Being a professional Dominatrix for 7 years, I’ve seen all kinds of people with all kinds of fetishes. Feet are the most common we hear about and probably the most innocent. There’s people who love pee, poop, leather, latex and stockings ect. I had a client who fetishised his fingernails being cut. While another, was absolutely obsessed with women in denim jeans. Pretty much anything you can think of, someone out there probably fetishises it.
But where do these fetishes come from and how to they begin? This article dives deep into where fetishes come from and how do they begin.
But First, What Is A Fetish?
What defines a fetish isn’t what the activity or object of desire is so much as the role it plays in someone’s life. A fetish is typically referred to as behaviour that someone cannot get sexually aroused without. Fetishes can also be a term people use to describe sexual arousal that is coupled with a typically non-sexual object.
While people often use the terms “fetish” and “kink” interchangeably, a kink means an activity or behaviour that someone enjoys that exists outside the “norm” of “traditional” sex, such as incorporating handcuffs or even balloons. Someone’s kink may be bondage, and they may be incredibly excited when they’re tied up…or someone may have a bondage fetish, and their entire sexuality may revolve around restraint. By contrast, a turn-on may be something that simply arouses a person.
When we think of fetish or kink, we often think of BDSM, which involves an erotic power exchange through dominance and submission. BDSM is kinky! But not all kinks fall under the BDSM umbrella. People often have more than one kink or one fetish, and there is often overlap. For instance, someone may engage in spanking as part of a role-playing scenario in which one partner is dressed up as a schoolgirl and the other like a professor. In such an instance, the scenario would involve role-play, impact play, and even age play.
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Research suggests that perhaps half of us are interested in sexual activities outside the “norm,” so if you’re interested in trying something new, rest assured you’re not alone. And of course, with any type of sex, acting on fetishes or kinks should always involve enthusiastic consent from all parties and safer sex practices, such as the use of condoms.
The most popular fetishes, now and previously revolve around body parts eg. Feet or toes and items associated with body parts. Like, shoes, boots and gloves. Also, most people who have a fetish can remember a distinctive time or event where they encountered something that unexpectedly but immediately turned them on.
Wherever they come from, fetishes tend to last. It’s also typical for people to have multiple fetishes simultaneously. You can develop new fetishes, but the new ones won’t replace the others. A lot of people have interrelated fetishes, like a hot spot for feet, shoes, and stockings. But for others, there may not be an obvious connection.
One thing that’s certain: The emergence of the Internet has been a huge boon for fetishists. It gives people a place to express their desires and find other people who may have the same interests!
Here, are four of the most popular theories on how fetishes made their way into your brain.
The Brain-Overlap Theory
The areas of your brain that control your sexual body parts and impulses are located alongside areas that control other appendages and emotions. The brain region that manages your genitals is nestled against the region that manages your feet! These adjacent brain regions can engage in crosstalk, or overlapping activity. And crosstalk between the foot and genital regions may explain why foot fetishes and other infatuations with non-sexual body parts are so common.
The Pavlovian Theory
Researchers in the 1960s showed a group of men images of naked women alongside images of boots. Eventually, the men became aroused by the images of boots all by themselves. This boot study suggests your brain is capable of forming sexual associations around random objects! Even if no arousal impulse was there to begin with. So if you’re exposed to something repeatedly when you’re sexually aroused, your brain can link that object with sexual desire. There’s also some research showing people with higher sex drives are more likely to have uncommon sex interests. Why? A super-charged sex drive leads to arousal in situations where sex with a partner isn’t possible. So, because no one’s around to get busy with, super horny people may unconsciously redirect their sexual energy toward whatever’s in their immediate surroundings.
I once heard a story of a man who sought counselling for a doorknob fetish. He was unable to experience any sexual pleasure without holding onto a doorknob. He kept boxes of them under his bed which, needless to say, was causing some friction in his marriage. Tracing it back, he realised that growing up, he’d had to masturbate in secret or risk being severely punished by his overly religious mother. Gripping tight to the doorknob to keep his mother from unexpectedly entering while he masturbated formed a lasting association that took decades to unravel.
The Gross Out Theory
When you’re in a high state of sexual arousal, your disgust impulse weakens. And so the things you’d normally find repulsive (feet, spit, poop) may not seem gross. It’s almost like a heightened state of arousal changes your perception of the world. And that changed perception might lead you to incorporate different things into your sexual acts. If you enjoy that new source of sexual stimulation, you may want to repeat whatever it is.
The Pain Theory
Research has shown sexual pleasure and pain involve the release of many of the same brain chemicals and neurotransmitters, such as endorphins and serotonin. These chemical ties may help form connections for some people that lead to an enjoyment of pain during sex. This chemical commonality may also explain “runner’s high” and other euphoric sensations tied to physically painful sensations.
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Remember, regardless of your fetish or kink, consent is paramount. Kinks and fetishes are fertile grounds for misunderstandings if consent is not explicit. Once you obtain consent, expressing your sexual desires is one of the healthiest things you can do for your sex life. Fetishes that are repressed rather than expressed can take their toll on both individuals and relationships. As long as the desire is safe and based on consent from everyone involved, everyone deserves to pursue theirs. And to add to that, if you’re experiencing a fetish that is detrimental to your health because of obsession or it’s causing relationship conflicts – A good idea is to seek professional help to work it out. Sex should be fun, explorative and safe!