Sexual Fetishes
By Amy Otis, RN

First described by Sigmund Freud in 1887, sexual fetishism is a form of paraphilia where the object of affection is a specific inanimate object.

A fetish is an object, not a body part. According to psychology or psychiatric terminology there is no such thing as a 'foot fetish'. A foot is part of a human body. (Okay, unless it is detached from a human, but let’s not go there for the scope of this article). Technically, it's not truly a fetish.  That is called a partialism. This is when a part of the body is an extremely important part to achieve sexual arousal.  However, you could actually extend it out somewhat when you talk about shoes.

A fetish is when a person is sexually aroused by a specific object or objects and is generally unable to achieve sexual satisfaction without that object being present.

What makes a fetish "fetishism" by definition is that it interferes with your life. It's not just something you like to do, or you want to do, but something you have to do. It’s as if there is a compulsion. In other words, there is no other way to have an orgasm except with a shoe, bra or panties present, or whatever that person is into.

Fetishism is considered a male disorder. Why? Nobody really knows the answer to that, but most of the time it is, there might be some genetic differences, since men and women are different genetically and so are our brains.  In general, psychiatrists and psychologists don’t agree on what causes a fetish.

Fetishist arousal is generally considered to be a problem when it interferes with normal sexual or social functioning. There are fetishes that are more common than others, but like any aspects of human sexuality it can encompass a wide range.

Common fetishes include ones focused on footwear, underwear, body piercing, wigs, leather, stockings, pantyhose, bras, shoes, panties, spandex, tickling and I'm sure the list goes on and on.

If you are with someone who has a fetish that is interfering with your relationship, then it's probably time to either talk to that person about it or leave if it is bothering you. If a fetish is interfering with your life, there are treatment options for you. For more on this topic do a 'Google or other search.

See a qualified, licensed professional.  Anyone can themselves a sex therapist, so you want to find a good psychologist or psychiatrist who you trust. Try to get referred by your own physician or health care provider.

Of course shoes can be fun. Wear responsibly.

Amy Otis is a registered nurse, a writer and an educator. She's the founder several popular teen health web site. For honest sexual health, vist Sex Ed 101. You might just learn something. New site: Being

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