It seems that a lot of behaviors that used to be considered pathological, due to social tolerance or simply public statements and manifestations, are starting to be considered "normal" in time, which can be quite a relief for the patients too ashamed or afraid of social stigma to seek help. One just couldn't talk about role playing or dildos 40 or 50 years ago because one would have been immediately labeled as a sex freak. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has suffered a lot of changes over the years, diagnoses have been changed or even completely removed, which lead me to the conclusion that Fetishism might sometimes be a subjective diagnosis.
Never mind the panties, the garters, the stockings, the toes fetish or the one about stiletto heels…what about other non-living objects that you can find lately in the night-stand drawer of many couples: vibrators, dildos, balls, vibrating eggs, artificial vaginas, sex dolls, all kinds of body oils, erection rings and handcuffs. Although there are some fetishes that are quite obvious and are considered to be the most bizarre, like amputation, or hierophilia (sexual attraction to sacred, religious objects), emetophilia (sexual interest centered on vomiting), klismaphilia (sexual interest centered on enemas), for the behavior to be considered pathology we have Criterion B that states that the sexual urges or behavior must cause clinically significant distress OR impairment on important areas of functioning. Now, let us take into consideration people that don’t have a sexual partner, that use sex toys, or even a lonely teenager, very curious and eager to have new sexual experiences, that is just exploring his or her “territory” using a dildo or an artificial vagina, that might feel significantly distressing…always hiding from the parents because of shame or guilt. Taking into account the “OR” from Criterion B, this “distress”, which is quite difficult to quantify, is enough for the diagnosis.
Take for instance the example of a person with urophilia (sexual excitement associated with urine) meets a person that will voluntarily take part at his/her sexual games, will accept them or even have the same fetish…the distress disappears, does this mean the diagnosis disappears too?
At this moment, sex toys, non-living plastic objects that may come with a vibrating mechanism, are available everywhere and are even recommended to couples that want to spice up their sex life. This may just be another diagnosis that has indefinite limits because of the way society perceives and accepts the sexual object.

Author's Bio: 

Clinical Psychologist, Counselor and Life Coach, I provide face to face as well as online services, free e-mail advice, the support and guidance you need, both in English an Romanian.

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