A fetish refers to an intense sexual fixation on a generally nonsensual object, body part, practice, or situation. Some individuals with strong fetishes, or paraphilias, may not feel aroused or climax without their chosen fetish. According to the American Psychiatry Association, most fetishists are men. However, any person of any gender, sexual orientation, and age can have a fetish.

The term fetish comes from the Portuguese word feitico, meaning charm or sorcery. This link reflects the mysterious power that objects or situations can have over people with fetishes. Portuguese sailors and traders in the early 17th century likely used the word as a name for the talismans and charms they traded. By around 1837, the term became used figuratively for any object people revered or felt devoted to. It evolved to be a term used in a sexual sense by 1897.

There are all different types of fetishes, ranging from very common to more unusual. Some of the most common fetishes involve feet, hair, spanking, and leather. Fetishes on the less common end of the spectrum, involve robots, urine, insects, amputees, and cannibalism. If you can think of it, there’s likely to be a fetish based around it.

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