Taboo Topics: Fetishes
Fetishes are actually quite common among males, although men who enjoy fetishes are often very embarrassed by their turn-ons. Generally, a fetish is any situation where arousal occurs as the result of an inanimate object, most often an article of clothing. Fetishes are normally harmless, except for the possible psychological harm for a partner who does not understand what is going on. Fetishes are virtually entirely a male domain, and few if any women can relate to enjoying anything similar.I do not know for certain if a majority of men enjoy fetishes, but certainly a large number of men do, and they are quite "normal."
College students who engage in "panty raids" of women's dormitories are revealing a very mild, and perhaps "peer group-acceptable" fetish. Men who enjoy seeing women dressed up in clothing that is over the edge of feminine attire--4 inch heels, fish-net stockings etc, are probably exhibiting a mild fetish. Most men, however, see this fetish as part of their overall heterosexual interest in women, and few men would regard this as "abnormal."
Transvestites--that is, men who are sexually aroused by dressing up in womens clothing, are sometimes treated by society as being abnormal, but many of these men are married to women and have otherwise normal sex lives. The only consequence of this fetish for many of these men is that they are sexually aroused by actually dressing in women's clothing.For a small percentage of men, however fetishes that involve women's clothing can ultimately lead to dissatisfaction with "being male."
Given the amount of e-mail I've received dealing with issues related to fetishes, I conclude that they are far more commonplace than is widely believed--even among professional therapists. Interestingly, the e-mail I receive suggests that among the most common are those involving clothing items not even mentioned in most discussions of the topics found in books--in particular, underwear, swimwear and jock- strap fetishes, and even fetishes involving other mens clothing items, such as lycra cycling shorts or tight-fitting blue jeans. In most instances, the clothing item that is responsible is worn, and is used in conjunction with masturbation or other forms of sexplay. A combination of texture, fit and appearance seems to be involved in these kinds of fetishes.
While surveys on this are difficult to conduct accurately, one clue as to how commonplace a particular type of fetish might be can be obtained from the Internet. Internet newsgroups generally form on topics where there is widespread interest. So far, there is an internet newsgroup that deals strictly with underwear fetishes; another that deals specifically with garments made with lycra (that newsgroup attracts both men and women);and a third newsgroup dealing specifically with jock-strap fetishes. All of these newsgroups are quite active in exchanging information and preferences about brands and styles of garments that are best for the purpose.
Of course, there are newsgroups for many of the more widely known fetishes involving cross dressing and the like. There is even an internet site for those who get "involved" with plush (stuffed) toys! The list goes on and on! Just when you think you have heard it all, another, even stranger fetish pops up.
For the men who have a fetish for blue jeans, a separate newsgroup has yet to form, so these men have been showing up on some of the other fetish-related newsgroups. A fetish based on a coarse-textured fabric. is somewhat different from fetishes involving lycra or silk garments, where the smooth, slippery rather than the rough-textured fabric plays a role. Also, many fetishes involve items of clothing normally worn in conjunction with sports activities, and there are small business operators who specifically cater to that market and sell products over the internet.
The recent popularity of boxer shorts made from silk is, at least in part, due to the fact that many men find the feel of silk against the skin arousing. Some men find the tight-fitting lycra or spandex compression shorts to also provide some interesting sensations in the groin area. Touch feels quite different through lycra than on bare skin. And there are plenty of fans of brief-style lycra swimwear. There are also mail-order clothing companies which cater to these kinds of interests.
Those who have underwear fetishes appear to be about equally divided between those who have a preference for briefs, bikinis and thong-type underwear, and those who have a preference for boxer-style shorts. The group interested in boxer- style shorts seem disinterested in other underwear styles, and vice versa. There is considerable specialization among the various groups.
Those interested in jock-straps have strong preferences as well, The various brands of jock-straps available on the market are carefully evaluated with respect to how tightly they "fit" and the feel of the material and the straps as well as the particular sensations they are capable of producing in the groin area. Some brands are clearly preferred over other brands, and there is considerable discussion on newsgroups over the comparative advantages and disadvantages of each brand.
A sub-group of jock-strap wearers are particularly interested in those which have plastic protective cups, such as those worn for sports requiring heavy protective gear. There are many different shapes and sizes of cups and each particular type has its own group of advocates. Some prefer the large cups often worn over clothing in sports such as hockey or boxing. Still others prefer tighter fitting cups that can be worn under other clothing items. Advocates of this form of activity claim that the sensations obtainable when even a slightly erect penis presses against a hard cup are quite enjoyable indeed.
One unique activity engaged in my many men with underwear fetishes is underwear trading. This activity appears to take on a particular importance in gay society. The newsgroups are filled with requests by gay men to trade underwear, jock-straps, or other similar garments. Though there may be straight men who also engage in this activity,I have yet to hear from one, although some of the gay men I have visited with claim that their interest in underwear is incidental to their sexual orientation.
Among the underwear traders, there are specialists. Some prefer to trade underwear or jock-straps that are new, and still in the original packaging, much the same as someone might collect coins or model trains. They may catalog their collection in detail for other participants in the newsgroup to read.
Other men, gays primarily, are interested in trading underwear, jockstraps or swimwear that are "used." A number of men have admitted to stealing (they call it liberating) these kinds of clothing items from laundry rooms, locker-rooms etc, when they are left unattended. Many of these men prefer, used, stained, garments, particularly if stained with semen. It's unclear as to whether the primary sexual interest is in the garment or the wearer. Garments from other gay men who are of a similar age and build appear to be most preferred. Underwear trading among gay men appears to be the first step in an internet dating ritual that, if the underwear seems ok, may eventually involve first a phone conversation and then perhaps actually meeting the underwear trader. In addition, many gay bars have underwear nights in which men dress up in underwear.
Based on the internet sites and newsgroup activity, it may appear that underwear and jock- strap and similar fetishes are largely a gay activity, but straights engage in these activities as well. However, gays usually seem more willing to discuss fetishes, perhaps because they see many of the fetishes as merely a part of their overall interest in other men as objects of sexual attraction. I have visited with very happily married men whose wives not only knew about the underwear fetish, but help their husbands pick out underwear that is particularly arousing to them! In these instances, the underwear was simply part of the overall sexual chemistry between the man and his wife. All of these activities are quite safe, harmless fun. The only down side is the potential embarrassment for the man who enjoys these sorts of activities should someone "discover" them.