Fetishism is, at its most basic definition, a unique sexual preference or urge that leads to strong fantasies or for the person to seek out gratification. These urges are usually very specific and may become entirely necessary for the person to reach a level of sexual gratification. This disorder is rarely professionally diagnosed, as fetishes may embarrass the individual and are rarely dangerous, though some, such as asphyxiation, can end in deadly mishaps.

A fetish is an uncommon sexual obsession that an individual may have with a specific object or part of the body. In the past, these kinds of obsessions harbored harsh criticism, but in today’s day and age, they are becoming more generally accepted. While most fetishes will not interfere with a person’s personal life or mental state, users seeking to rid themselves of their fetish will find that there are treatment options available to them.

Causes of Fetishism

Though the causes of fetishism are not clearly understood, some theorists believe that it develops from early childhood experiences, in which an object was associated with a particularly powerful form of sexual arousal or gratification. In contrast, other research suggests that it is a result of later childhood and adolescence experiences such as masturbation activity.

Specific Symptoms of Fetishism

  • Recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the use of nonliving objects (e.g., female undergarments) that last for a period of at least six months
  • Fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors that cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
  • When fetish objects are not limited to articles of female clothing used in cross-dressing (as in Transvestic Fetishism) or devices designed for the purpose of tactile genital stimulation (e.g., a vibrator).

Treatment of Fetishism

Fetishes are very personal urges that many are not inclined to share. Most do not seek out treatment, but that does not mean that those who wish to relieve themselves of their fetish are out of luck. If you are seeking treatment for help in overcoming a fetish, doing some Internet research will help you find best methods of counseling for you and the top-rated treatment methods available locally.

Treatment of fetishism usually involves some method of aversion therapy, but unfortunately this kind of medical care usually carries a low rate of success. Aversion therapy is done by introducing other stimuli to the subject and is done through one or two ways. The first is done by applying negative stimulation, such as shock, while the patient views or discusses fetish imagery to create a negative connotation in the brain. The second way is called “orgasmic reorientation” which aims to realign the patient with a more “normal” sexual tendency. The cause for the low rates of success is that treatment is usually forced upon the patient as they feel they have no real reason to change. Those with fetishism are often able to control or satisfy their urges in a private manner that will not interfere with daily life or get cause any unnecessary trouble. Those who do seek change may find a group therapy or psychoanalysis more helpful then these previous methods.

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