Fetishes are an aspect of sexuality that can be misunderstood or made to seem peculiar, when – as with practically all sexual activities – if they’re safe, sane and consensual, they should be celebrated.
Broadly speaking, ‘fetish’ is a broad term that covers emotional, sexual and role-playing kinks. Sometimes they’re performed alone, other times they’re a combination, but one constant is that kinks are personal. Here, we take a look at a range of paraphilias (as they’re more properly known). From the incredibly specific to the secretly widespread, here are 25 out-of-the-ordinary things that get people going.
Stepping out into the sun makes most of us feel good, but actirasty refers to specific sexual arousal experienced by standing in the sun’s rays.
An attraction to figurative objects such as dolls, mannequins or statues – Michelangelo’s David, for example. This kink can take a few forms: direct sexual contact with an object, the fantasy of a sexual encounter, or the fantasy of watching such an encounter.
Chasmophilia refers to a love of small places. Those with this kink get hot under the collar when looking at valleys, or into crevices and caves.
A common implement in BDSM, clamps are generally applied to a person with the intention of inflicting gentle pain or restricting movement. Those with this fetish derive pleasure from both actions.
The desire to observe (or be complicit in) a partner's sexual infidelity. Usually a male fantasy, it often involves a masochistic desire to be humiliated by another man with more stereotypically masculine characteristics (penis size, etc.).
Domesticity is a specific kink in which a person is aroused by doing everyday things, usually in a couple, such as shopping for groceries. For real.
A purely voyeuristic turn-on triggered by watching animals mate. Faunoiphilia can intensify if the animals are different species or sizes, but it doesn’t extend to any form of physical activity with said animal.
A power-type fetish where a submissive (usually) male gives money and/or gifts to a dominant (usually) female.
Also referred to as ‘podophilia’ and ‘foot fetishism’, this paraphilia indicates a sexual interest in feet. It’s sometimes experienced in conjunction with retifism (shoe fetish) and titillagnia (tickle fetish), and involves anything to do with the foot area, including odour, treatments (such as massaging) and sensory interactions.
A type of consensual non-monogamy similar to cuckolding, but without the humiliation aspect. It doesn't necessarily need to include observing a partner have sex – it can also encompass enjoying a man's female partner being the subject of other men's desires or having her sexual encounters related back to him.
Scent and sex have a well-documented relationship in the form of pheromones, but idrophrodisia indicates a specific attraction: to the smell of perspiration.
Almost everyone likes to watch, but katoptronophilics have a special urge to watch themselves in the mirror during sex or sexual acts.
Also known as rubber fetish, this kink takes two main forms: an attraction to people who wear latex garments, or a desire to wear latex clothing. Fetishists of this ilk are sometimes called ‘rubberists’.
Mostly – though not exclusively – associated with gay men, leather fetishes are broadly self-explanatory, but encompass a huge range of specific preferences. From hyper-masculine leathermen exemplified by the work of artist Tom of Finland to people who are aroused by its texture and/or smell.
Telling dirty stories during sex, reading erotic books or watching pornography are common turn-ons.
A love of stuffed animals or plush toys has given plushophiliacs the nickname ‘Plushophiles’, or ‘Plushies’. People with this kink experience an intimacy with, and often a sexual attraction to, soft toys.
Most people who stutter don’t profess a soft spot for it. Psellismophiliacs, however, are sexually aroused by this type of speech.
Soft and teasing, feathers are not out of place in the bedroom. Pteronphilia refers to a specific arousal caused by being tickled with feathers, especially in sensitive places such as the armpits or inner thighs.
This is the official word for what most of us call a shoe fetish. The shoe (not the foot) is the focus here. Common manifestations of this kink include attributing sexual qualities to shoes (particularly women’s footwear) or using shoes in sexual acts.
Food play can have both sexual and non-sexual connotations but, for sitophiliacs, it’s largely a saucy act. This kink includes people who are sexually aroused and/or sexually gratified through the use of food in sexual acts.
Tickling is torture to some and pleasure to others. Titillagnia is for those firmly in the latter camp: it’s an arousal from tickling or being tickled.
A tried and tested mainstay of buck's nights and hen's parties everywhere, uniform fetishes often involve positions of authority or power – think police officers, nurses and firemen.
Wet and messy fetishes
Also known as 'sploshing', this is a fetish for gooey substances (usually foods like whipped cream, cake batter or custard) being spread on someones face, skin or clothing. Because it doesn't have to involve nudity or intercourse, wet and messy videos are often available to stream on mainstream sites like YouTube.
An attraction to and a curiosity about the unknown is not uncommon, and xenophilia refers to a sexual attraction to foreigners.
The great outdoors are made even greater for xylophiliacs because they are attracted to nature and, in some cases, become sexually aroused by wood.