Clothing fetish

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Fetish Models at The Los Angeles Fetish Film Festival, Hollywood, CA on April 16, 2011

Clothing fetish, or garment fetish, is a sexual fetish that revolves around a fixation upon a particular article or type of clothing, a collection of garments that appear as part of a fashion or uniform, or a person dressed in such a garment.

The clinical definition of a sexual fetish would require that a person be fixated on a specific garment to the extent that it exists as a recurrent (or exclusive) stimulus for sexual gratification.[1][2]

One who exhibits a clothing fetish may be aroused by the sight of a person wearing a particular garment, or by wearing the garment oneself which can be because of the look one achieves by wearing it or the way it feels while it is being worn (and might also get some arousal by seeing somebody in it and imagining how it feels). In later case arousal may originate from the way its fabric feels (see clothing fetish by fabric type) or from the way the garment feels and functions as whole (restrictive clothing being an example).

Others with a clothing fetish may be aroused by the sight of such garments, even without wearing them and in the absence of other person wearing them, and may also derive pleasure from collecting them.

Relative prevalence of garment fetishism[edit]

In order to determine the relative prevalence of different fetishes, researchers at the University of Bologna obtained a sample of at least 5000 individuals worldwide from 381 Internet discussion groups. The relative prevalences were estimated based on (a) the number of groups devoted to a particular fetish, (b) the number of individuals participating in the groups and (c) the number of messages exchanged. The top garment fetish was footwear related (high heels) followed by costumes and then jackets.[3][4]

By garment type[edit]

Though almost any type of garment in theory can be the subject of a fetish, common clothing fetishes include footwear, female underwear and uniforms. A wide range of other garments have been the subject of less common fetishes.

Separate from fetishes as a paraphilia are garments worn to enhance appearance, such as tight jeans or other eye-catching clothing. The difference is whether, for the person concerned, the clothing is the focus of a sexual fetish, or is merely appreciated and found pleasing.

Restrictive clothing[edit]

Clothing that limits the wearer's movement is commonly used for this property, particularly among bondage enthusiasts and it has common appearance in bondage-related fetish fashion. Such restrictive fashion, among others, includes corsets, collars, and hobble skirts. As many restrictive items of clothing belong to women's fashion, male restrictive clothing fetishists can have problems in obtaining and using such items without being labeled as transvestites.

Corsets[edit]

The training corset and bondage corset has also become a staple in fetish wear, particularly among professional dominants. A submissive or slave may also be forced to wear a tightly laced corset as a form of punishment or simply restriction. And the masochistic practice known as tightlacing creates a particular type of pleasure for the wearer. In the 1980s, pop music performers such as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper reintroduced and popularized the corset as a daring outerwear garment. This influence continues to the present day in both fetish and mainstream fashion.[5][6]

Hobble skirts[edit]

Lingerie Model wearing full-fashioned stockings, with an open-bottom girdle, see-through panties, and high heels.

A hobble skirt is a long, tight skirt, extending below the knees and often ankle length, which is so tight that it is difficult to walk in. When used as fetish clothing, it is often made of latex or PVC and sometimes corseted, to increase the restriction.

Such skirts were briefly a mainstream fashion in the 1910s; however, they were soon abandoned as impractical. They were revived in the 1950s by John Willie and others as a bondage/fetish style.[7]

Stockings and socks[edit]

Stocking fetishists usually find sexual partners clothed in sheer nylon or silk stockings to be sexually stimulating, or find the act of a person donning or removing a pair of stockings arousing. Some men find it arousing to collect and wear stockings, sometimes hidden under a pair of trousers.[8]

Like feet and shoes, sock fetishists often require some specific attraction in the object which may include particular styles or knit patterns. People with a fetish for socks may have no special attraction to feet or shoes. Some speculate that the strong attraction some men exhibit to the smell of socks worn by women may be an example of the existence of human pheromones – the hypothesis being that the sweat from women's feet may contain chemical attractants that arouse a male subject and that when a male subject is exposed to the smell of women's feet or footwear at a young age that young man may carry a strong psycho-chemical imprint which motivates his enthusiasm for worn socks or shoes later in life.

Many male sock fetishists are also highly specific regarding the nature of the socks that stimulate them, and this may be coincidental with the type of socks worn by the originator of the female foot odors which first stimulated the psycho-chemical imprint. This belief is supported by observations that the nature of sock fetishism appears to differentiate according to age brackets and periods of clothing trends. Among men who exhibit an interest in women's socks who are currently in their 30s and 40s, and who were therefore in their early pubescent period during the late 1980s/early 1990s when slouch socks were a popular clothing trend, there is a tendency to exhibit a strong interest in very heavy slouchy socks, whereas younger men with a sock fetish tend to show greater interest in the short ankle-style socks that became popular in later years.

Sneakers[edit]

Sneaker fetishism is another specific form of shoe fetishism and like boot fetishism it can be accompanied by a fetish for the material from which it is made for example the rubber which the outsole and sidewall are made of can be a source of rubber fetishism.

Swimwear[edit]

Main article: spandex fetishism

Swimwear fetishism is a sexual fetish relating to swimwear. It can also involve printed or electronic material with swimwear being worn.

Jackets and coats[edit]

Jacket fetishism[9] is most usually associated with the fixation or attraction to padded nylon jackets – though can also be associated with leather jackets, particularly in association with Bondage (BDSM). In a survey, researchers at the University of Bologna found that 9% of people were heavy aroused by nylon puffer-jackets jackets, making it the third most popular garment fetish after shoes and costumes.[10] The most popular jackets amongst jacket fetishists are the Snorkel Parka, the MA-1 bomber jacket, down jackets with a nylon shell, and pea coats.

Jeans[edit]

The style and cut of jeans can also enhance their sexual appeal to fetishists of either gender. Jeans without pockets on the back are sometimes viewed as showing off one's buttocks and therefore more flattering. Stretch jeans are often viewed as attractive because they have the appearance of being skin tight, while not binding like regular denim jeans would. An example of fetish denim would be "Zip Around Jeans", so called because their zipper unzips starting in the front and continues all the way to the back. Other popular styles include the lace up jean and multi button style jeans.

Gender-related clothes[edit]

Fetishism may include various garments typically worn by, and associated with persons of a particular gender. For example, this could be a male attraction to women who are wearing skirts, dresses, or blouses. Certain gender-related elements of clothes could be the source of a fetish, include lace, ruffles, floral print, embroidery, back closures, or various colors (such as mauve and pink).

Uniforms[edit]

Main article: Uniform fetishism

Among the most common uniforms in uniform fetish are those of a schoolgirl, nurse, French maid, waitress, cheerleader and Playboy Bunny. Some people also regard nuns' habits or even aprons as uniforms. Sometimes, a uniform may be used appropriate to what is being done. For example, someone may wear a nurse's uniform to administer an enema, a police uniform to handcuff and cage someone, or two equals dress as inmates for cell mate on cell mate activities in a prison setting or as submissive to a third (guard) player. This may add a sense of authenticity to the game play.[11]

By fabric type[edit]

Fur[edit]

Venus with a Mirror, by Tiziano Vecellio (circa 1555) inspired Leopold von Sacher-Masoch´s novel Venus im Pelz (Venus in Furs)

Fur fetishism refers to the sexual fetishism that revolves around people wearing fur, or in certain cases, to the garments themselves.

These materials may be fetishised because the garment acts as a fetishistic surrogate or second skin for the wearer's own skin. The material may be regarded as providing a superstimulus that is more intense than the normal response associated with real skin. This is heightened by the fact that the fur was originally an animal's skin and hair.

The most famous, and one of the earliest depictions of the topic was the semi-autobiographical novel Venus in Furs (1870) by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. After the novel's success, Sacher-Masoch apparently decided to take on a fetish sadomasochism-lifestyle.[12] In 1884, he had sent a copy of the novel to Richard von Krafft-Ebing, who gave Sacher-Masoch immortality when, in 1891 he used this ancient Austrian nobility name as an eponym for what today is called bottoming.

Leather[edit]

Main article: Leather subculture

Leather fetishism is the name popularly used to describe a sexual attraction to people wearing leather and or to the garments themselves. The smell and the sound of leather is often an erotic stimulus for people with a leather fetish. Leather uniforms may also become a fetish. Leather is occasionally finished with a glossy surface and produced in bright colors, providing visual stimuli for some leather fetishists.

The feel of tight leather garments worn may be experienced as a form of sexual bondage. Some bondage equipment is made from leather straps. The term "leather culture" was applied in the 1960s in the USA gay sadomasochistic subculture as an umbrella term for alternate sexual practices. The pony fetish involves the use of equestrian like gear fitted to humans.

Latex/PVC[edit]

A woman wearing a black latex fetish catsuit and thigh-high boots.
Woman wearing blue PVC shorts and top

Latex fetish is the fetishistic attraction to latex clothing or garments and sometimes called rubber fetishism as latex is a type of rubber. Latex or rubber fetishists may refer to themselves as "Rubberists". Varieties of latex fetishism include body inflation and attraction to transparent rubber. Latex fetishism includes wearing clothing made from latex, observing it worn by others, and enjoyment of erotic fantasies featuring latex garments, catsuits, hoods, divers or industrial protective clothing. A common latex fetish icon is the dominatrix wearing a skin-tight glossy black latex or PVC catsuit.

PVC fetishism is often closely associated with latex fetishism even though the two materials are very different. PVC fetishism involves an erotic attraction to shiny plastic clothes made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurathane or similar man made materials. PVC may be mistaken for shiny patent leather. PVC fetishism also includes an erotic attraction to clothing such as clear plastic raincoats, slipcovers, custom clothing made out of clear PVC or inflatable items.

Nylon fetishism includes the wearing of shiny raincoats, jackets and trousers. In the case of heterosexuals, special preferences often include nylon clothing items designed for or belonging to the other sex.

Spandex[edit]

Main article: spandex fetishism
Spandex Zentai suit

Spandex fetishism is a fetishistic attraction to people wearing stretch fabrics or, in certain cases, to the garments themselves, such as leotards. One reason why spandex and other tight fabrics may be fetishised is that the garment forms a "second skin," acting as a fetishistic surrogate for the wearer's own skin. Wearers of skin-tight nylon and cotton spandex garments can appear naked or coated in a shiny or matte substance like paint. The tightness of the garments may also be seen as sexual bondage. Another reason is that nylon-spandex fabric (preferred by many spandex fetishists) is often produced with a very smooth and silk-like finish, which lends a tactile dimension to the fetish – as well as a visual one. There is a sexual attraction to leotards and other dance related clothing. This also goes for gymnasts too.

In comic books, superheroes, superheroines, and supervillains are generally depicted as wearing costumes made of spandex or a similar material. The superheroines always wear skintight, very flashy and bright-coloured costumes that usually cover only just enough of the body to be presentable. Fantasies involving superheroes or the wearing of superhero costumes are commonly associated with spandex fetishism.

Full-body suits called zentai entirely immerse the wearer in skin tight fabric. The suits are essentially catsuits with gloves, feet, and a hood. The wearer experiences total enclosure and those who enjoy erotic objectification might make use of the garment's anonymizing aspect. The word zentai means whole body in Japanese.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Masters WH, Johnson VE, Kolodny RC: Human sexuality, 5th ed. New York: Harper Collins, 1995.
  2. ^ de Silva WP (1999). "ABC of sexual health. Sexual variations" (PDF). BMJ 318 (7184): 654–6. doi:10.1136/bmj.318.7184.654. PMC 1115095. PMID 10066212. 
  3. ^ Scorolli C, Ghirlanda S, Enquist M, Zattoni S, Jannini EA (2007). "Relative prevalence of different fetishes". Int. J. Impot. Res. 19 (4): 432–7. doi:10.1038/sj.ijir.3901547. PMID 17304204. 
  4. ^ Dobson, Roger (2007). Heels are the world's No 1 fetish. The Independent Online Edition.
  5. ^ Steele, Valerie (February 8, 2003). The Corset: A Cultural History. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-09953-9. 
  6. ^ Kunzle, David (August 1, 2006). Fashion & Fetishism: Corsets, Tight-Lacing and Other Forms of Body-Sculpture. The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7509-3809-9. 
  7. ^ The history of the hobble skirt
  8. ^ Kunzle, David (2004). Fashion and Fetishism. Sutton. ISBN 0-7509-3808-0
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Dobson, Roger (2007). Heels are the world's No 1 fetish. The Independent Online Edition.
  11. ^ The Visual Dictionary of Sex, Dr. Eric J Trimmer (editor), ISBN 0-89479-011-0; A & W Publishers, 1977
  12. ^ Written in the flesh: a history of desire. Author: Edward Shorter. Editor: University of Toronto Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8020-3843-3, ISBN 978-0-8020-3843-2

Sources[edit]