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Archnephilia is a fetish wherein individuals are sexually attracted to or aroused by spiders. This is a specific type of zoophilia, which is a term for a sexual attraction to animals. People with archnephilia are known as archnephiles.
Archnephilia is more commonly known as a spider fetish. This sexual condition also goes by the scientific names, arachnephilia and arachnophilia.
Archnephiles may fantasize about having sexual intercourse with spiders. They may also enjoy using spiders in sexual play, by allowing spiders to crawl over their bodies or the bodies of their sexual partners while engaged in erotic scenarios. Archnephiles typically place these animals on sensitive parts of the body, such as the genitals, nipples, or other erogenous zones. The crawling spiders create a tickling sensation which can be very arousing for archnephiles. Some archnephiles even try to elicit bites from the spider for sexual gratification.
Archnephiles typically feel attracted to specific spider varieties. Tarantulas are often fetishized by archnephiles.
Research suggests that there may be an element of masochism involved in archnephilia. Because the fear of spiders is common among many people, a dominant partner may use this fear to increase their submissive's adrenaline during a scene. For example, a dominant may tie up a submissive and place spiders on their body while they are unable to get away. Studies show that many archnephiles also have arachnophobia, or a fear of spiders. This suggests that their sexual arousal may arise from their own fear, which would heighten the sensations they feel during spider play.
Treatment is rarely sought for archnephilia, as most people with the condition simply accept their attraction as part of their sexuality, which need not interfere with their daily functioning. However, it should be noted that spider play can be dangerous. Spider bites can make individuals very sick and even cause death.