January 21st is National Fetish Day! Wondering what a fetish is? It’s something that’s objectified for someone’s sexual pleasure that is usually outside what society deems as “normal” sexual activity. Common fetishes include feet, uniforms, leather, and piercings. Here are five you might not know but might want to try, starting with J for January!
J is for Jerk Off Instruction (JOI)
Jerk off instructions offer an opportunity for a directed masturbation session, which can play with power dynamics like Dominance and submission as well as edging. They can occur in person or online. The instructions can be simple, such as stroke your nipple(s) while masturbating, or more elaborate, such as hold your penis at 45 degrees while dripping warm massage oil on it for five minutes. If you haven’t ever tried this one, consider using it to spice up your own solo or partnered sex life!
K is for Katoptronophilia
Katoptron is the Greek word for mirror and where this fetish gets its name. Basically, it describes those who enjoy doing sexual things in front of mirrors (masturbating, sex, other fetishes, etc.). If seeing yourself in the mirror feels overwhelming but you are intrigued by this idea, try some non-sexual solo mirror work first!
L is for Leptosadism
This fetish falls under the umbrella term sadist, which refers to people who are sexually aroused by inflicting pain on others or thinking about harming others. There is a wide range for what inflicting pain/harm looks like. For leptosadists, they stick to activities and fantasies that are on the milder side – such as spanking.
If you’ve been interested in the sadomasochist world (masochists enjoy receiving or thinking about receiving pain) but a lot of it feels like too much for you, rest assured that you get to participate at the levels in which you and your partners feel comfortable – you even have your own label! You can even start slow with products like a tickle & whip.
M is for Metafetishism
Metafetishism can manifest in two ways: (1) enjoying trying new things, and (2) introducing others to new sexual activities. For many, novelty is an important part of maintaining an active and vibrant sex life. If this is you, try showing this list to a lover and seeing what new things you can try!
N is for Narratophilia
If you enjoy having a fantasy, or something else you find sexy, narrated to you, then you might be into narratophilia. You aren’t alone. In fact, several companies have come out with erotic audio content for those who enjoy having some inspiration while creating imagery in their own minds. This can also take the form of enjoying phone sex and/or dirty talk while doing the deed.
Fetish is generally, though not always, defined as an act or behavior that is required for sexual release and/or a central part of one’s sexual life. If you relate to some of the items on the above list without them feeling central to your sexuality, then these might be kinks that turn you on but not fetishes. Kinks are behaviors or acts that deviate from what is expected but are not required for a satisfying sexual experience.
Where do you fall on these 5 items? Fetish, kink, or outside of your sexual desires?
Interested in learning more letters of the kink alphabet? Let us know!
Yael R. Rosenstock GonzalezSex Educator, Researcher, Author, Speaker
Yael has been engaged in workshop development and facilitation since she joined the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) as a teen peer reproductive rights educator at 15 years old. Since then, she has served as an educator with children ranging from 10 months old to adults in their 70s with different organizations and communities. In her work as first Program Coordinator, then Director of Programming, and finally Associate Director of the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding, Yael developed and led events, workshops, and programs with an intersectionality lens.