There’s something about the word itself that makes us recoil- fetish. In our society, it’s difficult as is to talk about sex openly. If at all we must discuss our proclivities, they have to fall in line with the mainstream narrative of sex, which is to say, a heterosexual, penetrative, and otherwise unremarkable type of sex. If we express desires outside of this there is a real fear of judgement and ostracization. But the taboo around fetishes doesn’t make them any less real, in fact, many people all around the country, and the world, have fetishes of all types. Here is a small showcase of fetishes that are entirely valid, that there is a community of people you can find to share interests in, and how you can begin exploring!
- Paraphilic Infantilism
Okay so maybe it sounds like a lung condition, but it’s really just a fetish concerned with age-play. Sometimes known as the ‘adult baby fetish’, paraphilic infantilism is consensual age-play, where people act much younger than they are in a sexual context, typically like infants. This can include the use of pacifiers, baby-toys in adult sizes, it can sometimes take on a nurturing and submissive dynamic.
It’s important to note that Paraphilic Infantilism is not Paedophilia. Consent is paramount in order to age play, and it requires that adult participants are playing as infants, and to be a member of this fetish community, or to be engaged with it in any way is not an endorsement of paedophilia.
As a fetish, it can help people work through trauma, feel safe and nurtured where they otherwise might not, and take away from some of the pressure of modern-day adult responsibilities and expectations. However, it is not in any way a cure or therapy for trauma, and must not be taken as such. It’s a valid expression of sexuality and an escape in a way that gives you and a partner pleasure and excitement.
So you may have heard a lot about the furry community; the target many internet jokes and memes. When many of us think about furries, we think about thew full animal suit, cartoonish eyes and enormous ears- and of course some lewd sexual imagery. But it’s likely there’s not a lot you really know about what it means to be a furry.
To start with: Not all furries are fetishists. Which is to say, it is not a wholly sexual subculture, and many are involved for the art, the costumes, the community.
Furries are also not to be confused with pet play or bestiality- Furries are primarily interested in engaging sexuallywith anthropormorphic figures and creatures; kind of like sex with Bojack Horseman. Essentially humans with animal-like qualities, or the other way round. Furries typically adopt a particular character when they are playing within the fetish: a “fursona”. A major reason why furries are so misunderstood is because they don’t realise that fursonas most often are entirely separate from their day-to-day lives and personalities.
There are degrees to engaging as a furry- be it maintaining an online fursona, consuming erotic furry art, or even having sex in costume. Getting into the fetish doesn’t have to be an all-in kind of thing, you can dip your toe in the water and start slow. There is a large community of furries and they aren’t what the stereotype makes them to be. Like with any fetish, most people who are into it are just regular folk looking for an escape- and it’s time to normalize that.
- Financial Domination
The last fetish we’re going to be exploring a little is Financial Domination or ‘FinDom’ for short. This fetish is centered around the act of money exchange, and the power dynamic that is associated with it. Findom typically has a ‘sub’ forced to give money to their ‘dom’ where the dom is often, but not always a “femme” and her sub or “paypig” is forced to give her money or gifts.
As with many erotic power dynamics, here the findomme can experience a high from being submitted to, gifted, power by humiliating her sub or taking money from him just because she wants it. Like most aspects of BDSM too, there is a great connection to the pleasure involved in sadism. Paypigs too feel some thrill, sometimes when their doms spend recklessly, treating their money frivolously. Finding sexual release in something that controls our lives the way money does can be very thrilling.
Consent is exceptionally important in Financial domination, especially considering the implications being a dom has in the outside world. Clear boundaries, respect, and financial safety must be considered so that each party is comfortable with the way money is being handled. The sub and dom must acknowledge financial risk and the dom must be able to read the signs of when a sexual high is obscuring lines of consent.
The best way to explore this fetish is to do your research, either through online resources or chat forums. Find a community, build a foundation of trust before submitting your finances to someone, or taking charge of thiers. You can start with low stakes and see how you feel- but keep lines of communication clear and open.
Fetishes, as you can see, is a vast and deep space of sexual engagement, and we haven’t even scratched the surface. It’s time to remove our judgement and our stigma, and learn more about fetish communities, normalise sexual escape, and maybe learn more about our own desires.