Fetishes defined: the normal and the just plain unusual

Allison Smith

Sigmund Freud first declared sexual fetishism as a form of paraphilia, or a psychological disorder characterized by recurrent sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors.

Fetishes can range from feet to stuffed animals, and if they’re not interfering with someone’s life, they can usually go untreated, according to an article on Livestrong.com. But if the fetish is causing a problem, the only treatment is therapy.

In 2007, Askmen.com conducted a survey on what the most popular fetishes are. Here are the top three:

1. Voyeurism and exhibition (watching others in the act):

A lot of men, and a small amount of women, enjoy either watching other people have sex while they’re in the act themselves or exposing themselves to unsuspecting viewers. Some men even say they can’t get off without it.

2. Urination:

Some men love to watch a woman urinate as foreplay. Others even go as far as urinating on their partner before they can engage in sex. This has something to do with submission (another fetish), where the woman submits to being urinated on.

3. Water:

If you enjoy having sex in the shower, then you may have a water fetish. Some couples even go as far as making sure to always have the sound of running water playing as they make love.

These fetishes are generally acceptable in today’s society, but a few of today’s fetishes are completely off the wall.

Plushophilia and furries:

Some people become too attached to stuffed animals during childhood. This form of fetish can be split into two groups: plushies, who are sexually attracted to stuffed animals, and furries, who dress up in mascot-type uniforms and perform sexual acts on one another.


These people get sexual pleasure from insects crawling on their body, mainly their genitals. This is not as common in the United States as it is in developing countries.

Erotic asphyxia:

We’ve all heard of the choking game, but these people take asphyxiation to the next level. They claim orgasm is more enjoyable when cutting off the air supply, but this fetish can be dangerous if they do not loosen themselves fast enough.

According to an article written by Dr. Martin P. Kafka, fetishism is usually a male disorder, but it can sometimes appear in women, the ratio being 20 to 1. He said social acceptance of fetishes changes depending on culture. Homosexuality was once considered a fetish, but is now believed to be a “variant of normal sexuality.”

Contact features reporter Allison Smith at [email protected].