NCSF on Twitter   Subscribe to the NCSF RSS Feed   NCSF Blog

"Normal or Not? A Sexual Attraction to Objects"

on Friday, 31 May 2013. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Live Science

Editor's Note: With the release of the latest edition of the mental-health manual, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM), LiveScience takes a close look at some of the disorders it defines. This series asks the fundamental question: What is normal, and what is not?

Many people would consider a sexual attraction to objects, such as shoes or underwear, abnormal or unnatural. But is it a mental illness? The new edition of the mental-health manual, the DSM-5, offers a conditional answer: It can be, but isn't necessarily.

A fetish may be a multisensory experience as described in both versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Someone with a fetish may smell, taste, rub or insist that a sexual partner wear the object of their attraction. Often, the fetishist — almost always a man — cannot be aroused without these objects. But the newest edition — the DSM-5 — also classifies intense erotic interest in specific body parts, such as feet or hair, as fetishism.

Fetishism is among a number of unusual attractions, known as paraphilias, that can stray into disorder territory. Unlike the previous version of the manual, the DSM-5 emphasizes the distinction between merely kinky and mentally ill. [Hot Stuff? 10 Unusual Sexual Fixations]

Someone can cross this threshold in a number of ways — for instance, when the attraction causes him significant distress, impairs his ability to function or could lead him to harm others.

The DSM-5 marks this transition by attaching the term "disorder" when an unusual sexual interest crosses these boundaries. So, hypothetically, someone who simply uses shoes to masturbate or whose partner accepts his unusual interest in shoes could be diagnosed with fetishism, but not a fetishistic disorder — unless the fetish crosses the threshold in one of the ways described above.

The label “disorder” is akin to labeling a set of symptoms as a mental illness, which by definition, interferes with normal functioning. ...

Social Bookmarks

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.

Cancel Submitting comment...

Latest Reader Comments

  • NCSF Blog has a huge amount of helpful information. Thanks


    27. November, 2015 |

  • Whichever vacuum you decide on, one important factor to take into consideration is filters.
    To apply it make sure how the crevice tool...
  • Just go back from Dean’s side (how you came in),
    and also you can walk right inside the stairs on the
    left to succeed in the...

    uv keyboard

    20. November, 2015 |

  • Children belong with their parents! Love has no boundaries and is to precious to be limited by "societal norms". My heart goes out to...


    02. November, 2015 |

  • A guilty verdict is suffice. There seems to me to be little to no excuse for this sort of thing to go on as there is more than enough...


    28. October, 2015 |

  • The human condition never fails to amaze and astound, and this woman fits that description. What a celebration of life this is.......30


    15. October, 2015 |