A fetish is normally sexual in nature especially if you are aroused by things, objects or people which are normally not considered sexual at all.
A fetish often renders people incapable of having normal relationships. Many people keep their fetishes well hidden from their partners or the people around them, often because of a fear of rejection.
If you see Maslow's pyramid, you’ll notice that we - as human beings - have basic needs as a foundation for our existence: air, water, food, sleep, shelter or warmth, and sexuality.
Now, this last one is perhaps one of the most complex necessities of our body because it involves a series of physiological and psychological aspects.
In this article we'll discuss about fetishes, causes and types and how to treat it.
What Exactly is a Fetish?
A fetish is the arousing that occurs as a response to an object. So, if you feel attracted to high heels, food or cigarettes or if toes, hair or a pretty face turns you on, then you may call yourself a fetishist.
In general terms, a fetish is nothing more than the sexual attraction or fantasy toward an object or body part that is not commonly associated with intercourse, no matter the extent.
For example, you may like to just see it but you may also enjoy involving it in some part of your relations like holding or massaging feet, smelling or smoking cigarettes, etc.
What Causes Fetish?
If you are wondering what’s the cause of your fetish, the answer will probably date back to the times you can no longer recall.
According to Dr. Rosenberg MD, a Psychiatry Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College states that paraphilias - a.k.a. fetishes - can be traced back to early childhood, so it is normal if you have memories of yourself as a kid being attracted to the object - or subject - of your fetish.
Back in the day when you were a child, there was a point in which you started self-discovering your body as well as pretty much everything around you.
Some of these experiences were extremely enjoyable and others not as much. The same way you have feelings right now, you had them as a toddler.
Those very strong emotions could have marked indelible imprints in your memory and even though you cannot rememorate them at some point, they got stuck in your subconscious.
These positive or negative memories played an important part in your perception as you grew older and they eventually transformed into a specific sensation, which happened to include a sexual connotation.
It doesn’t mean that everyone will become a fetishist because of this, but a large number of scientists agree on this hypothesis.
9 Most Common Types of Fetishes
As human beings, we can fetishize basically everything we know. In fact, some people feel attracted to cars, others to balloons and there is even a person who thinks she is in love with the Remains of the Berlin Wall.
That’s why your fetish might be way more common than you think. If you have a fetish listed below, please let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
If you really, really like feet, you are a foot fetishist.
This particular attraction is scientifically called podophilia, but you may also find it online as "foot worshipping" or "foot partialism", and it is one of the most popular categories out there.
According to the International Journal of Impotence Research, 47 percent of fetish group subscribers in a sample of their study were specifically attracted to feet.
When the participants were asked to be more specific about their attraction, four main groups came up:
Size and Shape
You will be interested not only in the general picture but in shape and size of the foot. You probably like its length and check the roundness of its arch. You may also delight on the overall picture of the sole and many other aspects that involve them.
How The Foot is Dressed
This basically means that you are not only attracted to feet but also in the way they are decorated or dressed. You may like to see your partner wearing flip flops, high heels or pantyhose. Maybe you like them bare with anklets. It doesn’t really matter.
State of dress and jewelry
If you like touching and caressing feet or doing any other type of action, then you fall into this group. Your feelings and sensations are probably skyrocketed when you start washing feet, massaging them, applying nail polish and things that makes it look more appealing.
Consider yourself part of the fourth group if your actions involve sensory interaction, like tickling, smelling, biting, licking, rubbing, kissing and many others. Although this may seem similar to the treatment category for some, it is quite different because the pleasure comes directly from the senses.
As you can see, this is one of the broadest fetish categories related to body parts and many other subcategories are a mere extension of this one.
Below is an interesting video on the origin of foot fetish.
Yeah, you must probably be thinking: how this is different from foot fetish? Well, it is to an extent.
Toe fetishism is the attraction of a person when it comes to feet, but more specifically to the toes of the feet. Sounds familiar?
If you are a toe fetishist, you probably know that your feeling has different peaks depending on certain aspects. For example, you may find interest in the size of the toe, feel more attracted toward toenail paint or a toe ring, or maybe you like sucking it or washing it.
High heels fetish
Are you a high heel fetishist? You might find shocking the fact that the fetish scientifically known as altocalciphilia or retifism comes from the root of foot fetishism as well.
Another thing that might be surprising is the fact that, according to Dr. Russel Bell, every year people buy around one billion pairs of shoes and around 80 percent are intended to be used for sexual purposes.
Another study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research found that 64 percent of a 5,000-people felt attracted in different ways to a specific type of boots, high heels, shoes and other types of footwear.
It makes sense, considering that wearing heels make breasts look larger because it makes the back over-arch, bringing the breasts forward; it lifts the buttocks, making them seem larger; and it makes women’s hips sway when they use it.
On the other hand, you may also think women feel more attractive when they are wearing heels for the same reasons.
But the truth is there is a wide percentage of men who also like to wear them during intercourse.
If you have ever watched a post-sex scene of a movie filmed before the 2000s, you probably know that smoking used to be a part of the intercourse process. This certainly is a bit ironic, considering that the habit tends to increase impotence.
According to Dr. Anil Aggrawal, you have a smoking fetish if you feel sexually aroused or attracted toward seeing other people smoke or having relations while smoking.
If seeing someone smoke drives you crazy, you probably like the way someone inhales or how the smoke exits the mouth - also known as aesthetics - the mannerism of the person or what you associate to femininity or masculinity; or the rebellious attitude that comes with smoking.
These three experiences are usually fixed in childhood and they grow with the person until becoming a full fetish.
Even though fetishisms are not considered a disease or something bad, some specific ones can harm your life or the lives of others.
This particular case tends to be somewhat controversial, taking into account that smoking is bad for your health and it could end up leading you and your partner to more premature death in the long run.
Hair fetish, also known as trichophilia is the attraction toward someone because of his or her hair.
However, if you are really into hair, you probably have a fixation in more than head hair. You may also be fond of chest, facial, armpit or pubic hair.
Another important aspect of this fetishism may be the attraction toward a person because of specific grooming, whether it is long or short, wet or dry, particular colors, etc. If this is a determinant for you to have relations with a person, then you can be sure you have a fetish.
The same way it happens with basically all fetishes, there is probably something specific about hair that makes your heart pound harder, like touching it, pulling it or maybe cutting other people's hair.
Maybe you like it more when it happens to yours. All of these actions tend to be pretty common when it comes to this fetish.
However, your arousal source may also come from a more visual perspective. You may like a specific color, length, texture or hairstyle.
In fact, some of the most famous variants are redhead and blonde fetishism but there are other important ones like curly, wavy or straight hair and even animal hair or fur.
Pregnancy Or birth fetish
Do you feel more erotic being with a pregnant woman? Maybe you feel more easily aroused while being pregnant.
Well, it turns out this is scientifically called maieusophoria or maiesiophilia, but it is more commonly known as pregnancy fetish or birth fetish. This basically means that you feel aroused toward one of the stages of childbirth.
Even though there is a generalized taboo around the topic, you should know that you are not the only one.
Did you know?
According to Po**hub’s search engines, the popularity of watching pregnancy or labor related videos has been steadily increasing every year, reaching a 20%+ growth since 2014 until last year just in the U.S.
You may think that this fetish is mostly for men but the truth is women are also getting more interested in watching pregnancy-related videos. The data also showed that women are 27% more likely to enter these searches in comparison to men, especially on mobile devices.
This doesn’t mean that pregnancy is the only stage in which you may find pleasure with this fetish. While you may feel more attracted to the carrying stage, it doesn’t mean you don’t find attraction in the actual labor process and the breastfeeding stage.
This fetish involves all stages of childbirth, which means before, during and after.
If the idea of breeding arouses you, there is nothing to fear. You just happen to have a breeding fetish, which is another root of maiesiophilia.
Your arousal probably doesn’t come from the action of breeding, but rather from idealizing that the possibility exists.
In fact, you might be too young for parenting responsibilities, you might not have the capacity to procreate or you might not even want to have kids at all. It’s all about idealizing the risk of unprotected relations.
If you ever saw any of Botero’s paintings, you’ll notice that you are not the only one who is into the fat fetish. Moreover, many variants may turn you on and they all focus on different aspects.
Some of you may like gut flopping, which basically means that the overweight person rises his or her stomach and drop it upon you to make a smacking sound that gives you pleasure.
You might as well enjoy BBW - Big Beautiful Women - squashing. This is a version that mixes the overweight component with some submission. The idea is that the BBW crushes or smashes you and you like it because you are smaller.
This subcategory of the fetish has room for everyone, it doesn’t matter if you are a man, a woman, hetero or homo. As long as it asphyxiates you a little, you are fine with it.
But you may just like larger shapes. Maybe because it rejects the cultural norms that society has imposed you on attractiveness or maybe because you have suffered in your own skin what it is like to be rejected for your body shape.
If you like to feed other people, then you have a feeding fetish. In its roots, this fetish is very similar to the fat fetish but the main difference is the source of gratification.
This fetishism associates the idea of eating with happiness or finds a more sadistic pleasure on seeing other people eat.
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with seeing your partner happy. However, your partner is constantly gaining weight to very unhealthy levels while you feel aroused every time you feed him. There comes a point in which you should both rethink about your eating habits.
There are many other causes for this fetish, so it is difficult to determine just one.
11 Effective Ways to get rid of fetishism
Getting rid of a fetish is not easy - but it is not impossible either - it’s important to use all the means available to reduce pain and danger.
Probably the best way to keep the fetish in line is visiting a mental health professional, but there are some other options in this article that might help you in case you don’t have access or you have already tried it.
If you are looking for ways to get rid of your fetishes, then the following tips will help you achieve that. If you know any other that works, please do share in the comments section below.
The first and foremost thing you can do is to stop condemning yourself. If it’s a fetish which is harmless like being fond of spiked heel or curvy women or simply thin people, all this are sexual idiosyncrasies and are normally not harmful.
Only if the fetish involves harm to ones body or to others, does it become necessary to eradicate it.
Yoga / Meditation
Try self meditation or yoga. These things help divert our mind to things which are better, they also help us achieve a sense of control over our lives.
People who practice yoga often have a good way of channeling their energies in to something better.
You can also try desensitization training.
For this what you need to do is get a picture of a thing which you have a fetish about, let’s consider a utterly flabby girl. Now keep staring at the picture, of course your fetish is going to come on with a vengeance.
Now you mentally take a step back and see it as if you are observing it with a skeptical eye. Think aloud why you are aroused by such and such. Is it a good thing or a bad. Keep practicing this and soon you will be able to rid yourself of your fetish
Psychoanalysis is the study of behavior, emotions, and thoughts.
If Sigmund Freud were studying you, he would probably say that your ultimate fetish is genitals, but you have accidentally conditioned your arousal to other things like hair, underwear, skirts, feet, shoes and basically any other element of your fetish.
If your fetish is getting out of control you might need to go for a psychoanalysis which will also be worked upon with a medication of some sort to stop getting you aroused too often.
With psychoanalytic therapy, you will be able to discover and understand yourself better, bringing light to some hidden aspects that you may have not seen before. This is incredibly important because it will help you work on your fetish.
Once you achieve this part, your self-awareness will help you start making small changes that will guide you back to your regular sexual habits.
Another way to get rid of a fetish is to try this cognitive therapy. It works most of the time and is a good way of getting rid of a fetish for good.
This therapy will involve you in a series of verbal techniques that will identify your underlying problem and solve it. You might need your partner’s help in this one.
Once you recognize the problem, it is important to internalize it. This step is aimed at helping you become self-aware of every single action performed, whether intentional or not in order to change your erratic behaviors.
What you do is to place whatever fetish you have in front of you and be completely honest with your partner. You have to be confident enough to talk about your fetish without shame.
This continuous conditioning behavior will help you get rid of a fetish faster then just about anything else.
Once you can recognize your mistakes, it is time to go through behavioral therapy.
Behavioral therapy will be quite different from every other therapy that you've gone through. The mental health professional won’t focus as much on your words and underlying problems as on your observable behavior.
Don’t panic or get frustrated if your mental health professional is constantly challenging you or manipulating certain internal or external variables in your life. The idea is to modify negative behaviors and some of the most important means involve systematic desensitization, aversive control, token economy, operant conditioning, and many others.
Even though behavioral treatments for paraphilias were scarce in the past, now you don’t have to get close to the psychodynamic and early behavioral approaches.
Instead, you can opt for different and rather effective methodologies that will help you achieve peace of mind. If you don’t know much about the subject, two of the most recognized and successful ones are behavioral activation and sensate focused therapy.
Certainly, other methods will help you as well but this is something in which you should follow your mental health professional advice. Experience and studies beat basically everything else. Every psychologist or psychiatrist has a specific area of expertise and it is important to respect their opinion.
It is normal to feel desperate because you want to end your suffering. Your unrest is understandable but you have to be as patient as you can and focus all your effort in following your therapy.
Remember that there is not a specific time frame to stop the symptoms associated with fetishism, nonetheless, the average treatment in studies takes around 6 weeks - but it could take longer than that.
This is a great option if you decide to get treated by a psychiatrist. It involves the use of certain drugs that will help you with specific conditions or patterns.
Now, your brain generate chemical reactions that create hormones and neurotransmitters that define your mood and behavior. What this therapy does is balancing your brain chemicals to help you learn how to respond to real-life situations.
If you think you have completely lost sanity when you start taking pills, you cannot be farther away from the truth. This therapy will only help you have a perfect chemical brain balance when you are planning to become self-aware of your actions.
Otherwise, your brain will simply come up with a response that will justify your negative outcome.
In that sense, some psychiatrists may prescribe you certain drugs to support cognitive therapy and help you achieve positive results in reduced time-frames. Also, they may prescribe you some libido inhibitors because it is customary to diminish your desire and help you control your thoughts.
Once you have completely learned how to apply the tools to behave appropriately, the doctor will slowly take out the medications from you. The idea is to help or guide you toward a mentally healthier lifestyle.
Even though this could apply as psychological therapy, few people actually know how to conduct this successfully. The general idea of this treatment would be to help you enter a trance-like state that will reach your subconscious.
Once you have reached this point, you would be more open to suggestion and focus more on solving the problem.
Take into account that not everyone can do or enter the state of hypnosis, so if you want to try this out, look for an experienced psychologist.
Avoiding fetish-related activity
Some people claim having overcome the fetish by staying away from the thought pattern or habit for a long time.
For example, let’s say you are into heels fetish. If you ask your partner to wear stilettos every single time, it will become such a habit that you won’t be able to perform if your partner doesn’t wear them.
If you want to get rid of the fetish or at least control it to a better extent, you should stop this habit. This doesn’t mean you should stop engaging in relations, but stop the fetishist actions. It doesn’t matter what kind of fetish you have. You may be into feet, feeding, breeding, even diapers if it is your case.
Also, try to keep away from the potentially triggering activities, like fetishist p**nography and even the objects or body parts that you find appealing.
Have some nice and good old fashioned relationships. It will be difficult during the first couple of weeks but it will get easier over time.
Another way of avoiding this activity is by confronting it directly.
You should try to think about it in the least sexual way possible. However, take into account this is extremely difficult without enough will power and you may find yourself being tempted to fall for it, which would then lead to further depression or discouragement for not having achieved the proposed outcome.
If you are trying this out, it will take time and effort. You should do it every single day and avoid getting involved in further related activities. This may show results after weeks.
If this doesn’t come up as you expected, try changing slowly the dangerous attraction for a less dangerous fetish. This way, you may avoid getting into trouble.
Tell someone you trust
We understand that it is really difficult to deal with a fetish, especially when it is embarrassing or perverted.
However, something that really helps is surrounding yourself with supporting people. It may be someone in your family, your significant other or a friend. The important thing is to tell your secret to someone.
The burden of carrying the fetish as a secret is too heavy and you are already tired. Sharing it with someone will help you know his or her point of view without judgment and you will be able to see things from the eyes of someone who cares for you.
Most mental health professionals recommend that you trust your fetish to your partner. This person’s life will be directly or indirectly affected by this fetish and he/she deserves to know every answer. This would help you figure out the solution together.
Questions and Answers
Some of the most common questions related to fetish.
Do Women have Fetishes?
Yes. Even though this behavior is commonly thought to be more common in men, you shouldn’t feel bad if you’re a woman. Actually, gender isn’t what determines fetishism.
However, there are not many gender-based studies in this field, so it is impossible to determine a specific number that correlates fetishism with men and women.
Is fetish a Disorder?
Scientifically speaking, fetishes are not a disorder as such, but if you don’t have enough control over your desires, you may find it harder to arouse without your fetish and, therefore, difficult to finish the process.
If this is your case, you may feel very pressured and distressed. Try to be careful with these feelings because they may get you into trouble.
Is fetish harmful?
No. A fetish is normally quite harmless and if someone indulges in it time to time, its normally not something which can be a cause of alarm.
However if a fetish goes out of control, it might make person become a sort of a pariah and also cause great amount of mental stress, for the person involved in that particular fetish.
Fetishes are not necessarily a bad thing. However, when it starts getting in the middle of your happiness, safety or health, you should reconsider it and start learning some tools to control it.
Also, it is vital to remember that the important thing is being able to live happily with the fetish rather than eliminating it completely. That way, perverse thoughts will simply diminish and you will feel lighter.
Let us know in the comments if you are dealing with a fetish and how you have dealt with it so far.