Are fetishes a sin?

So, this question has been on my mind for along time.:hmmm::hmmm::hmmm::hmmm:

I was wondering what youre thoughts were. Ive done research and every single man has something there attracted to.(or so im told). Some women even have this as well. I think the correct term would be fetish. I believe our fetishes are cause by our fallen nature. But i dont know if theyd be sinful. Alot of people have told me theyve had them since a very young age, and have given into them before they reached the age of reason. I would think that some would be sinful. But not all. Some people are attracted to a certain type of the body, such as the foot, Others attracted to certain clothing, Now i would think that this in marriage would be okay, as long as it was kept in rationality. But i mean i believe its appart of us, and wonder how it could be a sin, since its always on our mind, and everywhere we go itll be there. Like its appart of our nature, im not saying we shouldnt avoid it, but if it is indeed appart of our nature, then well always give in

I think a fetish is more akin to a minor mental disorder in most cases. but sometimes it can get out of hand or out of control. It can be construed to a minor or venial sin. It really is not “part” of us and we should not be thinking of “our” fetishes everywhere and all the time. it is a disorder and may become a major disorder. Some guys will steal bras or undies due to their fetishes. It can become an obsession to have certain attractions and has and can lead to crimes. If you have a minor fetish please try to speak to a priest or consular about it. If it is about someone you know please try to aid them and getting good care to help control the condition.

I think this is something to discuss with your confessor or spiritual director. You’re basically inquiring “is this a sin”, and there’s nothing directly in the catechism on this particular subject.

I do think that even in marriage role-playing someone else during intercourse is a sin.

If it’s something that fuels one’s lust - i.e. excites/stimulates them sexually, then it’s sinful.
It is a disordered desire - desire that is not rightly ordered towards love for God.
Can also be argued that fetishes are a form of idolatry too.

It is not a sin, per se, to have a fetish… because you cannot control having that sexual preference.

It would be a sin to act on it if acted upon it in a certain way. For example, if someone has a foot fetish, it would be sinful for them to look at pictures of feet for the sole reason of getting aroused… just as it would be sinful to look at porn. But if you are married to someone and everything is consensual, incorporating feet somehow into your lovemaking would not be sinful. So long as the act remained unitive and procreative.

Same can be said about other fetishes… fetishes for rubber outfits (this can be used as “lingerie” during foreplay), fetishes for being blindfolded, fetishes for a certain position or style of lovemaking, etc etc…

This is very hard for me to admit to, but in addition to being a pagan for over 30 years, I was also very much into the world of fetishes and alternative lifestyles such as BDSM and other disorders. I won’t go into a lot of details, but my understanding and experience has been that a fetish or such an inclination as you find in D/s is not a static thing. Like many drugs and alcohol, the desires gradually but surely escalates and grows in both a need for more intensity and frequency. In many cases it can become the reason for interaction in a relationship more so than love or other healthy causes for being together.

The person in theirself and who they are, is not so much the reason for being with them but the fact that they share the same needs as you have, the love for the fetish etc is far more important then loving your partner. There is a very high rate of going from one partner to another, which is far more the norm then a continuous ongoing commitment. Again, in my experience and research both during and after my own participation in this very different world, if anything the multiple relationships statistics would be much much worse then even the dismal ones of modern marriage.

We all have preferences and things which attract us about others or which we enjoy doing with others more then some things of the same sort. That is just human nature. But a disordered attraction or desire to the point of being considered a fetish and more important to you than the person you are interacting with is a snare of the devil. It would pay to remember that often something seems trivial or not a big deal, but it can grow and overwhelm our fallen natures.

Like many other things, the Church doesn’t always ABC stuff for us, and it can be hard to understand why. However, in the case of something like this, I feel that the guidelines are more in a positive nature rather than a you can’t do that one. If you follow the instruction of the Church concerning relationships, sexuality and matrimony, and apply whether or not something fits into those guidelines, the things which do NOT fit in become strikingly obvious. I would like to say in closing, that, to me, a glaring giveaway is whether something you want to do respects the human dignity of your partner and is a unitive act which glorifies God in His gift of love and human sexuality. Most fetishes and other alternative lifestyle characteristics truly do not if you examine them closely.

It depends, your definition of fetish is broad. So the immediate answer would be no. If someone likes a certain hair color, or a certain thing it can be just fine. But some fetishes can have dangerous and sinful components. BDSM, Cross dressing, role playing other people etc…

Like everything else, it really depends. Are you glorifying God? Are you unitive and procreative with your spouse? Are you doing it within the guidelines of natural law and the purpose of the sexual aspect of marriage?

I really like this answer. Better than what I wrote, but it’s pretty hard to go wrong with spiritual direction.

Intention can and does play a big role with sin. :yup:

I wouldn’t think that it’s a sin for something to excite one sexually. After all, married couples do need something to excite them sexually and that’s no problem. I guess it depends on what it is. If it’s a certain style of dress on one’s spouse, for example, or the appreciation of a certain physical features of a spouse, then I can’t imagine how that’s a problem. If it’s “object worship,” then perhaps.

The above should be required reading at and for all teens.

I’m dreading the masturbation conversation with my children but it will have to happen in the next 4 years or so.

Fetishes are integral to habitual masturbation in many cases. They can force an orgasm when we (men at least) are already spent.

I guess in a marriage and pro-creative way there is not anything wrong with them but their origins make me wonder.

Just as they can get out of hand, they also can dull away to almost nothing once masturbation stops. This is true even if you’re married and masturbating. Stop that, dedicate to celibacy or to only with the spouse, and its AMAZING how many spiritual things you can see without that ‘plank / board / log / tree’ in your eye.

It took a lot for me to accept fetish-type stuff behind closed doors but honestly in the context of a loving marriage and pro-creative sex with the spouse the sex, regardless of use of fetish or not, is truly a phenomenal experience compared with the garbage of my former single days.

Easy formula:

  1. Procreative? (read the catechism on conception, don’t break these rules… the desire to have pro-creative sex - no pulling out, no intentional orgasm outside of the sex for husband)
  2. loving? if someone’s uncomfortable with things its not loving
  3. married?

I think what you’ve described about hair color is more along the lines of preference and attraction. Fetishes seem to have more a tone of lustful obsession.

Would you consider a foot fetish or a high heel fetish to be lustful?

I think hair color can play a part. I think say, a person who, is sexually attracted to redheads is considered a fetish by a loose definition of the word.

If two married Catholics engage in consensual BDSM play, what is the sin?

There have been threads on this before.:wink:

But the gist of it is that degrading another person, even if the other person allows or wants it is wrong, not to mention the idea of hurting someone even if it brings pleasure.

It certainly is disordered from the marital embrace that would be considered Holy.

Can you turn it around and maybe defend it as a Holy action? Something God would sanction?

The idea of “Domination” is contrary to marital love.

A massage could be considered soft touching that brings pleasure to the recipient.

BDSM is simply harder touching that brings pleasure to the recipient.

Is the degree and pressure of touch what matters? At what point does a deep muscle massage become sinful, as it causes deliberate pain/pleasure to the recipient?

Who are we to judge if a married couple enjoys inflicting pain upon each other while in the marital sexual act of procreation?

I suppose we can chase loopholes and strange ideas all day.:shrug:

How about this, the line is crossed when you make a new life in a way that is probably not co creating with God. Which is what the marital embrace is.

So, massage, yes. pain, no.

Make no mistake, I am not of the mind that all fetishes are sinful. I have a couple myself that are not. But there are some that are inherently not Holy.

Pain no? But some people receive pleasure from having pain inflicted upon their bodies.

If it’s your wife/husband doing it, I still fail to see the difference between a massage and BDSM.

That is too bad you fail to see that.

You do recognize that there is a disorder in what you are defending right? That regardless if someone likes pain or derives pleasure from it it is still wrong right?

If a Sado Masochist likes to be punched in the face should I do it?

I am still curious if you can defend inflicting pain or mutilating someone to be in line with Holy Marital co-creation with God.

Or if domination has it’s place in a Holy Marraige?

It is kind of sick when you think about it.

To me the very word ‘fetish’ implies a disordered object. Natural preferences and attractions play a normal part in relationships, but to indulge a pleasure to the point of regarding it as a ‘fetish’ I would think at the very least, diminishes the communion.

Earlier in this thread I looked up the definition of “fetish” and in most dictionaries I would say the definition would agree with you. And so would I as well. But when you expand the definition to popular use then I don’t see the problem with some things. A foot fetish enjoyed by both people would be an example.

Nothing sinful about that.

Or is Rex Ryan due for the confessional.

(it occurs to me that you may not know whom he is, but he is a coach of a Football team in America. He has a well documented and unfortunately public foot fetish about his wife’s feet.) The only sin I know of though is his play calling. :wink:

For the record I do not find a foot fetish to be particularly exciting… and it certainly COULD be disordered but does not necessarily have to be.

Again, if using the strictest definition I would agree with you.

The definitions are odd. Look them up. The sexual use is not the first use. I had no idea of the other uses, and with all those years spent in theology class… :shrug: Who knew!?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit