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Jack is a fetishist. His particular fetish is a variation of pediophilia, getting aroused by dolls. Jack is one of an estimated 600,000 fetishists of all kinds in the United States, most of whom are men, and many of whom, surprisingly, don’t even suspect there’s anything especially unusual about them until circumstances, such as being arrested for a fetish-related offense, force them to come face to face with their offbeat manner of obtaining sexual pleasure.

The forms which their deviations may take are numerous, ranging from an obsession to suck a partner’s nose (nasolingus) to being aroused by tickling (titillagnia). But there is one factor which all true fetishists have in common, no matter what the outward manifestation of their activities: their actions are invariably aimed at achieving sexual gratification. In other words, a man who picks his nose need not necessarily be a fetishist; he can simply be a slob. Only when the erotic is involved can he genuinely be classified as a fetishist.

Assuming, however, that sexual gratification is present, and that this sexual satisfaction is obtained from a particular part of the body, a particular inanimate object or even a particular situation, sensation, or living creature, the question that comes naturally to mind is: Well, then, isn’t everybody a fetishist in one way or another? It would seem at first glance that such is the case. Surely, most men, at various points in their lives, prefer certain parts of a woman’s body over others – for example, “ass men,” or “leg men.” And it is not uncommon for some men to “get their rocks off” by employing pillows or cored-out apples, and for women to make use of dildoes for sexual thrills and relief.

Are these people fetishists? Not necessarily, and the reason, though subtle, is a clearly defined one. These people are not exclusively fixated on a particular bodily part or inanimate object; they merely find them attractive – or handy. The fetishist, on the other hand, is infatuated with the part. To the fetishist, the part alone is capable of providing him or her with sexual satisfaction. He has made the bodily part, or object, his love object. And it is this which sets apart the true panty-fetishist, for example, from the collegian going on a panty raid just for the hell of it – even though both may end up with a pair of panties.

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