Monday, January 8, 2007

F is for Fetish….

I’ve got fetishes on my mind all the time now. And not just because I’m a naturally kinky person. But because I’m in the midst of editing a collection of X-rated stories for Cleis Press called "F Is for Fetish," (part of my risqué ABC series). So while I might spend a good portion of my time lost in thoughts of my various fetishes anyway (marabou, leather, handcuffs, shoes), right now, my fetish fantasies are actually part of my job. Aren’t you jealous?

The stories I’ve read for "F Is for Fetish" turned me pink-cheeked from the start. I should have known, I suppose, that this would be the theme to generate the most wide-spread response, from fingers to toes and fishnets to dildos. During my research for the anthology, I managed to discover fetishes I never even knew existed. Rachel Kramer Bussel alerted me to two: an accent fetish and a hair color fetish (check out her upcoming columns on both in the Village Voice). Who knew? But now that I think of it…I do have a thing for East Coast accents, and when my man says “wicked weird,” which comes out sort of like “wicked wee-ahd,” I get, well, wicked wet.

Over the years, I’ve written about my share of fetishes, often specific topics requested by editors, concepts that I might not have explored otherwise. Cara Bruce, the sexy vixen who edited "Best Fetish Erotica," asked for a piece on shoplifting. I wrote about stealing knives in my story Blades, and I still don’t know where this piece came from:

I’m the type of girl who gets an intense rush from any type of thievery. From absconding successfully with a single piece of fruit that I know I’ll never eat to taking lipsticks and glosses and tints that simply gather dust on my bathroom shelf. The art of stealing is enough. It transforms me. A heart-pounding energy fills my brain when I realize that, fuck yes, I’m going to do it once again. I’m going to walk out of this store with something that I haven’t paid for. Fear freezes into a pleasing numbness as I grip an item tightly and make my way to the nearest exit.
But knives are the best, because blades turn me on.

Another editor has purchased countless tickling stories from me, and I love to write them, although living out those torturous fantasies on a regular basis would be something else entirely.

I once received fan mail for an early novel, The Blue Rose, from a reader who had so adored my many descriptions of flowing long hair. He had a hair fetish, he explained, and would pay me a very nice sum if I would write a 5,000 word piece that solely dealt with women’s long, curly locks.

To me, the best part of learning about other people’s fetishes, is the fact that the revelation itself is often unexpectedly erotic. People tend to keep their fetishes close to their hearts. They treasure them, holding on tight. Which makes uncovering these secrets that much more delicious. (Maybe I have a fetish about learning about other people’s fetishes!)

What do I know about fetishes personally?

Plenty. I have been a fan of leather since my freshman year at college. My friend Gina sat in front of me in Ancient Greek History and she’d saved up all of her summer job money to buy a leather jacket with a fur collar. (Yeah, she was one of those wise-beyond-her-years types.) She wore the jacket all fall and winter, and she accentuated the natural scent of the leather with Obsession perfume. I sat behind her and mentally missed every lecture, stroking the skin of her jacket and drinking in her scent mixed with the smell of the hide.

But maybe my fetish began even before that, on a trip to NY just prior to college, when my friend Simone took me to a show her friends were in. Four of us shared the back of a cab, and three were in leather pants: Simone, her friend Michael, and his lover David. I was surrounded in the butter-soft fabric, surrounded by that most sensual aroma ever.

I’ve never gotten over the way I feel when wearing leather, when touched with leather gloves, when zipped up tight in an ankle-length leather jacket. And yet somehow that sensation is very akin to the way I felt while editing my "F Is for Fetish" book. The heady scent of sex flooded over me as I turned the pages dedicated to toys and toes knickers to knuckles:

He ran those perfect fingers along the bike’s curves and let them linger in her hidden spots. He pressed his fingers in the gear spots where she always wanted more oil, tucked them into the corner of the stem that always collected dirt. I’d always wanted a man like that, who could discover my hidden places and know intuitively how I wanted, needed, to be touched. Not sex, but something else. A discovery maybe. Or the feeling that someone knows you better than yourself.

Watching his fingers made me dizzy. The smooth sound of his skin sliding over her frame, the way he tucked his fingertips beneath the lip of the seat—it was too much. Then he moved down to the flat tire. While he spun the wheel with one hand, he kept two fingers pressed to the side of the wheel. The sound was a steady slide, like someone pulling a skirt up over stockinged thighs.

(Excerpted from Shanna Germain’s sizzling “Knuckling Under.”)

I reveled in fetishes that appeal to me, and learned about some brand-new ones. And as I read the words, each fetish came alive to me, swept over me, leaving me breathless and blushing.

So feel free… feel free to imagine me fully flushed. And feel free to turn crimson-cheeked yourself as you tell us each one of your own secret fetishes….

P.S. For more info on fetishes, please check out this handy resource by the ever fetish-worthy Miss Violet Blue.


Fiona Locke said...

Well, my fetishes are certainly no secret! Spanking is top of my list and has been for as long as I can remember. And my uniform fetish overlaps it. School uniforms are a favourite, naturally, but nothing turns me to jelly quite like the frock coats, gold braided epaulettes and cocked hats of Nelson's navy. (Or is it just the severe discipline associated with the period?)

Black Lace had a ban on historicals at the time of Wicked Words: Sex in Uniform, but I said 'Damn the torpedoes!' and wrote one of my oldest and most cherished fantasies, 'Kissing the Gunner's Daughter.' (Girls disguising themselves as boys and getting punished as boys is another one of my kinks.)

I also like the way the word 'fetish' has grown to encompass more than just a physical object. The term is too limiting otherwise. I think that, for just about every object, situation or scenario you can think of, there's someone out there for whom it's a bona fide fetish.

Nikki Magennis said...

I was thinking about fetishes this morning. Wondering what they really are. Anything can become an erotic object, I suppose. For me, a belt, a leather belt is sexy, particularly the clink as its undone and the slipping noise of it being pulled out from the loops.

Perhaps its because it reminds me of one night long ago, and how my lover paused just after he removed his belt, laid it across my legs, just at the top of my thighs. Pulled it tight.

Is that why we fetishize an object? Evocative memories? Dictionary says its usually an object, though I appreciate sounds or smells could become obsessively erotic too. And I think I could fetishize every aspect of a man’s body – the belly, the hips, the bottom, the shoulders, the little nipples, the hands, the legs.

I like the original meaning of the word ‘fetish’, which was something akin to a sorcerer’s charm. Something magical, an object imbued with power.

I don’t know that I’m a proper fetishist though, because I can’t concentrate on any one thing obsessively enough. There’s just too many sexy things in the world to stick with just one...

Alison Tyler said...

Hi Nikki,

Oh, yes... sound of a buckle clinking open... the whisper of leather pulled through loops. Awesome image.

And Fiona... there are so many delicious fetish costumes. You nailed mine with school girl uniforms. But I'm also rather partial to naughty nurse outfits. And really almost any uniform done up in an unexpected fabric, like vinyl...


kristina lloyd said...

Leather gloves, mmmm. I like hooded tops too. Basically, I like stuff that makes the wearer seem slightly anonymous or distanced, and in some ways less human. (The full-on anonymity of gimp suits is a wee bit specialist for my taste but, as we like to say at Lust Bites, if that’s your bag, don’t worry because it’s all OK.) I like that scary, uncertain edge of someone half-hidden. The novel I’m writing at the mo features puppets and marionettes – who are, of course, a lot less human and very distanced. There’s something sinister and darkly erotic about being ‘watched’ by all those little creatures with their unseeing eyes. And they’ve got all those strings attached to them which is very bondage and has all manner of control and power-play implications. It might creep people out but I’m loving it. Probably doesn’t count as a fetish but it’s very specific and odd in the way fetishes often are.

And, oh Nikki, Alison, yes, yes - the clink and hiss of a leather belt being removed.

Also, spying on men underwater at the swimming pool. I swim while I’m doing it. I’m quite subtle, you know. But I love the way their underarm hair goes all frondy and wafts around like inky-black sea anemones. And thighs. I like thighs. And hands pushing through water. But this isn’t actually fetishistic. It’s just me leering at wet, near-naked men. I’m quite a strong swimmer. Can’t think why.

Alison, you must be careful with your links. I nearly bought those $289 boots just then.

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about this post all day and wondering what to write in reponse. All three of my BL novels have been about some kind of sexual obsessive behaviour so I feel like I should have something to say.

In Peep Show my main character Imogen spies on gay men. In Mad About the Boy Sophie has a deep kink for paying a man for sex. In Equal Opportunities - probably my most fetishy book - Mary has a definite disability fetish. (However, I find it kind of ironic that what she really fetishes is a man's body. What could be more vanilla than that?)

I think fetishes are fun to write because people with that kind of drive make good characters. People with fetishes have goals. People with goals are good to write about.

I suppose the fetishes of all my characters are ones I share to one degree or another. And I have a lot more - which is good news for my career. They aren't realy about objects though. If that is a true fetish then I don't have one. Shoes, clothes, belts - this is all lost on me. This is good news because none of my fetishes will ever cost me anything (oh, except the hustler one)

Some examples: Shaved heads, hands, bare feet, stubble, hair pulling, younger men with older women, secrets, frustration, tears, Battlestar Galactica.

Alison Tyler said...

Oh, Mathilde,

You're lucky you focus on the non-monetary items. I don't have a digital camera right now, but I'd love to post a picture of my marabou slippers. I've got a rainbow collection. And my boots. My luscious, lovely leather boots. Oh, and my vinyl dresses... and school girl skirts....and fishnets in every color...

Put them all together, and I'm a walking fetish. Nightmare or dream, I don't know.


Anonymous said...

Talking of blushing, in my new novella Under her Skin, my vampire hero has a real fetish for the heroine blushing. (It's a blood thing.)

Ha ha. He's a nasty bastard a lot of the time, but everytime I write about that little quirk of his, my heart warms to him .

Nikki Magennis said...

I thought of one! Men who play the piano, does that count?

I just watched the beat that my heart skipped and oh boy...

kristina lloyd said...

Oh, Tilly, I love the blushing. That's gorgeous.

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Of course, spanking is a biggie for me in the fetish firmament. I'm wondering how widespead a sexual response to spanking is in the general populace. I'm guessing it's maybe among the top three fetishes in western culture, just behind big breasts, and shapely legs.

And of course it's not just the act of spanking that's sexualized. Context is just as important. The eternal question is "what relationship settings and events could plausibly lead to a self-possessed, dignified young lady being soundly spanked in spite of her grown-up adult personna.

So the dominance and submission factor is a big part of the sexual charge. But total dominance and total submission are somehow unreal. They don't allow disbelief to be suspended. So for maximum emotional wallop, they need to be tempered with some degree of ambivalence or cloaked with a facade of civiility.

I find fiercely intelligent, deeply personal and unrelentingly honest writing also carries a strong sexual charge for me. I was a big fan of Alison Kennedy's (aka Queen Mu) magazine Mondo 2000, even though it wasn't overtly about sex. I wonder what she's doing now, having spent her inheritance publishing a few years of Mondo in the late 80s and early 90s of the last century.

Of course Alison Tyler's blog is my current fave in the written words department. She combines her breathtakingly real spanking chronicles with incendiary writing, that burns wormholes through cyberspaces allowing readers to gaze into her deepest darkest abyss. And what does old Fred have to say about that? Well: "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Frederick Nietzsche (from Beyond Good and Evil).

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Karl.

And did you know spanking is good for you? It tones the skin and increases blood flow -

- what?

Really? I'm that gullible? *Sigh*
All these years and I thought spanking was for health reasons...

I think the spanking ties in pretty close with the blushing, doesn't it? Sharing something that's slightly out there with someone else is so utterly intimate.

For more 'fiercely intelligent, deeply personal and unrelentingly honest' writing, have you had a look at Alana's blog? I know Alison's is addictive, but I think you might enjoy.

Alison Tyler said...

Hey Nikki,
Yes, Alana's is amazing. I totally agree. And, Karl, I'm always impressed with the thoughtfulness of your comments. But they do tend to make me feel as if I need to go back to school. Some sort of sex school, of course, where instructors walk around with whippet-thin canes and make sure you've read your Nietzsche...