Fetish Sex Guide – What is A Fetish, and What Does a Fetish Mean?
Fetish Sex (An Erotic Guide for Couples) is a book I wrote with erotica writer Thomas Roche to explain the wild, fun, sometimes scary but always fascinating world of fetishes — what they are, what having a fetish means, when your lover has one, and how to enjoy them safely whether alone or in a couple. This article describes sexual fetish and lists a few sexual fetishes, but does not subscribe to the belief that sexual fetish is a disorder or prescribe judgment on consensual enjoyable sexual behaviors, no matter how seemingly unusual.
* Listen to a free bonus Fetish Sex erotic story to get in the mood.
* Listen to my lecture about fetishes and dressing for fetish play (fetish dressing) I give twice a year at UCSF Annex for sexuality students.
What is fetish sex all about?
Besides publications from fetish communities, little has been written about fetishes without sensationalizing them as bizarre, strange and deviant practices held only by a handful of people. This is despite the numerous conventions, well-attended events, magazines and newsgroups with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and fetish fashion boutiques all over the world. In many people’s minds, people with fetishes occupy the freakish end of the gene pool when it comes to sex, and politely consider fetishes a place where people with far-out sexual tastes can get their needs satisfied.
The truth is, when you look at cultural stereotypes of what constitutes “normal” sex, pretty much anything you do outside of married heterosexual missionary intercourse can be considered “deviant.” In reality, everyone has a fetish of one kind or another — a position, eye or hair color, or body part. When you think about fetishes in this light, it seems as though sexual fetishes are standard-issue, doled out to everyone with genitalia and a brain.
And they are — but I’ll admit that sometimes it’s fun to explore the more otherworldly sexual obsessions of people who seek out sexual experiences that I consider strange or puzzling, such as human ponies, balloon popping and bug crushing. Nowhere in the world of sexual expression do humans become more playful, and their tastes unpredictable, than in the world of sex classified as “fetish.”
When someone has a sexual fetish, it means that for them an object, manner of dress or specific scenario takes on a magical quality, has deeper meaning, and becomes part of their favorite sexual experiences — or are sometimes absolutely required for satisfying sexual release. The item or predicament is that person’s most reliable sex toy, and as we all know when it comes to coming, when you find something that works, you mine it for all it’s worth. Sometimes there is a rational explanation as to why a particular person is attracted to a certain pair of shoes, wearing restrictive and beautiful corsets, watching women smoke in the nude, or pop balloons during sex — though more often, there is no explanation for the magnetic pull of a fetish. We have many culturally accepted explanations as to why big boobs and huge cocks are fashionable, or even everyday, sexual fetishes, but people with fetishes outside the norm get stigmatized. This is tough to cope with when you (or your lover) have a fetish.
Fetishes do not discriminate based on gender, race or class. The fetishes themselves do not choose to be good or bad, to be owned by men or women. There are female fetishists who eroticize the same objects in the same manner as do men, though we tend to see more of the male perspective on the web and in magazines because culturally men are considered the primary consumers of pornography, and thus, sexuality. So gender isn’t a reliable explanation. But no one gets hit on the head, like in the movies, and wakes up with a fetish. Clinical explanations about fetishes evolving from childhood experiences and Freudian experiences with parental nudity all reek with the same contrived stink as theories about homosexuality from the 1950s.
Sometimes there is no rational explanation for having a particular fetish — though fetishists themselves are generally a very articulate group, and if you asked an individual in a Facebook group (before it gets censored) or chat room, I’ll bet you’d get an interesting earful.
Apart from amputee, giantess and other fetishes, fashion and rubber fetishists are a breed apart. Fetish fashion, and its refined connoisseurs, makes a couture designer’s obsessions seem trite. Leather, shiny rubber, PVC, plastics, liquid latex, corsets, stilettos and fantastically high heels, stockings and more all occupy this highly sexualized realm of style. This LatexWiki is a free, helpful source of information on rubber and latex fetish use and style.
Fetish fashion is a huge worldwide industry, especially in North America and Europe, and the sexuality inherent in “fetish” blends seamlessly with S/M practices and Gothic style — and it’s a common to see fetish events that are also S/M play parties. For the moneyed rubberist, corset-wearer or hard-core human animal fetishist (such as pony or dog), the fashion has become a fetish unto itself. The women at San Francisco’s renowned corset house Dark Garden have told me tales of fetishists who have custom-made rubber suits for every imaginable occasion, including a rubber undertaker’s suit. Fetish balls and conventions are typically high-fashion events with strict dress codes that embrace a wide variety of fetishes — as long as they dress to the nines.
What kind of people have sexual fetishes?
Ever wonder why many people are obsessed with large breasts (while others like them small), and some people are crazy for big penises? These are sexual fetishes. And while these seem tame compared to the more wild stuff, they typify that many people have some kind of fetish or another. The problem is that more unusual fetishes become stigmatized, and people who have them fee such confusion and shame that they sometimes behave irresponsibly about their fetishes. But then so do a lot of guys who shout at women walking down the street about their big boobs. Maybe if they shouted at us in a rubber pony costume it would at least be funny and less threatening.
In general, people with fetishes are articulate, well-read, computer savvy, have theories about their fetishes, and possess a very distinct sense of self control about the way they conduct their sex lives. Many feel they cannot share their fetish with their loved ones, and discreetly set aside a time and place in their lives where they can find fulfilling release with their fetish, away from risk of offending people they care about. Most fetishists who visit professional fantasy-makers, such as dominatrixes, have a healthy understanding of negotiation and boundaries (though S/M is only part of certain fetishes, not all, and professional BDSM does not include sex). While many fetishists have healthy, happy sex lives with their lovers in the style of sex that their lovers prefer, many must partition off their sexual fetishes from their relationships. It can feel isolating to the fetishist, but not worth the risk of offending or losing a loved one.
We already live in a culture that sees masturbation — a healthy, normal sexual practice — as shameful and degrading, so it’s no surprise that people with fetishes are afraid to share them with their lovers. Single fetishists can network over the Internet, finding others who share their tastes (though it is quite hit-and-miss). Like a night out at a single’s bar, dating can be a routine of disappointment, and they are compelled to gamble, dating people they are attracted to but may accept, reject, embrace or run screaming should they discover their lover’s fetish. Opening up in a relationship and telling someone you don’t want to lose about your innermost sexual workings is so frightening, many don’t risk it. To tell someone about a fetish is to risk shame, loss, rejection and heartbreak.
Fetishes, by and large, are usually harmless — unless they become a secret that makes you feel isolated in a relationship. Fetishes seem to come from the id’s sexually frivolous side, and because they seldom have explanation (fetishes are not chosen), they also cannot be “cured,” or made to just “go away.” In relationships, fetishes can cause problems when the fetishist feels bad about keeping a secret, when the fetish interferes with other parts of the fetishist’s life, and when the fetishist’s partner finds the fetish disturbing, distasteful — or worse, sees the fetish as competition. Some people with fetishes can’t come unless their fetish is involved somehow, and that can make a lover feel inadequate.
If you or your lover has a fetish and is having a difficult time understanding how it can work into your shared sex lives, try to talk about it. If it’s your fetish, be sure to let your lover know that your fetish is the only surprise you’ve got up your sleeve — and be careful to pay equal attention to your lover as you do your fetish when you have shared encounters. Reassure him or her that you are more aroused by them than your fetish, because that will be one of the number one concerns on their mind.
Finding out your partner has a fetish might seem upsetting at first. If this is you, it’s easy to wonder if your lover has been keeping sexual secrets all along. But remember that at this point, your lover is entrusting you with one of their scariest — and most sexually exciting — secrets. Understand that his or her arousal by a certain object or circumstance is in no way a substitute for you, and in fact, your lover feels that the addition of you to the fetish dynamic will make them feel sexually complete — and just might make for some very hot sex that you both can enjoy. Don’t see the fetish as a rival, or something you have to compete with for their love and affection; instead deviously use it as a tool to make their sexual experiences with you the most pivotal they’ve ever had. A fetish shared by two, after all, is a very specialized sex toy, one you cannot buy at the local sex boutique.
Fetish erotica is a great way to explore your fantasies, share them, or get new ideas. I highly recommend these multi-author and very varied collections — Best Fetish Erotica by Cara Bruce, F is for Fetish by Alison Tyler, Rubber Sex and Crossdressing by Rachel Kramer Bussel.
Learn even more about fetishes and having fun fantasy sex in our book, Fetish Sex: An Erotic Guide for Couples. If you’re curious, here is the Table of Contents for the Roche/Blue Fetish Sex:An Erotic Guide guidebook:
xi Introduction: Confessions of a Fetishist
Chapter 1: Guess My Fetish
What is a fetish? * How do I know if I have a fetish, or just an interest in something? * How do you get a fetish? * Only guys have fetishes, right? * Mother Superior by Thomas Roche
Chapter 2: Sexual Secrets
Fetishes And Relationships * Are you ready to share your fetish? * Does Your Lover Have A Fetish? * How To Start Talking About The Fetish * Sample Conversations And Outcomes * When A Fetish Is Scary Or Disturbing
Chapter 3: Fetishes And Sex
Fetish And Partnered Sex * Things you need to know * Playing with an impossible fetish * Tips For The Fetishist * Tips For Making A Lover’s Fetish Hot * Nurse’s Duties by Thomas Roche
Chapter 4 The Heart of Fetish: Role-Play
Know your roles: a quiz * Okay, so now what do we do? * Sample Control Roles * Sample Receptive Roles * Make it Happen * The main event: what happens in your scene * Job Interview by Thomas Roche
Chapter 5: Fetish Dressing
Fabrics and materials * Common fetishwear items * Corsets and Tight-Lacing * Gloves * Panties * Shoes * Less common fetishwear items * Female Latex Mask Fetish * Cosplay * Dressing and Wearing * Fabrics And Feelings * Leather * Rubber * Going Out: Parties and Events
Chapter 6: Human Animals
What’s great about being a human animal * What’s great about owning or keeping a human animal * Popular Pets: Ponies and Dogs * Pony Play * Dogs and Pups * A Bestiary: Other Animals and Fantasy Creatures * Plushies And Furries * Good Dog by Thomas Roche
Chapter 7: Cross-Dressing and Sissies
Elements of cross dress fetish * Her Hair and Makeup * Shoes * Shaving * What is a sissy boy? * What happens to sissies * Forced Feminization: Tips for the Dominant * Panties and Panty Punishment * Girls’ School by Thomas Roche
Chapter 8: Medical Play and Adult Babies
Medical Fetish * Predicaments * What happens in a medical scene * Medical instruments * The World of Adult Baby and Diaper Lovers * Things the grownup role can do for the adult baby * Babies can play together * AB Gear: Set the Scene * Adult Thumb Sucking * Everything That Ails You by Thomas Roche
Chapter 9: About the Body
Breast Fetish * Butt Fetish * Foot and Leg Fetish * Ear Fetish * Nose Fetish, or Pinnocchia * Hair * Fingernails * Inflation * Scars * Pregnancy and Lactation * Fat Fetish * Chastity, Virginity and Sexual Initiation Scenarios * Wet and Messy Play * Smoking * Amputees and Devotees * Bodily Fluids: Defecation, Spitting, Urination, Vomit, and Expectoration * Forniphilia * Giantesses, Trampling and Being Crushed * Balloons and Looners * Human Mannequins and Robots * Midgets * Tickling * Sleeping * Carrying, or “Lift and Carry” * Necrophilia
Chapter 10: Fetish Sex Rules
Fetish Sex Rule #1: Consent * Illegal Fetishes * Fetish Sex Rule #2: Safer Sex * Fetish Sex Rule #3: Play Safe With Your Ass * Fetish Sex Rule #4: Bondage and BDSM Basics * Fetish Sex Rule #5: Love Your Gift * Panty Tease by Thomas Roche
Chapter 11: Resources
Links * Books * Videos * Community * Shopping
About the Author
About Thomas Roche