FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “How do I know (if) I have a fetish?”
When people ask this sort of “how do I know if…” question, it usually means one of two things:
- you want the thing to be true, e.g. you want to have a fetish, or
- you don’t want the thing to be true, that is, you don't want to have a fetish.
These require different approaches.
For the first item, maybe you are wondering if you are kinky enough to join an online discussion group or go to a fetish party. My advice in this situation is to not overthink it. If you want to join a group, just join the group; if a mod or facilitator asks you, as part of the screening process, what your fetish or area of interest is, you can say, “I’m not sure if I have a fetish, but I’m definitely curious.” It is in those groups' best interest to be reasonably welcoming and supportive of people who stop by to check them out. If you don’t barge in there asking a bunch of 101 questions that you could just as easily google the answers to, no one is going to care that you are a newbie or just unsure.
If you want to go to a fetish event, but you’re not sure you belong there, that’s okay: imposter syndrome is a real thing in lots of different contexts, and the majority of people at any given sex/kink gathering either are wondering or have wondered if they were cool enough or kinky enough to be there. It will help if you read the dress code and take it seriously; if nothing in it particularly jumps out at you as something you’d like to try, then just pick the option that is cheapest/least effort for your existing supply of dressing-up clothes.
You do not have to have that fetish to wear the outfit; it’s just clothing. Also, at the very least you’re showing up and giving some good eye candy to someone who does have that fetish, so well done and you get a participation award (no sarcasm, so many people don’t make the effort).
I guess what I’m saying is, don’t feel like you have to label yourself as having a specific fetish if you’re just curious or you don’t have one, but you’re getting pressured by friends (in kinkster circles?) to have one.
Second instance—if you don’t want to have a fetish, but you think you might have one—I have to ask: what are you worried about? Are people laughing at you for always needing “X” item or activity as part of your sex life? Fuck ‘em (or rather, don’t). Are you having a harder time finding partners when you mention your fetish, as opposed to when you keep it under wraps at the start? Do you hate the way people talk about, say, foot fetishists? Yeah, those are all real concerns and challenges, if you have a sex/kink thing that is “unusual” to the outside world or misunderstood.
I would say this: if the thing you think is your fetish isn’t negatively affecting your work life or other elements of basic living, you should probably just accept it. Join those discussion groups that I mention up top and talk to other people with that fetish; this way you can find out their coping mechanisms and see how they deal with the challenges.
No point in reinventing that big ol’ stress wheel! Someone else has been through the stuff that you’re worried about, and that experience will be able to help you out. You are fine and good, just the way you are.
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