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A sexual fetish is defined as an attraction to a non-sexual body part or object. The physiological term for this is a paraphila and, although they are fairly common, they are still included in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. That said, most non-extreme fetishes, such as attraction to shoes or large women, have recently been downgraded.
Most psychologists agree that a sexual fetish becomes extreme when the person feels they can no longer achieve sexual gratification without the fetishized object or body part in question, when they are going to extreme lengths to achieve sexual gratification through their fetish, or that their preoccupation with the fetish consumes every waking thought, thus diminishing the person’s quality of life.
People are said to acquire fetishes through repetition. For example, a man who achieves an orgasm while his partner is wearing red leather high heels may, over a period of time, grow to believe that he can only achieve orgasm - or even get an erection - when his partner is wearing shoes or even a very specific type of shoes. This is when psychologists feel that the fetish has become extreme and the man may require some counseling to help him lose his dependency.
Mild fetishes are extremely common, and include feet, leather or PVC, among many other things. Introducing high heeled shoes, a tight leather corset, or toe sucking to sex play - or even visiting a fetish club - can all be perfectly healthy behaviors as long as you feel happy with what you’re doing and know that you can live without it sometimes. If you are worried about your particular fetish, try speaking to a counselor.
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