The sound of a pair of stilettos making impact on cold, polished marble. The sight of your partner tightening some rope between firm, clenched fists. The taste of warm chocolate spread on exposed skin, waiting for your eager oral exploration.
If any of these statements got your heart racing then you just may have a sexual fetish (and so do I).
So, now that I’ve got your attention, let’s delve deeper in to just what that means.
What Is Sexual Fetishism?
Chances are that all of us have wondered if our sexual desires and preferences are ‘normal’ at one point or another. The answer to that question is a loud and enthusiastic ‘YES!’
Sex and sexual attraction are complex elements of the human condition and attraction manifests in a myriad of different manners.
However, there are some sexual desires which are considered to be ‘atypical’ or generally outside of the average. ‘Non-vanilla’ if you want to use the ice cream analogy (and who doesn’t love ice cream?). If these desires are strong enough then it may fall in to the realm of sexual fetishism.
Sexual fetishism has a few definitions (depending on the source) but in the broadest sense it refers to sexual excitement brought about by an object or body part which isn’t typically considered as sexual.
The object or body part in question is termed a ‘fetish’ which comes from the French term ‘fétiche’ which, in turn, comes from the Portuguese term ‘feitiço’ meaning ‘spell’. A sexual fetish, then, is literally an object of captivation—something that puts a spell on the sexual fetishist and invokes a sense of sexual devotion.
Could I Have A Fetish?
This intense terminology may lead some people to believe that ‘fetish’ is too strong a term for how they feel about their own desires. Surely sexual fetishism only applies to those really hard-core kinks?
Well no, actually.
By very definition if you find yourself inexplicably or inherently excited by a non-living object or non-genital part of the body then you have, to some degree, a fetish. And you’re not alone.
In a 2014 study published in the researchers found that of the 55 sexual fantasies that they surveyed people about only 2 were found to be rare. Similarly in 2016 a study published in the it was found that of the 8 types of ‘anomalous’ behaviours that are clinically listed as abnormal 4 were found to be rather common. In fact overall nearly half of the participants expressed an interest in some form of fetish whereas one-third had first-hand experience with sexual fetishism.
Fifty Shades of Grey may have shone a spotlight on our kinkier sides, but those initial desires may have always been there, deep within our psyche.
Do I Need Help?
Nowadays the definition for sexual fetishism has also expanded to include not just an interest in objects and/or body parts but also certain activities, settings, or scenarios. Sexual attraction truly knows no bounds and there really is a fetish out there for everyone.
With this in mind remember that there’s no shame in having a sexual fetish. Sexual fetishes alone are not an issue. It is only when the fetish is causing extreme distress, unhappiness, or in some way having a detrimental effect on a person’s health or wellbeing that a fetish veers in to the territory of clinical diagnosis. If this is the case for you then please do seek help, especially if your attraction involved illegal activities.
When it comes to sexual fetishism there are also certain degrees of intensity too.
To use the ice cream analogy again some people are happy with vanilla, but don’t mind adding in some chocolate sometimes (or going full Neapolitan). Others have a preference that they’ll want to have more often than not but don’t mind returning to vanilla if it’s on offer. Whereas others will like only one flavour and anything else just won’t do.
Sometimes these flavours can be rather commonplace, other times they’re downright bizarre (, anyone?) but that’s no reason to yuck someone else’s yum. Being respectful about each individual’s personal taste is an important part of promoting sex positivity and ending the stigma associated with sexual fetishism.
So Just How Many Fetishes Are There?
Given the loose definition of what constitutes a fetish nowadays there are probably far too many fetishes and sub-divisions of sexual fetishism to count, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying.
In terms of sexual interests, objects, or situations that are considered atypical (known as ‘paraphilia’) the professor of forensic medicine, Anil Aggrawal, has compiled over 547 terms for different paraphilic sexual interests. However some are much more recognised than others. Meanwhile fetishists themselves have also come up with their own terms and definitions where current paraphilia have fallen short.
Thanks to the combined work of professionals and participating fetishists there are now a few terms that stand out compared to others, helping people identify their own sexual kink in a sea of desires. This intersection of information is the focus of this compendium.
How to Use This Compendium
With each addition of The Great Big Fetish Compendium we will be listing some of the most commonly recognised paraphilia and fetishes known to the world. This should hopefully make it much easier for people to identify their own fetish and to find a short explanation for their fetish.
This will start off as a simple list of sorts—briefly naming and describing each fetish—but as time goes on we will be delving deeper in to each of the individual fetishes, just what they involve, and how you can explore them yourselves. Who knows, you may even discover a secret desire that you didn’t even know you had.
But that’s it for now! Make sure to join me next time when we begin looking at just what the wonderful world of sexual fetishism has to offer.
With many thanks to Emmeline Peaches for her fantastic work and help with this project.
Written by Emmeline Peaches for Knicker Rocker Glory