We Asked People How They Discovered Their Sexual Fetishes
Scat play, pegging, the smell of urine—these fetishes can all be traced back to childhood.
Photo via Flickr user Hubert J Sanford
Throughout history, people have been turned on by things beyond just other peoples' junk. From the common interests, like bondage and role playing, to the more obscure ones, like watching people slowly sink into quicksand, there are fetishes for just about everything.
I, for example, get off on using dildos on others. Looking back, I'm pretty sure where this particular fetish came from: I was 14-years-old and my best friend was spending the night. We were watching Mel Brooks's Dracula, Dead and Loving It and talking about sex—specifically, anal sex. I was pretty sure I would enjoy anal, but I got the sense my friend wasn't quite there. Eventually, he found a Dennis Rodman doll I had received as a gag gift and the next thing I knew, we were sticking that Dennis Rodman doll up each others butts, which then led to us using our own organic Rodman dolls.
If you look to the research, most fetishes are defined by childhood experiences like this one. The defining moments aren't always so on-the-nose, but there's often some connection between early arousal and the object in question. One study, from the 60s, details a guy whose leather fetish stemmed from an early childhood experience with his uncle's shoes: "I was home alone and saw my uncle's new penny loafers. I went over and started smelling the fresh new leather scent and kissing and licking them. It turned me on so much that I actually ejaculated...and have been turned on [by leather] ever since."
If this is the case, I wondered what kind of experiences led to peoples' interests in scat, incest role playing, or domination? Did they have an "aha moment," as Oprah would say? And was it immediately followed by an orgasm? I asked a few fetishists to find out.
George (not his real name) understands why scat play, the act of incorporating defecation into sex, isn't for everybody. But for him, it's the "most intensely intimate thing imaginable."
"We all spend the first two or three years of our lives having our mothers and fathers shame and condition us around it," he said. "For 40-some years of my life, it never occurred to me as something that could be hot." But then, something changed.
"I knew I loved rimming from when I first tried it at 18. For the next 25 years, rimming was my biggest turn-on. Early on, that seemed really envelope-pushing. It was hot to feel like I was doing something more dirty than most. Nowadays, plain old rimming is no big deal."
George's "aha moment" came when he met a guy online who shared some private videos with him.
"In one, he turns his back to the camera, crouches in a bathtub and takes a shit. Then he turns around with a big grin on his face and picks it up. He starts smearing it all over himself very sensually. Then he takes a very phallic-shaped piece of it and starts sucking on it as if to give it a blowjob."
George says that he "went numb" watching the video. "It was like my body temperature went hot and cold at the same time... For the next six months, I kept trying not to watch those videos, then would give in. It reminded me of the shame and horror I would feel after masturbating to the idea of guys way back then during puberty. Now, in my 40s, my sexual interests were suddenly taboo and 'dirty' again."
Eventually, George started experimenting with himself, using his own defecation. Continuing to be aroused, he found others in online communities that shared his interest.
"You're dealing with something that was just inside that person. It's like saying to a man, 'Show me the part of you that's considered most filthy and embarrassing and shameful and objectionable and I'll relish even that.' Some of the experiences I've had engaging in scat play with other guys were just about the most vulnerable and yet sensually animalistic experiences I've had," he said.
"There are times now that I truly wish I could turn a switch and no longer be turned on by scat. It would make my sexual and romantic life a lot easier. But at the same time, I know that one of the reasons things like this become so taboo is because they're so powerful."
Panties and Pegging Fetish
Lance Hart, 36, produces, stars, and directs films for his own website, PervOut.com (obviously NSFW), in addition to occasionally appearing in films for other fetish-oriented websites like Kink.com. Within the porn world, he's probably most famous for female domination, where women abuse him, force him to wear leggings and stockings, and then peg him.
Long before he started doing porn, though, Hart was "excited by the idea of panties and nylons. I knew of anal play too, and it excited me, but at the time I was too young for sex."
As he got older, he started telling his girlfriends about his nylon and panties fetish, but not anal. "I was worried they would go and tell their friends," he said.
In order to fully realize his interest in anal, he hired a female escort for his first experience getting pegged. Afterwards he said, "I felt a new kind of horny that I thought might be available, but never knew for sure. It opened a door to lusting outside of the box."
If it weren't for that experience, Hart said he would never have been open to working for SeanCody.com, a gay porn website featuring mostly straight male performers, which led to his successful career in fetish porn.
"Being honest with myself about what turns me on has given me so much, I've gained confidence in my sexual strength as a man. I no longer question my sexual strengths with women. I just know how to be myself in bed, and that's changed everything in terms of how I can be with a partner."
Denial and Teasing Fetish
Mindi Mink, 47, is an adult film performer with a fetish for teasing and denial. As a kid, she remembers playing a game that set the foundation for her fetish.
"I had a friend at school who would come over for slumber parties, and we would make a game out of tickling each other, or stroking one another," she said. "Whatever the game was, it would always end up with one of us having to gently stroke one another—not in a sexual way, but rather on the arms, or legs."
At the time she didn't associate this with a sexual feeling; it was just something that she liked and felt good. It wasn't until she had her first sexual relationship with a woman that she connected her arousal to this type of sensual stroking, and realized she had a fetish for denial and teasing.
"This woman was queen tease and denial. She would sensually touch me and then stop, even though I would beg her to continue, she would say, 'No, you're not ready yet.' But when she did finally finish me off, it was the most intense orgasm of my life," Mink said.
Since then, her orgasms from tease and denial have been off the charts.
Mark (not his real name) is a 53-year-old native to Los Angeles. He enjoys sex in public bathrooms, but he says his true fetish is for the smell of urine.
"I was a bed wetter and enjoyed how it smelled in the mornings," he said. "I'd have morning wood and would jack off right away from the stimulation of the odor."
From that childhood moment, Mark's arousal from urine grew. As a teen, he remembers becoming aroused by the smell of a locker room. "It wasn't the guys that turned me on, but the smell of the guys. The smell of pee."
At 17, after performing oral sex on an older man in a public restroom, Mark says, "It gave me a high, I came without touching myself."
Today, Mark continues to have sex in public restrooms, even though he's been arrested for public sex in the past.
"Part of [the appeal of performing oral sex in a public restroom] is danger, and another part of it is being used. The smell of piss stimulates me, just like smelling fresh baked bread fresh from the oven does, or taking a deep whiff of a rose, or someone's sweat."
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