BY Lux Alptraum
June 16, 2008
Revisiting The Fetish Topic

We’ve talked before about the complicated nature of being someone’s fetish. Not surprisingly, we’re not the only ones who’ve given this topic some thought. Blogger and sex columnist Zoe Yang has an interesting piece on what Asian fetishism means for Asian girls. Our favorite paragraph:

It’s funny, it’s not usually the sex I’m worried about, because that world has its own laws regarding consent, exploration, and communication. It’s the everyday stuff: “Am I sending out some kind of latent message of subservience if I cook dinner?” “Am I going to teach him to expect this if I give a massage?” “Is he going to develop a fetish if I’m giving?”

Which brings us back to our earlier point. The reason why, say, an Asian fetish (or any fetish for a physical characteristic) might make someone uncomfortable is the fear that it means that one’s partner is solely interested in them because of that feature (and the cultural assumptions that come with it).

It’s worth noting, by the by, that this discussion only makes sense when we’re talking about fetishes related to someone’s appearance, not fetishes related to an object or an activity. It seems less likely that the partner of an adult baby or shoe fetishist would lie awake wondering if they’d be dumped as soon as they lost that special pair of shoes — but hey, maybe we’re wrong.

[Photo by magandafille]

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  • Xorn Smith says :

    I don’t know that ethnic fetishes (if that’s what we want to call them) are always related to cultural stereotypes. Sometimes people can just like a particular look or type of features. I went through a period where I was really into women of Arab or Persian descent, but there wasn’t anything particularly fetishistic about it…I just found their “type” appealing, but the fact that they were of Middle Eastern descent didn’t enter into it culturally…I didn’t make them call me Xerxes in the bedroom or ask them to play “Aladdin and Jasmine” or other similarly stereotypical roleplaying. (Catwoman sure, but that’s a whole other set of issues.)

    Likewise, I’ve always had a thing for red heads (I blame my college crush on Dana Scully mostly) but I don’t think I expect red heads to behave Maureen O’Hara in the “Quiet Man.” Guys who like Asian women might be about a certain cultural stereotype and some sort of Manga/Geisha mash-up fetish, or it just might be that they simply think Asian women are particularly beautiful. (Or maybe they had an Asian babysitter when they were pre-adolescent or saw Tia Carrera in their first “Playboy.”)

    I think any time there’s a major fetish in a relationship, there’s insecurity of the type described above…is he into me or is he into the particular thing I bring to the table in terms of his sexual peccadilloes. Is the woman who plays mommy to the adult infant any less insecure that he might find another “care giver” than the Asian amputee is that her lover might find another Asian woman missing a limb? (Actually, in that scenario, the Asian amputee might be harder to replace.) The point stands that whether it’s an activity or a body type, if that’s the focus of one partner’s interest in the other, the object of the fetish is always going to wonder how deep his or her partner’s affections really run.

  • Zoe says :

    Thanks for the link, Lux.


    Asian fetishes, and racial fetishes as a whole, are not the same as being attracted to redheads or amputees. I think they deserve their own classification in the fetish world. This is because there is a ongoing history of oppression and exploitation linked to the sexualizing of Asian women, black women, Latina women, etc. You may have been attracted to Middle Eastern women simply for their looks, as many men who are attracted to Asian women are, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t quite possibly a subconscious layer of exoticism contributing to that attraction. Such exoticism, throughout history, has led to rape and sex trafficking, not to mention rampant stereotyping. Because in race there is a power imbalance, a fetish is not simply a fetish. The point of my post was that you can never be sure where “physical attraction” stems from.

    In other words, I consent to sex, but I don’t consent to sex with someone who likes my chinky eyes.

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Lux Alptraum
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