It’s amazing what you find when you google "sexual fetishes". Arousal from clowns, falling down stairs, vomit, car crashes, nose sucking, armpits, stuttering, even tornadoes... the list is endless. It would seem that rule 34 of internet law is truer than ever: “If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions."
Now, my history tab must think me disturbed. “You dirty, dirty perve,” it seems to be saying. But before you judge me, what I’m about to recount – inspired by Sex in the World's Cities – is for the purpose of shining a light on the very kinky human condition. It’s not, in any way, for personal gratification. Really.
So gird your loins as we dip our toes in to some of the world’s most fascinating and freaky fetishes.
Balloons, bugs and peanut butter
For a country plagued by the "no sex, we’re British" tag, it would seem the Brits are a much randier and varied lot in the bedroom when it comes to sexual peccadilloes, at least according to The Great British Sex Survey, which aired in Blighty in 2016.
Forget dogging, apparently "looning" – getting off on the inflation and bursting of balloons – is, er, on the rise there, as is formicophilia or arousal by having insects crawl on you.
And in a 9½ Weeks revival, sploshing or WAM (wet and messy) is a thing, with ravenous Brits apparently employing all kinds of foodstuffs – the stickier the better – rubbed over the body to spice up sex. Anyone for toad in the hole?
Farts, full bladders and… eyeball licking?
Japan loves a wacky fetish. Some of the milder ones include getting turned on by haircuts, teeth and mastication, and "cat slapping" (women face slapping women). At the more extreme end is fart fetishism or eproctophilia, which is arousal by being farted on. On the face.
Then there’s omorashi, which is getting off on seeing someone busting to go and/or wetting themselves. There’s even bladder desperation tournaments. And finally, oculolinctus or "worming" is the licking of eyeballs, yes eyeballs, for sexual gratification. Sight for sore eyes?
Not to be confused with "crotch love", which, let's face it, is perhaps the most vanilla of fetishes. Have you ever found yourself turned on by a young, healthy, fully-clothed Swedish woman hobbling on crutches? You might have a crutch fetish – and you’re not alone.
Website Swedish Crutch: Cast and Sprain Girls caters for those who want to knock their socks off to videos of ladies on crutches, in plaster or bandages. Not weird, and not sadomasochistic at all.
This is one ingenious form of safe sex. For some, schtupping spectres is all too real and not just a sleep-induced hallucination (though we can’t confirm if sensual pottery making is involved).
Paranormal Activity 2’s Natasha Blasick claims to have had ghost sex twice (though presumably not together), Ke$ha’s apparently “made out” with one and even the late Anna Nicole Smith said in a 2004 FHM interview that a spirit had had it’s way with her:
"A ghost would crawl up my leg and have sex with me at an apartment a long time ago in Texas. I used to think it was my boyfriend, then one day I woke up and found it wasn't."
And it’s not just celebs laying claim to a bit of supernatural rumpy pumpy, with several reported cases by normal folk. Hollywood psychic and spectrophilia expert Patti Negri says it’s not an uncommon occurrence:
“I’ve come across this for years,” she has said. “I have clients literally worldwide that have had this experience.”
Also known as objectophilia, this is the sexual attraction to inanimate objects that also shows itself in an emotional connection. Famous cases include Washington man Edward Smith, who claims to have had his way with countless cars but has now settled down with "Vanilla", his Volkswagen Beetle.
After a long-term relationship with a drum set, Brit Amanda Whittaker struck up a long-distance one with a New York lady, the Statue of Liberty, in 2012. In 1979, German woman Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer “married” the Berlin Wall, taking its surname (Berliner-Mauer is German for Berlin Wall).
American Erika Eiffel “married” the Eiffel Tower in 2007. In footage of her “commitment ceremony”, she can be seen kissing, stroking and straddling her newlywed’s steely erection. Eiffel, a crane operator, has since split with the Paris icon and is reportedly exploring a relationship with a strapping German crane.
It’s not the happy rush of chemicals derived from playing with puppies, although those that take part in this fetish get similar feelings from gearing up in dog masks, tails, collars and even mittens to be taken for a “walk” on a leash by their “handlers”, according to a recent report.
And this is apparently a thing in Germany, the US, the UK and even Canberra. where fetishist Brand Pup likes to go walkies to Parliament House and the National Museum of Australia. For him, the fetish is closely related to BDSM strictures of power exchange between pup and handler, but for others it’s about the freedom of being a canine.
It would seem outwardly at least that the fetish, in terms of extreme kinkiness, rates closer to tummy rub than severe domination. But puppy players draw the line at being fed dog food. That’s a definite no-no.
This cosy fetish is pretty straightforward – if you’re turned on by dressing head to toe in wool or a variation of, then you’re a Wooly. You might have a thing for balaclavas, scarves, jumpers and so on, or an elaborate selection of identity-sealing onesies (see image above). And presumably, you have a willingness to explain away stains at the dry cleaner's.
Those that partake are said to be “ordinary people from all walks of life who enjoy the anonymity, community and content-sharing opportunities the web provides,” according to gq.com.
Racked reports that online community WoolSpace, also known as WoolFreaks, has over 2000 active members from around the world, predominately in Germany, the United States, the Netherlands, France, Canada and Australia.
"It's really the most innocent fetish," says sexologist and author Dr Gloria Brame, who believes wool fetishes can develop in childhood. Wool “was something comforting and reassuring. Then in puberty, physiological changes begin. That’s when they start to make the erotic connection between something they always liked, but didn’t know why."
Perth Now reports this movement is a form of environmental activism, spearheaded by "ecosexual artist" couple Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle (both above), who, in 2014, “publicly married the soil, attracted to its power to give life”, its beauty “and the fact it’s ‘real dirty’”. The number of people who identify as ecosexuals is said to be as many as 100,000.
“We’re changing the metaphor from ‘Earth as Mother’ to ‘Earth as Lover’,” Stephens says on the pair’s website, SexEcology.
Replete with finger condoms and surgical masks sprouting grass or just gallivanting about in their birthday suits, ecosexuals interact with the environment by talking dirty to plants – “You make me so wet, succulent!” They may lick the soil or bury themselves in it, and perform “nude dances while the environment watches on”.
Continue having your eyes opened and watch Sex in the World's Cities at SBS On Demand: