home
RSS
To each his own: Men and fetishes
July 21st, 2011
07:17 AM ET

To each his own: Men and fetishes

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

As a sexuality counselor and author, I’m often asked, “What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever dealt with?”

I wish I could tell them something really juicy, like naked clowns wrestling in Jell-O, for example, but the truth is that most sexual complaints tend to be rather common: sex ruts, mismatched libidos, erectile disorder and premature ejaculation in men, and orgasm problems and painful sex for women.

What people really want to know about are the unusual sexual fetishes of others (also known clinically as paraphilias), which affect a much smaller percentage of people.

Interestingly enough, most of those people happen to be men. That’s not to say that women lack their own unique turn-ons and turn-offs, their kinks and squicks (sexual repulsions), but when it comes to, say, having a favorite fantasy versus having an obsession in which all sexual pleasure is almost exclusively derived from a single object, body part or sex practice, more men seem to fall in the latter category.

In their compelling new book "A Billion Wicked Thoughts," (also discussed in this blog) neuroscientists Ogi Ogas, Ph.D. and Sai Gaddam, Ph.D., analyzed more than a billion Internet searches in order to learn about the differences between male and female sexual preferences, as well as what those differences tell us about how our brains are wired, and why, for example, men are more predisposed to have fetishes:

“The male sexual software is what a computer engineer would call an 'OR gate.' It is instantly aroused by any single cue. The male brain is turned on by deep décolletage or sashaying hips or the whisper of a sultry voice or two Applebee’s waitresses kissing. The female sexual brain is what a computer engineer would call an 'AND gate.' It requires input from multiple cues simultaneously to surpass a combined threshold of activation before arousal occurs. … Though for most men the OR gate can be triggered by any one of a variety of sexual cues, for some men one specific cue is essential. This necessary cue is a fetish.”

Although fetishes have been well-documented since the mid-19th century, and could easily fill an encyclopedia with thousands, if not tens of thousands, of entries (from agalmatophilia to zoophilia), the underlying mechanics of fetishes remain something of a mystery.

And while the American Psychiatry Association recognizes fetishes in its clinical bible, the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," there’s much professional dissent about how to treat fetishes and whether treatment can even be effective when a fetish is deeply ingrained in a person.

Freud believed (no surprise) that fetishes stem from issues such as a man’s universal fear of castration or his unconscious fear of his mother’s genitals, while many psychologists continue to believe that some sort of “sexual imprinting” must occur in the early childhood of the fetishist for sexual excitement and the fetish object to become so intricately enmeshed.

Today, fetishes are often treated with a combination of psychoanalysis (the search for deep unconscious meaning behind a fetish), cognitive behavior therapy (in which the fetishist’s thoughts are viewed as irrational ones that can be reversed with conscious mindfulness) and/or psychiatry, which seeks to alter the brain chemistry of the fetishist through drugs.

Even in our own expert-forum at Good in Bed, fetishes are a source of speculation. Recently, for example, a young woman complained of her boyfriend’s “freeze fetish” - his sexual propensity for immobility, statues and wax figures.

While her boyfriend didn’t seem to be exclusively turned on by the fetish, she nonetheless was confused and anxious. Our experts weighed in: “Fetishes don’t usually go away, but they can morph a little,” writes Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, author of "A Woman’s Guide to Men and Their Penis Problems."

“If people are disturbed by them, they could explore what the unconscious interpretation of the fetish is for them. Then they can experiment with another representation of that meaning that they can then assign erotic feelings.”

“The best way to treat fetishes is to identify the nonsexual meanings of the fetish and crack the erotic code by identifying what he is looking for unconsciously through the fetish,” adds psychotherapist Dr. Joe Kort. “Perhaps he was afraid of mannequins in retail stores or impressed with them or aroused by them as a child and now they have become part of this arousal template, or maybe he saw a movie or video about this as a child which caused it to become locked into his mind and now is eroticized.  Whatever the case it could be helpful to understand the origins for both of you.”

Luckily, many people who would normally be distressed by a fetish are now finding like-minded peers via the Internet and/or some form of erotic stimulation (such as specialty porn) that caters to their specific interests.

Or they are fortunate enough to have sexual partners who, in the words of columnist Dan Savage, are sexually GGG (“good, giving and game”) and are willing to stretch their definition of the taboo and incorporate their partner’s fetish into their sex-play.

One single woman I know even joked that she’d love to meet a foot fetishist: At this point in her life, a good foot massage sounded better than sex. Perhaps the greatest goal for couples dealing with a partner who has a fetish is to decide how that fetish fits into their relationship.

“If a man is able to have healthy and hot sex with his partner and have his fetish fantasies without her and enjoy them,” asks Kort, "What’s wrong with that?”

Follow @CNNHealth on Twitter.


soundoff (1,132 Responses)
  1. aika private server english

    http://www.howard.edu/asp/linkcounter/resourcesondemand.asp?url=https://aikareborn.com

    May 16, 2021 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sprinter Van Inside Computer Repair Shop

    http://balder.messe.de/werbung/www/delivery/ck.php?ct=1&oaparams=2__bannerid=1512__zoneid=697__cb=18dc65fbad__oadest=https://fleetvehiclerepairshop.com/rv-collision-repair-shop-near-me/

    May 16, 2021 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Mercedes Sprinter Chasis Repair

    Right here is the perfect webpage for anyone who hopes to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been written about for many years. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

    https://cuentas.lamula.pe/logout/?next=https://sprintervanrepairshop.com/enterprise-truck-repair-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mb Sprinter Blind Spot Detection Repair

    https://iaccmeetings.com/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://boxtruckrepairshop.com/truck-body-shop-near-me/

    May 16, 2021 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Rv Mercedes Sprinter Service Center Near Me

    http://www.webstolica.ru/go.php?link=http://www.fleetservicesocrv.com/truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Maserati Tc

    Excellent article. I absolutely appreciate this website. Thanks!

    https://www.unclemilties.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=club-maserati.com

    May 16, 2021 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. 2016 Sprinter Repair Shops

    https://cs.payeasy.com.tw/click?url=https://commercialrepairshop.com/hino-truck-repair-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Nercedes Sprinter Repair Near Me

    I used to be able to find good advice from your content.

    http://fitness.flexybox.com/foreverfit/ViewSwitcher/SwitchView?mobile=True&returnUrl=http://commercialrepairshop.com/mercedes-cargo-van-repair-shop-near-me/&lang=da

    May 16, 2021 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Conversion Van Repair

    You're so awesome! I don't believe I've truly read a single thing like this before. So great to find somebody with genuine thoughts on this issue. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    https://www.operationworld.org/updates/checkurl.php?http://sprintervanrepairshop.com/cargo-van-repair-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Gmc Safari Van Repair

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this site. I really hope to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own site now 😉

    http://historyhub.history.gov/external-link.jspa?url=http://sprintervanrepairshop.com/upgrades-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 04:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Van Dent Repair

    http://zumax.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetrepairshops.com/peterbilt-truck-repair-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 05:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mercedes Sprinter Refrigerater Repair

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this website needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the information!

    http://redirect.me/?commercialrepairshop.com/gmc-high-top-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dodge Sprinter Repair Near Me

    You are so awesome! I don't think I've truly read through a single thing like this before. So wonderful to discover another person with a few original thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that's needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

    http://register.scotland.org/Subscribe/WidgetSignup?url=https://fleetservicerepairshop.com/collision-repair-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. dominoqq

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally
    I have found something which helped me. Appreciate it!

    May 17, 2021 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Panels

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    http://ace-ace.co.jp/cgi-bin/ys4/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=26651&url=fleetvehiclerepairshop.com/restoration-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Parts Orange County

    /

    May 17, 2021 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. rv electrical repair near me

    You made some decent points there. I looked on the web for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

    http://gvomail.com/redir.php?k=1560a19819b8f93348a7bc7fc28d0168&url=https://ilsmag.com.pk/culture/7th-sky-entertainment-set-to-rule-the-9-pm-slot-once-again-with-uraan/

    May 17, 2021 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Interior Remodeling Near Me

    http://www.nimbitmusic.com/nrp/t.php?a=1466&m=5956&c=0&l=http://blog.casonline.com/we-did-it-again-officially-iso-recertified/

    May 17, 2021 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Maserati 2019

    https://m.yimiaotui.com/index/index/jump?url=http://maseratis.net

    May 17, 2021 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. california coach towing orange

    http://www.selfphp.de/newsletterausgaben/tran.php?uid=UID-USER.&dest=http://ocrvcenter.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. digital media manager

    Greаt content!

    Нere іs mу webpage – digital media manager

    May 18, 2021 at 07:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. rv remodel companies

    http://lav.it/template/redirect.php?id_news=804129&url=https://ocrvcenter.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. bring iptv channels in windowsi

    I found nice tutorial to iptv users , it will lwarn you
    how install IPTV and tv channel direct in windows or xbox :
    This is an exceptional media player with EPG to play your IPTV
    channels on your Windows Phone, Windwos10, and
    Xbox One. You can simply load your M3U playlist from storage or remote source and you are good to go.

    You can download this app inWindows app store and install it
    , then follow this steps:
    Navigate Settings
    Go to Settings tab and open Add new playlist and
    EPG source

    Enter M3u Link
    Type a name (ex:overbox) in Remote channel list name field.

    Enter (paste) M3u link provided by IPTV provider in Enter remote source URL
    Press Add remote list

    Select list to load
    Back to Settings and select overbox in Select Channel playlist

    Watch Channels and VOD
    Done , Back to Channels tab now and select your country
    you want to watch TV channels .

    May 18, 2021 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Kegs Denver

    https://sys.labaq.com/cli/go.php?s=lbac&p=1410jt&t=02&url=https://craftbrewersofboise.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Wine Online Stores

    http://www.tces.hlc.edu.tw/dyna/netlink/hits.php?id=140&url=https://craftbrewersofboise.com

    May 18, 2021 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. car air conditioning repair shops near me

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously feel this website needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the information!

    https://www.gemeentemol.be/tellafriend.aspx?url=http://cool-air-tech.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Internet Marketing Review

    Can I simply say what a relief to find somebody that truly understands what they're talking about on the web. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people need to look at this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you are not more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.

    http://shop-rank.com/01-09/rl_out.cgi?id=atorie&url=https://meticulousjess.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Digital Marketing Quotes

    http://gamekouryaku.com/dq8/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=3552&url=https://www.postfallsmarketing.com

    May 18, 2021 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Used Forklift Repair Shop California

    https://www.gamekouryaku.com/dq8/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=3552&url=https://www.wildwestlifttrucks.com

    May 18, 2021 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Roof Replacement Near Me

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks for providing this information.

    http://www.drmshk.com/link.php?url=http://sanmarinoroof.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Digital Marketing Events Near Me

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the issues. It was truly informative. Your site is very helpful. Many thanks for sharing!

    https://usaidlearninglab.org/sites/all/modules/contrib/pubdlcnt/pubdlcnt.php?file=https://spokanevalleywebdesign.com

    May 18, 2021 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. laporan keuangan neraca

    If some one desires expert view about blogging and site-building then i propose him/her to visit this webpage, Keep up the pleasant work.

    May 18, 2021 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Actress

    I've learn a few excllent stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting.
    I wonder how so much effort you seet to make one of these wonderful informative site.

    May 18, 2021 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Slate Roof Repair Near Me

    Right here is the right site for everyone who wants to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic which has been discussed for many years. Great stuff, just excellent!

    http://scanverify.com/siteverify.php?site=sanmarinoroof.com

    May 19, 2021 at 00:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. best energy pills 2017

    http://pcinhk.com/discuz/uchome/link.php?url=https://gopepenergy.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Billy Pankau

    I'm looking to start a food blog and i would like for my friends to be able to log on and comment through their facebook accounts so they don't need to make an account on the chosen blogging site to comment. What are some FREE blogging sites that allow you to use your facebook to comment?.

    https://twitter.com/katekdesigns

    May 19, 2021 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Metal Shops Near Me

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Best wishes! Where are your contact details though?

    http://meteorite.lamost.org/modules/links/redirect.php?url=https://jrkreations.com

    May 19, 2021 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Shower Riverside

    You have made some really good points there. I looked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

    http://navi-ohaka.com/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=1&url=http://theprivatepa.com/2015/09/08/427/

    May 19, 2021 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Video Marketing Companies

    http://ins.o-hara.ac.jp/ViewSwitcher/SwitchView?mobile=False&returnUrl=http://postfallsmarketing.com

    May 19, 2021 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. receitas familia

    It's awesome to pay a quick visit this website and reading the views of all friends regarding this article,
    while I am also zealous of getting knowledge.

    May 20, 2021 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Content Marketing Services

    http://www.valdaveto.net/redirect.php?link=https://bulknearme.com

    May 20, 2021 at 01:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Digital Marketing Agencies Near Me

    I was very pleased to find this site. I need to to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to look at new information in your blog.

    https://www.biyougeka.esthetic-esthe.com/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=848&url=https://spokanevalleyseo.com

    May 20, 2021 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Social Media Marketing Agencies Near Me

    After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me from that service? Cheers!

    http://koromo.co.jp/files/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=1260&url=https://www.postfallsfitness.com/

    May 20, 2021 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Digital Marketing Firm

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Thank you for supplying these details.

    http://wtk.db.com/777554543598768/optout?redirect=https://internetmarketingsupply.com

    May 20, 2021 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Local Marketing Agencies Near Me

    Excellent post. I absolutely appreciate this website. Keep it up!

    https://jamesattorney.agilecrm.com/click?u=https://postfallsfitness.com

    May 20, 2021 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. furniture repair in orange county ca

    Great blog you've got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    https://svc.tds-live.com/manager/siteuser/redirector?ec=09/02/2017-Dreamon,faivolareituoisogniall’Isolad’Elba!&url=https://ocrvcenter.com/rv-driver-seat-repair-near-me

    May 20, 2021 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Frame Near Me

    Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is useful. Thanks for sharing!

    https://click.start.me/?url=https://ocrvshop.com/rv-repair-shop-barstow-california

    May 20, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. รับซื้อหวย

    This piece of writing will help the internet viewers for setting
    up new webpage or even a blog from start to end.

    May 20, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. movies stores near me

    https://www.dmsg.de/externerlink.php$?url=https://ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-la-verne-california/

    May 20, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. ambulance companies in orange county

    Very good post. I am experiencing many of these issues as well..

    https://legacy.aom.org/verifymember.asp?nextpage=http://ocrvcenter.com/manufacturing-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 20, 2021 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.