How To Embrace Your Fetish Without Shame

Fetishes are a seldom understood aspect of sexuality.

Often stigmatized and categorized as “perverted,” people develop unnecessary feelings of shame around their fetishes. There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you have a sexual fetish — in fact, it’s perfectly common. Research has shown that people who practice BDSM are less neurotic, more extroverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive, and have higher subjective well-being than non-kinky people. Embracing your fetish will not only enhance your experiences with pleasure but also decrease the stress that your shame is currently fueling.

There’s nothing wrong with you.

A fetish is an erotic attachment to an ordinarily nonsexual activity, inanimate object, or body part. Some common fetishes are foot fetish, voyeurism, exhibitionism, leather and/or latex fetish, humiliation, age play, or medical fetish. Despite what deep rooted social stigma teaches us, most fetishes are absolutely healthy to fantasize about and consensually enact.

We aren’t born feeling shame around our bodies and desires — we are socialized this way from a young age. Sometimes, it’s so skillfully embedded into our brains through media, education, and various systems of oppression that we don’t even realize where all this sexual shame came from. Especially when it comes to fetishes and kinks;embarrassment, stigma, and even disgust have become so normalized that many people feel they’re sexually broken for having these desires.

Our society has come to view any kind of sex that exists outside the confines of a monogamous, heterosexual, and non-kinky dynamic to be “deviant” or “dirty.” That’s societies problem, not yours. It’s okay to unlearn those narratives and beliefs, and explore your fetishes with openness and curiosity. Your fetishes don’t make you any less deserving of respect and dignity. Kink has the possibility to open up parts of yourself you didn’t know were there — embracing your fetish can create new connections and different forms of expression. And you deserve to revel in your sexual truths!

Your desires are normal. You aren’t alone.

Whatever your fetish or kink may be, it’s a healthy aspect of your sexuality. There are ways to play out all sorts of fetishes with other people who have similar desires–all it takes is some communication. Do you want to roleplay an alien fantasy or wear a diaper before getting spanked? There are absolutely other people out there exploring those kinks who would be ecstatic to welcome you.

As long as your play is consensual, negotiated, openly communicated, and safe you are free to explore your deepest (and darkest) desires. When you start connecting with fellow kinksters, you’ll quickly learn there’s an entire world that exists for desires that previously felt too perverse or shameful to even speak out loud.

Get vulnerable about what you want.

Putting yourself out there can create space to explore your fetishes and kinks — but we know that is much easier said than done. Usually, we're our own worst enemy when it comes to fully embracing our identities and sexual desires. It’s the internal monologue that tells us our kinks are “too weird” or “out there” or “no one else will want to share these experiences.” Being vulnerable and honest about what you want will allow your fantasies to reify.

It takes courage to be able to tell someone else a kinky fantasy or fetish you want to explore with them — fear of rejection or judgment can be intimidating. Remember that if someone declines your offer or reacts in a less than ideal way, that is not a reflection of who you are and it doesn’t mean your kink is shameful. It simply means that you and this person have different desires and that’s okay. For every person who doesn’t share your fetish, there are 5 more out there who do. It may take some time for you to find people who align with your kinky desires.

Embrace your true, kinky self.

There is nothing to apologize for in embracing your desires with other consenting adults. Respecting your true, kinky self looks different for everyone. Some people may find it liberating to be out and proud about their kinky lifestyle and wanting to talk about it with every new person they meet. Others may feel incredible keeping their fetishes to themselves for when no one else is home or as a sacred space shared with their partner(s).

There is no right or wrong way to embrace your sexual desires. You get to decide what it means to be kinky for you. Everyone deserves a judgment and shame-free space to feel liberated in their sexuality.

Blog authors all hold positions at the Gender & Sexuality Therapy Collective (G&STC). For more information about our therapists and services please contact us.