By Aramock Nanuck

     October 1986

There are differences between fetishes and role-playing (or as more ardent enthusiast refers to it as scening).  A fetish based on a psychology definition is something that itself may not be sexual but that just the thought of it elicits a physio-sexual reaction.  Effectively fetish occurs outside of the physical individual and is a reaction to a sensory stimulus.  Fetishes are those items that trigger a solid psychological, physiological, or sexual response. They form the basis for most human attractions (the magnets that pull individuals to another. There are as many fetishes as people are practicing them. A fetish becomes the converting of fantasy into reality or adornment to facilitate the illusion. However, fantasies break down among the following common elements.


Common Groupings

So taking attraction and making something more BDSM related to it would be to use fetishisms in a scene.  Role-playing and scene are activities that you take part in that may or not involve one or more of your fetishes. Therefore, the setting posed is


The clothing and the environment of a setting. ​

  • The dominant wearing a tailored suit,

  • The submissive wearing a very plain shift, stainless steel collar with a stainless steel leash attached and other accessories denoting slave status.

  • A public place,


The events and situations where one participates or seen, heard and even imagined.

  • Kneeling,

  • Head Down,

  • Arms outstretched,

  • Palms Up with a crop or leash in their hands,

Head Space

The thoughts, emotions, and intellectual stimulants

  • A crowd of onlookers gathers,

  • A policeman in the group,

  • Captivating an audience presenting them a scene.


The appearance or demeanour which individuals assume.

  • The dominant appearing mildly dis-interested, not focusing on the submissive but something far off in the distance,

  • The submissive with well-styled hair, up off the neck revealing the collar

  • The submissive wears a subtle but powerful, floral perfume which waifs through the air and tickles the nose of the nearby audience.


Fetish Interactions

A situation can present fetishes that occur separately or simultaneously. The combination of these acts forms a scene that exudes power and sensuality. This activity would undoubtedly attract interest and inspire or "turn on" some of the audience. There would be picture takers. Equally, there would be those offended by the whole scene and may comment or act out their dissatisfaction.

Fetishes are NOT constrained to those in the BDSM lifestyle, effective any person will have a fetish trigger.  Understanding that a fetishist is not always a practitioner of D/s alleviates a lot of the stress and concerns. Many of these people are not scening or engaging in informal activities but exercising an approach to human activities that satisfy their desires and needs. Some individuals are merely "testing the water," and determining something they read or saw somewhere that piqued a curiosity is worth considering as an ongoing activity.


However, this is not fiscally good for the psychological or psychiatric professions, making a healthy living out of diagnosis these "afflictions" and then going about mistreating them as symptoms of something far darker. Some are naturally sexual; to others, the fetish is simply a biochemical response to an external stimulus.


Therefore in the lifestyle, we all are understanding and supportive ("Your Kink is Not My Kink, but is Okay"), which is a far more balance you may be making a long-time solid friend.

The items listed below are more of a high-level grouping of like objects rather than a specific checklist. Hence, there may be a few who do not make a list; if you want them added, write us, and we will include them in future versions. Many of you will be aware of the items, so there is no need to review them; a few of you may disagree with the interpretation added here, again if you disagree, then drop us a line and include a fair-minded comparison. For others, you may not know and be curious about what a specific item means or its application in the lifestyle; that is why we have included our assessment of each item.

There will be items that do not affect select individuals; likely, broad sets will not apply to everyone.  If you are interested in any of the items below, you will indeed have your interpretations.  The following list is to provide you with a general of the more common fetishes.  More in-depth explanations are available on numerous sources on the web, look and enjoy yourself. But here is the condensed assessment of each.

Common Fetishes

A fetish form where the participatory stimulation occurs from hearing a particular gender using a voice and trembles combination that is specific to a country or social group or subset thereof, i.e.:

  • A Scottish Brogue

  • A Southern Drawl,

  • Barbarian Slang, etc.


If you need details, it is time to come down off the mountain and meet some people other than your relatives.


Age Difference

A participatory fetish where a significant age difference becomes the basis for attraction. Alternative individuals pose a traditional "Parent-Child," "Teacher-Student," or any authority figure and an innocent role. The broader the age difference is, the more stylistic the activity becomes.



A participatory fetish where one participant's attraction is to another individual's bottom.  It could be the shape or size or even a trigger for fantasies of seeing the "asset" or the idealized image from the observer's perspective.



A head-space fetish attraction to strangers or the desire to possess someone whose identity is not known. The main feature of this fetish is the driver for Masquerade parties, masks, and Cos-Play. The form remains a constant both within the "vanilla" community and typically integrated into the lifestyle scenes.



An action fetish involving full or partial suffocation. Many things can create this effect, hands, bags, cling-film, water, belts, ropes, etc. Each type of approach must suit the desired situation, opportunity and result. The extent of this activity can become severe where simulating imagery such as hanging, crucifixions, and garroting, etc. 


Effectively this is the thrill of being dominated by a near life-threatening activity. Sexually it has been shown that oxygen deprivation can heighten the intensity of orgasms. In extreme cases, the goal is to render or be rendered unconscious; however, a strong warning is that such activities mishandled are potentially life-threatening. The adverse side effects can range from cardiac arrest to permanent brain damage.


Autoerotic asphyxiation is the riskiest in this form. Facesitting is the least effective "don't worry if I can breathe; I want to smell and taste you."



A head-space fetish based on the visual stimulation, whether it is a ripped six-pack, a pregnant woman's belly, and a man's paunch, hang over the belt, or belly button (Innies or outies).


Bikers and Bad-Boys

This head-space fetish attracts all manner of people and genders or preferences related to the image of a rough and somewhat dangerous individual who lives life on the edge and is a risk-taker. Effectively it eludes to an e-ticket ride into the unknown.



This adornment fetish bases on sensor deprivation, where the denial of one sense forces the other senses to compensate. This fetish is frequently combined with the anonymity fetish to increase the intensity of the scene. It is used in a sharing environment to remove the ability of the blindfolded person to make choices based on some visual trigger.

Body Adornment

A participatory fetish where body art comes in many forms provides visual, tactile or olfactory stimulation.

  • Piercings, to tattoos, {temporary or permanent}

  • The act of painting an individual as a part of a scene

  • The use of food items to adorn the body (i.e.

    • honey dripping down the breasts of a supplicant,

    • fruit /cream displayed on genitalia,

    • or the person as a platter for a munch event adorned with food to be sampled by the guests


These combine to form a visual trigger and a social trigger of "being naughty," which can be quite arousing.


Body Hair

An adornment fetish where arousal may occur from seeing or touching the hair. The enticement could be the shimmer, the colour, the style or the lack thereof.  Often be hair on the head, but equally, things like a "hairy chest" or shave "pubic area" can all be stimuli from one extreme to another.


Body Odor (Funk)

A head-space fetish where the smells of the odours emanating from the body can trigger a pheromone response. Sometimes it is the musky smell of genitalia or the scents arising from intense labour or sexual acts which trigger the reaction. Sometimes, the scent with the visible signs of the source, glistening sweat on the body, the shimmer of a body freshly washed with scented soap.


Body Parts

This participatory fetish is about the physical looks of an individual. The focus is on the shape, length, and definition of a body part. Almost always is in a visible form, classic examples are:

  • Long shapely legs perched in high heels and shorts or mini skirt that stresses the form and  definition of the legs

  • Big and long feet that (usually women) allude to the comparison of other parts of the  (male) anatomy (like the penis).

  • The broad hands with large palms indicate a strong and powerful impact or grip.


Body Worship

This action fetish typically is confined to lifestyle practices where the supplicant provides services to a dominant focused on the body. It could be a simple as the worshiper bathing, massaging or stroking the recipient's body. Frequently it is without sexual context but is performed in a near-reverent state of awe, appreciation, adoration, etc. (i.e., Preparing a Warrior King for battle).  A very personal act where individuals receive satisfaction from either giving or receiving.



This participatory activity fetishes to watch and participate in, forming another senor deprivation and control fetish.  Restraints can vary from handcuffs,  tight rope bondage to the art forms of Japanese Shibaru of many varieties. Individuals can be bound upright, prone, bound to themselves, furniture, or specially designed restraining apparatus. 


The control aspect comes from denying the bound individual the ability to move. Bondage exercises form the basis of the main trust-building activities within the lifestyle.


The sensory deprivation part comes in from tight bondage or using suspension rigs for protracted periods. The body becomes numb, and parts of it lose sensation; the release of the ropes causes a rush of blood to the extremities and excites the nerves. The result is anywhere from tingling to a burning sensation.


Cat/Dog Training

An action fetish where training focuses on having people emulate pets. Contrary to general opinion, pet training tends to be an asexual act (most people do not consider sex with animals). Effectively it is another denial fetish that focuses on discipline, structure, and control. It frequently is a prelude to sexual acts, but it frequently is not. The "pet" loses the sensation of humanity, the ability to walk upright, eat or act like humans and equally removes complex communications from the scenarios. "Puppies and Kitties NEVER talk," they may bark, whine, howl or meow but never verbalize ideas with words. Pet training forces some of the most creative forms of communication to establish during the scene. From a dominant side, it is the epitome of the dehumanization of an individual.



This head-space fetish is commonly referred to in the lifestyle as TPE (Total Power Exchange), a form of ultimate surrender to another person. The power exchange can be in the context of a Master-slave relationship or be a part of a more custodial or conservatorship.  An act where the individual wishes or can no longer make any significant decisions for themselves. Capitulation even extends to what is worn, eaten, activities, and interactions with others In extreme cases.


Some individuals seek surrender as a way of experiencing something from the past; in other cases, it is because their lives and decisions have had disastrous effects in the past. It is a trust exercise as well as a surrender exercise in both of these cases.  The extreme to this is the complete surrender of mind, body, and soul are far less a desire than a need.


Clamps & Clips 

An adornment fetish is a combination of wearing pain-yielding devices with the specific purpose of sensitive parts of the body. The application of devices that twist, contort, or apply pressure to nipples, clits, lips, labia, penis, etc., causing a level of pain from mild discomfort to mind dumbing is the essence of these items. CBT and chastity devices are merely extensions to this fetish. Frequently in lifestyle scenes, they are combined with punishment, discipline, or weights to increase the level of discomfort. Applied devices frequently combine with bondage resulting in bruising from breast or cock/ball bindings.



An action fetish where the humiliation of a voyeur occurs with sexual acts by a significant other is not directly involved. Denying the cockhold involvement in activities while forced to watch as their partner is used sexually by another individual. The humiliation factor comes from the fact that usually, the individual has a special connection (husband, boyfriend, or father) to the used individual. The demeaning nature of this is because the restricted party is deemed ineffectual in using or protecting their partner.



This adornment fetish began in the middle ages with softer forms such as chokers and necklaces to denote ritual ownership through the cameos or symbols on the clasps. The adornment of these items demonstrated specific attributes accorded the wearer. Collars have clear slave connotations, but for subsets of the lifestyle (i.e., Gorean), the colour or material used in a scarf or neck binding has a significant meaning. The exposing of these items, notably a collar, elicits a discernable physical reaction in most members of society, from casual amusement, anger, to the more kink-related imaginings.



This action fetish finds its basis in the deprivation, focusing on limiting the movement or liberties of a confined individual. Type forms of this are

  • Recreation of cell/prison confinement,

  • Pet confinement such as placing in dog cages,

  • Restriction to a crate or storage unit with or without the inclusion of transportation is such conditions.

  • House arrest, confinement to a physical boundary.  This activity is prevalent when using locked shock collars with perimeter sensors.



An adornment fetish relating to clothing. The goal is to define the body shape by trimming and shaping the waist, buttock, or bust.  Usually used to highlight a specific aspect of the physical body like cleavage.



This adornment fetish is a physical representation of infantilism where an adult plays the role of a baby or young child and wears diapers to symbolize this manifestation.



This head-space fetish is about the attraction individuals have for partners who are different from ourselves

  • age

  • body shape,

  • culture,

  • size,

  • skin tone,

  • race

  • religion.


The contrast to oneself can be an attraction or take it more extreme. The sensation of superiority or inferiority in dominating or submitting a significantly different one gives a sense of power and enablement. In more restrictive societies and families, it is also an act of rebellion to fly in the face of convention and mingle with "those people."


Dirty Talk

An action fetish with its roots in the use of language is considered vulgar or profane, during or distinct from sexual activities. The sexual context to this is a form of enticement used to direct or respond to the actions. Outside sexual acts can either r be a form of humiliation and degradation in public or private or a verbal form of enticement and foreplay (i.e., begging to be fucked harder). These acts also include the loud sounds or "porn noises" people make to aggrandize the activity.



An action fetish is a form of personal violation of another individual. Again, this is another fetish that frequently occurs with bondage. The subject receives an enema to force the bowels' evacuation or stick something deep into an individual's mouth to force them to regurgitate.



The head-space fetish exposes a person or specific body parts in a public (or pseudo-public) setting.  Classic examples of this are flashing or not wearing panties, bras, and revealing pubic or breasts. Sometimes this goes further, such as public nudity or can be coupled in events with demonstrations of servitude or discipline.



Driving the fetish is the adornment augmented by the visual awareness or the tactile sensations of wearing certain fabrics. When used to make clothing, many of these materials stimulate the wearer's skin, becoming very sensitized. Some materials provide resilience (see messy games) or soft sensual experiences for bedding or coverings. Fabrics can hint at erotic interludes to come.

  • Rubber and latex provide this item as a form or restraining materials (see mummification)

  • The soft, shimmer, slipperiness of silks and satins create an opposite reaction.

  • Fur has a soft, warm, almost snuggling feeling of skins, such as laying a bearskin rug, or the feel of a fur coat, etc.

  • Leather combines tactile, olfactory and visual experiences with the suggestion of domination.



Another adornment fetish where the application of painted or stylized, or patterned nails.


Gender Bending

A cross-over between head-space and action fetish where gender transformation and control fetish; focusing clothing, demeanour, and make-up on accentuating the visualization of the gender change. It can also be a forced change where the subject who is gender defined is restrained and forced to appear in an alternate gender role. I more exotic cases, it still exposes the original genitals in the context of an altered gender to trigger the humiliation aspect of this exposure.



Another cross-over fetish between head-space and action fetish where situational abuse demeans the subject. Public nudity, rude comments written on exposed flesh, the "kick me" (or similar) posted on someone's back. Humiliation can occur in a private or public setting and has an arousal factor based on the size and diversity of the audience or even potential audience. Taking this to the extreme is having a humiliation fetishist cleaning everyday objects like the soles of one foot, shoes, the floor, the body of another, or even in place of toilet paper.  The one administering the humiliation usually gets a kick out of control garnered and shame of a person. Observes get voyeuristic pleasure and a sense of guilt for it being someone else and not themselves.



This head-space fetish is very hard to facilitate and master. The fantasy is that the person can claim they would not do certain activities in an awake state, thereby absolving themselves of responsibility for their actions. A common misconception is people will not do anything when hypnotized that they would not do awake. Also, authentic experience in hypnotizing people is challenging to master, and many do not have the tonal skills to perform this task. Skill and experience are factors that can make it hard to realize the experience.



Another cross-over between adornment and head-space  fetishes that can be

  • A visual stimulus from seeing someone in lingerie. Voyeurs will enjoy the visual imagery suggestion of sensual enticement it sparks. 

  • The feel of wearing the fine silk and frilly objects that define femininity. Crossdressers, straight men, and women can all enjoy its sensations in a private setting.



This adornment fetish is a form of body art that highlights the natural beauty of individuals or covers flaws in others in subtle application. Stylized or specialty make-up (like smoky eyes, candy lips, war paint or overdone heavy) tends to accentuate the implied assets of a person or increases the visual desirability of someone from a viewer's perspective. Taken to the extreme where individuals with full-body painting resembling animals or other ornate objects.



An action fetish that some people seem to have to do more than others.  Public, private, short periods, lengthy ones.  Some people prefer the safe sex and comfort of themselves over that of others.  The fetish for masturbation, the constant thought of the need to do it a certain number of times a day.


Messy Games

This action fetish finds the physical sensation of using oils, food, a few eggs to whip cream and chocolate syrup. It is very tactile but horrible to clean up, bring along a drop cloth, contain the mess, use rubber sheets, and avoid significant cleaning efforts.  Without a doubt, a best practice is to follow these activities with a nice shower. The extreme nature of this includes scat play, which tends to be only a lifestyle peculiarity.



This adornment fetish is tactile in nature and erotic sensation-based. Wearing items of clothing made from chain-mail or the draping of chains around the body elicit statements of power, strength, and control. Numerous individuals enjoy the heft and revealing nature of such items, mainly if worn over a naked body. When combined with leather, it is a very pronounced statement of power.



This action fetish essentially forms the beginning of mental bondage. A very demanding activity requiring effort forces the dominant to constantly be looking ahead of where the subjects thought process and emotions are at the moment and steering through words, actions, and images of the targeted individual, keeping them off balance.  The activity continuously thrusts the subject further into depending on the dominant and results in becoming more submissive. The more successful, the more the target craves the sensation because of constant mental and emotional stimulation, a rush akin to a mental roller coaster.



This adornment fetish is related to the constraining and obscuring of the subject. Wrapping the subject's body in fabrics that leave them stiff and hampered when moving is the basis of this fetish. A simply clean cotton wraps which are light and breathes well is the easiest to employ. While saran wrap of the entire body or coating a body in latex and rubber all are variations on the theme.



This head-space fetish orients to both:

  • the observer who gets a voyeuristic pleasure, and

  • the nudist who gets the liberation, freedom of being naked or

  • both for the humiliation aspects.


It functions from partial to full nudity in a public or private setting. The stimulus can be positive or negative based on the viewer's perspective and likes or dislikes. This fetish can include the wearing of semi-transparent fabrics, which reveal tantalizing views (i.e. a sheer blouse show the areoles and nipples of a woman). 



This head-space fetish is essentially around the dehumanizing of an individual and humiliation related to whether an individual is used as an object of adornment (i.e., statues, etc.) or furniture (chairs, stools, tables) or merely the shunning of individuals which makes them invisible.



This participatory fetish is related to a specific body part or activity, from a simple kiss, the sucking on fingers, toes, and the oral gratification of genitals, mainly as a particular form of body worship.



An adornment fetish based on the joining of metal and flesh.  A mark of ownership perhaps, or a reclaiming of one's self.  Decoration or a means to it piercing the sexual anatomies including tongues, nipples, genitals and belly buttons.


Pony Training

This action fetish is another form of animal or pet training where individuals fill the role of a pony/horse. The subject is adorned with manes, harnesses, and halters to emulate being a horse and frequently have anal plugs inserted to support tails.  Decorating these people in leather with riding boots representing hoofs and for foot protection is one of the many practices of this fetish. Typical the subject is connected to sully or cart to pull others around such as "horse & buggy."



This action fetish is one more of domination than sexual circumstance with its violation as a trigger. Under the right circumstances, sexual use by individuals a submissive trust (or possibly loves) can be a very enticing mental concept. The raw animal nature of taking what you want with little or no regard for the used subject has a compelling drive for the primal beast in many.


Sensory Trigger

Sense trigger combines the participatory and action fetishes in a less common form a touch stimulation via

  • cold (ice, water, chilled air, etc.),

  • cutting (scalpels, knives, etc.)

  • electricity (violet wands, TENS units, etc.),

  • heat (wax, fire,  etc.),

  • prickling (pins, needles, etc.),

  • tickling (feathers, teaser, and simple fingers)



This participatory fetish is about control and submission. The trust to let someone else shave you, particularly those sensitive or private areas, the sense of a loss of power, the risk of injury (all be it mildly from the person doing the shaving), as well as the feel of smooth skin afterward, is a common fetish. This one in the vanilla community is a solid precursor to sex.



This action fetish can set people up for a precursor to other fetishes. It can accentuate the control another has on the spankee; when observed by non-participants, it adds a humiliation component and can form a type of foreplay. The act of watching a spanking of another or participating in the action is very visceral. Delivery from light spanking to a welt-raiser with either a cadence allows for the anticipation of the next blow.  This fetish has many different variables and is as diverse as the people participating.



An adornment fetish with individuals wearing high thin heels (even at 5" to 6") elicits a visual trigger. They shape the calf and make the wearer appear taller. Simply looking at these long heels can trigger all sorts of desires

  • to get on their knees and kiss and lick the wear or their shoes

  • "get me a ladder. I am climbing that statue."

  • "stand on me, let me feel the pain (see trampling)



This action fetish focuses on stepping upon a submissive. It can be:

  • a simple Japanese massage where a small-footed woman walks the spin of an ample man,

  • the Domtrix pressing her stiletto into the groin of her boy toy,

  • the crush of a foot against the neck of a supplicant,


All of this focuses on a mix of control, pain, submission, and trust on the part of the recipient.



The adornment fetish of partners to wear military, police, medical, postal, fire or other uniforms can drive the sense of structure, control and, strangely, the sense of order and safety or terror in an individual. The result is an unexplained hormonal response.  Even a well-tailored suit is a uniform of types and can get the blood churning in many a person.



A head-space fetish where people who excite you are those who should be unattainable by you. Many celebrities such as rock or movie stars, radio personalities, or politicians all garner a level of interest because of what they do. They have a following of groupies (i.e., Cumber-Bitches) that swoon in their presence. It could equally be those unaware of your existence which causes you to imagine "what if…":

  • the neighbour's wife 

  • your kid's teacher

  • the teenage baby sitter



This head-space fetish is most times associated with the illicit watching of others having sex. That is one aspect of it; the act of voyeurism is as much, however, as watch activities of a variety of types, from dances, strip shows, humiliation sessions, punishment, or power demonstrations. These all give inadvertent rise to desire and have powerful rushes of emotions and baser instincts within people.



The merger of participatory and action fetishes an observer-driven desire to see others in combat and participants to expose skills to an audience. The close contact and twisting of bodies as they contest each other for dominance set up a hormonal response in many people. Be it two sweaty, burly men in a field or two scantily clad women in mud (or jello) results in people imagining what if they were one of the contestants and being wrestled, forcing the other to submit; what reward would they demand.