A metal dildo can be heated up or cooled down by dunking the whole thing in water and waiting a few minutes to adjust. And yes, these iconique dildos are made with twenty-four-karat gold, and yes, you can find stainless steel ones elsewhere.

  5. Lelo Olga
    Lelo Olga goop, $3,490
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  6. Kiki de Monpartnasse The Gold Wand
    Kiki de Monpartnasse The Gold Wand goop, $1,249
    SHOP NOW
  7. Neom Perfect Night’s Sleep Massage Candle
    Neom Perfect Night’s Sleep Massage Candle goop, $46
    SHOP NOW
  8. There’s also taste—another great reason to break out the whipped cream. And sound. You might appreciate a partner whispering, breathing, or tapping. And there’s a whole world of audio erotica out there. (Some apps we like are Dipsea, Quinn, and Guided by Glow.)


  1. Power and Restraint Play:

    Blindfolds, Handcuffs, and Leads

    Blindfolds are a solid starting point for sensual adventures. Some things can be more exciting when you don’t see them coming.

  2. Kiki de Montparnasse Lace Beaded Blindfold
    Kiki de Montparnasse Lace Beaded Blindfold goop, $250
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  3. Coco de Mer Leather Blindfold
    Coco de Mer Leather Blindfold goop, $130
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  4. For your first time playing with cuffs, go for a pair that’s comfortable and easy to adjust—like a cushiony option made from lambskin with silk ties that are soft on the skin. If you go for a more traditional locking handcuff, just know where your key (and backup key) is before strapping them on. Something you don’t want to learn the hard way: Fuzzy cuffs may be popular, but the fibers have a way of getting stuck in the lock and making them difficult to remove.

    Kiki de Montparnasse Gold Handcuffs
    Kiki de Montparnasse Gold Handcuffs goop, $425
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  5. One of the best ways to learn rope bondage is a hands-on workshop with a shibari center or a local rope group. (“Shibari” is a Japanese word meaning “to tie.” In contemporary use, it often refers to a style of artistic erotic bondage derived from centuries-old Japanese methods, also called kinbaku.) The Little Guide to Getting Tied Up by Evie Vane is an introduction to rope play that focuses on the receiver, emphasizing safety and asking for what you want. From there, choose your fighter: silky ropes, tape, strings of genuine onyx pearls…

    Kiki de Montparnasse Faceted Onyx Restraints
    Kiki de Montparnasse Faceted Onyx Restraints goop, $1,875
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  6. Whether you’re exploring themes of control or venturing full-force into pet play, a lead takes things to another level. It’s a classic symbol of submission and dominance. Try linking it up to a collar or harness—or even the chain between your handcuffs—and let a partner run the show. (Or, of course, run theirs.)

  7. Coco de Mer Leather Lead
    Coco de Mer Leather Lead goop, $120
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  8. Kiki de Montparnasse Collar and Lead Bondage Set
    Kiki de Montparnasse Collar and Lead Bondage Set goop, $550
    SHOP NOW

  1. Public-ish Play:

    Exhibitionism and Voyeurism

  2. If you think being directly watched—or directly watching someone else—is what would get you off, it’s best to seek a local community or club focused on exhibitionism and voyeurism where consent to these activities is part of the picture.

    If the thrill for you isn’t in being seen but instead in the idea that you could get caught: The key is to explore with the consent of all parties and in a way that keeps you safe. (Including legally so. Public sexual activity is often considered a misdemeanor that’s vaguely defined and particularly difficult to defend.) Some paths you could take involve selfies, home videos, or the kind of remote-control vibrators that you can secure in your underwear or slip into your vagina.

  3. We-Vibe Moxie Wearable Panty Vibrator
    We-Vibe Moxie Wearable Panty Vibrator goop, $129
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  4. LELO Lyla 2 Remote-Control Bullet Vibrator
    LELO Lyla 2 Remote-Control Bullet Vibrator goop, $159
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We hope you enjoy the book recommended here. Our goal is to suggest only things we love and think you might, as well. We also like transparency, so, full disclosure: We may collect a share of sales or other compensation if you purchase through the external links on this page.