The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!

#79: Fetishes are Fine

Jacqueline Hellyer - Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Most of us have fetishes of some kind or another. If you’re lucky, they’re socially acceptable, and not even considered fetishes - such as if you’re a woman who gets turned on wearing lace knickers or stiletto shoes; but if your fetishes are not socially acceptable - such as if you’re a man who gets turned on wearing lace knickers or stiletto shoes, well, then you’ve got problems. For example, in our society in general:

  • Women are permitted to find wearing lacy knickers erotic, men are not.
  • If you’re a man who has a fetish for women’s breasts, you’re considered completely normal. If you’re a man who has a fetish for women’s feet, you’re considered abnormal. Simply because society considers breasts to be sexual parts of the body, but not feet. Feet lovers are considered to be deviant.
  • If you’re a woman who feels sexy in a tight silk dress, you’re normal. But if you’re a woman who feels sexy in a tight latex dress, you’re abnormal. Simply because society deems silk to be acceptable material for dresses, but not latex. Latex wearers are considered to be deviant.

  • If you find the sensation of a feather tickling your skin pleasurable, you’re normal; if you find the sensation of a leather paddle striking your skin, you’re not. Simply because tickling sensations are considered sexually normal, but not spanking sensations. Spanking is considered to be deviant.
What’s considered sexually normal or sexually abnormal is simply a social construct. As long as it's consensual and safe, it’s fine. Fortunately the medical and psychological communities also now agree with this, and fetishes and BDSM are no longer considered mentally deviant.

What is considered problematic, is if the fetish interferes with the person’s life so that they can’t function in society normally, such as if it becomes compulsive. Interestingly, it’s often the fact that the fetish is considered abnormal that it causes problems.

Take cross-dressing. If the cross-dresser lives in an ‘alternative’ part of town and can freely walk down the street dressed in women’s clothing without anyone batting an eye, then it’s not a problem. If he lives in a conservative area, that can cause difficulties. If his partner is fine with his desire to dress in women’s clothing, then it’s not a problem; if she finds his fetish repulsive, then they’ve got a problem.

If one person has a fetish and the other doesn’t share it, then as with any other interest, you need to work with it. If one likes golf, the other doesn’t have to play golf too, that partner can play golf with golf-loving friends. If one is a vegetarian and the other loves meat, then you work together to create meals that both can eat.

In the case of fetishes, it’s the same. If he likes wearing women’s clothing, he can dress alone, or with other cross-dressers, or if she’s into it, they can dress up and go out together! The key point is that you accept each other for who you are, with honesty and respect, and work with that. Chances are you can work with the fetish. If not, you can separate without animosity. Often when people first allow themselves to enjoy their fetish, they can be a little like a kid in a candy shop and become very excited, but over time it generally normalises and becomes part of life. It depends on the individual. It certainly doesn’t get worse and lead to more and more depravity! That argument is no different to the assumption that if you take one drug you’ll become an addict, or one drink and you’re an alcoholic: most people manage their pleasures without compulsion or addiction.

Pleasure is good for us. If certain items or acts turn you on and release happy hormones so that you feel happier and healthier and life is rosier, then enjoy them! Suppression causes problems. Accept yourself, and your partner, and love life!



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