I’ve never really considered myself a fetishist, despite the long list I keep on FetLife. Although there are non-sexual objects that I find attractive and even sexy I have never been to the point of needing them in order to get off. I did understand that my magical tools were technically fetish objects but I wouldn’t call them such and I didn’t know how to stretch that definition into bdsm.
When I saw the title of a recent Kink Academy video: Making Unusual Fetishes Work For You – Part 1 I was intrigued and, being a psychology geek and aspiring sex educator I decided to watch it even though I wasn’t sure I would get anything personally relevant out of it. In it Wintersong just gives a teaser for the rest of the video series, just giving an outline of what he will cover in future clips. In addition to getting me excited to see the rest of the series it also got me thinking about my own fetishes.
Wanting to explore the subject further I found Lee Harrington‘s video Fetishism and devoured it eagerly. He talks about three different kinds of fetishism–desires, needs, and empowered objects–and points out ways to present a fetish to a current or potential lover in a positive way. I had heard the basic definitions that he uses before both through my own explorations and in obtaining my psychology degree but he re-framed them for me in a kink context. The re-framing actually made me start to identify with two of the three: desires and empowered objects.
A fetish desire is clinically called partialism, it is something not conventionally considered sexual that gets your dick hard/cunt wet but is not necessary for sexual enjoyment every time (the addition of necessity is what indicates the needs/paraphilia portion type of fetish). Sound similar to what I said at the beginning of the post? Some of the things that fall into this category for me are corsets, PVC/vinyl, knee-high socks, gags, fingers, boots, and (ballet) heels. Most of those are fairly well known fetishes/fetish desires. There are plenty of other things that could go on that list. Some things like rope or impact play toys are objects I really enjoy but don’t have a specific fetish for because my enjoyment and arousal is not about the object but the activity that comes with it.
The magical or empowered object aspect of fetishism is a little different, as one might expect. This is the anthropological definition of the term. and can be coupled with either of the other types of fetishism to potentially create something new. There are objects that are empowered to the point of being magical symbols in my life, such as the collar I wear, but it hasn’t been done as intentionally as I would like. I could see some of those objects I mentioned in my fetish list taking on new meaning, another dimension, with some powerful intent thrown at them.
What I really care about here, though, is not about having a word that I can identify with. I care about what I can do with this new information. Lee puts fetishes on a continuum from zero to six and I don’t think any of my fetishes are more than a two, most of them a little less (1.5?). However, by labeling my fetish desires as such I can then start cultivating specific fetishes or letting others fade away, begin to bring intent into my fetishes along with every other aspect of my life and sexuality. I don’t see my fetishes as being fixed intensities, and that is something he mentions in the video as well, so they should change as I do and I should be able to intentionally change them. Also, my realization of which fetishes are at a two on the continuum might help me ask for those things more often in my play with Onyx.