Written by Rachael Cheeseman
Alright, before anyone calls me a pervert, I studied whole units on sexual behaviours, disorders, and beliefs during my Masters Degree, so I might be a pervert but I'm an educated pervert. I know what I'm talking about.
Sex is great. If it's safe, sane and consensual (to coin a phrase from the BDSM community) then who are we to judge? We may develop particular sexual appetites or fetishes for a whole host of reasons. Sometimes a fetish may be relatively small or commonplace; like spanking, which is so prolific in the UK, that it's known in many countries as the British fetish. Which gives you some idea of just how many of your friends may like getting their butts blistered behind closed doors. But sometimes a sexual fetish is more extreme or atypical and can often seem downright weird, at least until you begin to unravel the roots. After all, we all like different things for lots of very different reasons. So, on that note, let's open our minds and explore some of the sexual fetishes you may not even know existed.
Remember how I just told you to be open minded? You're going to have to keep reminding yourself of that if you, like me, think clowns are just about the most terrifying thing in the world. That's right, clowns. Coulrophilia is a sexual fetish for clowns. I’m just going to give you a moment to let that sink in and hope that, unlike me, you don’t get stuck with the mental image of Pennywise doing a horrifying striptease.
Are you ready to continue? Good. So, Coulrophilia is a fetish that encompasses both dressing up as a clown oneself and/or seeing other people dressed as clowns. The fetish appears to be more predominate in men than women and often comes with an associated fetish for the throwing of pies or having pies thrown in one's face. There are a few theories as to the roots of this paraphilia. Some research has suggested that it is the humiliation of dressing in a silly costume and playing the fool to be mocked by an audience that provides the sexual thrill. This need to be humiliated is a form of sexual masochism, whereby sexual pleasure is derived from a form of pain (in this case psychological pain). The world of sexual masochism is a whole other topic too broad and complex to go in to here. Suffice it to say, some people get aroused by being humiliated, and this is one reason a fetish such as coulrophilia may develop. Another theory postulates that the clown costume is viewed as a disguise: it grants a level of anonymity into which people can lose themselves and their reservations. This escapism provides them with a rush of arousal that they begin to associate with the clown paraphernalia, until the costume or simply aspects of the costume alone can provide them with a sexual thrill.
Does crying make you wet? And I don't mean because of the tears. Because if it does, you may just have a fetish known as dacryphilia. People with this paraphilia become sexually aroused from watching others cry. There is very little research on this topic but Greenhill and Griffiths (2015) found three factors that played a significant role in the fetish: Compassion, subversion of gender roles, and dominance and submission. It seems that women with dacryphilia are most likely to find themselves aroused by the feelings of compassion that seeing someone cry inspires in them. They crave the chance to comfort the crier and the resulting rush of feel good hormones leaves them highly aroused. Other women reported to finding particular enjoyment in watching men cry. This subversion of traditional gender roles can feel almost taboo and provides a certain "naughty thrill". They also reported that seeing a man in such a vulnerable position feels extremely intimate.
Men with dacryphilia, on the other hand, tend to find the physicality of crying is what arouses them the most. The pout, the trembling lower lip, the shiny eyes all fill them with excitement. Some of the accounts in Greenhill and Griffiths’ study, go into the most meticulous detail regarding every aspect of watching a subject be slowly overwhelmed by tears. There appears to be a particular fascination with watching women who are usually collected, becoming dishevelled during the course of their crying.
Finally, there's the dominant and submissive aspect. Those fetish who identified as dominant, reported feeling empowered when they could bring their submissive partner to tears (with their consent). However, in these cases it appears that the dominant/submissive dynamic is the main source of arousal with dacryphilia being an extension of that, rather than a fetish in its own right.
It's a real PIT-Y this one isn't better known. Don't SWEAT it if you've never heard of it. On the whole it's pretty ARMLESS!
Wait, these would probably be funnier if I'd first told you that maschalagnia was a sexual fetish for armpits. Oh, that doesn't make it funnier? That's a shame, because I thought these jokes were the PITS (I'm hilarious).
Yes, there really are people who find themselves getting sexually aroused by armpits. Usually sweaty and hairy armpits are the preference. People with this fetish may like to look at, smell and even lick their partner’s armpits. Some men with this fetish report deriving pleasure from having their penis clamped in their partner’s armpit and simulating sex. This act is colloquially known as bagpiping and is literally my favourite phrase ever. There doesn't appear to be any agreement amongst researchers on a psychological root for maschalagnia, however most agree that body odour can act as an aphrodisiac and places on the body where this odour is more pungent (like the armpit) can, by extension, become the focus of an obsession or fetish.
4. Paraphilic infantilism
This one gives pet names like, “babygirl” a whole new meaning.
Paraphilic infantalism is more commonly known as adult baby syndrome. Yep, this is a sexual fetish whereby the individual becomes aroused from behaving, dressing or being treated as an infant. Now, it's important to note that this fetish has nothing to do with any form of paedophilia. There is no sexual attraction to children, only a desire to be regressed oneself. As a fetish, it's technically grouped under the banner of sexual masochism because of the humiliation innate in being stripped of one's adult status. However, much of the anecdotal evidence would suggest that humiliation isn't the main draw for all infantalists. In fact, it would appear that, for some, the chance to put themselves in a younger mind-set provides a sort of stress relief. They give up adult responsibilities and revel in the nurturing care of their partner. You probably won't be surprised to hear that there is often a dominant/submissive dynamic at play here too, with the dominant taking on the role of the carer or exaggerating the humiliation of their partner by belittling or punishing them in their regressed state.
Many infantalists also report a fetish for wearing and using nappies that may cross into a WAM (wet and messy) or sploshing fetish.
The more research you do, the more it appears that there is a sexual fetish for just about everything: having insects crawling over you, being used as a piece of human furniture, being robbed of your prized possessions, sucking on your partner’s nose, being tickled by feathers, puppy play, pony play, the list goes on and on. Lots of different people, all enjoying lots of different things. After all Freud himself said that, “the only unnatural sexual behaviour is none at all”.
Sex should be enjoyed. Just remember: Safe, sane and consensual. Good rules to live by.