“I have a friend whose thing is sexy nuns. Another friend is into forced smoking during sex and blowjobs. I’ve met several folks who can’t orgasm without some form of breath restriction. It’s embarrassing for all of them to bring up their kinks when they date.”—Mandy Stadtmiller, August 26, 2016, “How to Tell Your Partner About Your Fetish, Without Making It Weird.” The Cut.
“If you have a fetish or kink you’re really into, having a conversation about it with a partner can feel like the scariest thing in the world. Unfortunately, many common fetishes and kinks are still heavily stigmatized as there’s a level of fear and uncertainty in the unknown. That leaves even the most confident person to worry about being judged, especially with this being such an intimate thing to reveal about yourself.”—Priya-Alika Elias, August 15, 2019, “How to Explain your fetish to your partner.” Ask Men.
“In my practice, I've yet to encounter a partner who responded poorly to the other partner introducing a kink into their sex lives, and these aren't your garden-variety fetishes,” [Dr. Jason Winters, founder and director of the West Coast Centre for Sex Therapy] says. “People generally are quite accepting, if you give them the chance. It might take a few conversations, and a little time for them to become comfortable, but the majority of people will likely come around and many will end up finding the kinky experiences enjoyable.”—Alex Manley, December 5, 2019, “A Guide to the Top 10 Most Popular Fetishes and Kinks Around.” Ask Men.
My fetish is subscribing to a meal kit plan that enables me to introduce more variety into my diet.
My fetish is having years-old packages of Jell-o in my kitchen cupboard.
My fetish is packing the years-old Jell-o when I move.
My fetish is getting on the road early to avoid traffic.
My fetish is staring blankly from the corner of a party while wondering why I’m there.
My fetish is canceling plans.
My fetish is leaving lights on when I go out.
My fetish is using irregular verbs regularly.
My fetish is not catching a venereal disease that’ll last longer than our relationship.
MY FETISH IS EMAILING IN ALL CAPS.
My fetish is sending short stories to a literary magazine I don’t read.
My fetish is napping.
My fetish is buying a cold-pressed juice that promises to detoxify my endocrine system but not drinking it.
My fetish is Googling people I no longer love.
My fetish is singing faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
My fetish is not talking as soon as we wake up.
My fetish is wondering why I’m single again.
My fetish is wondering if I should’ve married my ex.
My fetish is deciding it’s for the best.
My fetish is checking Zillow to search for houses just slightly above my price range, though I’ve only just moved.
My fetish is abandoning wind to caution.
My fetish is blocking then unblocking then blocking then unblocking the man I don’t love, love, don’t love, love…
My fetish is Roman numerals, followed by letters, then Arabic numbers, when going into greater detail about my fetishes.
My fetish is deleting my tweets.
My fetish is abdicating the throne in order to focus fulltime on my avant-garde short stories.
My fetish is not writing my avant-garde short stories in order to focus fulltime on napping.
My fetish is dreaming about napping while I nap.
My fetish is training an artificially intelligent squirrel, called “Squirrel Butler,” to do my bidding, which is to unpack my meal kit plan when I’m not home so the meat doesn’t spoil.
My fetish is non-invasive plastic surgery that makes me look more like me than I ever have.
My fetish is re-tweeting cheerful greetings from Anthony Hopkins’ cat Niblo on Twitter.
My fetish is getting drunk in the shower.
My fetish is meeting someone who is also clean and drunk.
My fetish is asking him why Madonna’s popularity outlasted the 1980s but not Cyndi Lauper’s?
My fetish is asking why curiosity killed the cat and why this story suggests the cat had it coming?
My fetish is dead cats.
My fetish is Schrodinger’s uncertainty principle.
My fetish is “hanging chads.”
My fetish is almost signing up for continuing ed. classes in pottery but then deciding to think about it some more.
My fetish is waking up early then going back to sleep until noon.
My fetish is watching you yell at the TV.
My fetish is not knowing who is playing in the Super Bowl even though you’ve just told me.
My fetish is not watching awards show.
My fetish is a steady stream of book deliveries from Amazon, though I spend most of my time watching TV and indulging my various fetishes.
My fetish is waking up in the middle of the night to delete my spam.
My fetish is ghosting the guy I’m seeing, then thinking about him every day for the next two months.
My fetish is saying, “We need to talk.”
My fetish is telling my friends I hate you then meeting up with you in secret later that same night and telling you I hate you right before we have sex.
My fetish is reading self-help books geared toward someone else’s problems.
My fetish is saying “no problem” when I have a problem and “no worries” when I want you to worry.
My fetish is apologizing when you have done something wrong.
My fetish is waiting for you to text, then not texting back and wondering if you notice.
My fetish is reading books about the great arctic explorers who died trying.
My fetish is not responding to texts that come three weeks later and say, “I’m only just seeing this.”
My fetish is being young again not because I mind wrinkles but because I mind you’re being one of increasingly fewer options.
My fetish is telling you to go to hell.
My fetish is refusing your kiss.
My fetish is watching The Bachelor on Monday.
My fetish is doing the Thriller Dance alone in my apartment.
My fetish is considering a career change when I see an ad for plumbing school in the subway or have my blood drawn by a phlebotomist.
My fetish is whispering the word “phlebotomy” when I walk down the street.
My fetish is whispering, “I pity the fool” slowly and softly when I’m alone in my apartment and finally understanding Mr. T’s wisdom and empathy.
My fetish is pretending I didn’t see you first at a mutual friend’s party and acting surprised when you say hi.
My fetish is asking if your wife will be joining us when you ask me to dinner.
My fetish is never telling you what I want and hoping you’ll give it to me anyway.
My fetish is never having had my heart broken.
My fetish is never having trusted you.
My fetish is for a God I don’t believe in to reveal himself only to tell you, in case there’s any doubt, that you treated me badly.
My fetish is cruelty, mine this time, not yours.
My fetish is hate. My fetish is sadness. My fetish is the positive affirmations I tape to the bathroom mirror in order to get over you. My fetish is un-taping them before guests arrive and I smile and say, “Thank you for coming.”
My fetish is falling in love and staying there, with a broken ankle.
—Follow Iris Smyles on Twitter: @irissmyles