This week I want to talk about something you may find unusual: nonsexual fetishes. That’s right, I said non-sexual fetishes. Because being kinky isn’t just about sex. These fetishes are usually actions or activities that are not inherently sexual in nature. However performing or witnessing these acts can be a turn on, or even feelings of contentment, fulfillment, usefulness, or just happiness.
There is an infinitely large variety of nonsexual fetishes. Some of the bigger ones are service, objectification, masochism, and some forms of bondage and/or suspension.
My friend Izzy often takes the role as human furniture, an act of service and objectification, for her Master. She will kneel at his feet and be a footstool for him, sometimes a serving tray, a table, or be a table decoration. Izzy says that she feels a sense of satisfaction at being useful to her Master when she performs as human furniture for him. “I don’t have to think, I just have to sit or kneel with my head down and simply be,” Izzy said. Being her Master’s footstool is a pleasurable tangible reminder of the M/s dynamic she has with her Master. It allows her to be centered in the deliberate inequality they have negotiated as part of their relationship.
I often see another friend of mine, Stella, doing a scene that involves either her masochism or her love of rope bondage and suspension. When I asked her about any nonsexual fetishes she had, she mentioned both her masochism and love of rope. “What I experience when I'm in a masochistic scene depends upon the type of scene. With needles, it's very calming and grounding for me. There can be challenges with bigger needles or particular places that they're put, but the overall experience is one of bringing me back to my body and settling into it. Beating scenes are more intense as far as being actively challenging and bringing my fight out. All of my masochistic scenes feel ultimately internally strengthening to me, so there are things I derive from them that have nothing to do with sexual pleasure (and to date, have had nothing to do with sexual pleasure at all).”
Stella said that her feelings about rope scenes come from a totally different place than the internal strengthening of her masochistic scenes. “I routinely get suspended by people who are just friends and also good at rope, and I've had floor work that wasn't at all sexual as well. In those cases, it's fun, playful, and sometimes challenging. I nearly always enjoy the sensations involved with rope play, and those sensations don't need to have anything to do with sexual interaction in order to be fun and feel good. Rope in a sexual space and rope for fun with friends has a very different feel, and I love them both.”
Service and protocol are two other fetishes common in the BDSM community. They focus on an outward showing of existing D/s and M/s dynamics, whether the act or scene is in private or in public. Service activities can include (but are certainly not limited to) serving dinner or tea, cleaning, crafting something, bootblacking (taking care of leather objects), packing your Dominants toy bag before an event, etc. My friend Shelly considers service and protocol to be her “biggest fetish hands down.” Shelly told me that she is planning on hosting a dinner party for some friends where are two submissives will be serving everyone there: “To try and give a specific example, in the next couple of weeks, me and some friends are going to be having a high protocol dinner, with my (one male, one female) submissives in service for the evening. There's going to be between 8 and 12 of us, not including the two of them. The guests are going to be enjoying drinks and conversation and dinner at the end of the night, and the submissives' tasks is to be as attentive to our needs as they can be. Fetching drinks, bringing food, and being as much or as little involved as someone chooses.”
Personally, I am very driven by service. I enjoy feeling useful and bringing enjoyment and simplicity to the life of Rock Napalm, my wonderful Dominant. I also enjoy bondage immensely, and have a growing love of being human furniture and other similar types of objectification. I enjoy pleasing him and knowing that I bring something to the table that makes his life a little simpler, easier, and happier. Nonsexual fetishes can be turn-ons, but they can also give a sense of fulfillment and contentment too.