There are several definition of the word “fetish.” In psychology, one definition is that a fetish is an “object” that provides sexual gratification. It can be an object or bodily part whose real or fantasized presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification. It may even interfere with “normal” sexual encounters. However, there are many accepted fetishes in modern society. These include perfume, seductive clothes and reminders of previous sexual encounters or potential ones. Usually the fetishist gets excited by the taste, feel and smell of the object. While these fetishes are considered normal and even encouraged in our society, there are people who take their fetishes to a place that many would consider taboo. This week’s episode of Taboo: Strange Passions shows that some fetishes are more surprising than others, such as a love for balloons. However, there are as many fetishes out there as there are kinds of people.
A common fetish of those under 40 includes piercings and tattoos. Lots of ladies love the look of ink on skin. Some people also love the modification of cold metal on warm skin. Tongue, lip, nipple and genital piercings can be particularly arousing for a fetishist. Once immediately dismissed as unattractive and even taboo, today Western culture has changed its tune. Perhaps this isn’t surprising when you consider that many cultures practice traditional and sacred/spiritual forms of body scarring. They may brand, cut or alter the skin with permanent marks and designs to symbolize rites of passage and identity. Today this fetish is perhaps no more unusual than our grandparents fetish for silk stockings and nail polish.
Some modern fetishes that are somewhat mainstream are still not so common and accepted. Furries enjoy dressing like furry anthropomorphic cartoon animals. However, they are more common than the average person might guess. In fact there are possibly as many as a million people in the world who engage in the “furry fandom”, dressing up as the character with which they identify. In costumes, furries embrace a new persona and are able to enact fantasies. They get together in local groups, have conventions and yet, lead normal lives on the side. Only a portion of those who engage in the furry fandom have a fetish that involves their sexuality, which is called “yiffing” in the furry world. Even furries often consider this taboo. For the most part furries feel they are expressing their creativity and returning to a bit of the innocence and joy of childhood.
Fetishes come in all shapes in sizes though and there are even people out there who have a fetish for balloons. Looners as they are called, come in three varieties, poppers, non-poppers and semi-poppies. These labels are exactly like they sound. Some fetishists are aroused by popping the balloon while others feel that popping a balloon is akin to murder and then there are those in between. Looners often note that they were attracted to balloons even as children. Not all looners are sexually attracted to balloons, but all feel a great love for the color, shape, feel and smell of balloons. Some even keep hundreds of them at time, filling their homes with them.
Sound strange? Tune in to this week’s episode of Taboo: Strange Passions Sunday August 19th at 10PM et/pt and get a closer look at this world.