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Sneeze Fetish Forum

Fetish related to phobia?


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An idea occurred to me today: Is it possible that for at least some of us, the fetish originated from an initial phobia? I know this has been touched on in other posts, but I wanted to think about it more explicitly.

A lot of us talk about experiencing severe anxiety or discomfort in certain situations related to the fetish, like sneezing in public, and about sometimes going to great lengths to avoid those situations.

I don't actually have a sneeze fetish, mine is more about fever and having romantic partners take care of me, but the idea of people who are not my romantic partner knowing that I'm sick makes me EXTREMELY uncomfortable, and I would avoid that situation almost at all costs. I've felt anxious about that idea since I was about 6, as well as a facination with it. Then, around age 16, it started to turn me on, and it occurred to me that it might be a fetish. I've never thought of it as a phobia before, but here's a list of the relevant criteria for a specific phobia, according to the DSM IV:

  1. Marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation.
  2. Exposure to the phobic stimulus almost invariably provokes an immediate anxiety response, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally pre disposed panic attack.
  3. The person recognises that the fear is excessive and unreasonable.
  4. The phobic situation is avoided or is endured with intense anxiety or distress.
  5. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared situation(s) interferes significantly with a person’s routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships or there is a marked distress about having the phobia.

All of those ring true for me, except for the thing about panic attacks and the last one about it interfering with functioning. (And that one is probably only in there to make sure that people are not stigmatized or given treatment for something that doesn't actually cause major problems for them.)

I did a google search with the terms "fetish" and "phobia," and it seems like a number of psychologists think the two are related.

What do you guys think? Do the phobia criteria ring true for you? And do you think it's possible that feelings of anxiety related to sneezing (or whatever) could be being redirected into sexual arousal? A lot of people seem to talk as if certain sneeze-related situations make them feel uncomfortable because they have the fetish, but which came first??

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I don't think I would go quite so far as to call my discomfort with sneezing in public a phobia. I don't like to sneeze in most public situations, but the idea doesn't actually frighten me. And even if it did, my sexualized attraction to sneezing definitely occurred before my discomfort with having people see me sneeze. I was always a bit freaked out about people knowing how much I liked sneezes, but I wasn't freaked out about being seen to sneeze until I got much older, so I think that was more of a subconscious understanding, even at a very young age, that my attraction to sneezing was not only unusual, but socially unacceptable. So for me, the phobia turned fetish theory doesn't seem to quite work, but I can see it perhaps making sense for others. I always find it interesting that while most of us here have the same attraction to sneezes it didn't start out the same way for all of us. Like, I can't remember a time when I didn't have a sexual reaction to sneezing, but I know there are plenty of people on here for whom the sexual aspect came later and like you described it started out as more of a general fascination. It leads me to suspect that there is no one way that a fetish comes to be, but a variety of different ways a person can end up having one.

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