New Survey Reveals 39% of Americans Admit to Having a BDSM Fetish

New Survey Reveals 39% of Americans Admit to Having a BDSM Fetish
Header Porter Autor: Heather Porter

Sex. For some, it’s just a natural part of living, but for others, it’s a thrill. And whether you prefer a more traditional approach in the bedroom or are open about your darkest sexual fantasies, new research suggests a significant chance that you, too, might harbor a fetish. Don’t worry: this is a safe space.

But what’s the most popular kink, and how likely is someone with a fetish to act on those desires? We surveyed 2,000 Americans over the age of 18 to find out. And as a site bringing AI girlfriends to people online, we also asked about how likely people are to play out their sexual fantasies in person and virtually. Although it seems that being open about one’s kinky nature is becoming more commonplace, some results from our survey might still surprise you.

Key Takeaways

Two-thirds of all Americans have a kink.

BDSM is the most popular kink in the U.S., accounting for 65% of all fetishes in America.

California is the kinkiest state and is home to 10% of the country’s kinkiest people.

People without an affiliation to a religion are about 50% more likely to have a kink.

Domination and Submission Is the Most Common Fetish in America

Out of all 2,000 Americans we surveyed, an astounding 39% say they have a domination and submission kink. That means one out of every three people you meet is a dom or a sub, or at least wants to be. According to VICE , people who find the responsibility of being an adult are more likely to want to give up control in the bedroom, so…it’s no surprise that this kink is so common.

Domination and Submission Is the Most Common Fetish in America

Role-playing is the next most popular kink, with 35% of survey respondents saying the idea of playing the part of someone else in a sexual situation gets them heated. So, if you want to spice up things in the bedroom, investing in a fireman or nurse outfit is a pretty safe bet.

Leather collars and under-the-bed restraints might be a good go-to, as well, as just under a third—26%—of respondents say they’re into bondage and discipline. That’s tied with impact play, so flogs and whips are welcome, too!

The least common fetish among Americans is bathroom play, which, for those new to the wide world of fetishes, involves urine and/or fecal matter as an integral part of sexual acts.

Just as uncommon are fetishes for particular non-sexual objects, like balloons, gloves, and stockings. Pet play is just a touch more popular, with 5% of respondents expressing interest in them or their partner dressing up like an animal.

Women Are Almost as Likely to Have a Kink as Men

Overall, 67% of respondents openly say they have a kink, and when it comes to the gender breakdown, 70% of men say they have a specific sexual fantasy, 64% of women say they do, and 81% of those identifying as non-binary get their kink on. Some sources, like Huff Post , suggest that women are actually more sexually adventurous than men, so the discrepancy could be explained by how willing someone is to label their fantasy as a “kink.”

Women Are Almost as Likely to Have a Kink as Men

While gender plays a minor role in how likely someone is to have a kinky turn-on, geographical location is much more divisive.

California is the kinkiest state in the U.S., as it’s home to more than 10% of our survey respondents with a fetishized sexual fantasy. It’s the place to be if you’re looking for a sexual partner with a fetish; The Golden State, indeed.

If you’re looking to break out the sex swing or a “plug” with a tail, steer clear of Maine, Hawaii, Montana, and Tennessee; these states tied for being the least kinky, accounting for just 0.2% of the country’s fetishes each. Indiana and Utah are relatively vanilla, too, with just 0.4% of our respondents residing in each of these states.

Religious People Are Less Likely to Have a Fetish

Religion plays less of a role in a person’s likelihood of having a kink than geographical location, but faith does seem to make a difference. Based on our survey data, people who aren’t affiliated with any religion or are atheist or agnostic are the most likely to have a kink, with an average of 72% confirming they did. Compare that to just 52% that have a fetish among people who belong to the Christian or Jewish faiths.

Those identifying themselves as part of an “other” religion were actually the kinkiest, with nearly 80% stating they have a fetish.

Some of our participants belong to the Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu faiths, but the number of those respondents makes the data statistically insignificant.

Technology Is Making Fetish Play More Accessible

The age of the internet could easily be called “the age of sexual exploration” because people seem to be more comfortable playing out their sexual fantasies online. More than half—59% of respondents, to be exact—believe that younger generations are more open about kinks and fetishes than older ones. And that could have something to do with the anonymity of the internet providing a means of easing into the world of fetish play.

Technology Is Making Fetish Play More Accessible

Around 55% of Americans say they’re willing to use OnlyFans to explore their wildest sexual fantasies. Being behind a screen just makes opening up about your deepest, darkest fantasies a little easier. We get it.

Couple that with 36% saying they’re willing to use AI to explore a fetish and 34% saying they’re willing to use VR, and it’s clear that technology is becoming the go-to way to unleash one’s kinky side (pun most definitely intended). That’s especially true when you consider that just 12% confirm their exploration with in-person sex workers.

And if you’re sitting there wondering if your partner might be hiding a kink for fear of judgment, the chances are decent. More than a quarter—28%—of our survey participants admit to hiding their fetishes.

Now…we’re not pushing anyone to start opening up about their secret kink, but just 1 in 10 Americans say they regret exploring a new fetish. Just saying.

Get Your Kink On? Your Partner Probably Has a Fetish, Too

We may have learned a little more than we anticipated with this survey, but the message is clear: not only is it okay to have a sexual fetish, but you’re in the norm if you do. More than two-thirds of all Americans actively participate in a kink, and that includes nearly an equal percentage of men, women, and those identifying as non-binary.

Get Your Kink On? Your Partner Probably Has a Fetish, Too

The moral of the story (or should we say, “amoral of the story”?) is that people seem to be more open about kinks than ever before, possibly because it’s easier to explore taboo sexual acts online . Most people have noticed that being open about fetishes is becoming more and more popular.

Gender and religion play a small part in one’s likelihood to be extra “naughty” in the bedroom—or in public places, for some!—and geographical location plays a pretty major role.

Signing off, and casually heading to California…


We surveyed 2,000 Americans in all 50 states in February 2024 about their kinks and the methods they used to explore them. Of those respondents, 57% were female, 40% were male, and 3% identified as non-binary. All participants were over the age of 18, and the median age was 34 years old.

We also studied Google Trends to determine which states had the highest search term volume for fetish keywords and to see which kinks were most popular in each state.

Fair Use

The data in this article, including the infographic, is all free use…ahem…fair use. Feel free to use it on your own site, but please link back to this page to credit the authors and artists.