Many believe that fetishes come from the way the human mind tries to process overwhelming feelings of fear and vulnerability, usually early in life before we are even conscious of our sexuality or able to articulate our fears. I was curious about this sort of phenomenon, too, so I started talking to people with fetishes, and I’ve observed a link between fetishes and fears in most of the people I’ve discussed this with.
If being humiliated turns you on, it could be because it makes you feel helpless, and instead of just getting painfully, terrifyingly uncomfortable about that or panicking, your automatic response is to turn your quickened heartbeat and sudden energized feeling into a different kind of arousal/excitement to make it more manageable. Fetishes could be a psychological defense mechanism against overwhelming negative emotions.
Being overwhelmed with feelings of uncontrollable positive excitement isn’t as horrifying as being overwhelmed with feelings that relate to dangerous things, although being unable to control the feelings is, in itself, sometimes also uncomfortable. I wonder if fetishes might even start out for some people as attempts at desensitization, where they initially experimentally seek out or intentionally make themselves think about the things that disturb them the most, trying to have some sense of control over when the feelings happen, and then learn that it can feel good to experience sudden bursts of powerful emotions that would usually be negative, as long as the person feeling them chooses them and isn’t surprised by them.
I once knew a man who had a negative early childhood experience in which, while bathing with his brother, he was splashed in the face with water. He developed a powerful phobia about the sound of water splashing, and anything associated with it.
As his sexuality formed, he discovered that he had a fetish for the same thing he had a phobia about, but one of the most interesting things about it, to me, is that he only experienced it as a fetish in situations where he was comfortable being sexually aroused, where he could maintain control over it. If someone started talking about bathing or singing “Splish-Splash” in a setting where sexual arousal was inappropriate, he reacted with intense anxiety, and it was, once again, a phobia rather than a fetish. The ability for his phobia/fetish to shift situationally made me think about the role of intent in mediating the effect, and how control is related to how people perceive fetish triggers.
I suspect this is what is happening in a very high percentage of fetish situations, possibly including yours. I did some thinking about a lot of the most common fetishes, and many of them could easily correspond with fears that are just as common. Here are some that I think could possibly be connected
Fear Fetish: authority, rejection, being bad → spanking, humiliation, religious symbols, being helpless or overpowered → bondage/ BDSM, rape, vore, giants, suffocation deformity or ugliness→ feet, amputation, demons, fat, masks, circus freaks sudden surprise → balloons, splashing water, explosions death → guns, knives, necrophilia, snuff, vampires, zombies being messy or out of control → feces, urine, blood, vomit, mud, jello, cream
There are plenty of others that could fit into these categories, many more categories that could be included, and some I still haven’t figured out. It is possible that not all fetishes are related to fears, but enough clearly are that it is worth wondering about.
Mistress K be Afraid if you misbehave