12 sexual fetishes you've probably never heard of

NSFW, in case you were wondering.

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'Fetish' has, to some degree, become a byword for the stranger side of sex. From a light spot of spank 'n' tickle, through to the dark and leathery, sexual fetishes are rarely discussed publicly.

This is fair enough, given that what happens behind closed doors need never be mentioned outside them, but it also means that there are entire subcultures that are frequently dismissed or ignored.

Sexual fetishism is "a sexual focus on a nonliving object or nongenital body part." This applies to all the fetishes you know about: feet, latex, shoes and so on, but there are many more that you might have heard of.

Whether you approve or disapprove of these fetishes is up to you, we're presenting them to you simply for the sake of interest. All we'll say is that if it's safe, consensual and lawful, no one can judge you.

  1. 1 Symphorophilia
    Source: Kevin Hutchinson

    Sexual arousal gained from arranging and witnessing disasters.

    If you've read the novel Crash or seen the film adaptation of the same name, you'll know something of symphorophilia. Crash focuses on a group of people who get off on staging and participating in car crashes; the protagonist, Dr. Robert Vaughn, has an ultimate fantasy: to die in a head-on collision with Elizabeth Taylor.

    Symphorophiliacs may also enjoy watching natural disasters unfold, or set uncontrollable fires. It's not the actual act of destruction that appeals to symphorophiliacs, but the flirtation with disaster that elicits an erotic reaction.

    It should also be said that the thought of disaster and destruction may be enough to be arousing for some symphorophiliacs, because if you're deliberately causing car crashes, that's not okay.

  2. 2 Forniphilia
    Source: Lars Plougmann

    A form of bondage in which human beings are turned or incorporated into pieces of living furniture.

    To be clear, forniphilia is not some kind of taxidermic nightmare; the people involved are alive and unharmed. The subjects are shaped, bound and equipped in such a way as to be used as furniture - tables, chairs, lamps, etc. - and held there for long periods of time.

  3. 3 Cuckoldry
    Source: micadew

    A woman having sex with other men with the consent of her partner, from which he derives vicarious sexual pleasure.

    'Cuckold' was traditionally a word the husband of an adulterous wife, unaware of her infidelity. Its modern usage, however, describes a man who encourages his wife or partner to sleep with other men and takes pleasure in it, either by watching or simply knowing about it.

  4. 4 Autassassinophilia
    Source: Brian Minkoff

    Sexual arousal gained from the risk of death.

    Not dissimilar to symphorophilia, the thrill comes from flirting with death and danger, however the circumstances can be much broader. It's the possibility of being killed, more than death itself that is sexually stimulating, and may overlap with other fetishes such as erotic asphyxiation.

  5. 5 Narratophilia
    Source: Gregg O'Connell

    Sexual arousal gained through obscene words, stories and conversations.

    It's not a million miles away from dirty talk, but can be much more extreme in both content and reaction - in some severe cases, narratophiliacs can't get off unless they're exposed to a sexual story or material.

    Sexting and sex chatrooms have made narrataphilia much more prevalent in the modern era, with some (but crucially not all) preferring it to physical sex.

  6. 6 Agalmatophilia
    Source: Pixabay

    Sexual attraction to statues, dolls, mannequins and other inanimate objects resembling the human form.

    Greek myth aficionados out there may be familiar with Pygmalion, the sculptor who fell in love with a statue he carved. Agalmatophilia is the same kind of arena, but you don't necessarily have to have made a statue to find it arousing.

    Some fetishists find the thought or act of being turned into a statue erotic and may even be displayed in a museum or gallery. For some it's purely fantastical, an imagined love between themselves and the character of the statue.

  7. 7 Autagonistophilia
    Source: Adam Freeburn

    Sexual arousal gained from displaying one's self in a live show, such as on stage or being filmed.

    Not to be confused with exhibitionism, which encompasses things like streaking or flashing. Autagonistophiliacs enjoy the fact that they're being watched by an intended audience, as opposed to unsuspecting members of the public.

    The eroticism comes from the knowledge that other people are enjoying watching the subject, which in turn is a source of enjoyment for the subject. It's like acting, but the quality of the lighting usually isn't as good.

  8. 8 Dacryphilia
    Source: apenny

    Sexual arousal gained from tears or crying.

    Often a form of humiliation in which a dominant may verbally abuse or physically hurt a submissive to the point of tears, which arouses the dominant or a third party who is just watching, known as passive dacryphillia. Can also be a form of voyeurism, where dacryphiliacs find other people crying to be arousing.

  9. 9 Plushophilia
    Source: @GemmiGalactic

    Sexual arousal gained from stuffed animals and plush toys.

    Often known as 'plushies', plushophiles have a deep love for stuffed animals and plush toys. Many plushies have no sexual connection to their toys and just have a deep connection with them, but others take pleasure in involving plush toys in their sex life in both physical and fantastical ways.

    Plushophilia has been the cause of some controversy in the furry community, some members of which feel has been misrepresented by plushophilia. For more information on furry fandom, check out this wiki on the subject.

  10. 10 Stygiophilia
    Source: wylielise

    Sexual arousal gained from thoughts of hellfire and damnation.

    Hell's a tricky place to reach while you're still alive, so stygiophilia is mainly a fantasy-based fetish. Stygiophiliacs enjoy indulging in 'sinful' sex, thoughts and practices that they believe will send them to Hell, and get off knowing that they're consigning themselves to eternal damnation. Many stygiophiliacs express their sexuality through artistic works, such as the piece above.

  11. 11 Dendrophilia
    Source: Marina del Castell

    Sexual attraction to or arousal gained from trees.

    May range from a deep and personal connection to trees, to engaging in fornication with them. For a fetish, it's pretty straightforward. Splinters aside - yowch.

  12. 12 Sthenolagnia
    Source: Wikimedia Commons

    Sexual attraction to or worshipping of muscles.

    Impossible to pronounce and not to be confused with cratolagnia - the sexual attraction to displays of strength - sthenolagniacs find large, sculpted muscles arousing. Sthenolagnia can include the attraction to female muscle growth (FMG), but is not limited to men eroticising female bodybuilders. It can be a purely aesthetic fetish, but may also include elements of domination and physicality.