I found a video presentation on line today that brought up some of my current fears. The video itself was simple enough--- done in advice-column format. Part of a series, with a rather attractive girl with credentials in something like sexology and an accent that I couldn't quite place, something Baltic or East European. I suppose the British would call her an "agony aunt", but in contemporary America she'd be called some kind of therapist, or at least someone who does TED talks.
I can't quite recall her name--- Adina, Edina ---but she was there to answer questions, to allay fears and offer up what's still called "empowerment". Today's question was about fetishes, about how to bring up your own fetishes with a lover.
That is a dangerous topic these days. "Fetish" has moved on from merely being about kink and sexual adventures to having a political significance. "To fetishize" is now a bad thing, tied up with oppression and "objectification". It has intimations of "cultural appropriation", too, and of the "inauthentic". The trans* world despises mere cross-dressers as "fetishists", as somehow mocking actually being trans. To do something only--- merely ---because it has sexual value or is sexually exciting is now regarded with a moralizing gimlet eye that's even more harsh than one might've found in the 1950s. At least in the Fifties one's fetishes might have had some comic value, just as in the Eighties or Nineties they might have been seen as acts of (possibly stylish) defiance and thrilling transgression.
Today's question for the Presumptively Estonian Sexologist was simple enough. A male questioner wanted to know how he could tell his girlfriend that he wanted to dress up in heels, a dress, and lipstick before having sex with her. That's not very advanced as fetishes go--- it's fairly vanilla, really. He didn't even want his girlfriend to use a strap-on or for her to pretend that the two of them were a lesbian couple. He just wanted to dress up and wear lipstick while having very ordinary hetero-sex.
I forget what the Baltic girl's advice was. In the end, the advice itself is irrelevant. I'm sure it has something to do with "communication" and finding ways to make the fetish seem "playful" for both parties. What matters to me is the idea of how one goes about admitting to a fetish--- to having any non-standard, non-vanilla interests ---here at the end of 2015.
If you're reading this, I hope you'll tell me what your own take on the current social rules might be. What are the accepted rules for admitting to a fetish? What are the fetishes that the Arbitrary Social Rules say it's still acceptable--- socially, politically, aesthetically ---to have? If you've had to tell a lover about a taste, a preference, a fetish, how did you do it? If someone admitted a fetish to you, how did you react?
Write, then. Tell me what you think the rules about these things are these days.