We all know somebody who has a weird sex fetish. In fact, most of us probably have our own. Some of them are pretty common, some of them seem weird to others. But is it normal? In the past, people with odd fetishes were branded as having a mental illness! Let’s investigate.
What makes something sexy
This is obviously unique to an individual. But what causes these fetishes and for people to have preferences that are unusual? It’s a combination of factors from the cognitive, through to the physical and even the emotional.
Obviously getting people to be truthful about their sexual desires in order to perform studies can be taxing. One unique take on this was a study that used a Yahoo! Group. The study asked 5000 people about their sexual preferences. Oddly not all of them were related to parts of the human body and were sometimes based on items that were associated with parts of the human body like shoes and headphones.
Among the body-related fetishes, 9% had an interest in bodily fluids. 9% had an interest in body sizes but a staggering 47% had some kind of fetish with toes and feet. We joke about feet fetishes a lot in society but apparently they are far more common then you might think. So are these people weird? Well perhaps not.
Here’s the thing if you were to map the brain it transpires that the part of the brain that deals with the processing of your genitalia are pretty close to the area that deals with the feet and toes. That is not just a coincidence. There is a famous case which shows that there is probably a link. A man who suffered from seizures and had a weird sexual fetish for safety pins had a part of his brain removed to help alleviate the seizures. When that happened his seizures stopped and so did the sexual fantasies.
It is believed then that these seemingly odd sexual desires are formed in our younger years when our brain is still in development. Especially in our teenage years where our neural synapses (basically the wires that connect different parts of the brain) are being developed. All it takes is a tiny bit of faulty wiring and the feelings we have for genitalia are also felt about feet! So it isn’t really that weird at all when you look at it that way.
Of course, there is an element of sexual imprinting involved. For the uninitiated, this is the process whereby people learn what is desirable in a mate. You know that old adage of “a girl looks for someone like their dad” not entirely untrue. A study on adopted girls showed that the majority of them were attracted to men with similar facial features to their adopted fathers.
This sexual imprinting can work on objects too, or at least it can in rats. Two experiments showed how. A pair of virgins rats were allowed to have sex. The male rat was dressed in a sort of “Velcro” vest before it was allowed to copulate. It was found that some of the males who had sex with the vest on found it “difficult to perform” without it.
A similar experiment took young rats. One group were brought up sleeping on a lemon-scented bed. The other on normal beds. Once they reached sexual maturity they were presented with two female options to mate with. The group that had been brought up on the lemon-scented beds majorly favoured the females that had a lemon scent. The other group showed no preference.
Of course, that is rats! But there is a chance that our brains operate in similar ways, which explains nicely why I get excited by West ham quilt covers.