I’ve been thinking a lot about this given where I am today vs where I was when I started this blog. I used to be super ashamed of my fetish like it was something super freakish that I needed to suppress. But this instinct to suppress it, only made it stronger. Now I simply see it as something that developed during my formative years, likely in response to the anti-smoking propaganda that was very prevalent in the 90’s when I was growing up. My fascination started young, pre-internet and completely disconnected from pornography.
I recently read this article: Are Sexual Tastes Immutable? which describe a bit about how sexual tastes are acquired and whether or not they can be changed once they have been acquired. From this article asserts that:
Indeed, most of us have a good bit of indirect say over our sexual tastes (as contrasted with our sexual orientation). Brains are plastic. The truth is we are always training our brains—with or without our conscious participation. We can choose to avoid, pursue, and cease pursuit of, stimuli that condition our sexual tastes in particular directions.
On the many smoking fetish forums I’ve participated in, most people feel as though:
- Their sexual fetish for smoking developed young, often pre-internet exposure or even pre-pornography exposure.
- They feel as though it is something that they have always had or always will have.
This makes sense because the younger someone develops these sexual tastes, the more likely it will seem that they are innate and unchangeable.
My fetish has changed over time, but it certainly does feel as though it is here to stay. That said, I think if I had really wanted to rid myself of, I’ve been going about it completely the wrong way for many, many years.
That said, it isn’t too late if I want to change. The article quotes neuroplasticity expert Norman Doidge’s The Brain that Changes Itself:
Their treatment for sexual tastes acquired later in life was far simpler than that for patients who, in their critical periods [of development], acquired a preference for problematic sexual types. Yet even some of these men were able, like A., to change their [preferred] sexual type, because the same laws of neuroplasticity that allow us to acquire problematic tastes also allow us, in intensive treatment, to acquire newer, healthier ones and in some cases even to lose our older, troubling ones. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it brain, even where sexual desire and love are concerned.
The article mentions, that if one is going to try to rid himself or herself of an unwanted sexual taste, they should avoid their stimulus. For example, in my case, a stimulus I could avoid is watching YouTube videos featuring women smoking. I’ve never watched smoking pornography, although when I was confessing my fetish to my partner I referred to it as ‘smoking pornography’ as for a person with a smoking fetish, no sex need be depicted for it to be an arousing image.
So what is my advice to you if you have a smoking fetish and it bugs you:
- Figure out where your fetish might have started. I found the more I explored the roots of my fetish, the less powerful it seemed to be.
- Avoid masturbation to smoking stimuli. This only reinforces the fetish.
- Avoid visiting website promoting smoking. Pro-smoking websites only reinforce the alluring parts of smoking.
- Start seeing smoking as a normal thing to do. The more I saw smoking as simply something people did rather than what I had built it up in my head to be (the ultimate ‘bad girl’ action, ‘the worst thing I could do to myself’. As I started to see smoking as ‘just smoking’, I found it less arousing.
- If all else fails, seek professional help.
If you have a smoking fetish, it doesn’t bother you but you are having trouble being aroused by your non-smoking partner:
- If they don’t smoke, don’t try to get them to smoke.
- Eliminate consumption of smoking media (videos, stories, forum posts etc.) This will increase your attraction to your real life partner.
- Incorporate non-nicotine vaping as a way to ‘play with the fetish’ in a non-addictive, less harmful way.If that doesn’t do it, see 2.
- Read step 1 again. Seriously, don’t do it. If it is that important to you that your partner smoke, find a smoker to be with.
If you are a non-smoker with a smoking fetish thinking about trying smoking because of your fetish:
- Experiment with non-nicotine vaping. I actually got a huge kick out of chucking giant clouds with my sub-ohm device. I suggest not going the route of nicotine as there really isn’t any need to add a nicotine addiction that you don’t already have. If I get the urge to smoke again, I have my device ready with my favourite juice precisely for this purpose.
- Get real with why you want to try smoking. For most people with a fetish, it starts as a curiosity about how smoking feels. For other people, it is an escalation of sorts. When pictures and videos don’t do it for them anymore, actually smoking ups the ante. So is it curiosity or a desire to escalate the intensity of the experience? Either way, proceed with caution. You basically have no idea how your body will react to nicotine and it can be a powerful reinforcer.
- If you do decide to try it, be okay with the possibility of becoming addicted. I know that sounds super ominous, but some people have a pretty intensely positive reaction to smoking. I know I did.
Where am I at? I am thinking about reducing my reliance on smoking fantasy when I masturbate. This sounds a bit daunting as I cannot recall a time in my adult life where I haven’t masturbated to smoking fantasy. No seriously. I’ve never been a huge picture or video watcher (although I have done it). I was much more into smoking erotica. Currently, watch some videos and mostly rely on my ‘what if I had started then…” fantasies which are pretty mundane but do the trick. Interestingly, my fantasies have changed since my 9 month vaping stint. Pre and during vaping my fantasies were always about future me starting to smoke. Since quitting, I know I don’t want to smoke in the present or future (and have to endure quitting again). The thought simply doesn’t arouse me anymore. This is a big change and I think that if that can change other things about my sexual tastes can change.
One thing that I have started doing that seems to be helping is incorporating mindfulness into my masturbation. What does this mean? Instead of using a fantasy to bring on arousal, I simply focus on all of the sensations that I am feeling while I masturbate or even on my breathing. Just like with mindful meditation, when I find my mind wandering or drumming up my regular fantasies, I just gently bring my attention back to my breathing or to the sensations that I am feeling. It typically takes longer to ‘complete’ than with fantasies but I’m finding that I am more satisfied. I think I could write a whole post just on this. For me, this seems more sensible than avoiding masturbation entirely (as I do not compulsively masturbate) and I think it will help on some level with retraining my brain.