Fetishsexuality – Making the Case for Kink as Sexual-Identity: Part 1


A few weeks back Kink Weekly posted an announcement about the Discover Your Personal Erotic Myth Survey. The focus was on the research analysis about to begin on the data from @4000 participants that have responded. It will be one of the largest Kink-focused research projects of its kind.

I wanted to discuss here why this type of research can be relevant for people exploring or actively living their Kink-sexuality.

The intent of the survey is to help people learn to deeply explore and embrace their personal sexual truths, Kink and otherwise.

Many participants been found the survey to be a useful tool in helping them gain insights into the specific nature of their sexual desires, particularly those in the more Kink-driven end of the scale. They could begin to identify specifics of what was compelling and what was not. Participants reported they were able to identify more clearly what resists or stands in the way of honest expression of their desires, and explore other relevant considerations to express their desires consensually with a partner.

I believe embracing the depths of our sexuality is critical to our personal well-being, our relationships, and our culture.

Everyone has a sexual birthright. No government, religion, culture, spouse, nor family member has any right to deny any individual their inherent right to be who they are sexually. This assumes their sexual engagements are enacted in conscious, negotiated, and impeccably consensual ways.

Sexual rights are human rights. Our sexuality, particularly the potent depths available through Kink should be celebrated, and explored often.

Shame, fear, and past trauma around our sexuality should be prudently and compassionately expelled from the body, mind, and soul like a disease.

I have been immersed in being a public and vocal advocate for our sexual rights for nearly 20 years. I am out 24/7 as an author, educator, Kink-positive therapist, and researcher in my professional life, and in my personal lifestyle, as a Kink-oriented man. I am a Dominant Erotic Sadist!

Though the research is preliminary, I believe that Kink, or what I call Fetishsexuality, is a life-long, inherent, innate sexual identity for some percentage of the gene-pool.

A Fetishsexual by my definition, is a person driven to orgasm or other deep erotic state through their innate, inherent, life-long desire for a particular range of primal or refined dominance, submission, sadism, masochism, and other archetypal, symbolic, mythic story-driven erotic expressions. I call this the internal sexual construct for an individual-their Personal Erotic Myth.

Fetishsexuality is on the same level, by the same criteria, that straight, bi, gay, or lesbian is considered an authentic sexual identity, as defined by the American Psychological Association.

The APA currently only focuses on identity in relation to gender, but I feel sexual-identity needs to be expanded in this era to allow for a broader context.

I have worked with hundreds of clients over the last 18 years, whose clear desire and intent was to come to terms with, explore, and understand their Kink-driven desires free of shame, fear, and past trauma.

Based on my direct experiences with clients and the findings from the Discover Your Personal Erotic Myth Survey, I hope to illuminate how and why Fetishsexuality is an innate aspect of certain people’s sexual psyche.

Kink can and should be practiced in a conscious, aware, mature, healthy manner by those so inclined. There are considerable depths of personal empowerment and healing that conscious engagement of one’s Fetishsexuality may offer (at least for the portion of the human gene-pool that I believe are innately and authentically Fetishsexuals).

The Discover Your Personal Erotic Myth research project will also examine the ways and evidence that unconscious personal and collective archetypes (Predator/prey, Mistress/slave, Daddy/daughter, Mommy/son et al), symbols (collars, dungeons, chains, belts, etc), and mythic erotic story-lines (being captured, held captive, being bare bottom spanked by an authority figure, worshiping an elevated figure) are commonly woven into the fabric of authentic Fetishsexuality.

The research will also examine the ways that threads of unconscious, embedded shame, trauma, fear, and judgment get tangled up and inhibit or thwart authentic sexual expression.

Such entanglements, if left unaddressed, can lead to the problematic shadow manifestations of our sexual expression – sexual secrecy, dishonesty, compulsivity, repression, boundary violations, self-harm, and more.

Until a few decades ago, any but the most fundamental sexual activities had been classified either by law, religion, or mental health providers as deviant, immoral, or in psychological terms, a paraphilia.

In other words, most people engaging in Fetishsexual practices were considered to be engaging in either an illegal or an immoral act or had a psychological disorder or all three.

Even though the DSM-V has de-pathologized and de-listed most consensual adult Kink interactions as paraphilias, there are many sectors within current psychological, legal, political, and social institutions that still display rampant Kinkphobia!

However, in these current times, the landscape of sexual identity and the pantheon of sexual practices an adult may choose or naturally participate in have been coming into a better and broader focus.

It is my opinion that the previous theories of human sexuality are not effective at holding the burgeoning reality of human sexuality that has erupted over the last 30 years since the dawn of the Internet Era.

I further believe that recognizing Fetishsexuality as a sexual identity would pave the way for more nuanced and effective psychological models of the sexual psyche to take shape, and hopefully lead to new therapeutic models that better support one in embracing their sexual authenticity, and healing all the ways it may have been traumatized, condemned, judged, feared, hated, or hidden.

It is time to update academic sexual theory and psychological therapy to include 21st century sexuality!

Further, with the sanction as a recognized sexual identity the potential to be slandered as a pathological deviant for being into Kink can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated.

Not having this designation can and does lead to profound impacts in real world battles in divorces, parenting rights, employment, and housing discrimination as well as many other areas of life.

Witness the ongoing, brutal history of the gay and lesbian movements fighting for their legal rights in all regards. The Kink communities are about where the gay, lesbian, and trans communities were 60 years ago.

To the greatest extent, my professional work seeks to help people untangle their authentic life-long Kink desires from the embedded shame, fear, and harsh judgments that may strongly resist or completely inhibit their desire.

Everyone should be encouraged to proudly claim their sexual birthright. Too many don’t.

In my client practice it has not been unusual for clients in their 40s or 50s to divulge that I am the first person they had ever revealed their desire to. For decades, they had hidden their desires from their partners, families, friends, and traditional therapists.

It did not feel safe to even talk about their desires, let alone enact them. This damaging fear of speaking honestly about something so absolutely integral to life and human fulfillment must be put to rest.

It is the intent of my work to contribute to creating a safer therapeutic, academic, political, and social environment for people to share their sexual truths without fear of being harshly judged, condemned, or ostracized.

It is up to each of us to take a stand in whatever ways we are able against the outdated, Kinkphobic laws and moral codes that inhibit claiming our sexual birthright. We need to take a stand so everyone can freely, joyously, and ecstatically express their sexuality- Kink and otherwise.

You can learn more about how I work with clients, my research, blog, and my highly acclaimed book, Decoding Your Kink – Guide to Explore, Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires, by clicking on the link below.


Click here for Part 2

About Galen Fous MTP 

Kink-Positive Therapist, Author, Educator & Sex Researcher

Galen regularly speaks at universities, grad schools and conferences about sexuality and Kink. He offers AASECT and APA approved CE classes for therapists on various accredited online educational platforms.  His research focuses on understanding the unconscious psychological dynamics of Kink, Fetish and D/s-BDSM sexuality. Galen Has a Masters in Transpersonal Psychology from ITP.

He works with clients within a Transpersonal psychology framework that helps individuals and couples get honest, shame-free and confident in expressing their authentic sexuality. Galen helps clients shift from compulsive, dishonest, risky sexual behaviors to negotiated, consensual authentic sexual practices.  This framework includes resolving the embedded fear, shame and judgments entangling one’s desire.

An important component of his research into the nature of Fetishsexual and Kink desire is the development of the Discover Your Personal Erotic Myth Survey.   ( http://galenfous.com/pem ) This ground-breaking and ongoing research survey with over 4000 participants so far, is the first study that begins to document the mythic archetypal aspects of Fetishsexuality by mapping of the sexual unconscious.

Galen’s latest book, “Decoding Your Kink – Guide to Explore, Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires” has been praised by sexual psychologists and educators as “Visionary …Masterful …Groundbreaking …Cutting Edge…Worth its Weight in Diamonds … Highly Recommended…A Must Read!”  He is also the author of “The Sharp Edge of Love – Extreme Sex, Mythic Passion, Primal Intensity.  Learn more at http://galenfous.com

In 2000, he introduced the world renowned Tetruss Shibari Suspension-Bondage Rig, Portable Dungeon, and Sex Swing, the world’s most versatile adult toy. (http://Tetruss.com)


  1. whippedcutie says:

    This is so interesting! I am excited to read more of your work.

    Thanks for standing up for all us kinksters out there.

  2. Many of the people I know in fetish communities consider their orientation based on the thing rather than the gender — as a hypnofetishist myself, I’ve long considered myself hypnosexual, for example. (I also consider myself asexual, so the “thing” is really the core of my sexuality.) The DSM definition of a paraphilia is something a lot of us identify with (“I need this thing to get off”) but I’ve generally thought it should be more of a spectrum when it comes to identity (which makes sense; paraphilia is a “disorder”, so it creates problems if there is no give to that).

    Beyond that, I think D/s is part of this orientation for a lot of people as well.

    Interesting thoughts!

  3. BDSM is absolutely orientational for me. I’ve never had a non-dominant sexual fantasy and my one attempt at a vanilla relationship in my twenties was a miserable failure. I think there’s a difference between kink-friendly and kink-oriented rather than seeing all variations of it as falling somewhere on a spectrum. The same thing could conceivably be said of gender orientation. When does bi become gay? I wouldn’t presume to know. In any case, it’s good to see these questions get some serious-minded attention.

  4. ditto on the miserable failure note! Yes these are important questions. Let’s keep shining the light on them. The legitimacy aspect of a Kink-identiy being recognized could be very important in the coming years!

  5. likeadom says:

    Very intriguing!

  6. Baron Von Aaron says:

    Oooh! You’re getting academia in my kink and I think I like it…

  7. Ooh! I cannot wait to read the rest of this. I’m working on a novel that strongly features kink – ahem – fetishsexuality – and this will make excellent research.

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