If a person can develop - through some function of psychology/imprinting - an explicit attraction to some object (objectophilia - and in some cases, such individuals go so far as to have fully expressed relationships with such objects), then is it possible for a homosexual to develop a 'fetish' towards members of the opposite sex, or similarly a heterosexual towards members of the same sex?

Furthermore, how would such an attraction differ (if at all) compared to 'non-fetish' based sexual orientations such as individuals that identify as bisexual? Or would they appear, at least superficially, indistinguishable?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcI4fyfI1WM (documentary of a men that fall in love with their car)


I was reading different studies on the whole, "nature vs nurture" debate regarding homosexuality - controversy aside, it sparked the idea that perhaps, like paedophiles who become infatuated with children etc, whether its possible for a person to become (through some exceptional circumstances) infatuated with members of the opposite/same gender, even if they would not otherwise be considered as bisexual.

My point being, if someone is able to become attracted to cars in early childhood, that we can easily label as a fetish because of its context: is it therefore possible for a naturally gay person (or otherwise) to become infatuated with the gender which they would not otherwise be attracted to, because of the similar circumstances that, in my described example, would drive a man to fall in love with his car – and would we be able to identify this as such. (In short becoming 'bisexual', but perhaps superficially)

(Ps - for the people arguing over my use of the term "fetish", I do not presume to be an expert on the subject, and frankly wouldn't want to :), but seeing as people can be attracted to objects: objectophilia, animals: zoophilia, children: paedophilia, etc, it seems to me that just because the opposite gender doesn't fit into an accepted category as a "non-genital body part", it couldn't occur under the guise of bisexuality. And, as one comment so enthusiastically assented, "Anyone who has an attraction to both sexes is bisexual," which is what we all assume, and yet, should my proposed hypothesis be true, this might not be as straight forward as it is intuitively understood.)

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. I am interested in your theory that there are fetish based and non-fetish based sexual organisations. What have you read to come to that idea? is it possible for a homosexual to develop a 'fetish' towards members of the opposite sex, or similarly a heterosexual towards members of the same sex? Anyone who has an attraction to both sexes is bisexual, except those who are maybe denying their orientation and although they may identify themselves as heterosexual, they are in fact bisexual. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Apr 27 '19 at 4:51
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers check my edit $\endgroup$ – John Apr 28 '19 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ "for the people arguing over my use of the term "fetish"" The whole point is in the end this is a matter of definitions. This question demonstrates a misunderstanding of what the terms you use actually mean. If you have a different meaning of those terms in mind, you need to share that with us, otherwise your question becomes unintelligible to us. Therefore, it is easiest to discuss this topic given the terminology which already exists/is documented. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Apr 28 '19 at 16:19
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    $\begingroup$ From your edit I now have the impression you are possibly asking: "How do the mechanisms by which fetishisms arise differ from what determines someone's sexual orientation?". There might be some relevant info on this question: Within psychiatry, how is homosexuality discussed or classified? $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Apr 28 '19 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Within psychiatry, how is homosexuality discussed or classified? $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Apr 29 '19 at 13:24

By Wikipedia's definition a fetish is "a sexual fixation on a nonliving object or nongenital body part."

So, no, it is not 'possible' for anyone to develop a 'fetish' towards a living object.

  • $\begingroup$ Ugh, zoophilia? And you just unintentionally ignore the "nongenital body part" part $\endgroup$ – Ooker Apr 26 '19 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Ooker Zoophilia is a paraphilia. According to Psychology Today "[f]etishism falls under the general category of paraphilic disorders", but thus not all paraphilias are fetishes. I am not ignoring "nongenital body part", body parts here still refer to body parts of humans. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Apr 26 '19 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ yeah, sorry. After a sleep I realize a while sex and gender are technically nongenital body part, I just miss the point. Anyway, the Wikipedia page of paraphilia says that it "may be labeled sexual fetishism". Also, I believe we aren't fully answering OP's question, because they don't ask about the definition of fetish. $\endgroup$ – Ooker Apr 27 '19 at 2:28
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    $\begingroup$ Not sure I can follow you there. Either way, this answer preempts the question in the post. There might be more underlying questions the OP has, but then those should be posted now that they have a better understanding of terminology. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Apr 27 '19 at 10:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Ooker The way I understood it (but this is solely based on quick reading when I wrote up this answer), some paraphilias are called fetishism but not all paraphilias are. The more concrete examples given on the wiki page mention several which are in line with the definition, excepting possibly necrophilia. There is definitely room for a more authorative answer to this question, still. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Apr 27 '19 at 11:47

Ok, so after reading other SO questions, i came across this post, where the answer identifies Paedophilia as a sexual orientation. Should this be the case, it subverts my question, answering it in various ways:

1) Should paedophilia be considered a sexual orientation, a similar fetish towards a specific gender would also be considered their sexual orientation, regardless of the means by which they developed it.

Is pedophilia a sexual orientation or a mental disorder?

"Heterosexuality (non-deviant), homosexuality (non-deviant), and pedophilia (deviant) are defined as the three main sexual orientations. I included bisexuality (non-deviant) as being on the spectrum of sexual orientation, and child molestation (deviant) separate from the sexual orientation spectrum, because molestation is often an opportunistic event rather than an ingrained paraphilia or orientation, and can be non-preferential when it comes to victims.

Why would pedophilia be considered a sexual orientation? (The following is from my notes and I cannot cite specific sources for, say, MRI studies). Pedophiles are sexually attracted to children. It is not a matter of seeing pedophiles who are attracted to the same or opposite sex; it is a matter of being attracted to children in general. Often pedophiles will fixate on prepubescent boys, but if you look at a pedophile's offense history (if they are involved in the criminal justice system) you will find a preponderance of male victims. However, a male-fixated pedophile will also have sexual contact with females when males are not available, which is circumstantial, but the point is pedophiles are sexually aroused by children. Pedophilia is like heterosexuality or homosexuality in that it is innate. It it not a sought after or chosen sexual orientation."

2) If a 'gender fetish' were to be considered part of a person's sexual orientation, this implies it would not appear any different from the same orientation developing conventionally. Therefore, it would not, for all intents and purposes, appear any different.

3) While this does not answer my thesis regarding whether someone could develop such a fetish, if the two appear indistinguishable, and assuming - like paedophilia - it would most likely only appear during childhood, then that means such a phenomenon would not be all that noteworthy but to suggest that bisexual orientation - perhaps in part - may just have some 'nurture' element to it.

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    $\begingroup$ "the answer identifies Paedophilia as a sexual orientation" The answers indicate it is not that clear-cut. The discussion is more interesting than the actual conclusion on whether or not it should be considered a sexual orientation. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Apr 28 '19 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ More importantly, this is not an answer to the question you posted originally, just an elaboration on your theorizing (-1). It might be more relevant in an update to your question, although I would strongly argue against elaborate theorizing relying on your own terminology/elaborate untested hypothesis. If you want to theorize, use the terminology available to you to use. If you have other questions or can now formulate a better question, please post them as new questions. Reference (and summarize) other questions/answers when you rely on them. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Apr 28 '19 at 16:52

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