Thursday, May 29, 2014

From Kink to Fetish to the DSM

What is the difference between a kink and a fetish? And are either of them anything to worry about?

I often see postings on Internet sites about people who are "experimenting" with a balloon fetish, or just "getting into it." And I think they're using the term in too broad a sense. Now, I'm not going to get into a fight over semantics, but I think the difference is worth noting. If you are experimenting with a sexual variation, like sexual activity with balloons, for example, I don't think you are participating in a fetish; I think you are trying out a kink.

It's something you are deciding to do, something you want to try out. It's not something that you feel compelled by some inner feeling to do, and most likely if you decided to give it up tomorrow, you could do so without any difficulty.

This applies to any kinky sex you might decided to experiment with, not just balloons, but since this is a blog about balloons and sex, we'll stick to that topic.

And as kinks go, I think balloon play is probably a pretty good one. It's harmless, with a low risk of injury. Balloons are fun, sensual, and yet in some ways kind of scary, though in a superficial sense. That is, the balloons won't really hurt you, but popping them might give some enough adrenaline rush to provide some extra stimulation.

I wouldn't know. I can't see balloons the way others do without it being influenced by my very real fetish, something I did not choose, feelings that just happened to me along the way, starting very early in my life. They are ingrained in me, and I can't just decide that I don't want to be turned on by them (or afraid of them or emotionally attached to them) and change my feelings overnight.

If I did want to make such a change (and I don't), it would be a long battle, and I truthfully believe that some vestige of those feelings would just never go away. And that, in my opinion, is the difference between a fetish and a kink.

That and the fact that I am convinced that not all fetishes are sexual, whereas all kinks are, by their nature. There's nothing wrong with that; I have nothing against kinky sex or experimentation as long as no one gets hurt, but I do care about the difference, personally.

Now, what about the second question: is kinky sex or fetishism anything to worry about?

I once had a commenter on Twitter tell me I need to see a psychiatrist. I was tempted to reply: "I don't think you'd agree with what the psychiatrist had to say." (I resisted the temptation.) Because according to the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), which is what the psychiatric profession uses as a guide, fetishism in itself is not any kind of disorder.

There is something called fetishistic disorder, but that only comes into play if the fetish interferes with the subject's daily life. I wouldn't qualify. It's true, I do sometimes get very anxious when I'm around balloons in public, but that has little to do with my fetish and everything to do with my phobia.

So, whether you're doing balloons as a lark, or you're in it for the long haul through no choice of your own, there's nothing to be concerned about.

As long as nobody gets hurt.

NOTE: If you arrived here from Wikipedia, you should know that citing my blog as a source for what DSM has to say is a bit misleading to say the least. To see my opinion about that, click here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fetishist From Birth?

After my last entry, someone on Facebook was discussing the post, and talked about being "born with the fetish." And I asked, as an aside, "Do you think we're born with the fetish?" Because I don't actually think that's true. I think that, even for true fetishists (a subject my predecessor touched on a couple of years ago), there is an event, before our earliest memories, that triggered some reaction to balloons that became an attachment to balloons which became, for most of us, a sexual connection to balloons, of some stripe.

But I could be completely wrong.

Anyone who claims to know how fetishes occur is blowing smoke into your balloon. Because, for us who truly have the fetish, our reaction to balloons was never something we chose. It was a reaction to something that happened to us; exactly what we have no way of knowing because most likely it happened in that time before we were four while we were forming memories that, for whatever reason, don't stay with us.

But born with it? Well, of course, there's no gene or birth trauma that makes us have a particular fetish. We're not born to love balloons, specifically. But maybe, just maybe, we're born to have this kind of attachment. After all, there are a lot of fetishists in the world, if you count all the fetishes that there are. Maybe there is a rather large subset of the populace is predisposed to have an emotional and/or sexual attachment to some object or another, with the particulars of which object falling to the whims of circumstance.

I don't know. And I don't think anyone else does either. My inclination is that fetishism is more likely an awakening of propensities that almost all of us share, but some incident or series of incidents turns the attachment process on its head and sends us in an unusual direction (and, as I said, not all that unusual for fetishism as a whole).

Not necessarily a bad direction, either. Sometimes my life would be simpler if I didn't have a fetish for balloons. But for the most part the balloons not only bring me sexual excitement, but comfort and happiness as well. It would only be a problem if my fetish interfered with living a full and satisfying life. And frankly, if that was the case, it probably wouldn't be just the fetish that was the issue.

So, while I cannot say with any confidence why I feel as I do about balloons, I'm quite happy with the way it turned out.