Like the Regular Joe, I seek control over everything. Several years ago, I was too critical of almost everything, so I probably hoped fetishists sought counseling and therapy in order to identity the unfortunate childhood situation that sprouted an abnormal attraction to a particular body part, action, or type of person. You’re attracted to acting submissive like a baby and having a parent-figure dominate you (autonepiophili)? You were probably breast-fed until you were four years old and have an unhealthy relationship with your mom. Stuff like that needed to be identified and resolved instead of encouraged through a consenting sexual partner.
Like the Regular Joe, I wanted to be in control of sex — the problem was, I didn’t know much about it. However, after talking to enough people about sex, it became glaringly obvious that almost everyone is turned on by specific body parts, actions, or types of people. For example, an obsession with breasts, ass, or legs isn’t uncommon. What about a particular attraction to older men or women (Anililagnia), or watching other people have sex (e.g. porn)(Voyeurism). As usual, most people enjoy these fetishes, so we don’t think they’re weird… or even fetishes. They’re what “normal” people having “normal sex” like to look at or touch.
The majority creates an identity that we latch onto in order to feel in control. If a bunch of people support a particular way of having sex (whether between one man and one woman, after marriage, not in the butt, etc.) all other ways must be the terrible effect of some terrible event during someone’s childhood. You know, boring sex or not liking sex at all can just as easily be the terrible effect of some terrible event during someone’s childhood.
Thus, it’s a good idea to question your sexuality, but not to the point of creating more anxiety than answers. It would be a shame to feel so guilty about one’s sexuality that desperation for understanding creates imaginary or inaccurate reasons. What is more effective, I think, is responsible dabbling. Exploring a fetish may offer an outlet for revealing truths (or really exciting sex) you otherwise wouldn’t find. By coupling careful self-exploration with responsible dabbling in sex, we can dissolve boundaries instigated by outside influence and establish well-informed conclusions.
Everything sounds great so far. Here are some problems:
There are obvious irresponsible explorations of sexual fetishes through sex. Seriously, there is just straight up irresponsible sex. Pedophilia or rape are two examples — you cannot responsibly engage in a fetish without a consenting partner. Seeking counseling and therapy is the most responsible method for exploring fetishes having to do with abuse.
Also, when it comes to consent, it is disrespectful to coax unknowing people into satisfying your fetish. If you have a fetish for hands and offer to give a hand massage to an unknowing friend, you’re acting like a jerk. I would also argue it’s sexual harassment. If you have a shoe or foot fetish, is smelling someone’s shoes without consent really any different than smelling their panties? No, not really. Sure, people with common fetishes (like breasts, ass, or legs) are more easily spotted and may avert their eyes on suspecting targets, but the bottom line is that it’s wrong to manipulate someone into sexual situations. There is a distinct difference between watching porn (consenting actors) and secretly watching a couple through a hole in the wall (both are Voyeurism.
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