Do you know that there’s someone with a fetish attached to any object you can think of? 1 in 6 people have fetishes, it’s not as unusual as you might be inclined to believe.
From unusual ones like quicksand and necrophilia to pretty common ones like BDSM and foot fetishes, fetishes are pretty normal, with everyone having at least one. Yes, it’s possible to have several fetishes- sometimes linked to a particular body part or object. Think a foot fetish- with an interest in socks, or shoes.
Though there has been no conclusive science pointing out the reason why people are aroused by everyday objects, there are a few theories as to why people develop fetishes. A particularly interesting one is the Pavlovian theory. In the 1960s, researchers showed a group of men images of naked women alongside pictures of boots. Eventually, just the image of boots was enough to make the men sexually aroused. This study implies that your brain is capable of associating random images with sex or arousal, even without that impulse there before.
Although largely harmless, as long as they are practised safely and with consent, and don’t involve harming or hurting another person, fetishes can become a source of concern or distress for the people who have them, especially when it negatively affects their lives or the people in their lives.
But what do you do if your partner has a fetish you are not comfortable with or cannot handle? Here are a few ways to navigate that situation:
- Don't freak out: remember, this person has been honest and has opened up a part of themselves that they might feel insecure about. It’s important not to act in a way that might make them feel worse about it. New and open and non-judgemental mind.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Again, try to be as non-judgmental as possible and remember that a lot of people have fetishes- many are stranger than what they have told you. Ask as many questions as you want, especially since it affects your sex life as well.
- Determine the intensity of the fetish. Essentially, many people like being choked during sex while others get off on the whole 9 yards of BDSM. Asking questions will help you gauge how deep the fetish goes and will help you decide if you’re comfortable with it or not.
- Be honest: speak and express yourself as honestly as you can. Let them know everything you feel, without judgement. It doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the relationship unless it’s something you’re not interested in trying in which case, you’re completely free to leave.
- Figure out if you’re on board. You’re allowed to take as much time as you need, seeing as this affects your sex life as well.
- This is an opportunity for you to also talk about your fetishes- if you have any/ want to.
If you have a fetish, it is important to indulge with full consent and not to the detriment of anyone else. If your fetish is something you are struggling with, there are ways to accept and determine if it is potentially harmful to anyone. Finding a community online, practising safely and being open with the people it concerns or affects directly are some of the few ways one can accept their fetish. Remember, it is never okay to hurt someone else in your quest to get off.
Most importantly: don’t be ashamed, fetishes are normal!