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The word fetish can be used formally and informally to describe a range of behaviours. Informally a sexual fetish can be used to describe a particular preference for a particular object, body part or activity because of its sexual significance. In these instances a person is able to enjoy sex even without this particular object, body part or activity. Formally, a fetish usually refers to an object, body part or activity, whose real or fantasised presence is psychologically required for sexual gratification. In this instance the person is fixated upon the object, body part or activity, and without it they are unable to become aroused.

When a fetish is present, an individual will frequently masturbate while holding, rubbing, or smelling the fetish object or may ask his sexual partner to wear the object during their sexual encounters. Objects can include dildos, butt-plugs, hand-cuffs, shoes, underwear, leather whips, uniforms, stuffed animals etc. Body parts can include feet, navels, arm pits, hair cock, buttocks etc. Activities can include:

  • Role-play – Re-enacting a particular role with a partner, as in Teacher and Student;
  • Barebacking – Intentionally engaging in unprotected anal sex;
  • Bondage – Use of physical (as in rope) or psychological (as in slave) restraint;
  • Golden showers – Urinating on a partner;
  • Felching – Consuming own semen from a partner’s anus after fucking;
  • Fisting – Inserting the arm or hand into a partner’s anus;Snowballing – Consuming own semen from a partner’s mouth; and
  • Scat – Consuming a partner’s faeces.

Although exciting for some, a fetish can carry certain risks depending on the particular fetish itself. For example, using a dildo (look: Sex Toys) on yourself poses minimal risk, but sharing it increases your risk significantly. Body parts coming in contact with each other is not necessarily problematic, but an exchange in bodily fluids might be (look: STI’s and HIV/Aids). Activities such as barebacking, felching, scat, and golden showers, for example, can pose considerable risk of contracting HIV or an STI (look: STI’s and HIV/Aids). Know the risks and make the right choices for yourself (look: Safety Zone).