Fetishes are defined here as an experience of intense and recurrent sexual arousal related to nonliving objects or non-genital body parts. Fetish is derived from a Portuguese word meaning “false power.” Originally, this word was used by European conquerors to describe objects or charms that were believed by native cultures to have supernatural abilities. As a result, the term developed an association with rejection and ridicule. Fetish was first applied to sexual acts by a psychiatrist in the 19th century, and it was viewed as synonymous with disorders needing to be cured. Still today, the American Psychiatric Association categorizes fetishes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) under the paraphilic disorders. This entry examines how fetishes have been defined and classified, their ...

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