Got a sexy fetish? The Mix talks fetishes

Fetishes come in all sorts of flavours, some innocent, some utterly bizarre - but none you should be embarrassed about. It’s completely normal to have certain things that turn you on, while others do the exact opposite. Read on as we explain everything you ever wanted to know about fetishes.

A couple is doing research. They are looking up fetishes. This is a wide-angle image.

What are fetishes?

These days, we’re all aware that there are people out there who like to dress up in leather or rubber, or who like to do ‘strange things’ to each other. Basically, people who have what’s called a sexual ‘fetish’. But what is a fetish and what causes this kind of sexual behaviour? Is it really as bizarre as it seems?

Define fetish

In medical and psychological terms a ‘fetish’ is an object, or part of the body, that becomes the focus of sexual desire, without which the fetishist cannot achieve orgasm. However it’s more commonly used to mean any general sexual turn-on. For example, some people will quite happily admit to having a “leather fetish” but they don’t mean that they ALWAYS have to incorporate leather into their sex sessions and can’t function without it. It could just spice things up a little bit.

How many fetishes are there?

A quick trip down the black hole that is the internet will introduce you to a host of sexy fetishes you probably didn’t even know existed. Pretty much anything can be placed in a sexual context, from everyday objects and materials such as feet, lingerie, and rubber to less-common bedroom items such as balloons and cigarettes. Check out this article by Sexual Alpha to find out some of the most common fetishes.

Some fetishes are more socially acceptable than others, but on the net there’s no moral code controlling what can or cannot be discussed. This means that many hard-core fetishists use it as a way to discuss their own particular passion and to meet others who share it. A lot of the sites may be shocking, but there are few (if any) fetishes that are truly unique.

Coping with a sexy fetish

So, who are these people? Well, there’s no specific race, gender or sexual orientation that defines them. They also come from many different backgrounds, classes or professions. But honestly, there’s no real point in trying to ‘classify’ them. As with many things in life, you shouldn’t have a fixed view of what a Fetishist looks like. The reality is, there’s no one-size fits all model.

Keep in mind that while what they do is often ‘extreme’, they are usually consenting adults. As long as it’s in a safe environment and you’re respecting each other’s boundaries, that’s all that matters.

To read more about how to talk to your partner about sex, click here.

Problems with fetishes

Problems arise when someone with a fetish cannot control their urges or tries to force their partner to do something against their will. But these same problems exist amongst those who consider themselves to have a ‘normal’ sex life. Unfortunately, these types of situations have more to do with mental state than sexuality. So, no matter what sexual situation you’re in – know that it’s okay to say no and if your partner doesn’t respect your boundaries then try and remove yourself from the situation. We know that that can be tricky, so read this article on how to say no to sex for some support. You can also contact our confidential support services if you ever need an ear to listen.

What causes fetishes?

Like any normal sexuality, fetishes are caused by a variety of complex genetic, environmental (especially during childhood and puberty) and social factors. In the same way that some ‘straight’ people do not enjoy oral or penetrative sex, true fetishists have no control over their sexual preferences. They can’t say why they get turned-on by the sight of a manicured foot, they just do.

Many people find that they can easily incorporate their fetish into an otherwise normal relationship. As with ‘straight’ partners who have different tastes and turn-ons, the important factors for a successful sexual relationship are respect, trust and openness.

Some sexy fetishes that might surprise you

Think of anything and someone probably has a fetish for it. But here are some of the slightly-more-bizarre ones.


When you’re turned on by peeing or watching someone else wee. Also known as ‘watersports’ or ‘golden showers’. People with urolagnia sometimes enjoy urinating on their partner, or being urinated on themselves.

Furry fandom

People who like to dress up as giant furry animals or watch other people doing so. Some have sex whilst in costume.


Hide the custard pies! Sploshing is a wet and messy fetish (WAM). If you have this fetish, you enjoy smearing food on your partner. Favourites include: custard, peanut butter, baked beans, and chocolate sauce.

Read Justin Hancock’s helpful expert piece on kink to find out more!

Next Steps

By Richard Parsons

Updated on 30-Oct-2021