When talking about fetishes, perhaps it’s better to start off on a slightly dull note and define what one actually is. A dictionary definition is that a fetish is ‘a form of sexual desire in which pleasure is gained from a particular object or part of the body’. It’s different to being attracted to something as it’s not simply enjoying how something looks but gaining sexual pleasure from it. You could, for example, say that you’re attracted to redheads without having a fetish for them. There are three different types of fetishes: media, which focuses on materials such as rubber, leather or silk, form, so lingerie would fit here, and ‘animate’ which refers to human features such as feet, hair or bums.
With the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey, bondage play and BDSM in general has become a more mainstream fetish. There is even a 50 Shades of Grey line of sex toys, bondage gear and related products. But it is not the definitive guide to the BDSM (or Bondage, Domination, Sado-Masochism) scene, and there are problems with it. For many people BDSM is something that is solely confined to the bedroom whether that involves some light bondage in the form of fluffy handcuffs or more hardcore sado-masochistic whipping and other pain play.
Another surprisingly common fetish is podophilia or the foot fetish. There’s even an Instagram entirely devoted to pictures of feet. The name really gives it away here: it’s the love of feet. Foot fetishists find feet attractive and often get turned on by kissing, licking or sucking on them as well as by simply watching them wiggle. Interestingly, there is current research into the possible link between increased foot fetishes and high rates of sexually transmitted diseases. If genitalia are out of bounds due to infection, apparently feet are the next best thing!
Some of the more unusual fetishes out there include katoptronophilia or being turned on by having sex in front of mirrors and nasolingus, otherwise known as enjoying sucking on a person’s nose. There are some, however, that just seem to go together perfectly. If you have knismolagnia then you get turned on by being tickled and should hope to find someone who has titillognia: a love of tickling others. Clowns are often seen as a source of fear, especially by people who’ve seen too many horror movies, but coulrophiliacs can’t get enough of them. People who are climacophiliacs must have to plan their sex lives carefully as a fetish falling down the stairs, the meaning of climacophilia, can’t be a healthy habit. And then there are those with nebulophilia whose love of fog must be difficult to satisfy outside of cold and damp England.
Fetishes are as varied and individual as humans are themselves. Some of them are deemed to be more acceptable and more mainstream than others, some are problematic and downright illegal. But one thing’s for certain: typing the words ‘list of fetishes’ into google will definitely prove to be an eye-opening, and in some cases eye-watering, experience. Hot oil on the genitals anyone?