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How to Stop a Fetish

Fetishes have become pretty mainstream, but there’s still a lot of misinformation out there. For instance, some people think that fetishes are a symptom of mental illness.

In fact, fetishes are often the result of classical conditioning. Something that doesn’t normally cause salivation got paired with it, and the fetish was born.

1. Talk to a therapist

If you’re looking for advice about fetishes, it’s important to note that qualified therapists can provide the best guidance. They can help you determine whether or not your fetish is a problem that needs to be dealt with, and if so, how. They’ll also be able to assess your sexual history and other areas of your life in order to get a full picture of the role that your fetish plays in your life.

While some people may view their fetishes as unhealthy, others can find pleasure and gratification from them in a healthy manner. It’s only when an individual’s unconventional turn-ons cause problems or distress that they enter the realm of fetishistic disorder and need to be addressed with therapy.

If you’re worried about whether or not your fetish is healthy, speak with an experienced therapist who specializes in paraphilias. They’ll be able to offer you coaching on mindfulness techniques and behavioral changes that can help you overcome your obsession. They’ll also be able to determine if there are any co-occurring psychological conditions that might need to be considered in your treatment plan. They’ll help you navigate the confusion and shame that often comes with having a fetish, while also helping you find a way to work it into your relationship in a safe and responsible way.

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2. Unlink your fetish object from sexual arousal

Fetishes describe sexual desire and gratification linked to inanimate objects or body parts not traditionally viewed as sexual. They form from classical conditioning and usually develop in childhood or adolescence when people begin exploring sexual arousal and sex.

Most fetishes revolve around an object or specific body part that’s regarded as taboo and are considered to be outside the “normal” range of human sexual behavior, according to Psych Today. They’re considered to be a type of paraphilia, which is defined as an obsession with non-sexual behaviors.

Some fetishes can have a very strong association with a particular material, like leather or latex. Others are more emotionally based and are associated with emotions such as powerlessness, inadequacy, fear of rejection, helplessness or loneliness. For instance, some people have fetishes for their mother’s feet, which is often tied to early childhood trauma.

In general, fetishes don’t cause individuals to hurt themselves or anyone else in search of pleasure. It’s only when a person’s unconventional turn-ons start to create significant distress or interfere with their social or professional life that they’re considered to have fetishistic disorder, a mental health condition in which fetishes are a core part of a distorted personality. If they do have fetishistic disorder, they may need treatment to help them cope with the trauma and develop healthy sexual and interpersonal skills.

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3. Get realistic about your fetish’s time, energy and relational costs

Fetishes are often thought of as non-traditional sexual interests, but they can also be an exciting and highly gratifying part of your love life. Just make sure that you and your partner both agree on the limits of your fetish before it starts to hurt your relationship or become dangerous.

It is important to understand that a fetish is different from a kink and that a fetish is about deriving sexual gratification from a particular object or body part while a kink is more generalized and encompasses non-traditional sexual activities. In addition, any fetish that causes distress or interferes with your life is considered to be a problem and you should seek help from a licensed therapist.

A fetish can be as specific as your favorite color, food or movie and can include a variety of things that are not genital related such as shoes (shoe fetishism), ears (ear fetish) or navels. In addition, a fetish can be inanimate such as rubber, leather, silk or even a dog’s toy. Finally, a fetish can be an action or something you think about such as sexually aroused by watching a horror movie or fantasizing about a traumatic childhood memory.

If you find that your fetish is harmful, you can start to unlink it from sexual arousal by practicing classical conditioning. Over time, thinking about or seeing your fetish object will no longer produce a desired biological response. You can then start to explore normal sexual stimuli that will arouse you in the same way.

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4. Get rid of your fetish

Now that fetishes have become more mainstream, the question is whether it’s possible to get rid of them. Unfortunately, the answer to that is no, at least not completely. In most cases, a fetish is an integral part of one’s sexual orientation and to get rid of it, you would also need to change your orientation, which isn’t easy. If you are struggling with a fetish that is interfering with your life or the lives of those around you, seeking therapy is a good idea.

A therapist will be able to help you understand the nature of your fetish and teach you new ways to deal with it. This could include using cognitive-behavioral techniques or mindfulness training. A therapist might also use exposure therapy to help you experience the feelings associated with your fetish in a safe environment without causing harm to yourself or others.

Fetishes can be an important part of a healthy relationship, provided that they are mutually satisfying and everyone involved is a consenting adult. They can even be a great way to explore different sex positions and fantasies. However, if you find yourself becoming obsessed with fetishes that are affecting your relationships or causing you to experience distress, seek the help of a professional.

If you’re interested in learning more about fetishes and how they can enhance your love life, talk to a therapist on BetterHelp. They’ll match you with a sex therapist online or near you, who will create a safe, non-judgmental space for you to discuss your concerns and get advice on how best to tackle them.