A few years ago, while we were having a discussion with a friend, she was describing her love for BDSM by stating that her "fetish was BDSM". I remember clearly thinking that fetishes were not well understood by people to the point that fetish people even had bad reputation, yet, from my personal research on BDSM, the question is simple;
What is a "fetish"?
According to the Webster (concise edition):
"a fetish is any object or activity regarded with excessive devotion"
Strangely, the French definition from the Larousse dictionary state:
"A fetish is when an unanimated object or a non sexual body part becomes objects of one sexuality" (a free translation of:."un fétiche est un objet inanimé ou partie du corps non sexuelle capables de devenir à eux seuls objets de la sexualité").
The English definition seems more permissive about what could be the object of "devotion" while in French, only an object or a non sexual body part could be the object of devotion.
I must admit to disagreeing with a least part of the French definition; object of devotion or worship (I really like this description) must include sexual body part like the breast, the penis (or the vagina) and the ass, because they are "object of devotion" for some fetishist.
As for unanimated object for devotion, the list is long; cigarette, gloves, latex, leather, diapers, ropes, stockings, hi-heels, boots, underwear (regular or sexy), tears, cum, dildos and vibrators……
Why the bad reputation for fetishists? The answer is the usual; medias and gossip. For the media, take for instance the TV show "CSI", fetishists are always weird characters or people who have "bad rep" and they always becomes suspects of a crime. As for gossip; we all have uncles that had "special interest" and are consider bizarre. If in a social event, a man would reveal that he has interest for, lets say, hi-heels, he will be stuck with this "weird" reputation and will now be the victim of bad jokes at his expense.
Yet, the majority of fetishists I have met in my life always struck me as being very logical and very "in control" of their need. We are far from the perception of regular people toward fetish people. The big part of fetishist deal with their fetishes in a very controlled way, living their fetishes in precise time of their life and in precise places.
Is BDSM a fetish or not?
Technically, BDSM is not really a fetish if you look at a fetish as an object to be worship. Some say that BDSM is like an sexual orientation (like heterosexual or gays) but it would be easy to argue that a sexual orientation is based on gender and not liking in sexual activity.
When our friend described her liking for BDSM as a "fetish" we understood her very well. Maybe BDSM could be considered a fetish?
I am curious now; for you, BDSM is….a fetish, a liking, a sexual orientation or other?
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