From assless chaps to strap ons, everyone has their own turn-ons. What they may not realize is that there are entire communities that share the same interests. Gianluca Inglesi explores the magical world of fetishes
Mannequins dressed scantily in leather, neoprene and chains, gripping whips and paddles posed in dominant and submissive positions can be seen midday at various locations on Yonge Street or Church Street.
Valentine’s Day has its own sort of holiday window, one more kinky and lustful than its innocent and cheery yuletide counterpart. And for many people on Feb. 14, a box of chocolates or a dozen roses doesn’t compare to a mouth gag or leather jock strap.
Sexual fetishism (more commonly known as a fetish) is the sexual arousal someone gets from either a certain object, body part or behavioural situation.
The list of reported fetishes is longer than any alphabet, ranging from tame things like fluffy handcuffs or blindfolds, to full-fledged sex swings and animal costumes.
Some people are attracted to a specific body part, which isn’t regularly seen as sexual, such as feet or armpits.
Others get off from pain or danger, such as autoerotic asphyxiation or BDSM (bondage, dominance and sado-masochism), which involves consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and dominant and submissive role-play.
The Eyeopener’s intern army took to the streets to ask anonymous Ryerson students what their deepest and darkest turn-ons are.
Many claimed that the thought of having sex with a teacher, librarian or person of authority in uniform topped their curiosities. Others found role-play sexy but preferred anonymous sex or fantasy rape, often in public places. Whips, chains, handcuffs, dildos, and fisting were all BDSM techniques that Ryerson students are in to and a surprising amount of students like to be peed on and like cum on their chest, face or hair.
With a vast array of fetishes, the origins of these urges are wide ranging. Dr. Margaret Hicks, an individual, couple and sex therapy specialist, describes the theory of fetishes taking root in childhood.
“Before adolescence and sexual activity, fetishes can develop through anxiety, abuse or an early experience of a sexual nature. The object is then associated with a comfortable feeling which releases anxiety or stress.”
Fetishes can change and evolve over time, often with more exposure to the technique, situation or object, and the need for greater satisfaction.
Often fetishes are seen as abnormal, and you would probably garner stares if you were talking openly about them in a family restaurant.
But you should not fear them or feel the need to hide them, says George Giaouris, owner of Northbound Leather (586 Yonge St.), a store specializing in leather, costumes and toys.
“When you wear your heart on your sleeve as to what gets you going then that openness leads to a stronger bond between you and your partner,” he explains.
Hicks also recommends coming to terms with your urges because it builds confidence in your sexuality. In her experience, some people disclose their fetishes in relationships over time, some only seek those with similar interests and some m a y not disc l o s e t h e i r urges at all.
It’s circumstantial and depends on whether your relationship is ready for that step.
Pleasure seeking is human and everyone loves an adventure, but can you delve too far into the world of fetishes and kink?
Again, it depends on the person, says Hicks. Whether you choose to indulge in a fetish is a personal choice you have to make.
Accepting your urges is a part of accepting yourself, but if it becomes debilitating or destructive to your life, it may need to be toned down.
If you’re looking for a sexier and darker Valentine’s then you’ve had in the past, Toronto has several places where you can find the means to fill any fetish with experienced staff who are able to guide you on your way from beginner dominatrix to a seasoned sexpert.
Priape (501 Church St.) contains a wide assortment of products that would make anyone scream (either in fear or pleasure) and the staff says don’t be shy because they’ve seen it all and nothing is shocking anymore.
And if you want to personally experiment, the community is very welcoming.
Northbound Leather is hosting their 22nd annual Fetish Night on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Revival, 783 College St.
In the earlier years of fetish nights they were one of the only ways to meet people who shared the same sexual interets.
You would simply wear what you were into, whether it be leather, rubber or costumes and that’s how you would recognize others with your interest.
Now, there are so many different avenues to explore your sexuality. Between the internet, and the all night fetish parties, you’re bound to find someone who shares your kink.