It seems that some “members” of the “fetish community” (I’m assuming there is such a thing) have taken a bit of an exception to my work in treating sexual fetishes and unwanted sexual attraction.
Here’s one comment, ‘Fetish does not need to be “treated”. It is healthy and wonderful. I am completely against what you are doing.’
See my much longer article on Fetishes: “Sexual fetishes and what I learned about them as a treating psychotherapist“
And another, ‘Instead of helping the world “embrace diversity”, you choose to treat individuality and personal preference as a disease.’
Fair enough, and I understand where they are coming from. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that homosexuality was illegal and then a disease to be treated. Clinically and socially any form of fetish was viewed as a weird kink demarcating the fetishist as some kind of deviant and social outcast.
However, the fetishists that have written to me seem to have a remarkable level of naivety. Whilst there are individuals who are lucky enough to be able to embrace their fetish and their diversity, there are equal numbers who are not so lucky.
There are two main reasons for this – 1. the social and cultural background of the person does not permit such deviance and to embrace such risks serious social ostracisation, family conflict, employment difficulties, relationship difficulties and so on. and 2. the nature of the fetish itself brings great distress, and/or is illegal, involves non-consenting partners/animals/property (technically making it a “paraphilia”) and present significant logistical and psychological impracticalities.
The response to this from a couple of fetishists from “the community” takes the form of, “well fuck it, they should be empowered to be free and do what they want and that it is a therapist’s job to enable them to be able to do that.”
Again, a remarkably naive viewpoint and an interesting case of measuring how other people should live by comparing to one’s own standards. It also removes choice from the client who does not want their fetish and wants to retain all their normal family ties and relationships.
So my response to the fetish community is this: I agree that choice is important, but you do not get to choose that everyone embraces their fetish and rejects convention. It is important to remember that some people don’t want this and instead want the ability to choose to reject their fetish and embrace convention despite what you might believe to the contrary.