Sexual fetishes: sensations, perceptions, and correlates

Marissa A. Harrison, Bradley E. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Most literature on sexual fetishes focuses on maldevelopment, abnormality, and stigma. Benefits and psychosocial aspects of practising fetishes are seldom documented. We aimed to explore the sensations, perceptions, and socioemotional experiences involved in practicing fetishes. We recruited 316 participants from various websites and social media platforms geared specifically for people with fetishes. Participants completed our online anonymous questionnaire which yielded both quantitative and qualitative data. When asked what they wanted the world to know about their fetish, content analysis showed that those who engage in fetishes gave responses that fell into the categories of what fetishes are not, what fetishes are, about the practice itself, and about negative aspects. Participants had typical Satisfaction with Life scores. Participants had lower than typical Mate Value Scale scores (a gauge of one’s own perceived desirability) with some exception. Results suggest generally positive experiences and attitudes among those who practice fetishes and support the notion that fetishes are not inherently pathological.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology and Sexuality
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology


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