Twink is a gay slang term used to describe young men in their late teens to early twenties. Usage of the term varies, but traits attributed to twinks can include attractiveness, having little or no body or facial hair, a slim to average build, or appearing to be younger than their chronological age.
The term twink has been recorded in use since 1963, and may be derived from an older British gay slang term twank, meaning "The quarry of a homosexual prostitute (male); a man willing and ready to become any dominant man's 'partner'."
The Oxford Dictionary says the word twink means "a homosexual or effeminate, or a young man regarded as an object of homosexual desire," and that the word has origins in the 1970s. The term is derived from the snack cake Twinkie, commonly regarded as the quintessential junk food: "little nutritional value, sweet to the taste and creme-filled." Cream is among the well-known food-related euphemistic terms for semen. In Queering Pornography: Desiring Youth, Race and Fantasy in Gay Porn, essayist Zeb J. Tortorici notes that gay twink porn thrives on the production and performance of "consumable and visually/anally receptive masculinity."
A twink is "memorable for his outer packaging", not his "inner depth". The definition of twink has broadened, and qualifiers (such as muscle or femme) narrow the meaning to a more specific type of twink.
Twinks are often clean-shaven to emphasize a youthful, fresh-faced appearance. Generally in their early 20s and slim, similar to a boyish appearance. Some use the term to refer to those generally effeminate in nature, though this is not universal. The term has been used by bears and other gay men in a derogatory and pejorative manner. In some cases, it is a neutral descriptive term, and can be contrasted with bear. The term is often modified by various descriptors, e.g., femme twink, Euro twink and muscle twink. The term is used in the gay pornography industry. He generally, but not necessarily, assumes the receptive role when engaging in anal sex.
There is a backronym that states that twink stands for "teenaged, white, into no kink", although these criteria are neither necessary nor sufficient to allow one to be classified as a twink.
In a 2007 book entitled Never Enough about a 2003 murder in Hong Kong the author Joe McGinniss in his book, described by the New York Times Book Review as hard-boiled clichés with a cartoonish first impression, the author describes a court case in which twink was said to mean 'a gay slang term used to denote an attractive, boyish-looking gay man between the ages of 18 and 22, slender ectomorph and with little or no body hair, often blond, often but not necessarily Caucasian.'
Similar to other "codes", like the bear code, the twink code is a set of symbols using letters, numerals, and other characters commonly found on modern, Western computer keyboards, and used for the describing and rating of twinks. These codes are used in email, Usenet, and Internet forum postings to identify the physical type and preferences of the poster but have mostly fallen out of usage. The code includes physical traits such as "c" for color of hair (from blond to black), "l" for length of hair (from bald/clean-shaven to very long), "h" for degree of hairlessness, "y" for youthful appearance, and "e" for endowment. It also includes personality traits such as "q" for "queeniness" and sexual preferences such as "k" for "the kinky factor".