|WORLD OF SEX POSITIONS
|Fetishism is a fixation on an inanimate object or
body part that is not primarily sexual in nature, and the compulsive
need for its use in order to obtain sexual gratification. It is
almost exclusively a male paraphilia. The object of a fetish is
almost invariably used during masturbation and may also be
incorporated into sexual activity with a partner in order to produce
sexual excitation. Inanimate object fetishes can be categorized into
two types: form fetishes and media fetishes. In a form fetish, it is
the object and its shape that are important, such as in the case of
high-heeled shoes. In a media fetish, it is the material out of
which the object is made that is important, such as silk or leather.
Inanimate object fetishists often collect the object of their favor,
and may go to great lengths, including theft, to acquire just the
"right" addition for their collection.
|Although the list of objects that fetishists can use
for sexual gratification is inexhaustible, among the more common
inanimate objects are panties, bras, slips, stockings or panty hose,
negligees, shoes, boots and gloves. Common media objects include
leather, rubber, silk, or fur. In some cases drawings or photographs
of the fetish object may arouse fetishists, but more commonly the
fetishist prefers or requires an object that has already been worn.
The worn object does not serve as a symbolic reminder of the former
owner, however, because it is the object that the fetishist relates
to, not the person attached to it. Sometimes it is a body part, such
as hair, feet, legs or buttocks that become fetish objects. These
are examples of animate fetish objects.
|The sexual acts of fetishists are characteristically
depersonalized and objectified, even when they involve a partner.
The focus of attention is exclusively on the fetish, whereas
non-fetishists may at various times make a particular body part or
an object part of their general sexual arousal and expression with
another person, but not be fixated on it.
|In some cases, the fetishist can become sexually
aroused and orgasmic only when the fetish is being used. In other
instances, a sexual response may occur without the fetish, but
usually at a diminished level. When the fetish object is not
present, the fetishist often engineers sexual arousal by fantasizing
about it. For some fetishists, the fetish object must be used by a
partner in a specific way for it to be effective. For example, the
genitals must be rubbed by silk, or a partner must wear black
garters and high-heeled shoes. In the majority of cases, the person
with a fetish poses no danger to others and pursues the use of the
fetish object in private, usually through masturbation.
|As with many forms of sexual expression, there is a
thin line of distinction between fetishism and sexual preferences.
At one end is the compulsive, fixated fetishist and at other points
along the scale are people who use a sexual aid or are particularly
aroused by certain body parts, but do not depend on those things to
achieve sexual satisfaction. For example a person is not described
as a fetishist if sexual arousal is dependent upon having an
attractive partner. Also, a man who is turned on by a woman in black
lacy lingerie is not usually labeled as a fetishist as long as this
is not the primary focus of his arousal.
|The causes of fetishism are not clearly understood.
Some learning theorists believe that it develops from early
childhood experiences, in which an object was associated with a
particularly powerful form of sexual arousal or gratification. Other
learning theorists would not focus on early childhood, but on later
childhood and adolescence and the conditioning associated with
masturbation activity. Psychoanalytical theories of causality focus
on concepts of penis worship and castration anxiety. Researchers
have shown that in general fetishists have poorly developed social
skills, are quite isolated in their lives and have a diminished
capacity for establishing intimacy.
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