Once a very big societal taboo, the ever-increasing prominence of the internet has allowed for sexual fetishes to permeate the mainstream. Some people may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing their desires with a partner through fear of rejection or ridicule, though fetishes are actually more common than once thought.
Thanks to the readiness of the availability of kinky pornography, access to online forums dedicated to exploring the BDSM spectrum as well as online sex toys shops such as ours, people are becoming more accepting to the idea of kinky sex. Not only this, but it has also made it easier for people to explore their sexualities and fantasies too.
In 2014, a study published in The Journal of Sex Research found that of the 1,040 sampled, nearly half (45.6%) were interested in one or more types of sexual behaviour that had previously been conceived as “anomalous”.
Of those sampled, 35% were turned on by voyeurism, 26% were interested in fetishism and another 26% favoured frotteurism. But just what exactly does it all mean?
A fetish is a sexual fixation on and desire for something that is often considered to be unusual. This could be for a specific body part or item of clothing, with a strong urge to touch, stimulate or be stimulated by it.
A fetish doesn’t have to be a fixtion with a physical object: people can become aroused by an idea, thought or fantasy and gain sexual gratification from it, which really does prove the power of the mind! For some, fetishes are about exploring the sensuality in the everyday, gaining gratification from something that may not necessarily be considered sexual.
Fetishes are diverse, and people can discover them at various stages of their lives. There is often a negative connotation associated with fetishes, however exploring your sexuality can be incredibly fulfilling and satisfying.
Some fetishes are not necessarily overtly sexual either. For example, some people gain pleasure from seeing someone wearing a roll-neck sweater, or in the instance of Macrophilia, get gratification from the idea of giant objects (Kinky Britain, Channel 4, 2016).
Many fetishes can be umbrella terms with subcategories that are far more specific, with particular tastes to satisfy. Just like genres of film and music, people have their own preferences!
In a Quebec based study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine (2014), participants were asked to rank 55 sexual fantasies on a preference scale, and to talk in depth about their personal favourite fantasy.
In the study, made up of 1,517 adult participants, fantasies and fetishes were ranked in four classes: statistically rare (2.3% or less), unusual (15.9% or less), common (50% or more) and typical (84.1% or more).
Overall it was found that men statistically had more sexual fantasies than women did, and were able to describe them in more vivid detail. The study also revealed some telling insights into the collective sexual fantasies of men and women.
In 2015, the Confetti Sex Report found that of the 750 sampled, 73% of the participants stated that they had an adventurous sex life before marriage. Thanks to books and films such as the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, bondage has become a more commonplace topic than it was in previous years.
The great thing about bondage is you can experiment with items you have lying around the house. For instance, neckties and scarves make for great homemade handcuffs or blindfolds!
A great piece of kit for beginners and sex toy connoisseurs alike is the Sex & Mischief Intro to S&M Kit. Complete with handcuffs, a sultry whip and a sexy blindfold, you can explore all manners of sensory deprived sex for a night of pure passion!
Much like sexuality, BDSM is a spectrum. People with dominant tendencies do much more than simply take the lead during sex: it’s a lifestyle. In fact, physical contact isn’t even necessary, as dominants can make commands over the phone.
While the Dominant is typically in control in the bedroom, they too will have their own limits and safewords in case things get a bit carried away.
If you like being centre of attention, then you may have exhibitionist qualities! Exhibitionists get a kick out of exposing themselves in public, or experience increased arousal during sex if they know that they are being watched.
Like BDSM, there is a spectrum of exhibition, ranging from mooning to streaking. For some people, simply fantasising about exhibitionism is satisfying enough, however in extreme cases it is the sole way of gaining sexual pleasure.
“Frottage” was a term first coined in 1890 by psychiatrist Valentin Magnan, and derives from the French word frotter, meaning “to rub”.
Frotteurists gain sexual gratification from rubbing the genital area or erect penis against an unsuspecting person, although some people with frotteuristic tendencies never act upon their impulses, instead getting pleasure from fantasising about these actions.
Submissive sex is more complex than letting your partner take the lead. Submissives get sexual gratification from pleasing their partners, and a huge element of trust is involved. Emotional satisfaction comes from an aspect of responsibility being taken away from the Submissive by the Dominant, and the Dominant helps to push the Submissive’s boundaries.
Many male submissives get sexual gratification from being humiliated, but for men and women alike submission involves obedience and relinquishing power. Typically it is a sexual relationship, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
Many submissives enjoy being “punished” by being spanked. The Sex & Mischief Feather Slapper is the perfect tool for the job as it has the perfect combination of sugar and spice!
Voyeurism focuses on the visual. For many, if their focus is not aware they are being watched, or at least are pretending that they aren’t, sexual gratification is increased.
Watching others partake in intimate behaviours such as undressing or washing characterises voyeurism, and men are more likely to be voyeurs than women. The term comes from the French word voyeur which translates as “one who looks”.
There is nothing wrong with having a fetish: everyone has their personal turn ons. As long as everyone involved is of age, consenting and nobody’s getting hurt (in a bad way!) then sex should be celebrated and enjoyed.
Sometimes people worry that their kink somehow makes them a bad person, and some women who enjoy being dominated and overpowered by a male partner often worry that this somehow makes them a bad feminist. This is not the case: your turn ons and sexual behaviours do not define you.
Whatever your kink may be, make sure that you express it in a safe environment, especially when bondage is involved.