How Sexual Fetishism Can Impact Your Relationship

Updated December 29, 2021
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Laura Angers, NCC, LPC

For many relationships, sex is often an important part of a healthy dynamic, and some individuals may have different sexual desires and expectations than others. However, there really is no definition of what “normal” is as far as sex is concerned, and many people certainly have sexual fetishes that may not be a one-size-fits-all for every relationship.

Sexual fetishism can be defined as individual being attracted to a non-living object or a body part that is not the genitalia. Sexual fetishes are actually more common than many people realize, and people from all walks of life can have sexual fetishes.

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If you have discovered that you have a sexual fetish or your partner has a one, this may impact your relationship in various ways. Sexual fetishism may be a tricky subject for some couples. On one hand it can add something exciting to your love life, or on the other, there could be some awkwardness if you don’t feel comfortable discussing your sexual fetish or your partner does not wish to partake in it. Having what may be deemed as an unusual sexual interest may potentially put a strain on your relationship. However, a specific sexual fetish could also potentially lead to greater sexual gratification within your relationship, with proper communication and consent.

Learning About Your Sex Partner

If sexual satisfaction and intimacy is important to your relationship, it may be helpful to learn more about your sex partner, whether this is a new relationship or you’ve been together for a while. Opening up to one another has the potential to help strengthen your connection and enable you both to become more intimate. However, feeling comfortable enough with another person to divulge all of your sexual desires may be difficult for some individuals. Some people may not feel comfortable enough to discuss personal topics such as sexual fetishes, but developing trust and a sense of safety and security may allow you to open up more easily and have an open and honest conversation about your sexual desires.

Learning about your sex partner, such as what they like or what they don’t, among other things, may allow you to explore new sides of each other and gives you space to also learn more about yourself. You might see your partner in a different light when you learn about different sexual fetishes that they may have. Some individuals may have specific sexual fetishes that involve certain body parts like feet or hands. Other fetishes might be related to a specific activity or an inanimate object such as leather or rope. Depending on how you or your partner feels about a specific sexual fetish, it might be possible to incorporate it into your sex life.

Incorporating Sex Fetishes In The Bedroom

Incorporating sex fetishes in the bedroom can be a thrilling prospect for many couples if you and your partner have opened up to each other and discovered that you like certain fetishes. If you have fetishes that line up well or are willing to experiment in the bedroom, this could result in a more satisfying sex life. Even if you don’t wind up liking what you try, it could still result in a more satisfying sex life as a result of an increase in trust from greater communication and opennes.

However, it’s important to take caution before moving forward as you want to ensure that both of you feel comfortable and safe trying anything new. It’s important to ensure that both parties understand what you’re about to do and that you’re both ready for it. Consent is incredibly important when it comes to sexual experiences, especially when trying something new. You should never pressure someone into incorporating a sex fetish that makes them feel uneasy, uncomfortable, or unsafe.

You may want to try out your sex fetishes in the bedroom as long as both you and your partner have communicated, consented, and are comfortable. If you have a good time with it, then this could potentially become a regular part of your sex life. It may be beneficial to provide aftercare when practicing a new sexual fetish by asking your partner for honest feedback about their experience.

Some couples may incorporate a new sexual fetish into their relationship exceedingly well. It may feel good to be able to be honest about your sexual desires and to have those desires be respected. However, it’s important to remember, not everyone is necessarily going to have an easy time finding a partner who is open to experimenting with sexual fetishes, and that’s ok – we all exist as individuals on a spectrum.

What To Do When Your Partner Doesn’t Like Your Sex Fetish

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If you’ve opened up about your sexual fetish to a partner and they don’t seem interested, that can cause strain on your relationship if your sexual needs are not being met. However, not liking a partner’s sex fetish can leave room to experiment or discover something new that both of you enjoy, and some couples go on perfectly happy without incorporating that particular fetish. Sometimes a sex fetish will remain a curiosity for someone, and they’ll be okay with that.

You don’t have to participate in a sex fetish that you don’t like, and neither does your partner. It’s important to still be accepting of your partner’s interest; they should never be made fun of or belittled for how they feel or what they like. If your partner doesn’t immediately like a sexual fetish that’s important to you, it may help to take baby steps and slowly get them used to the idea, but remember to never pressure them or force them. Consent is key.

One of the biggest problems that may arise from this situation is if one member of the relationship feels judged. For instance, if someone in a relationship has a foot fetish, then they might want to open up and tell their partner about this or incorporate it into their sexual experiences. However, if the other partner is turned off by it and becomes judgmental or belittling, this may lead to hurt feelings or resentment. It’s perfectly okay to not like a fetish, but it’s important to also respect your partner’s wants, needs, and desires. If a specific sexual fetish is not for you, it may help to move on from it, and try to find other ways that you can connect sexually.

As long as a sexual fetish isn’t going to cause harm to either partner in any way, it’s perfectly acceptable to entertain the idea and then turn it down if a partner isn’t interested. If a fetish runs the risk of exposing you to a sexually transmitted disease, such as sleeping with other people, then you may want to take extra precautions to protect yourself or decide if it is something that you want to partake in. Regardless of what sexual fetish you or your partner may have, it’s important to be respectful and honest. There might be times when a person will be disappointed that you don’t like a fetish, but if they truly care about you, they will most likely be accepting of your feelings.

When Sex Fetishes Become A Problem

There may be times where a sex fetish could present a problem or concern in a relationship. For instance, a sexual fetish may seem too outside of someone’s comfort zone to want to try, or they may simply not be interested in it. It is perfectly okay for someone to be skeptical of something they don’t feel comfortable with, but for some relationships, it may be a deal-breaker.

Whether your sex fetishism is going to prevent your relationship from moving forward depends on several factors. You have to figure out whether your fetish needs to be catered to for you to be happy in a relationship. It may also be important to determine if your partner can accept that you like certain things without judgment. Some individuals may simply discover that they are not compatible sexually. For some people, sexual gratification is a very important part of a relationship and personal satisfaction, and they may find their relationship and personal needs are not fulfilled if they are unable to live out their sexual fetishes with a partner.

Relationship Counseling May Be Beneficial

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For some couples, relationship counseling might be beneficial. If you’re experiencing difficulties with communication and understanding, or you’re experiencing concerns within your sexual relationship, then a professional and non-biased perspective may be helpful to guide you. Learning how to come together as a couple sexually may take some time, and coming to accept certain things about your partner or yourself may not always be easy. With a licensed counselor, you can work through any issues that might be holding you back while learning how to communicate better within your relationship. This may lead to a happier, more fulfilling relationship, and you may even be able to figure out how to improve your sexual connection as well.

Sexual fetishes may be difficult for some couples to talk about openly with others, and they may hesitate to seek help from a professional. However, online counseling may be an invaluable tool to seek support that’s both convenient and discreet. BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that can match you with a licensed professional to best suit your needs. They can provide tools and guidance to help you overcome any challenges you may be experiencing in your relationship, all from the comfort of your own home or wherever you have an internet connection. If you’re ready to take the next step in improving your relationship, reach out to BetterHelp today.

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