aka What Having a Fetish Actually Means

Don’t get me wrong, I love shoes. Probably more than the average person. I cannot pass a shoe store without, at the very least, stopping to peer through the window. Sandals, boots, wedges, pumps… I love them all. My shoe collection takes up an inordinate amount of space in my closet. I have purchased shoes that were half a size too small simply because they were so beautiful I had to own them. I love the way I look in a pair of beautiful shoes, and I love the way other women look in a pair of beautiful shoes.

But do I really have a “shoe fetish”?


    1. an inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit.
      synonyms: juju, talisman, charm, amulet;
    2. a course of action to which one has an excessive and irrational commitment.
      “he had a fetish for writing more opinions each year than any other justice”
    3. a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc.
      “Victorian men developed fetishes focusing on feet, shoes, and boots”


I suppose you could argue that definition number 2 might apply here, although that’s a stretch.

The thing is, when most people use the word “fetish”, they are referring to definition number 3: a sexual fetish.

There are plenty of articles out there listing sexual fetishes, intended for people to laugh or sneer at - ooo, isn’t that so weird? Isn’t that so gross? The idea is that fetishizing something like feet is a deviant sexual perversion.

It wasn’t so long ago that homosexuality was considered a deviant sexual perversion.

Think about that.

For many people, certain objects (like clothing) or body parts simply act to increase arousal or pleasure. It isn’t needed, perse, in order to achieve arousal, it just helps light the fire. So most people exhibit a very mild form of fetishism.

For those with true fetishism, the fetishized object is required to obtain sexual gratification. The item or object or body part is often rubbed, smelled, licked, etc to achieve gratification, or the partner is asked to interact with the item or object.

True fetishes can be categorized in two ways (although a fetish could be both):

Form fetish: the shape of the object is important (high heels, feet, etc.)

Media fetish: the material of the object is important (silk, leather, etc.)

So unless you require interaction with a certain object, item, or body part to acheive sexual gratification, you don’t really have a fetish.

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