Fetishes are always a sensitive topic and can make the most sexually-mature of us feel awkward and confused when discussing them. So, let's be blunt – things may get weird as you read along. However, trust me, by the end you will realise why understanding a sexual partner’s fetishes will improve your sex life.

So...what is a fetish? Merriam Webster defines fetish as “an object or bodily part whose real or fantasised presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression”. 

By Mansour Shukoor

Some examples of fetishes include:

  • BDSM 

  • Latex

  • Role-Playing

  • Choking 

  • Foot Fetish

  • Lingerie 

  • Pegging

Personally I can confidently admit I have two fetishes that make my sexual experiences that much better. My obsession with feet and stockings. To delve deeper into the vagueness, I love when a woman will wear stockings during sex because then I can tear the middle of her stockings. It makes me feel dominant. On the other hand, the whole foot fetish situation is me enjoying the exact opposite of being dominant. It is about me being submissive enough to worship a woman’s feet.

So, why do we have fetishes? Psychology Today explained: “Psychological research has shown that many fetishes appear to be the result of early imprinting and conditioning experiences in childhood or adolescence (for instance, where sexual excitement and/or orgasm is paired with non-sexual objects or body parts) or as a consequence of strong traumatic, emotional and/or physical experience.”

So, why should you learn to understand your partner’s sexual fetishes? The answer is simple. If you want your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband to perform to the best of their ability in bed, you should find out their fetishes. See if they are in your comfort zone and try and adhere to them. 

Some fetishes require real commitment such as BDSM. This particular fetish is not for everyone. So, in saying that, do not agree to this to its full extent the first time around. Try and ease yourself into it by allowing your partner to do the bare minimum. For example, tying up your legs or arms – or both! 

Understanding your partner’s fetishes can really clear up any awkwardness at the start of the sexual relationship. The last thing you want is a grown man or woman awkwardly hinting at things they enjoy and with no explanation. For example, in the case of a foot fetish, you don’t want your boyfriend or husband intensely staring at your feet during sex and have you wondering why he won’t give you eye contact. He may just have a foot fetish and admires your feet. 

 

Not adhering to your partner's sexual fantasies in some cases can interfere with your partner’s ability to express themselves sexually. Simply put, you are probably not getting 100% from your partner because their fetishes are not being acknowledged or included while you are having sex. 

Why risk getting 50% in bed all because you two can’t sit down and have an adult discussion about what you both like in bed? The hardest part, though, is the discussion. Putting the fetishes into use is a gradual process as well. However, once you know what fetish your partner has, figuring out how to execute the fetish is much easier. 

With my fetishes, for instance, I cannot just ask a girl to put on stockings. However, if I feel that I will continue the sexual relationship, I will let them know pretty soon into the relationship.  

Similarly with my foot fetish, I hope that my sexual partner understands and is not weirded out. If they are, I do not force my fetish onto them. This is just a battle where I accept defeat.

However, not having my fetish acknowledged may result in me walking away from the sexual relationship. This is because fetishes that aren’t adhered to may stop your partner from expressing themselves sexually. This can indeed ruin the overall sexual experience. 

Fetishes are becoming quite the norm in the postmodern era (and thank god). The general consensus in my sexual experiences when discussing my fetishes with women has been genuine understanding. Society has become accepting of people’s different sexual desires and there’s a realisation that what two consenting adults do in the comfort of their bedroom is private and will remain private. 

Do your best to sit down with your partner and figure out what excites them. If what they like makes you uncomfortable, let them know. However easing yourself into your partner’s fetishes may just breathe new life into your relationship or rejuvenate your sexual experiences as a single person. 

My parting advice would be to not make your partner feel awkward if they open up about their fetishes. This will just stop them from ever wanting to incorporate their fetish into the bedroom, and in turn, ruining your sexual experience as well.  So, be considerate and kind, and try to let an awkward topic of discussion be something more inclusive and natural.