Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Fetish Defetishized;
the mainstreaming of sex

Fetish: an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression.

Does it mean anything to have a fetish these days? Really, as a society, I think we have heard it all...especially in the gay community (community still to be determined). Even though a fetish is still seen as naughty and at times tawdry by the main populace; don't we all have at least one? We were getting ready to go into a production meeting for the magazine, when it was mutually decided it was time for a cigarette break. Being the only one who doesn't smoke, unless a martini is in my hand, I was asked by the curious Gaysian and a fellow peer, if I had any type of fetish.

Racking through my brain, I came up with underwear.  That was quickly retorted with, that's a are GAY. Underwear fetish has become mainstream all you need to do is look at how it is being advertised these days. You have Victoria's Secret, which isn't so much a secret anymore. Then there is Hanes, the cotton...the fabric of our lives, which clothe beautiful tall and blonde brawny men. There we stood, the inquiring minds wanted to know.

Jock straps. Leather. Gear. Uniforms. Socks. Shoes. Toys. Women's clothing. Latex. Gas Masks. They kept throwing out everything they knew...and everything included what was on their dirty little minds.

I felt like I was putting a laundry list together of the things I needed for my closet, and here I thought all that I needed was a good pair of Prada loafers, a tailored Gucci dress shirt, and the quintessential Burberry trench. My Gaysian friend decided he would point out my fellow peer's foot fetish. Getting his feet sucked. Sucking feet. I glanced over and said, oh, that's not a big deal. Just like that, I didn't think very much of it, to me it was rather mild. No change of expression, not a face of disgust, it just was that...a foot fetish.

Foot fetish is considered one of the most common fetishes in the world. In an attempt to document the statistics of foot fetishes, web sites and groups on Yahoo were scanned for key words of foot and fetish. In 2007 one university examined 318 discussions about fetishes and found that they had about 5000 participants. Some foot fetish sites boast a statistic of 20%-40% of people having a foot fetish (Erica Goodman; Foot Fetishes--How Common Are They?). No wonder most people, especially me, don't gawk at the idea of people having a foot fetish, it has become as common place as an underwear fetish.

Maybe that is it, I view fetishes to be so commonplace, because I have heard it all. Why am I so desensitized to the shock factor of having a fetish? Do most gay men feel the same way?

Fetishes have always been private, something you share with maybe a few people, usually the ones you partake the fetish with. In today's Google and YouTube driven world, we have deprivatized everything taboo and thrown it into the public eye for either more or less scrutinization. It could be said this is the process of normalizing (a word I adamantly dislike) a fetish. The mere word fetish sites brings up 8.2 million suggestions in .16 seconds. Cultures, communities, bars/clubs, have sprung up all over major cities. All creating a safe haven for people of a particular fetish or even kink to come together and celebrate the one thing that unifies them.

In Los Angeles, there is one club that comes to mind, and that is Eagle LA, the premiere fetish club. Every night brings you something a little different. Men in rubber from head to toe one night, and other nights you can find guys toting policeman uniforms, leather harnesses, and the usual wet underwear night. Men, men, men, as far as the eye can see. 

So then exactly what is my fetish? What is your fetish? My fetish...a caring heart, but that might fall under the category of fantasy. Underwear it is.


  1. Perhaps the word "fetish" has been desensitized by the mainstream culture. I think what is a fetish to one person goes beyond what is just on the surface. Underwear, for example, does seem to be a common denominator in the culture. Although, to just say "underwear" is a fetish doesn't scrape the surface for me. However, someone who gets turn on by black mesh bikini briefs... to me, THAT is a fetish. Plain tighty whities or gold mesh bikini briefs may not do it for them at all. I think that fetishism has an exact science to it. Oh, and for me, it is bright white athletic ankle songs... and the darker the skin complexion, the better. :)

  2. although fetishes are becomming more mainstream, there are still alot of fetishes people wont or have trouble talking about, embarrasing ones like sexual torture, extreame bondage, water sports(being pee'd on), even eating the partners fecies! But i agree a foot fetish, or a bondage fetish are more acceptable and commonly talked about today then in the past. -D