Huffington Post

Before we get started, I want to remind you to please send me your questions/issues to I count on you guys for questions and discussion here! And think of all the personal discoveries and solutions we can find together.

Q: Can sexual fetishes be a problem?

The column this week is inspired by a letter I received from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. He raises an interesting topic I’m sure many Bushwickians can relate to: the care and feeding of fetishes. The gentleman’s fetish fantasy is masturbating while a stranger is watching. Not a big deal at all. But he really needs a true stranger; role-playing with a regular sex partner won’t work for him.

A: The short answer is sometimes.

Should he find a way to indulge his fantasy? I’m all for him satisfying it if that’s what he wants to do. I think if he finds some sex-positive social circles, he may likely be able to arrange what he is looking for. However, I’m not sure if simply playing out his fantasy one time will satisfy him if his fantasy has an obsessive side to it, which I suspect it might. Fetishes are a lot more common than you may think. Here’s a man who has sex with cars. And a lady who gets aroused by popping balloons – I’ll bet she got imprinted at some childhood birthday party.

The dark side of a fetish is when it begins to dominate your life and thoughts. Just like any activity that excites your brain’s chemical reward system, fetishism can become an addiction, getting in the way of your relationships and daily activities such as your job. Your job!!??? Don’t f*@k that up! Get help as I begin to outline below – you can’t just fix that sh*t up by yourself so easily!

I believe most often that sexual fetishes come from random imprinting in early childhood or adolescence. (Here’s what the Kinsey Institute has to say on the topic.) In a truly obsessive case, the fastest way to manage your out of control brain is cognitive-behavioral therapy. If you’re more interested in trying to understand where your fetish comes from and if you have any guilt to work through, finding a long-term sex-positive therapist might be a good route for you.

It’s totally cool if you have a fetish. Write in the comments – I want to hear about yours and how you handle it. And always remember: I love you no matter what!


Dr. Lisa