Fetishism is one of the most diverse and fascinating aspects of sexuality. It’s my belief that most people have a fetish for something, whether or not we care to admit it. We often see fetishism described as an ‘abnormal’ aspect of someone’s sexuality, or something that is necessarily unhealthy. In my experience, this just isn’t the case, and provided that you explore your fetish ethically and consensually, they can be a great way to explore your sexuality with creativity and curiosity. It’s always a pleasure to explore the nuance of someone’s connection to a particular fetish, and I am always honored when someone decides to share theirs with me!
Fetishism is a strong preference or attachment to something, whether it’s a physical item or material, an image, or a sensation. The line between a preference or a ‘kink’ and a fetish is generally drawn at the point at which the fetish is required for arousal. Like sexual preferences, fetishes can change over time and with mood, and may not always serve exactly the same function in someone’s personal erotic landscape. The attraction to a fetishized object or image is unmistakably strong, though, and can often have a sort of unexplainable power or magnetism.
Fetishes I’ve encountered in my kinky life have included things like leather and latex, stinky socks, medical implements, urine, spit, menstrual pads, cross-dressing, particular fabrics or colours, handbags or shoes, blood, trees or other aspects of the natural environment, animal onesies, tickling, and the list goes on. There are a great many others, and one of my favorite things to do in my work is to encounter a fetish I’ve never engaged with before. Fetishism can extend well outside of the ‘usual suspects’ that we commonly see represented in kink imagery and writing - like latex, for example. Sometimes a fetish has a very clear lineage, or an experience in the person’s life that erotically connected them to the object of their fetish. For other people, the fetish may have just been developed from more frequent contact with the object over time, whether it was introduced to them in pornography, by a lover, or just by chance.
Each person responds to play incorporating their fetish differently. For some, it’s a constant aspect of the play we share, and needs to be present at all times. In other situations, the fetishized item or act can be scattered throughout the session, and each time it may hold a more intense charge for the person receiving. One of the great things about exploring a fetish with a BDSM professional is that you can present your fetish, and the way you like to engage with it, in an environment that is non-judgmental, friendly, and invested in understanding the specificities of the particular charge you get from it. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to field fetishism with an open mind, and I know that myself and my colleagues in the BDSM world pride themselves on their ability to witness their playmates’ fetishes with compassion and understanding.
Whether or not they are ‘out’ about their fetish in other contexts other than our sessions, I encourage my clients to feel unashamed of their fetishes, and welcome them into a space where a fetish can be embraced in all of its sexy glory. For me, fetishism is a beautifully creative way to interact with the everyday. There’s something very powerful in the ability to draw our arousal from non-traditional sources. A fetish can be explored alone or with a partner, in real life or in fantasy. And while we’re on the subject, it can also be valuable to distinguish between a fetish and a fantasy. A fantasy is something that we can engage in mentally without necessarily needing to act it out in real life (though of course it can often be quite satisfying to act out a fantasy when we have the opportunity to do so!). Fantasies can be just as diverse as fetishes, and may even include our fetishes, but a fetish is generally something we make manifest.
If you’re not sure whether your particular turn-on is a preference, a kink, or a fetish, don’t get too caught up in that when you’re requesting it from a BDSM service provider. As long as she knows about your interest, and you’re able to give her as much information as she needs to make playing with it fun for you, it doesn’t matter what it’s called. This is your opportunity to be unashamed and have fun with it!