Sex Fetishes that are harmful

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Many issues in the world, including sexual orientations, are changing. For example, sex fetishes are on the rise, owing primarily to the growth of homosexuality and its legalization in some nations such as the United States. The paper will explore hazardous sex obsessions by providing background information and summarizing data from research papers (Jnior & Abdo, 2015).

A fetish is defined as a sexual excitement triggered by a non-sexual body part or object. A fetish, for example, is when a man becomes sexually aroused after viewing a shoe or feet. Fetishes are common among guys. However, women also have sex fetishes. The topic is important to study because unlike the past, the modern science has offered a new approach to understand sex fetishes that may be considered as unusual (Dzansi & B.Pigg, 2014). Traditionally, fetishes were deemed to be normal and the object or the body part that an individual needs to be present to cause the excitement; however, today obsessions can occur even when a person watches a pornographic film or just thinks of the fetish. Also, the topic is essential especially with the increase in homosexuals and the paraphilia who have an obsession that is abnormal.

Background Information

Fetishes have been in existence long ago with many people describing the condition as usual. The term was first defined in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries by psychiatrists like Magnus Hirschfeld. He viewed fetishism as an act of eroticising body parts and objects. It was a description of a mental state, but not a mental illness. However, because of the increase in the wanting as noticed in many people today, then fetishes can make people neurotic. Richard Krafft, a psychiatrist associated fetishism with mental illnesses in 1886 (Scorolli, Ghirlanda, Enquist, Zattoni, & Jannini, 2007). The behavior is typical, and the number of sex fetishists is growing. The practice is common among school-going children and homosexuals. Some laws protect against fetishism. For example, in case of paraphilia, the act becomes terrible, disturbing, and horrifying. Therefore, a fetishist who abuses others can be prosecuted in a court of law because any abuse of others is considered illegal (Dzansi & B.Pigg, 2014).

Research Articles

A lot of research has been done on the topic of sex fetishes. For instance, Scorolli, Ghirlanda, Enquist, Zattoni, and Jannini study of 2007 estimates the frequency of obsessions in a population. The survey purposed to give an estimate of the relative occurrences of fetishes in a sample provided. The participants included 381 discussion groups obtained from the internet data source. About 5000 persons were targetted. Data analysis was done by considering the number of individuals in each discussion group and the number of text messages they exchanged. The findings of the study are that; most people preferred body parts and objects associated with the body part. Other participants preferred other people's behavior, and that accounted for 18 percent. 7 percent favored own and social action. Lastly, about 5 percent preferred objects unrelated to body parts. The most common targets of preference were the feet. The study suggests that fetishists have a choice of different objects and behavior (Scorolli, Ghirlanda, Enquist, Zattoni, & Jannini, 2007).

Moreover, Dzansi and B.Pigg survey in 2014 in Ghana, West Africa describes fetish as part of the ancient cultural practice. The researchers use the word "Trokosism" to refer to a slave fetish. As part of the culture, parents in West Africa are required to offer their virgin daughters to serve as sex fetish in the shrines as the atonement to sins committed by family members. The study aimed to investigate the abusive nature of Trokosism and its effect, and how to end it. The method of study involved a combination of literature study by carrying out participants' observations and interviews with three critical stakeholders in Southern Ghana. The findings indicated that Trokosism subjected the individuals to emotional and physical abuse. It appears that the cultural practice is abating and is based on beliefs. Therefore, the effective method of ending the practice is by educating communities and the practitioners on human rights (Dzansi & B.Pigg, 2014).

Besides, Júnior and Abdo study of 2015 on unusual sexual behaviors and their associations with mental, physical, and sexual health purposed to investigate the prevalence of unusual sexual practices and the linkage with the sociodemographic parameters. This was a cross-sectional study that involved 7,022 participants. The data collection procedures required the use of self-administered questionnaires. A comparison between people who had at least one reference to unconventional sexual behavior and individual who did not have sexual fetish was made. The results implied that many men had the unusual sexual practices than women. Fetishism accounted for 13.4 percent. The findings concluded that fetishism was associated with demographics such as the male gender, marital status with the single and separated being most affected, history of posttraumatic stress disorder treatment, and bisexuality. Also, the level of education is critical as a determinant of sex fetishes. The study concluded that the unusual sexual practices such as fetishes are closely related to the mental, health, and sexual behaviors of the individual. For example, harmful sex fetishes are linked with poor education and health status (Júnior & Abdo, 2015).

Summary of Findings

The three studies are closely related, and they appear to provide information on the frequency of sex fetishes, the effect they have on the person, and the sociodemographics associated with the unusual sex behavior and practice. For example, the study by Scorolli, Ghirlanda, Enquist, Zattoni, and Jannini estimates that the number of people who prefer body parts and the associated objects is high. It also goes further to prove that, some fetishist prefer their behavior or other people’s behavior as sex fetishists (Scorolli, Ghirlanda, Enquist, Zattoni, & Jannini, 2007). This is unusual that a person may get sexually aroused by merely admiring the behavior of another individual. Also, the Dzansi and B.Pigg study explains the idea that, sex fetishes can be part of the cultural practice in some parts of the world. The Ghana study concluded that the method is uncouth and bring the emotional and physical abuse to the individual. In this note, the cultural practice ought to be aborted and laws governing the practice designed to protect the victims, who are young virgin girls (Dzansi & B.Pigg, 2014). Lastly, Júnior and Abdo survey concluded that many factors contribute to sex fetishes. For example, the health, mental, and sexual status are associated with the development of sex fetishes. For instance, homosexuals are more likely to have sex fetishes than heterosexuals. People being treated for posttraumatic stress disorder are more likely to be affected. Sex fetishes do not arise from normal conditions but an interplay of many factors (Júnior & Abdo, 2015). The three studies provide a broad understanding of the issue of harmful sex fetishes. They offer a ground on the frequency of the people developing the unusual sex fetishes and the objects they prefer. Again, the studies indicate that sex fetishes are part of the population and in some countries, it forms part of the culture. In some instances, the behavior can be emotionally and physically abusive, and thus laws have to be designed to protect individuals who can be abused. The strong association with mental and health status of the individual, the condition can be traumatizing and horrifying becoming a mental illness. The sex fetishists must be accorded special care and help to assist them to cope with the issue.


Harmful sex fetishes are a typical behavior among the population in the world. The problem has been seen as usual, but in the recent past, many psychiatrists have labeled it as a mental illness. People are likely to get sexual excitement from body part and objects that are non-sexual. Though it might seem reasonable, the condition may worsen leading to paraphilia. There are so many factors that may lead to the development of the situation including the mental and health status of the individual. Sex fetishes as a topic have not been exploited, and little data is available in journals. Therefore, more research has to be done on the issue of sex fetishes especially on its association with the homosexuals. Again, studies on the cultural contribution of the practice should be done. Despite psychiatrist deeming the condition as a mental illness, evidence has not been provided on how it affects the brain functioning. This is also a research gap that needs to be addressed.


Dzansi, D., & B.Pigg. (2014). Trokosi’ - Slave of a Fetish: An Empirical Study. Journal Studies of Tribes and Tribals, 12(1), 1-8.

Júnior, W. M., & Abdo, C. H. (2015). Unconventional Sexual Behaviors and their Associations with Physical, Mental and Sexual Health Parameters: a Study in 18 Large Brazilian Cities. Journal of Sexual Health, 1-10.

Scorolli, C., Ghirlanda, S., Enquist, M., Zattoni, S., & Jannini, E. A. (2007). Relative Prevalence of Different Fetishes. International Journal of Impotence Research, 19(1), 432–437.

April 26, 2023

Sociology Health

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