It can be difficult to bring up your sexual fetish with a new partner, and that’s partially because of a massive misunderstanding about fetishes in general. A lot of us don’t understand our fetishes — and that lack of understanding can lead to shame. But there’s no need to feel that way. Firstly, you don’t choose your fetish. And secondly, they’re really common.
“Fetishes can result from experiences we have when we are very young that can happen at critical times in our development,” Sex Coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, Amy Levine, tells Bustle. “This can be the blueprint for what turns us on later in life. Some people are tuned on by very simple things like wanting to date guys with great hands or a certain height because that was imprinted when they were a child. Or, it could be that someone was spanked as a kid and it got sexualized at that time. Check out John Money and Love Maps for more info.”
A recent study in the The Journal of Sex Research asked over 1,000 participants about their experiences with sexual fetishes, including eight considered ‘abnormal’ by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). And, according to The Independent, “of the eight types of anomalous behavior listed in the DSM-5, four were found to be neither rare or unusual among the experiences and desires reported by men and women.” So… not weird at all. In fact, 45.6 percent of respondents were interested in at least one of them and a third had tried one. So a lot of us are thinking about them. Here’s what else you should know about sexual fetishes.
1. It Doesn’t Have To Do With Gender
Some think that fetishes — especially BDSM— can only go one way. It’s not true at all, women can be doms and men can be subs. And when it comes to trying it, the Journal Of Sex Research study found that levels of fetishism and masochism are not drastically different between men and women, reports The Independent.
2. You’re Allowed To Talk To Your Partner About It
If you’re interested in trying out a sexual fetish with your partner, you might be nervous about how they’ll react. But if you’re in a supportive, healthy relationshipthen your partner is going to want for you to be sexually satisfied. Talking about sex should be a fun bonding experience, not a scary one.
3. They’re Allowed To Say No, And It’s Not Personal
That being said, although your partner will want you to get what you need, they shouldn’t do anything they’re not comfortable with. So if they say no, try not to take it personally. One of my friends was telling me how his boyfriend is really into water sports and after hearing some of the stuff he described, I realized that if my partner suggested it, I would probably have to let them down. It has nothing to do with the person — it’s more about how you feel about trying out the act.
4. You Can Always Log On
If you’re single and looking to try something a bit kinkier, there’s likely an online platform for you. The Internet has everything. From fetish dating apps like Whiplr to message boards where you can learn more about your fetish, it’s an amazing resource.
5. Your Partner May Be Trying To Tell You About One, Too
Remember how many people were interested or had tried out a fetish? It’s not weird at all. You might notice your partner hinting at wanting to try something new. Maybe you both want to experiment in the same way, but neither of you are brave enough to just say it explicitly. Be brave and ask!
6. There’s Probably Nothing Too Specific
I know that you hear about leather, BDSM, and foot fetishes all the time, but there is seriously nothing too niche. If your thing is being spanked while dressed like a Care Bear and covered in kimchi, there’s something out there for you. Find your people.
7. Some Are More Common Than You Might Think
It’s not all Fifty Shades of Grey when it comes to fetishes. The Great British Sex Survey of over 2,000 people found that cross-dressing and foot fetishes fell in the top 10 most common fetishes, as did water sports. So seriously, no need to worry about whether or not you’re ‘normal’.
Originally posted on Bustle