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Sexual Fetishes - Research Paper Example

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Introduction Fetishism is the use of non-living objects as a means for sexual gratification, and it is defined by the DSM as using these objects as the exclusive means for sexual gratification (DSM-III 302.81). These objects are not necessarily objects that are used for cross-dressing or objects that are designed to be used for sexual stimulation, such as vibrators (DSM-III 302.81)…
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Sexual Fetishes
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Download file to see previous pages They are difficult to treat, partially because the individual may not want to give up the fetish, partially because the fetish is becoming more socially acceptable and they do not really harm anybody, and partially because there has not been an adequate treatment created (Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders). However, sexual fetishism is only one type of fetish – the term fetishism can extend to any kind of object that is used for worship, such as religious objects or commodities (Dant, 1996, p. 5). According to Kafka (2009) the DSM-III does not account for individuals who have a fetish with certain body parts that are living, such as feet or hands. The hair and nails are considered to be non-living, which is why they were accorded a part of the DSM diagnosis for sexual fetishes and things like a fetish for hands and feet were not (Kafka, 2009). They were, however, later included in the DSM-III-R as being considered to be part of partialism, which was considered to be Paraphilia Not Otherwise Specified (Kafka, 2009). The DSM-III-R expanded the definition of sexual fetishism from the DSM-III, stating that sexual fetishism is defined as “a) over a period of at least six months, recurrent sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies involving the use of nonliving objects by themselves; b) the person has acted on these urges, or is markedly distressed by them; and c) the fetishes are not only articles of clothing used in cross-dressing, or devices designed for the purpose of tactile genital stimulation” (DSM-III-R 302.81). However, the DSM-III-R no longer mentioned body parts or products, such as hair and nails, but, rather, common objects such as stockings, bras, women’s underpants, boots, shoes and other wearing apparel. These definitions, including classifying being sexually aroused by body parts such as feet and hands as partialism, or paraphilia not otherwise specified, have persisted in the DSM-IV and the DSM-IV TR (Kafka, 2009). Kafka (2009) discussed whether there should be a separate distinction between partialism and fetishism. Kafka concluded that the definition of fetishism be expanded to include partialism under the rubric of fetishism, as opposed to leaving the definition of partialism as being considered a paraphilia not otherwise specified (Kafka, 2009). One of the reasons why there is a separate category is that there is a necessity, for one to be diagnosed with any type of fetishism, that the individual cannot be sexually aroused unless he or she is in the presence of the particular inanimate object, or that this inanimate object is the primary way that the individual is sexually aroused. If the definition were expanded to include body parts, such as hands and feet, then fetishism loses its very definition, as the majority of people have hands and feet, so it goes without saying that hands and feet will be present in the vast majority of sexual situations(Kafka, 2009). Therefore, fetishism becomes blurred if hands and feet are included in the definition – if a person has a “fetish” with body parts that are present in most people, then that object will almost always be present, so there is no way of telling if the individual would be sexually aroused if the object such as the hands or feet are not present. On the other hand, when speaking of a true fetish, such as ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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