Cracking the whip on fetishes

Mikhail Chernyavsky

Fetish – what does it mean?

If you ask Noah Webster, one answer is an inanimate object that is worshiped because it is believed to be magical.

If you ask a prude, the answer is something weird that should not be discussed.

And, if you ask a child, then, well you may have some issues.

According to, a fetish is outside the realm of what is characteristically considered normal. I have put the word on what I call the Anglo-Saxon term list. The list consists of words that have negative connotations based on religious implications. The word fetish implies something that is weird: What isn’t weird these days?

Traditionally, fetishes are objects, outfits, sexual practices or nonsexual body parts used for sexual arousal. There are primarily four types of fetishes that have been exposed to the mainstream public. They are bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM). These acts can be seen in some of our most beloved films. In “Return of the Jedi” we see Princess Leia being subjugated to domination by Jabba the Hutt. In “Tom Cats,” Jerry O’Connell is seen being subjected to bondage by a crazy librarian. She then gets pleasure from spanking him, which is an example of sadism; if O’Connell’s character were asking to be spanked then it would be masochism.

So, are fetishes healthy?

“It depends on the person,” senior psychology major Cassandra Perryman said.

For some, it is not healthy. If a person ever has any feeling of regret after a kinky interaction, then it is unhealthy. In order for a fetish to be healthy, it must be done out of curiosity.

There are also other types of kinks. Do you participate in the observation of pornographic materials? Are you a Peeping Tom? Well, my friend, you are a voyeur. There is also exhibitionism. Do you enjoy exposing yourself? Then you, my friend, are an exhibitionist.

So, now that you have learned something new about yourself, here are some tips on where to start your new sexual awakening.

Like anything in our day and age, the easiest place to start research is the Internet. Perryman said some websites can be dangerous because you do not know the type of people who are on them. Perverts are lurking all over chat rooms as well. The show “To Catch a Predator” is a perfect example of this.

Your best bet is to use online groups, like the ones on Yahoo! and Google. Most people take themselves seriously in groups, so they tend to be very strict. If a person gets into a group and bashes what it is doing, then that person is quickly kicked out. With groups it is easy to see what type of people they are by what is said. This allows you to see if this is something you really want to get into. Plus, unlike sites like, groups are free.

The safest place to ever try out a kinky fetish is always with a significant other. Just remember that you must both be on the same page of what is and is not acceptable: Establish a set of rules and boundaries. The last thing you want is to have a sexual encounter go haywire.

Fetishes can heighten the intimacy between couples. For couples growing tired with their sex lives, a fetish can help add a new type of fun.

“They can change the pace of a relationship,” senior communication studies major Kristen Rezendes said. “They are addictive.”

So go on, and try something new. It won’t kill you to try out a fetish. It may hurt, but it won’t kill you. Mikhail Chernyavsky can be reached at [email protected]