When it comes to getting off, there are various and sundry ways to do it. Much like the spectrum of sexuality that Dr. Alfred Kinsey identified in the mid-20th century, the ways humans get aroused falls on a spectrum as well. Unfortunately, a majority of us are socialized and encouraged to find only a specific set of items, physical traits or actions arousing — most of which are exclusively heteronormative.
But the fact of the matter is that within this majority, there are many who are aroused by some more left-of-center items, physical traits and actions. These points of arousal can turn into fetishes, and those fetishes make a great many sex lives all the more fulfilling.
In the interest of understanding what might get folks going these days, I wanted to take a deeper look at "unusual" fetishes — although I use that term as positively as possible because this isn't about shaming someone who has erotic tastes outside the cultural norm. Unusual, in this case, is literal, e.g., not of the usual sort. You may be into or have heard of some well-known fetishes, including foot fetishes, lingerie fetishes, voyeurism and exhibitionism. But ones outside these culturally dictated norms? Those required a a bit of inquiry.
So, in my quest to unpack what unusual fetishes are out there, being tapped into in the pursuit of pleasure, I decided to first ask my friends and see if I could crowdsource some information. It should be noted that while many readily came forward, they all asked that their names be changed to remain anonymous.
Both Rose* and Andrea* said they are very attracted to what falls into the furry-related category of fetish play and also ursusagalmatophilia, or the fetishistic attraction to teddy bears. Rose told me, "I've always had a soft teddy bear I'm fond of rubbing over my body. It gets me excited the same way being with a person intimately does."
Andrea revealed that she has a few full-on furry costumes in her closet that she likes to don to get in the mood with her partner, who shares her tastes. She also has a small toy chest with various costume items, including furry animal ears from a party store, animal masks and furry items of clothing she'll sometimes wear during sex.
Erin* is attracted to extreme temperatures. "I remember that the first time I got burned from touching something too hot and the first time I felt extremely cold, respectively, I felt a kind of sexual excitement." While she told me she doesn't always need to be extremely hot or cold during sex ("borderline uncomfortable," she notes), she has found some of the most gratifying sex she's had happened under these circumstances.
Lena* kept it short, sweet and descriptive: "Being stung or poked. I don't draw blood, but the sting or pinch of a sharp object sends sexual electricity through me [that] I always need to follow through on."
Glenn* makes it clear up front his unusual fetish involves consenting adults and it is not to be confused with anything resembling pedophilia. "Adult women in diapers really does it for me," he writes. "Eating baby food, being fed a bottle by another person and, if it's a video, doing things like coloring or playing with kids' toys."
On the subject of weight-related fetishes, Andrew* told me about his, which could be classified as a feeder fetish. "I like watching women who are already plus-size or possibly obese eat large quantities of food," he wrote to me. "Sometimes I try to find videos on YouTube or, in an attempt to get the same sexual rush in real life, I've sat in various restaurants and tried to watch others eat. I don't touch myself in public, but the thrill of seeing a woman eat becomes burned in my brain... for later," he concluded.
Gabriel*, a musician themselves, opened up about their music-related fetish. "I've never met anyone with quite the same kind of fetish as mine, but I am extremely aroused by the sound of woodwind instruments. Flutes, clarinets, oboes... there's something about the sound of the wind rushing through the instrument to create music that really turns me on."
And it would seem that my friends are not alone in their desire to see and engage in fetish-related sexual behavior. According to Pornhub's 2017 Year in Review, which includes a veritable boatload's worth of data on user habits across the globe from 2017, all things fetish were notably popular.
"Views in the 'Fetish' category are also up with a 117-second increase from last year, at 11 minutes and 55 seconds," Pornhub explained in their findings on videos in specific categories that earned the longest viewing times. Additionally, Pornhub users in Germany and Switzerland sought out fetish-related content to the point it helped the category get into the top categories searched. While it's unclear what fetishistic acts were viewed or who (in regard to age, gender or sexual identity) was viewing them, it would seem folks inclined toward fetishism aren't relegated to one country.
The bottom line is that unless someone is being hurt or abused in some way (of if it involves something illegal), there's nothing wrong with your particular fetish, whatever it may be or however popular it may be. We're all just looking to feel sexual fulfillment, and truly, there's no shame in that.
*Names changed to protect identity at the request of the source.
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