my ten favorite fetishes


Having studied sexual fetishes for twenty years (which is itself a kind of fetish), I'm long past the investigation of shoes, pain, vomit and rubbing up against people on the subway. My first real job out of college was working as the circulation manager for the Spectator, a Bay Area adult-entertainment publication, which was fueled by classified advertising — often for very distinctive “services” and interests. While there, I became acquainted with a number of memorable characters: Peg Leg, a one-legged call girl with a very full dance ticket (and some remarkable prosthetic attachments); The Coach (gym shorts, silver whistle, clipboard); and a sexually ambiguous individual who just called him/herself “The Sneezer.” (I'll let you use your imagination there.)

I'd been given a peek into a secret world, which eventually inspired a full-fledged research effort into fetishes. Having collected so many delightful anomalies over the years, I'd feel almost cruel not to share them. Here are my ten favorites.

CatoptrophiliaUnusual titillation in the presence of mirrors

At first glance, this may seem to be one of the most widespread: take mirrors on bedroom ceilings, or the ever-increasing number of sex tapes made by both celebs and amateurs. But catroptrophilia is quite a bit stranger. I've spoken at length with four catroptophiles, and despite divergent backgrounds, their remarks have some eerie similarities. What they're excited by is the perception of a kind of Other — a psychic double or doppelganger. “I'm haunted,” one man told me, “by this idea that I had a twin brother who died at birth — or worse, was adopted out. In the mirror I catch a glimpse of him again.” Although exclusively heterosexual in his physical relations, his greatest fantasy — and the essence of his fetish — was imagined sex with his phantom twin. (Think of Woody Allen's famous quip about masturbation: “Don't laugh, it's sex with someone I love.”) A female interviewee put it very succinctly: “She knows what I like.”

more from Kris Saknussemm at Nerve here.