“Josephine. Don't wash yourself. I arrive". Clear, round and concise. Apparently, this was how Napoleon let his love know that she was returning from one of his campaigns. Because you can take a shot at the rim and one at the barrel… and according to historians, the little emperor was deeply Catholic, but he was also a fervent devotee of musky body aromas. Freak, fanatic, pervert or just a huge pig? The answer is fetishist, and although the more skeptics have made a face of disgust, fetishism (that is, the form of sexual perversion that concentrates erotic desire on a part of the partner's body, on a particular smell, on an object that belongs (typically a garment), or on anything else outside the conventional or normative) is much more common than many might believe.
With regard to the sense of smell alone, there is a wide range of different paraphilias: for example, olfactophilia, which is the sexual perversion that involves becoming aroused by a specific smell; ozolagnia, which describes the situation in which a person experiences sexual arousal and pleasure through strong odors; osmolagnia, also called osfresolagnia, which describes the situation in which the state of excitement is activated or supported by the perception of body odors, especially genital odors (that is, the paraphilia that good old Bonaparte felt); there is also another type of fetishism in which the erotic tension is triggered by the smell of urine; and finally, the "lightest" of all sexual paraphilias, antolagnia, or sexual excitement that some feel when smelling flowers or perfumes whose essence is floral.
Warning for puritans: don't be shocked yet, we've only just begun... No one is shocked by Tarantino's excessive passion for female feet or Hitchcock's fascination for blondes, right? Because, as he said, "they are the ideal victims, they look like snowflakes from which a bloody footprint shines through". Okay, in our opinion, the genius of suspense had a small problem...
But still, sure, there are some fetishes that are more benign or harmless than others. For example, picacismophilia (sexual desire and pleasure expressed through the ingestion of parts of the human body (cuts, nails, etc.) or its products (saliva, sperm, humours, blood, urine, sweat, faeces...) ), salophilia (in the sexual sphere, a form of pica-smophilia which refers to the attraction relating to human sweat that can be licked off the partner's body, especially in areas of greater skin perspiration), trichophilia (fetishism for body hair, usually the hair, or excessive care of it) or high calciphilia (fetishism for high heels), do no harm, although it is true that there are different levels, definitely the fact of stroking or smelling the hair and the wrapping your hair around your penis to jerk off afterwards, they're not the same thing... (And no, we don't judge you, at all). Instead, the fact of satisfying other types of whims or desires can endanger the integrity of people and it is here that the line between fetishism and paraphilia is established.
Are fetishism and paraphilia the same thing?
According to the definition of the most prestigious dictionaries of the Italian language, both terms would refer to a sexual anomaly or deviation. However, there are many who argue that paraphilia has a rather negative connotation of danger, which the term fetishism lacks, because..., how could the taste for latex be comparable to vorarephilia or sexual cannibalism? Our older readers will remember with a shudder the "cannibal of Roteborg". It's true, come on, it's not that he went to the bar downstairs to eat the bartender, his manners were impeccable. He "limited" himself to putting a ad in the newspaper, which, however, left no doubt about his intentions. Well, let's omit the disturbing details, in the end, a boy became curious and accepted to be eaten to have the experience of his life... This would be comparable to getting excited with a bicycle? (And in case you were wondering, yes, this has its own name too: mechanophilia).
“Psychopathia sexualis” is the first book entirely dedicated to sexual fixations, pathologies or paraphilias. Published in 1886 and written by neurologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing, although it was conceived as a forensic book for doctors and judges, it soon became a best seller and is said to have won first place among Oscar Wilde's favorite books. No wonder, given that he tells curious things such as "the erotic enthusiasm for a specific quality, for clothing, for the shape of a part of the body, often recalls the adoration of relics, blessed or sacred objects , of idols". Or the case of a "man who had remembered that the ostentation of the genitals gave him much more enjoyment than coitus. (...) In doing so, he experienced a sensation of pleasant warmth and the blood rose to his head Or another case of "braid fetishism" in which the individual, aged about 35, belonging to a high social class, "at about 18 began to experience voluptuous sensations at the sight of female hair of his taste. Gradually a period came when these sensations also occurred spontaneously, and the memory of female hair was immediately connected to them".
Is fetishism only part of modern sexuality?
"He therefore said that there was a young man of no ignoble family (for what he did, his name has been lost), who, often coming to this sacred precinct, by his bad luck fell in love with the goddess (... ) Finally the overwhelming passion robbed him of his senses, and with boldness he gave vent to his desire. One day at sunset, without letting anyone see him, he slipped behind the door, and huddled there, he stayed without moving a breath. As usual, the sacristans opened the door, and the new Anchises remained inside. How could I or anyone else tell you what happened on that infamous night? Of loving embraces these signs appeared in the morning, and the goddess has that stain of hers, in show of the outrage of her which was done to her.' This passage from the dialogue "Gli Amori" on the Venus of Cnidus, by Luciano di Samosata, tells us about the (perhaps) oldest fetishism ever seen: excessive love for statues or agalmatophilia.
But beyond different cultures, religions, fashions, eras and times, fetishisms continue to exist, they are always present, they already existed when we arrived and they will perpetuate themselves when we are gone, adding a little spice to the desire and scandalizing everyone.
Credits images: from web