Fetish – The attraction of leather, feet and objects

A black and white picture showing female feet in platform shoes with leather straps. The woman has a leather whip in her hand.
Not just lacquer and leather: the world of fetishes has so much more to offer!
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We can all feel attracted to certain characteristics of another person: a body type, face, legs or a particular appearance and look. But what if you’re only sexually attracted to a particular body part? Or it’s objects that attract you, rather than anything to do with the body? We’re heading into the world of fetishes. A lot of us just associate lacquer, leather and whips with fetishes. So far, so clichéd. But look closer, and you’ll find the world of fetish is so much more than that.

What is a fetish?

The word fetish comes from the Portuguese (feitiço = magic or spell), and was then borrowed by French (fétiche). As we already mentioned in the introduction, a fetish describes a sexual attraction, erotic feelings or a strong desire for a certain body part or object. People with a fetish become sexually excited if they see, hold, smell or rub a particular body part or object. Sex isn’t always involved with a fetish. Veneration and the pleasure of handling the object are important parts of the experience, despite what you might have thought at first.

Fetishism is ascribed to paraphilia – in other words, a sexual behaviour which significantly deviates from society’s norm. However, a distinction must be made between real paraphilic disorders that harm other people, and most fetishes, which are benign, harmless inclinations that simply differ from the general norm.

Nobody knows exactly what causes a fetish. Possible theories suggest it could come about during childhood, or be a predisposition, or even classic conditioning. This would be where the thing that later developed into a fetish cropped up by chance in a formative, erotic situation, and then became connected to that feeling.

What is it: fetish or kink?

Nowadays there are many forums online where you can discuss different fetishes. There are also fetish or dedicated swinger clubs which focus on certain fetishes. So, it’s understandable if the word fetish conjures up pictures of latex outfits and whips, because that’s all most people outside the world of fetishes associate with it.

You might already have heard the word “kink” or “kinky”. People often (incorrectly) confuse it with fetish and the world of fetishes. While a fetish is connected to a specific object or body part, you can call a preference for the missionary position, certain role plays or even spanking a “kink”. “Kinky” is how we describe different sexual interests, preferences and fantasies. We’ve written a detailed blog about it here.

Fetishes might cross over with kinks, such as dominant role play with whips and certain pieces of clothing. Now you’re an expert in the differences between fetish and kink! 😉

A woman stands next to a bed and laces up her bondage boots with both hands.
There are countless combinations of various fetishes and kinks

Spotlight on the most common types of fetish

Everyone finds something attractive. Some people think faces are particularly beautiful, and many people like the sight of certain objects, like cars. That’s not unusual and does not have to be sexually tainted, or even a fetish. However, we call sexual attraction to an object or body part a fetish. Here are the most common types:

Leather or latex fetish
It’s the most popular and particularly clichéd fetish. People with this fetish find wearing, seeing or touching latex and leather clothing very sexually attractive. There is often a connection to sex play, where there is a submissive and a dominant partner. Find out more about BDSM and bondage here.

WARNING: If you have a fetish outfit, we particularly recommend CULT Dressing Aid. This dressing aid will make putting on and taking off your latex outfit a breeze. And to give it that perfect shine, try pjur CULT Ultra Shine, which also protects and cares for your latex and rubber clothing.

Foot fetish
Foot fetishes are also widespread. Some people have a sexual preference for beautiful feet, and want to see them – either bare or in various shoes and stockings – or touch them. There are even people who sell pictures of their feet or feet selfies on online platforms.

Shoe fetish
Just a couple of steps away from the foot fetish is the shoe fetish. Whether worn or unworn, there is a broad spectrum of shoe fetishists. Compared with foot fetishes, which tend to be the preserve of heterosexual men, shoe fetishes are popular with both men and women.

Underwear fetish
There are fetishes associated with various textiles. Underwear fetishes are particularly common. Some people with this preference pay for (generally worn) underwear on dating apps.

Objectophilia or objectum-sexuality is a particular type of fetish. It might seem bizarre to anyone outside the world of fetishes. For example, someone might feel sexually attracted to a bike, an organ, or even the Statue of Liberty.

Cases like that might give you a giggle. But this is just about touching an object, without harming anyone or anything. This kind of inclination is perfectly ok. Unfortunately, those affected are frequently rejected and bullied. They are misunderstood when they open up to others about their desires. We should all respect each other’s preferences, so long as no-one else is harmed by them.

For objectophilic people, the objects they touch don’t just have a sexual attraction. The objects have a character which they feel emotionally drawn to and can form an intimate relationship with. Shape, smell, material, and even the sounds the object emits can all play a role.

Have you heard about transvestic fetishism? This is when people feel sexually aroused when they wear the other gender’s clothes. However, it has nothing to do with gender identity or sexual orientation.

Three young men sit barefoot and relaxed on a colorful, older sofa, looking together into a book.
Foot fetishes are very popular

When does a fetish become a problem?

A fetish requires treatment if it becomes obsessive, debilitating, or harms another person. If this happens, it becomes known as a “paraphilic disorder” or a “disorder of sexual preference”. The fetish can be so strongly desired that it can completely take over the person’s life. Worn underwear might be stolen, for example, and become a fetish through appropriation. It can even get to the point where it is no longer possible for the person to be sexually aroused without the fetish.

In these cases, and if the compulsion becomes too great, then it is best to seek professional help. Paraphilia clinics can be the first port of call. The affected person can be helped by psychotherapy and/or with medication. You can never be completely free from a fetish, but it is possible to better control the impulses and reduce the fixation on the fetish with the right help.

Fortunately, most fetishes are unproblematic, as they do not result in the affected person harming themselves or another person.

Be free, live and give it a try!

So, now you know that there are all kinds of possible types of body and object fetishes. You know the difference between a fetish and a kink, and that it’s completely ok to have a fetish. If you have a fetish and it doesn’t constrain other people, embrace it  – it’s part of who you are. There are so many unproblematic fetishes, and none of them are funny or absurd. The best way to have a fulfilled sex life is to live your own preferences. So: Be free and do what you love! <3

Image sources: shutterstock_285109994 ; pexels-kamaji-ogino-5066274 ; pexels-cottonbro-studio-5036244

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