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Help! I Have a Sexual Fetish
Dear Armchair Psychologist
I'm a divorced woman, and I have been with my wonderful and funny boyfriend for two years. We both have young kids who are close in age, and it's been such a blessing that we have been able to co-mingle our families. We also bought a cute weekend country house together so we can have alone time together. But I have a situation that I am struggling with. I have a sexual fetish, which I've had for a long time. My question is how can I move on from this sexual fetish or develop a new one that can include my boyfriend? Also, are fetishes something that is innately within you that you simply can't help?
- Stuck In My Head
Dear Stuck In My Head,
It's great to hear that you have found happiness after divorce and that your children are adapting to your new life with your boyfriend and his kids. Having sexual fantasies or fetishes is extremely normal, although they often carry a stigma. A UK study commissioned by erotic retailer Ann Sumner in 2016 surveyed over 2300 people and found that 75% of all people have at least one sexual fetish. A fetish is not something you're born with; many studies show it is actually a learned behavior that can manifest at even an early age.
One scientific theory is that there sometimes a sort of brain overlap that causes certain body parts to become associated with sexual interests like, for example, a foot fetish — the most common fetish. Neuroscientist Vilanayar Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, found in his study that the brain areas that control the genitalia and the feet sit very close to each other in the brain's body image map. And when a cross-wiring happens, one develops an attraction to feet.
Your fetish might not be a one that involves toes, but I can assure you that it is healthy to have one. It concerns me that you want to "move on" from your fetish, rather than introduce your boyfriend to your inner sexual life? You say you might want to develop a new fetish that includes him, but this is easier said than done. What prevents you from including him in your current fetish? Is there a possibility he might not want to indulge in it? Do you feel guilt or shame? If so, it would be a good idea to consult with a qualified sex therapist on how to navigate your sex life. For now, here's a great step by step by Dr. Jeremy Nicholoson, a social/personality psychologist, on how to introduce your fetish to your partner and in the process increase trust and intimacy. Stay sexy!
- The Armchair Psychologist
Help! My guy can't climax — is it because I'm ugly?
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I've been dating and sexting a guy for a few months and we were both heavy and hot for each other over texts. The moment finally arrived for us to meet at my apartment and have sex, but he couldn't cum. I've been googling "delayed ejaculation causes" and am not sure what is going on? This incident has left me feeling gross, insecure, and rejected. Is he not attracted to me physically? Was it because he had smoked a bit of weed? I feel so unattractive now, yet he swears up and down that it has nothing to do with what I look like, rather that he needed "time to bond with me before sex." I know that he's into the stripper, fake lips, fake boobs archetype, and I look nothing like that. I confronted him about this whole debacle of no-cum and stripper affinity, but he said I'm overreacting. Should I continue dating this hot mess of a man?
- Not Satisfied
Dear Not Satisfied,
It's unfortunate you feel bad about yourself as a result of the lackluster ending to your night of copulation. Sex comes with a plethora of complexities that vary for every individual, including delayed ejaculation, which could have many underlying reasons both psychological and physical. Sure, marijuana could have been the culprit, as studies have shown smoking it can cause "difficulties in men's ability to orgasm as desired." Sure, it could have been that you aren't sporting DD's or bulging lips, but he knew what you looked like before meeting you. Sure, it could be that he's only able to perform via text and he suffers problems that prevent him from real-life engagement.
I am leaning towards the fact that your date simply needed to get to know you better, which he expressed to you, and needed to establish an emotional connection before WhamBamThankYouMam-ing you.
It's understandable you'd be disappointed after this much-hyped tryst, but what concerns me most is your low self-esteem. You are feeling worthless and unlovable due to what many would call a mere bagatelle, a romp gone stale. This isn't reason enough to clamp down so hard on yourself, and I suspect the problem lies deeper within you. I'm sure you're a wonderful and beautiful person. It is not easy to live with low self-esteem or recognize that you may suffer from it. You can measure your self-esteem through the famous Rosenberg test here. It is worth noting low self-esteem is a super common problem that many people suffer from. The reason you should examine your low self-esteem is because it can be a definitive factor in how and what relationships you seek out, as well as to your own happiness. I recommend you speak to a therapist who specializes in this area. In regards to the "hot mess of a man" aka your date, you should give him another chance, if he's still available and hasn't already run for the hills after your intense reaction to his shortcomings.
- The Armchair Psychologist
Need more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out the last installment or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get some advice of your own!
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- No, You Cannot Eradicate a Fetish | Psychology Today ›
Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each da
If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today.
In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of three, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.
These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.
After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.
About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again.
When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.
Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.
Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.
Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.
This article was originally published September 12, 2019.