1. Fetishism

Variations in Sexual Behavior

Two Examples: 1. Fetishism

Alfred Binet
(1857- 1911) a French physician and psychologist, is best known as the pioneer of intelligence testing (IQ Test). He also introduced the concepts of „erogenous zones“and “erotic fetishism”. His study Le fétichisme dans l’amour (“Fetishism in Matters of Love”) appeared in 1882.

In its original meaning, the word “fetish” (portug: feitiço from lat. factitius: artefact) denotes an object of veneration, an idol, a religious item endowed with magic powers. Such fetishes were, and still are, worshipped in many preliterate societies.
Applied to human sexual behavior, the term can refer to anything - an object, a body part, or an activity - if it is sexually arousing to someone. Please, note: This arousal is not caused by a person as a whole, but by a part of that person or by an object that belongs to the person, or simply by any object at all, or by some activity that has acquired some erotic significance for the “fetishist”. In short,
the term “sexual festishism” refers to an erotic fascination with body parts or inanimate objects or specific activities at the expense of the whole personality of a sexual partner.
Some sort of limited fetishism is very common indeed. Nearly everyone has, at one time or another, saved and cherished a love letter, a photo, a handkerchied, a flower, a lock of hair, a piece of clothing, or similar items that evoke the presence of an absent, beloved person. Indeed, in some cases, such inanimate objects can also become sexually arousing. However, these “mild” cases “do not really count” and are not meant when one talks of “serious” fetishism. It becomes serious, when the fetishistic behavior becomes exclusive and obsessive, and when it impairs or prevents a mutually satisfying relationship with a sexual partner. However, even then it depends on the circumstances whether a therapist or anyone else should try to change it (for an example, see here.)
In short,
when talking about sexual fetishism, one is talking about a social context and about matters of degree. After all, differerent partners may react differently to different sexual obsessions and may even tolerate some of them quite easily, especially if they somehow “match” their own predilections. It is therefore also clear that even “serious” sexual fetishism is not necessarily problematic. As long as a couple has no problem with it, there is little reason for outsiders to pass judgement on their behavior. In such a case, one may also ask whether the negative label “fetishism” is still useful.

[Course 6] [Description] [How to use it] [Introduction] [Development] [Basic Types] [Variations] [Sexual Rights] [Sexual Rights 2] [Sexual Rights 3] [History] [Two Examples] [Sexual Minorities: Intro] [Prohibited Behavior] [Additional Reading] [Examination]