Keeping in mind that it’s hard to generalize about anything – especially when it involves human sexuality – three questions came to mind when I read the title "The Joy of Finding Your Fetish":

  1. What is a fetish?
  2. Why should I find mine?
  3. How do I find it?

What is a fetish?

The first question is probably the most obvious: what exactly is a fetish? I sincerely hope you didn’t jump to Wikipedia or Merriam-Webster's for an answer because while they, and other online resources, are technically correct that a fetish can be “an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification,” sometimes to a point where it’s necessary to feel arousal.

This is not how it’s commonly used in many sexuality-related communities.

Rather, fetishism is extended much more broadly, becoming a term for having a healthy erotic interest in anything. For example, you could say you have a fetish for latex clothing, sex toys, vintage porn, body modification, or performing oral sex (just to name a few).

More importantly, it’s a positive and even self-affirming term in that it’s a part—sometimes a big part—of what turns you on, but not the only way. This definition, is unlike the pedantic and, let’s be honest here, judgemental definitions used elsewhere.

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Why is finding your fetish good for you?

The subhead above kind of gave it away, but the second question that probably came to mind is just that: why should I explore fetishes as potential new sources of sexual pleasure?

The answer is pretty simple, although it’s not something many us may be willing to admit. Everything, even really enjoyable activities like sex, can get a little stale over time unless we spice things up a bit.

When it comes to sex, this can be anything from trying out new positions, giving BDSM play a whirl, or shopping for a new sex toy. However, often these kinds of things don’t get to the core of things: our minds—and how we think about what turns us on.

Which, ta-da, can be done by exploring new erotic, sexual, and sensual venues. Sure, some might leave you cold, but there’s a good chance that one (or many!) will be just the thing to open up entirely new worlds of arousal.

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How do you find your fetish?

And now we come to our third question. Now that you understand what a fetish is, and why finding yours can add an added extra thrill to your sexual activities, where do you go from there?

Well, it might go something like this: Being a fan of the steampunk aesthetic (the science fiction subgenre with a distinct Victoriana-bent) you sample the genre's erotica. You enjoy it so much that you try your hand at writing your own. From there, perhaps you branch out to finding sexual excitement in dressing like your characters and engaging in role-play, or even with your own version of BDSM power exchange dynamics.

Perhaps this path could lead to discovering you really get turned on by dreaming up steam-powered sex toys, which then goes to more modern varieties used with a dash of play-acting.

[Learn more about BDSM by joining the community at THE CAGE.]

The bottom line is that to do this kind of arousing discovery takes two things:

1. Let Go of Expectations

Let go of expectations and just have fun engaging in some erotic play. If something you try doesn’t turn you on then don’t worry, that doesn’t mean anythingonly that it may not be for you.

Similarly, if you find something that does push your erotic buttons, that doesn’t mean you’re a freak or anything negative like that. As long as whatever you find involves consensual activities, and doesn’t get in the way of maintaining your day-to-day life, then it’s perfectly fine.

As it’s one of the biggest injustices so many sexually healthy people face these days, let me say it again: getting turned on by something doesn’t make anything about you wrong.

In fact, it makes you something remarkable: yourself.

I’d go as far as to say that the only thing anyone should feel guilt or shame over is that our society continues to emotionally harm people over an aspect of a pleasurable and consensual sex life.

[Find genuine, accepting kinky people at THE CAGE.]

2. Let Your Excitement Lead the Way

Embrace the play aspect of your fetish searching: allowing your erotic enthusiasm rein free to lead you where it wants.

This doesn’t have to be just in sexual terms either. Sometimes a new source of arousal can unexpectedly arise from experiences that are instead more sensual.

What they might be, again, is up to you and your explorations, but you could try out tactile activities like ceramics, gardening, cooking, or sampling new varieties of food. You might also give working with fabric a shot or perhaps getting into the steamy delights of scented baths.

The idea here is to expand your explorations beyond the more obvious sources of erotic entertainment by experiencing the world around you as a sensual playground.

Read: Welcome to the Dungeon: How to Join the BDSM Community

So Many Pleasures Waiting to Be Discovered

Fetishes, despite how they’re narrowly defined in some places, can be an extremely pleasurable component of anyone’s sex life—with partners or when self-pleasuring. As long as fetishes are consensual, and don’t negatively interfere with the rest of a person's life, they should never be mocked, demeaned, or held against those who have them.

Fetishes can also act as doorways to new erotic interests, and from there to even new sexual activities. Doing so can be a challenge, with as many misses as hits, but when finding a new source of arousal can offer so many possibilities for growth as a sexual human being, or just having tons of kinky fun, it’s always worth the pursuit.

Finding your fetish (or even better fetishes) despite those ups and downs can be all kinds of fun. So, when you think about it, there’s really no reason not to get out there and discover what turns you on: just remember to take care of yourself, try as much as you’d like, and above all else, stay joyful and positive while finding your fetish.

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