Photo by Maria Vlasova on Unsplash

Before I get started, I should once again issue my usual disclaimer.

I am not a psychologist. I don’t have qualifications in psychology, sociology or therapy of any sort. What I do have is a bit of experience, a lot of observation and a degree of self analysis. So everything I write here once again is just my opinion.

Finding detailed academic writing and research on this topic is hard to do it seems, so, here I am as a layperson to just give my views. I would imagine someone with a proper background in the topic would probably laugh at my opinions expressed here – there are probably much better and well documented explanations for the things I’m describing.

In summary, use what I’m writing here as an interesting opinion or entertainment. Take it with a pinch of salt though!

In “On the origins of kinks and fetishes” I outlined what I believed were the main four psychological reasons people develop sexual kinks and fetishes.

This article is an expansion or companion for that one in some respects so it’s worth a read before this perhaps.

However, if you can’t be bothered, here is a very quick recap on the main point of that article.

I believe a person can develop sexual fetishes for one or more of the following reasons:-

1. Classical conditioning – they’ve learnt to associate an object or situation/action with sex due to the fact that it was regularly present/occurring during sexual activity. Similar to a “pavlov” conditioning experience, the classic example is someone who, when they were younger, found it felt pleasurable to rub a furry soft toy against themselves during masturbation and basically learned to associate that feeling and the toy itself with sex.

2. Escapism/slipping responsibility – they want to escape reality, responsibility or pressure of something in their life. Humans often look for escapism in films, books, video games or more complex things like roleplaying experiences. It’s not unusual that if someone possesses the “fetishistic sexualisation” ability in their mind, they may use sexuality to do the same. For an example of this, think about the highly pressured, senior corporate executive, responsible for vast budgets and hundreds of people. The escapism of being put in a situation where ALL of their responsibilities AND rights are completely taken away by someone could be a psychological mechanism that helps them feel good, relaxed or just “free” for a short time.

3. Simulation – they are trying to relive past unpleasant experiences, or interact with something they might be worried about happening in the future but in a controlled way where they can sexualise and enjoy the experience as well as explore it in safer environment. Sometimes they may also be wanting to simulate a role they wanted to play in their life but were unable to. A classic example may be the woman who was once pressured into having sex when she wasn’t ready who now wants to relive that scenario again but in a more controlled way (with a trusted partner and with limits).

4. Turning a loss into a win – again, the person in question is interacting with past unpleasant experiences or future fears but rather than only simulating them (or perhaps not simulating them at all) they are sexualising them in order to make them less harmful. In fact they are trying to make pleasant/enjoyable experiences, such that if they happen again (or come to pass in future), they are prepared and the experience won’t be as harmful. “They own it, it does not own them” to put it crudely.

These are the reasons I believe someone may “use” a sexual fetish, or the “purpose” they may serve. Some people may also “use” a kink of fetish for more than one of these purposes at once. It’s entirely possible all 4 could be at play at once.

For people who don’t really have fetishes and kinks, it can be very hard to understand people who do. Contrary to some psychology writing though, I think it’s important to not look at any of these reasons as mental illness.

Actually its the opposite. Let me explain

Where as reason 1 is a little different, reasons 2-4, I believe stem from a “mind mechanism” I call fetishistic sexualisation.

I propose fetishistic sexualisation is a naturally occurring mental phenomenon designed to help people process bad things that happen to them (or things their fear could). It is particularly designed so to deal with social shame and embarrassment but also to process emotions coming from physical hardships as well.

As people learn and grow as children, they “activate” many different pre-packaged mind mechanisms in their mind to help them deal and cope with the world and with bad situations and fetishistic sexualisation is another example of one.

What do I mean by “pre-packaged mind mechanisms” ?

Well, for example, friendship and friendship making. Understanding what a friend is, how to gain them, or lose them, is “activated” and learnt from ages 3 onwards. I think of the mechanism like AI? It’s code is written, it has basic rules and purpose but it needs training. This is why children, kind of understand intrinsically the value of being with other people but they need to be socialised. They need to experience friendship, its parameters and borders etc in order for the mechanism to function properly for them.

Further more, just like code in computer programs, often mind mechanisms are built on top of other mechanisms (or they might “call” functions from other programs, to dip into computer engineering terms further for a moment). “Friendship” to stick with our example, is built on top of other mechanisms such as “empathy”, “justice” and “trading” amongst others. This mechanism lets us navigate or a least understand relationships with others.

Another example of a mind mechanism could be “infinity” – a very interesting mind mechanism that tries to help us cope with the concepts of forever, being small and also dealing with nothingness (this plays a critical role in dealing with death and grieving so would be called by those “functions” in turn).

Fetishistic sexualisation is another mechanism of the mind like these then. This is what I mean. It is however, a fairly advanced and also optional mechanism. It isn’t “activated” in all people (much like some options might not be turned on in certain pieces of software).

If you don’t have the mechanism “turned on” in your mind, you won’t sexualise in line with reasons 2-4 above. You have to posses the mechanism first before you can do it.

And I should add, in the same way as the other mechanisms listed above are built up top of each other, so its the same for this one. Fetishistic sexualisation likely draws heavily on the mechanisms of “shame” and “fear.” It also, is by definition attached (“called by”) “sexual activity”, “love” and “trust”

As previously mentioned, it’s function is to try and help us deal with painful or difficult situations, especially (but not limited to) those in the social sphere which otherwise would not make sense to us. The mechanism is incredibly complex and clever and is never quite exactly the same between people. In fact, some people do not develop it at all (they deal with their problems through other mechanisms), however, it does have common characteristics.

I believe fetishistic sexualisation is “learned” or “activated” between the ages of 6-10. It then “embeds” and, as it is “attached” to sexuality, it starts to actually function when puberty occurs. And just like other mechanisms, it evolves and changes over a persons life.

What I’m unsure of at the stage of writing here, is what are the predictors a person will develop or activate the mechanism. Is it possible to turn off? Is it possible to turn on? It’d be fascinating to try and find out.

I’m kinky and I’m sure my mind posses the fetishistic sexualisation mechanism. And if I turn this understanding and analysis on myself, I can see the pattern matches up.

A real world example, from my own life!

When I was 16 years old I had a crush on a girl at my school. It was very strong and very lustful, in the way perhaps only crushes at 16 can be.

It was only the second time in my life I had these feelings and I didn’t really know how to deal with them or process them.

I told, what I believed to be a close friend about my crush this girl, in confidence. I made some sexual remarks about her also.

Several months later, my friend repeated those comments and made fun of me about my crush in front of her. She heard it all.

I was devastated. The embarrassment and shame I felt was so enormous and fantastic, I denied it all. I cried myself to sleep several nights over the shame and felt terrible about it for weeks. Now things were awkward with her. I really liked her but I couldn’t talk to her again. I was too embarrassed. Any slim chance I might ever have at building a relationship with her were now totally destroyed in a bonfire of shame.

I remember looking myself in the bathroom mirror one day, tears streaming down myself, making myself a promise that if I ever had a crush or sexual feelings for someone ever again, I would never EVER EVER speak about it to another person. I’d ignore it. It was just too much risk to deal with.

This event then was massively traumatic in my life, right at a time when my sexuality was at its peak development. I possessed the fetishistic sexualisation mechanism (it definitely developed in me around the age of 7 or 8) and so this was the most perfect “fuel” for that mechanism.

The other thing to know about this mechanism is that it doesn’t always work immediately on a “topic” it is given, especially when it is “new.” It can take months or even years to process and give a result.

This was my case. Several years later, in my early 20’s, I was reading erotic domination stories online when I came across one about chastity devices and orgasm denial. In the story, a male submissive was given a special device to wear by a female dominant which stopped him from masturbating, having sex or pleasuring himself. His sexuality was effectively, denied. Except it wasn’t denied totally, it was just “paused” – he still lusted after his female dominant a great deal. He was punished by his inability to sexually pleasure himself over it.

Something in me just clicked. It made sense. And it was incredibly sexually exciting. My fetishistic sexualisation mechanism had found the perfect way for processing what I had been through at 16.

Feeling sexually attracted to a girl I liked but feeling ashamed about it and “denied”, was no longer a source of upset. It was actually, something I liked. The feeling of being lustful and attracted to a female partner was still there but, with this new model, it was ok to not act upon it and to have it denied and feel ashamed about it. In fact, it was better than ok, it was amazing. It was what I craved and wanted.

And so, my chastity and orgasm denial fetish was born.

Every time now I interact with that fetish in anyway, I’m turning a loss into a win (number 4 in my original list), I’m in some way simulating what I went through at 16 (number 3) and there is also perhaps a degree of escapism or responsibility escape at least going on (number 2). I suspect there may be other things going on with me that make chastity appealing but I genuinely think my experiences at 16 drove it the most.

What’s interesting here is to note that, I don’t think I’ve ever really recovered or “healed” entirely from that experience at 16, so it’s not that fetishistic sexualisation necessarily “fixes” everything. I think rather, instead what the mechanism has done is simply “transfer” feelings from that day onto something else?

Think about your own life and your own kinks? Do you think they exist for any of the reasons I listed at the beginning? And do you possess the fetishistic sexualisation mechanism? Could this be a good explanation for why you are the way you are?