In life, every person is unique. The same can therefore be said for sex. Each of us is an individual and each of us has different preferences. This said, many people hold sexual preferences that set them aside from the majority, specifically through fetishes.

Fetishes can fit into an almost infinite number of categories, ranging from the frisky to the unbelievable. Towards the end of the twentieth century, sexual liberation movements removed much of the taboo surrounding these fetishes, and in recent years these niece desires have come to be normalised even further, particularly with the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon.

Spanking, whipping and general S&M are all fairly common fetishes, and have today could be considered by some to be fairly mainstream. Towards the more extreme end of the spectrum things get far more eyeopening.

Last year US President Donald Trump found himself caught up in controversy surrounding a supposed urination fetish. Whilst he strongly denied the claims, it seems such desires are no longer something to be hidden away, at least for those of us who remain outside of the public eye.

Last year, I attended a meeting of the UEA fetish society with a friend to try better understand what went on in arguably the university’s most secretive group. We met in a booked out room on the lower floor of the library, curtains drawn to prevent “non-members” looking in. I was immediately struck at how welcoming and “normal” an atmosphere we had walked into. There were no chains or dog collars, but rather just ordinary people sitting, discussing shared sexual interests. Of course there was the option to take things up a level through specialist “meets” that could include ‘rope tying demonstrations’ and so on, but the emphasis was entirely on what each individual felt comfortable with.

For me, this seemed to be positively representative of UEA’s wider views on the subject. Fetishes may not be to everyone’s taste, and often we may not ourselves appreciate, or even understand what makes each other tick. But in all aspects of life it is worthwhile to maintain an open and understanding outlook to all people and views, and sex should be no different. As long as all parties are consensual and safe, then the growing openness and acceptance of fetishes 22 should be welcomed.