Another term for what the public loosely calls “fetish” is “paraphilia.” Here at WholeSexLife, we’re not discussing anything pathological or nonconsensual. What we mean is the sexual arousal a person receives from a physical object.
So what do people like? In a 1983 study discussing 48 fetishists, the objects of their desires included clothing (58.3 percent), rubber and rubber items (22.9 percent), footwear (14.6 percent), body parts (14.6 percent), leather items (10.4 percent), and soft materials and fabrics (6.3 percent). Overwhelmingly, fetishists are male—studies list men as forming more than 90 percent of fetishists. However, certain fetishes, such as corsetry, draw a significant number of women.
Fetishes can cause problems if they’re overly rigid, the only way the people involved can find sexual satisfaction. But otherwise, they give sexual life a flavor, a taste, a piquancy, something exotic, something different.