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A clothing fetish or garment fetish is a sexual fetish that revolves around a fixation upon a particular article or type of clothing, a collection of garments that appear as part of a fashion or uniform, or a person dressed in such a garment.

The clinical definition of a sexual fetish would require that a person is fixated on a specific garment to the extent that it exists as an exclusive (or recurrent) stimulus for sexual gratification.[1][2]

One who exhibits a clothing fetish may be aroused by the sight of a person (same or opposite sex) wearing a particular garment, and may go as far as desiring conversation, friendship, or sexual relations with that person due to this. However the attraction may die down when that person removes the garment and is seen by the fetishist wearing something else.

Others with a clothing fetish may be aroused by the sight of such garments, even in the absence of a person wearing them. The fetishist may derive pleasure from wearing them, collecting them, or observing them in pictures.Sometimes the garment becomes the main reason for sexual arousal.PVC fetishism seems to have began in the late 1960s and early 1970s.During that era boots and garments made of PVC were made.Using a crinkle version of the PVC garments which were worn by high school students caused arousal in boys.Some men that grew up in that era still find PVC garments reminding them of their early arousal's during puberty.


Relative prevalence of garment fetishism

In order to determine the relative prevalences of different fetishes, scientists obtained a sample of at least 5000 individuals worldwide from 381 Internet discussion groups. The relative prevalences were estimated based on (a) the number of groups devoted to a particular fetish, (b) the number of individuals participating in the groups and (c) the number of messages exchanged. The top garment fetish was footwear related (high heels).[3][4]

By garment type

Though almost any type of garment in theory can be the subject of a fetish, common clothing fetishes include footwear, female underwear and uniforms. A wide range of other garments have been the subject of less common fetishes.

Separate from fetishes as a paraphilia, are garments worn to enhance appearance (tight jeans, other eyecatching clothing); in this case the differentiator is whether for the person concerned, the clothing is the focus of a sexual fetish, or is merely appreciated and found pleasing and enhancing.


Jacket fetishism is most usually associated with the fixation or attraction to padded nylon jackets, though can also be associated with leather jackets, particularly in association with bondage. In a survey, researchers at the University of Bologna found that 9 percent of people were turned on by jackets, making it the third most popular garment fetish after shoes and costumes.[4]

Restrictive clothing

Clothing that limits the wearer's movement is commonly used for this property, particularly among bondage enthusiasts and it has common appearance in bondage-related fetish fashion. Such restrictive fashion, among others, includes corsets, hobble skirts and high-heeled footwear (particularly ballet boots in extreme case). Because items it includes are what in modern western society mostly belongs to women's fashion, male restrictive clothing fetishists can have problems in obtaining and using such items without being labeled as transvestites.


The training corset and bondage corset has also become a staple in fetish wear, particularly among dominatrices. A submissive or slave may also be forced to wear a tightly laced corset as a form of punishment or simply restriction. And the masochistic practice known as tightlacing creates a particular type of pleasure for the wearer. In the 1980s, pop music performers such as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper reintroduced and popularized the corset as a daring outerwear garment. This influence continues to the present day in both fetish and mainstream fashion.[5][6]

Hobble skirts

A hobble skirt is a long, tight skirt, extending below the knees and often ankle length, which is so tight that it is difficult to walk in. When used as fetish clothing, it is often made of latex or PVC and sometimes corseted, to increase the restriction.

Such skirts were briefly a mainstream fashion in the 1910s, however, they were soon abandoned as impractical. They were revived in the 1950s by John Willie and others as a bondage/fetish style.[7]


Stocking fetishists usually find sexual partners clothed in sheer nylon or silk stockings to be sexually stimulating, or find the act of a person donning or removing a pair of stockings arousing. Some men find it arousing to collect and wear stockings, sometimes hidden under a pair of trousers.[8]


Among the most common uniforms in uniform fetish are those of a schoolgirl, nurse, French maid, waitress, cheerleader and Playboy Bunny. Some people also regard nuns' habits or even aprons as uniforms. Sometimes, a uniform may be used appropriate to what is being done. For example, someone may wear a nurse's uniform to administer an enema, or a police uniform to handcuff and cage someone. This may add a sense of authenticity to the game play.[9]

By fabric type


Venus with a Mirror, by Tiziano Vecellio (circa 1555) inspired Leopold von Sacher-Masoch´s novel Venus im Pelz (Venus in Furs)

Fur fetishism refers to the sexual fetishism that revolves around people wearing fur, or in certain cases, to the garments themselves.

These materials may be fetishised because the garment acts as a fetishistic surrogate or second skin for the wearer's own skin. The material may be regarded as providing a superstimulus that is more intense than the normal response associated with real skin. This is heightened by the fact that the fur was originally an animal's skin and hair.

The most famous, and one of the earliest depictions of the topic was the semi-autobiographical novel Venus in Furs (1870) by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. After the novel´s success, Sacher-Masoch apparently decided to take on a fetish sadomasochism-lifestyle.[10] In 1884, he had sent a copy of the novel to Richard von Krafft-Ebing, who gave Sacher-Masoch immortality when, in 1891 he used this ancient austrian nobility name as an eponym for what today is called bottoming.


Leather fetishism is the name popularly used to describe a sexual attraction to people wearing leather and or to the garments themselves. The smell and the sound of leather is often an erotic stimulus for people with a leather fetish. Leather uniforms may also become a fetish. Leather is occasionally finished with a glossy surface and produced in bright colors, providing visual stimuli for some leather fetishists.

The feel of tight leather garments worn may be experienced as a form of sexual bondage. Bondage equipment is made from leather straps. The term "leather culture" was applied in the 1960s in the USA gay sadomasochistic subculture as an umbrella term for alternate sexual practices. The pony fetish involves the use of equestrian like gear fitted to humans.


A woman wearing a black latex fetish catsuit and thigh-high boots.

Latex fetish is the fetishistic attraction latex latex clothing or garments and sometimes called rubber fetishism as latex is a type of rubber. Latex or rubber fetishists may refer to themselves as "Rubberists". One example is Mr. Blowup.[11] He wears air inflated latex suits .[12] One variety of latex fetish involves the attraction to transparent rubber.

PVC fetishism is closely related to latex fetishism and involves a sexual attraction to shiny plastic clothes made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurathane or similar man made materials. PVC may be mistaken for shiny patent leather.

Nylon fetishism is similar to PVC and latex fetishism and includes the wearing of shiny raincoats, jackets and trousers, especially those belonging to the other sex.

Latex fetish involves wearing clothing made from latex, observing it worn by others, and having sexual fantasies about wearing latex garments, catsuits, hoods, divers or industrial protective clothing. A common latex fetish icon is the dominatrix wearing a skin-tight glossy black latex or PVC catsuit.

A subgroup of the PVC fetishism is clear PVC clothing such as clear plastic raincoats, slipcovers, and custom clothing made out of clear PVC.

Many sex toys such as dildos and butt plugs are made from rubber or similar materials, and this may be factor contributing to a type of rubber fetish. Some rubber fetishists have what is termed a medical fetish or have a sexual interest in klismaphilia - medical gloves and catheters of latex, as well as condoms. Other fetish objects may include disposable diapers and plastic pants.


Spandex Zentai suit

Spandex fetishism is a fetishistic attraction to people wearing stretch fabrics or, in certain cases, to the garments themselves, such as leotards. One reason why spandex and other tight fabrics may be fetishised is that the garment forms a "second skin," acting as a fetishistic surrogate for the wearer's own skin. Wearers of skin-tight nylon and cotton spandex garments can appear naked or coated in a shiny or matte substance like paint. The tightness of the garments may also be seen as sexual bondage. Another reason is that nylon-spandex fabric (preferred by many spandex fetishists) is often produced with a very smooth and silk-like finish, which lends a tactile dimension to the fetish - as well as a visual one.

In comic books, superheroes, superheroines, and supervillains are generally depicted as wearing costumes made of spandex or a similar material. The superheroines always wear skintight, very flashy and bright-coloured costumes that usually cover only just enough of the body to be presentable. Fantasies involving superheroes or the wearing of superhero costumes are commonly associated with spandex fetishism.

Full-body suits called zentai entirely immerse the wearer in skin tight fabric. The suits are essentially catsuits with gloves, feet, and a hood. The wearer gets to experience total enclosure and those who enjoy erotic objectification might make use of the garment's anonymizing aspect. Zentai fetishism appears to be quite popular in Japan and Europe. The word zentai means whole body in Japanese.

See also


  1. ^ Masters WH, Johnson VE, Kolodny RC: Human sexuality, 5th ed. New York: Harper Collins, 1995.
  2. ^ de Silva WP (1999). "ABC of sexual health. Sexual variations" (PDF). BMJ 318 (7184): 654–6. PMID 10066212.  
  3. ^ Scorolli C, Ghirlanda S, Enquist M, Zattoni S, Jannini EA (2007). "Relative prevalence of different fetishes". Int. J. Impot. Res. 19 (4): 432–7. doi:10.1038/sj.ijir.3901547. PMID 17304204.  
  4. ^ a b Dobson, Roger (2007). Heels are the world's No 1 fetish. The Independent Online Edition.
  5. ^ Steele, Valerie (February 8, 2003). The Corset: A Cultural History. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300099539.  
  6. ^ Kunzle, David (August 1, 2006). Fashion & Fetishism: Corsets, Tight-Lacing and Other Forms of Body-Sculpture. The History Press. ISBN 978-0750938099.  
  7. ^ The history of the hobble skirt
  8. ^ Kunzle, David (2004). Fashion and Fetishism. Sutton. ISBN 0-7509-3808-0
  9. ^ The Visual Dictionary of Sex, Dr. Eric J Trimmer (editor), ISBN 0-89479-011-0; A & W Publishers, 1977
  10. ^ Written in the flesh: a history of desire. Author: Edward Shorter. Editor: University of Toronto Press, 2005. ISBN 0802038433, 9780802038432
  11. ^ Cobbett, Bill. (April 1997) Secret Magazine The story of Mr. Blowup. Issue 12; Page 86.
  12. ^ The Globe and Mail (April 27, 2000) More proof that the Net's a weird place: A new book assembles strange Web sites. Page R7


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