Dec 17, 2014

Fetish 101: The Truth About Being into Feet, Feathers, Balloons, or Cake

What do you find most attractive about this guy?
A. His basket
B. His biceps
C. His shoes

If you said B, you have partialism, an erotic interest in parts of the human body other than the sex organs.

Like biceps, feet, elbows, shoulders, backsides, and women's breasts.

If you said C, you have a fetish, an erotic interest in an object other than the human body.

Like shoes, boots, leather jackets, baseball caps, cigars, feathers,  underwear, crutches, balloons, cake, jello, mud, urine, and bubbles.

The list is endless.  Nearly everybody has some partialism and fetishes.

And some paraphilias, erotic interest in activities that don't necessarily involve contact with the sex organs.

Like bondage, BDSM, voyeurism (watching other people), exhibitionism (having other people watch you), wearing diapers, smoking, coughing, being lifted, being tickled, saying bad words...

Again, the list is endless.

There are four main theories about how we got our fetishes.

1. Imprinting.  Our earliest erotic thoughts are indelibly linked with the situation they occurred in.  Even incidental details become erotic.  If, for instance, you first liked a guy who happened to be smoking a cigar, you'll have an erotic interest in cigars forever.

Or cigar boxes.  Or just the tips of cigars.  Or having smoke blown into your face.

2. Gender Symbolism.  The object or situation is aggressively masculine or feminine, distilling the "essence" of what it means to be male or female.  You don't just like shoes in general, you like black leather boots or red stiletto heels.  You don't like just any article of clothing, you like gym socks and jock straps or brassieres and red lace panties.

3. Dirty/Forbidden. We grow up being told that sex acts are unclean, that erotic books and magazines are "dirty."  So we associate the erotic with acts or objects regarded as unclean, like feet, mud, urine, and bad words.

4. Power/Control.  Sex acts are always about getting or giving up control, one partner submitting to the other.  So we associate the erotic with acts or objects that involve explicit control, like police uniforms or daddy-son scenes.

Pop quiz:  Why do people find it erotic to get or give wedgies?
A. First experience
B. Gender symbolism
C. Dirty/forbidden
D. Power/control

Answer: Could be any or all of the above.

Psychiatrists used to think that fetishes, paraphilias, and partialism were invariably destructive, perversions of the "sexual instinct."

The psychiatric consensus now is that they're fine, as long as they aren't your only erotic interest, so you should enjoy "real sex" too.

But really, I don't see why anyone should care.  If you are happy with erotic acts involving feet or feathers, or being called bad names, or getting soda spilled on you, how will switching to penises make you happier, more fulfilled, or a better person?

There are only two problems with fetishes and paraphilias:

1. They're very specific.  You don't just want to be tied up, you want to be tied to a tree with gold-colored ropes, with your hands over your head, and a gold scarf used as a gag.

It;s difficult to orchestrate such precise situations, so you might have to settle for almost right, or resign yourself to many nights without passion.

2. It's hard to find Mr. Right.  Potential partners are usually either attractive but not into it, or into it but not attractive.  I suggest going with the latter.  Nothing is more boring than a partner who is just "putting up" with your fetish.

And if he is actually into having stir-fried vegetables eaten off his stomach while he's wearing a Ninja Turtle costume, who cares if he has muscles?

See also: Finding Larry's Fetish; and The Secretary: The Bottom Always Calls the Shots

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