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Fetishist is a term for a person who identifies as having a sexual fetish. According to the medical definition, a sexual fetish is when one focuses their sexual attention on a particular object or a body part other than the genitals. However, the term fetish is often used in a broader sense to refer to a sexual focus on anything that acts as stimuli for arousal.
Fetishists typically become aroused by either one item or several related fetish items. For example, a person may become aroused by high-heeled shoes specifically, or by all types of female footwear. Someone could fetishize bras, or all types of lingerie, including camisoles and body stockings. It’s also not uncommon for someone to become aroused by lace bras, for example, but not by cotton bras.
Fetishists can be aroused by a great number of things, including old age, obesity, feet, ropes, insects, and leather. In fact, virtually any item, body part, or condition can be (and has been) fetishized by a fetishist somewhere.
Fetishists might fantasize about the things that make them aroused. If they are aroused by physical objects, they might hold them, rub them against their bodies, including their genitals, and smell them to achieve sexual pleasure. If they are aroused by clothing, they might wear the clothes during a sexual encounter, or ask their partners to put them on. Fetishists who are aroused by human qualities, such as beards, high voices or amputated limbs, may actively seek out sexual partners who have these qualities.
In most cases, fetishists accept their fetishes as part of their sexual identity and act on them in healthy ways. However, a fetish can become unhealthy if it interferes with a person’s personal or professional life or compels them to act unlawfully or unsafely. In these cases, a fetishist may seek treatment, such as hypnosis or therapy.