Mister T made an interesting comment on whether or not my fascination with smoking is actually a fetish. I’ve always thought of it as one since it isn’t something that people normally find attractive or if they find it attractive they might not be sexually aroused solely from watching people smoke. For me, there has always been a connection between smoking and sex, even before I was aware that what I was feeling was sexual arousal. I don’t necessarily need it to become aroused, but it is the fastest, easiest way to sexual arousal. Pretty much all of my own personal fantasies involve smoking and have for many years now.
I think it all depends on how you define a fetish. Fetishism is still diagnosable in the DSM-IV and ICD as paraphilia, but only if the fetish causes distress or has a detrimental affect on that person’s life. In that regard, I’m not sure what I have does cause me enough distress or not enough to be diagnosable. That said, there is even a movement to get away from the diagnosis of fetishes since the fact that they can be diagnosed causes much social stigma. The wiki page (as much as you have to be careful with info you find on wikipedia) is very informative on this topic.
A fetish is a powerful and consuming thing, almost like a virus, kidnapping and controlling one’s sexuality. You may be fascinated by smoking, or even feel compelled to do it, but unless smoking is essential to feed your sexual desire you probably do not have a fetish.
You make an interesting point- by that definition of a fetish, I probably don’t have one. But at the same time, I feel like it is more than a fascination since almost every sexual fantasy I have involves smoking of some sort, and I think that might be abnormal. I think it might also be because the word fetish is being adopted not only by people that do suffer from their fetishes, but people who live normal lives who have embraced their fetishes. Maybe that means they are not technically fetishes anymore, at least not in the diagnosable sense, but people have still embraced the word. One day, maybe it will be like the work queer- which was initially a slur, but the gay community has embraced it as a way of identifying themselves. I found this blog, Fetish Burden, also had a fairly good description of what a fetish is and I think I identify with his definition as well.
Another thing that makes me think that this is a fetish vs just a fascination is how early it manifested itself. I found smoking to be a turn-on before I even knew what a turn-on was. I’m not sure why, but I’ve heard some people compare sexual fetishes to sexual orientation, as something you are born with and that is pretty much impossible to change. That opens up another can of worms in that evidence of sexual orientation as being something you are born with. I happen to believe that there is a biological basis to sexual orientation so maybe there is some biological basis to fetishes. There is no evidence I can use to back this up. In fact, from the searches I did for academic journal articles on the topic, there is very little.
I could probably go on, but I have a feeling I might not be making sense anymore. I guess regardless of what my fascination with smoking is, I will continue to refer to it as a fetish as that is how I have thought of it for many year. Thank you everyone for your comments. I really appreciate them and it is nice to know that others out there can sympathize, since I think the hardest part about this is how lonely it can be. I will probably address all of the comments over the next week or so as many of them have sparked ideas for new posts. Until next time…