A Guide to Exploring Your Fetishes

Deep in the depths of your subconscious, there lie hidden desires and quirks that you may not even be aware of. Perhaps you long to dominate your partner, or you crave the thrill of public sex.

Maybe you haven’t yet discovered your passion for role-playing, but who’s to say it isn’t lurking just beneath the surface?

“Fetishes are not something to be ashamed of – they’re a natural part of the human sexual experience,” says Dr. Chris Donahue, a sex therapist and author. “As long as they’re not harmful to oneself or others and are consensual, exploring fetishes can add excitement and pleasure to one’s sex life.”

I know from personal experience that sometimes these fantasies can take us by surprise.

When I first started exploring my sexuality, I had no idea that tying up my partner in the backyard and knowing all of our neighbors were around would turn me on so much.

It was a revelation, really. And the idea of getting caught in the act…well, let’s just say it was a rush like no other.

Of course, not everyone is into role-playing or BDSM or exhibitionism. But there’s something thrilling about trying new things and pushing our boundaries a little bit further each time.

Who knows what sort of hidden desires we might uncover if we’re brave enough to explore them?

Your Fantasies and the Subconscious

I believe that many of our sexual fantasies stem from the ideas we were exposed to during our formative years.

For me, it was a big brother (when I was just a kid), who loved porn, which I would inevitably be exposed to on many occasions. I have a sneaking suspicion that this has left an impression on my sexual psyche, and I wouldn’t be surprised if others have had similar experiences.

It also occurred to me that if you grew up in an environment where sex was taboo or shamed, then you might feel compelled to explore fetishes more later in life.

This could result in some pretty out-there fetishes or fantasies being developed. So, if you’re curious about your own turn-ons, I suggest taking a peek at your past and seeing if anything stands out.

Understanding where your desires to explore fetishes come from can help bridge gaps between partners too. So don’t be afraid to talk about them!

How To Unlock Your Fantasies and Fetishes

If you’re in a relationship, the key to unlocking the wild and naughty fantasies of the mind lies in the trust you have in one another.

As this trust builds like a tower of Jenga blocks, piece by piece, your mind begins to relax and open up to all kinds of possibilities, both naughty and nice.

Sometimes it comes out as a desire blurted out randomly during a sexual conversation. Other times, it flows effortlessly during happy hour after knocking back a few too many cocktails. It may even pop out during sex when one of you screams out exactly what they want done to them.

As you become more comfortable talking about sex, that feeling of awkwardness will disappear fast. Discussing where to go for dinner and discussing what new toy to try becomes equally natural.

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For those in casual relationships, this newfound openness leads to greater compatibility – the wheat separates from the chaff if you will.

“Exploring one’s sexual fantasies and fetishes can be a healthy part of human sexuality. Embracing and understanding our desires can lead to a greater sense of self-awareness, confidence, and intimacy. It’s important to remember that consensual exploration, with open communication and respect for boundaries, is essential for a fulfilling and healthy sex life,” says Dr. Donahue.

Maybe there’s a fantasy that’s been lurking around your headspace for awhile now; you’ve done more than just dabble with it while flying solo. You start considering asking your partner if they’re down to try it too but feel an overwhelming sense of unease – until suddenly, that weirdness disappears into thin air like magic dolphins at midnight.

“Why not?” you think aloud. “Let’s see where this takes us.”

And so begins another pivotal experience on this journey called life: exploring each other’s deepest desires without judgment or fear. Every intimate moment becomes your little secret – something only the two of you know about.

This bliss bleeds into every aspect of your relationship – inside jokes shared over cups of tea or whispered innuendos exchanged during everyday conversations. The subtleties in your sexual flow become as familiar as the contours on your own face.

All these things compound upon each other leading to spontaneous expressions of fetishes and fantasies previously unexplored – without any sort of premeditation, a new desire arises in the heat of the moment.

Sexuality can be an interesting maze to navigate, filled with countless fantasies and fetishes. Just take a look at any porn site and you’ll find an array of categories, each representing different kinky desires.

But hey, don’t feel ashamed of your own fantasies. I’ve compiled a list for you to peruse through and maybe even help you realize that those uncomfortable ones are actually quite normal. And if by chance you’re the only one in the world with that particular fetish…well then congrats! You’re officially a trendsetter.

Ultimately, if you’re with someone trustworthy who reciprocates communication and has shared intimate experiences with you, there’s no reason why expressing these desires should be taboo. Let your freak flag fly!

Here is a list of some of the more prominent sexual fantasies and fetishes I could find. Just going through this list might unlock something in you:

Anal sex

Anal play


BDSM (Bondage and Sadomasochism)

Pretending you’re strangers meeting each other and going home together

Teacher and student

Prisoner and prison guard

Doctor and patient

Nurse and patient

Maid or house cleaner

Having sex with a coworker

Having sex with someone you have just met

Having sex with someone older than you

Having sex with someone younger than you (of legal age, of course)

Having sex with multiple people at the same time

Being completely submissive

Being completely dominant



Watching other people have sex

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Having sex on an airplane


Voyeur (being watched while having sex)

Different nationalities

Sexy lingerie



Being sexual with someone that wouldn’t constitute a part of your chosen sexual orientation

Using toys

Filming each other


Footjobs and feet

Dressing up in school uniforms

Cheerleader fantasy

Playing cop and criminal

Hooking up with the delivery person

Having sex in public

Being spanked

Thrusting into your partner’s mouth

Golden shower (peeing)


Femdom (feminine domination)



Talking dirty

The chances of you feeling a bit uneasy after reading some of those tidbits are fairly high. But fret not, as it’s perfectly normal, especially if you’re unfamiliar with them.

Avoid being overly critical, whether towards yourself or others. The things we crave can be quite difficult to manage, and that’s just life. Once your significant other confides in you about something that doesn’t quite sit well with you, be sure to respond carefully. If not, it could lead to emotional harm and irreparable damage to the strong foundation of trust between you both.

Talking About Exploring Sexual Fantasies and Fetishes

Obviously, if this was easy to do, you wouldn’t be reading this article. Here’s a few tips on how to go about it.

1. Understand your own desires

Before talking to your partner about exploring your fetishes or deepest sexual desires, take some time to understand them yourself. Think about why these particular things turn you on, what experiences you’ve had around them in the past, and how they might play out in real life.

2. Write them down

You can sit down with your partner, write down all of the fantasies you have and would like to try, then trade papers and compare. It’s usually much easier to start out communicating this way than to jump straight into a conversation about it.

3. Choose the right time

Timing is key when it comes to discussing your sexual desires with your partner. Make sure you choose a time when both of you are relaxed and not distracted, such as after dinner or during a walk.

4. Listen attentively

When discussing any sensitive topic with your partner, active listening is crucial. Give them space to express their thoughts and feelings without interrupting or judging them.4. Be honest about what you want: This is an opportunity to be honest about what turns you on sexually – don’t be afraid to share as much or as little as feels right for you.

5. Remain open-minded

Keep an open mind towards each other’s preferences while acknowledging that different individuals have different tastes when it comes to sex. It’s okay if not everything aligns perfectly with what you might hope for – compromise is key! But if you’re comfortable enough, by all means, don’t shy away from having that conversation.

4. Respect boundaries

Sexual fantasies can be incredibly personal and private; therefore, it’s important not to pressure your partner into engaging in something that makes them uncomfortable or violates their boundaries.

Ruth Thomas

Ruth Thomas

Hi! My name is Ruth! I am a sex therapist and a happily married swinger (for 20 years now).

I have a PhD in human sexuality and a masters in counseling. I've been helping people improve their sex lives for over 25 years.

I am a member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) and the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM).

I'm here to help people explore their sexuality and find what works for them. Whether it's with one partner or many, in a committed relationship or not, I believe that everyone deserves to experience the joys of a fulfilling sexual life.