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Aisle love you always: A brief look at wedding bride fetishism

While researching previous blogs on harmatophilia (i.e., individuals who derive sexual arousal from those who are sexually incompetent), parthenophilia (i.e., individuals who derive sexual arousal from virgins), cuckold fetish (i.e., individuals – usually men – that derive sexual arousal from the knowledge that their wife is having sex with another man), and veil fetishism (i.e., individuals who derive sexual arousal from those who wear veils), I came across various references for bride fetishism. This fetish does not appear in either Dr. Anil Aggrawal’s book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices or Dr. Brenda Love’s Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. However, a short article on the London Fetish Scene (Wipipedia) website claims that:

“A bride fetish is a sexual fetish in which either a woman (or possibly a man) enjoys dressing in the typical outfit worn by a bride, or someone derives sexual pleasure from viewing women (or possibly men) dressed in this manner. A bride may be regarded as the archetype of a virgin ready and waiting to have sexual intercourse. A bridal outfit can be considered to be full of fetishistic imagery. Brides often wear  lingerie such as basques or corsets, stockings and thongs; they also wear stileto shoes. Generally, a bridal dress and lingerie are white or nearly white, denoting purity. For a transvestite, bridal wear may be the ultimate female apparel”.

Similarly, a short piece on bride fetishes at a telephone sex site (Fone Fetish) claims that:

“Bride Fetish is sometimes known as a virgin fetish, where the ideal woman is pure and uninitiated, making her a safe partner in many ways. The bridal fetish extends to the image of an innocent appearing virginal bride being your own total whore, willing and anxious to do anything to please you sexually”.

As far as I am aware there is no academic research on bride fetishism but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that (a) it exists, and (b) that there are specific sub-varieties. For instance, there are dozens of bespoke webpages devoted to bride fetishism including the Deviant Art website page on ‘Bridal Fetish’, the Behance website page on ‘Fetish Bride’, the Goddess Narcissa webpage on ‘Black Fetish Bride’, the Hot Wife Allie website (with a myriad of bride fetish postings such as ‘The Great Wedding Porn Gallery’ and ‘Wedding Night Cuckold’), and the Jim Roe webpage on ‘Nude Bride Fetish’. I also came across dedicated webpages on ‘fetish vampire brides’, ‘mature bride fetish’, ‘bondaged brides’, and ‘bride face sitting fetish’ (please be warned that most of these sites contain very sexually material). In addition to this there are also dedicated websites that make fetish bridal wear (such as the Adixxtion website) and provide online dating services to match up fetish bride and grooms. I’m the first to admit that none of this is in any way academic, but it does at least point to the fact that there appears to be a niche (sexual) market for bride fetishism.

The online articles that I have managed to locate are short and speculative and provide absolutely no facts on the incidence of prevalence of the behaviour or its etiology. For instance, a 2010 entry on the Venus O’Hara website (where the website author dressed herself as a fetish bride) claims that:

“Plenty of men are into the bridal fetish. Traditionally, a bride, dressed in white silks and satins, is a visual metaphor for virginity and exclusivity. Her imminent sexual unavailability isn’t the end of the story…To some, her new status becomes highly attractive and doesn’t put them off of the hunt at all, quite the opposite in fact. In this set [of photos] I wanted to portray myself as a kind of bride who permits those men to lust after me and gives license to their desires because I, and they, are aware that there is no groom to watch over me. Although I felt like a princess when I was dressed-up I understood, quite quickly, that I couldn’t walk very fast while wearing the dress, neither could I sit down easily; my freedom of seductive movement was restricted. Perhaps, I thought, that was the whole point. I don’t like wearing anything that prevents me from flaunting my charms so I began to subvert the dress and its meaning. I didn’t need to clutch a bouquet to pose in it. I found out that I’m more comfortable being provocative and available when I wear white. Modern bridal wear is much more revealing and adaptable these days. Each new pastel-coloured design emphasises the curve of exposed shoulder and the slimness of bare neck instead of hiding them. I approve totally”

In my research for this blog, I have to admit that I didn’t come across a single dedicated online bride fetish forum group, although I did come across discussions on fetish sites where some individuals claimed they had bride fetishes (although not very many). For instance:

  • Extract 1: Any out there with a bridal fetish? Get turned on by a lovely young woman in a bridal outfit? Would you like to watch a bride and her groom make love? Would you like to JOIN in, making it a threesome? Would [you] like to cuckold the poor bridegroom, making love to the bride on the ‘happiest day of her life’? Making love to the bride in front of the groom and all the guests? Too ridiculous? I’ve seen stranger happenings! Has this ever been discussed? Please discuss!”
  • Extract 2: “Hell yeah, [brides] drives me crazy! Have you got any photos, or do you know how to get any? Brides are so sexy!”
  • Extract 3: “I have a total fetish over Brides! I love it when there all done up and have their wedding dress on, it’s so sexy. There isn’t a single Bride that doesn’t turn me on! Is anyone out there with me or is it just me? Also if any of you out there have got any Wedding day/night photos that you could upload for me then that would blow my mind, naughty or not. What do you think?”
  • Extract 4: I used to belong to a yahoo group that specialized in brides but it seems to have dissipated”.

These few extracts again appear to give credence to the idea that bride fetishism exists but there may (for some people) be an overlap with cuckold fetishes. More recently, there have been a number of online articles that have talked about ‘foreign bride fetishes’. Almost all of the articles I came across (such as one in the New York Times by Mike Hale entitled ‘Foreign Bride as Fetish and a Person’) relate to the television documentary ‘Seeking Asian Women’ directed by Debbie Lum.

“Steven is a 60-year-old parking-garage attendant who lives in a small apartment above a store in the Northern California suburbs. He’s white, which is significant because he has what is politely known as an Asian fetish and popularly known as yellow fever. ‘They’re all so beautiful,’ he says, looking at a display of thumbnail images of prospective Asian brides…Steven manages to persuade Sandy, a 30-year-old office worker from Shenzen, China, to come to the United States to marry him. [The program] profile[s] a man obsessed with Asian women in order to understand a phenomenon…The nature of Asian fetishism remains as mysterious, or perhaps as obvious, as ever. As Steven and Sandy make wedding plans — her K-1 visa gives them four months to marry — fights erupt over money (he doesn’t have much) and whether he’s still infatuated with an earlier Chinese pen pal…The dramatic arc of Steven and Sandy’s relationship is mildly suspenseful but also pretty familiar”.

Personally, this is another instance of using the word ‘fetish’ as meaning ‘intense like for’ rather than its’ meaning within sexology. My own (online) research (relying on non-academic and anecdotal sources) suggests that bride fetishism is a niche sexual market that appears to have at least a handful of genuine adherents. I can’t really see this subject ever being the topic of serious academic research but I’d be happy to be proved wrong.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Blank, H. (2007). Virgin: The Untouched History. New York: Bloomsbury.

Hale, M. (2013). Foreign bride as a fetish and a person. New York Times, May 5. Located at: http://tv.nytimes.com/2013/05/06/arts/television/seeking-asian-female-on-pbs-shows-an-internet-order-bride.html?_r=2&

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Mathonnet-VanderWell, S. (2012). Virgin fetish. The Twelve, April 24. Located at: http://the12.squarespace.com/steve-mathonnet-vanderwell/2012/4/24/virgin-fetish.html

Venus O’Hara (2010). Bridal fetish, July 1. Located at: http://venusohara.org/montjuic-bride.html

Wipipedia (2011). Bride fetish. London fetish Scene, September 6. Located at: http://www.londonfetishscene.com/wipi/index.php/Bride_fetish

Guilty pleasures: A brief look at pecattiphilia‬

Arguably one of the rarest sexual paraphilias is pecattiphilia. According to Dr. Anil Aggrawal’s 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices, pecattiphilia refers to individuals that derive sexual pleasure from sinning or having committed an imaginary crime (although later on the same page, Dr Aggrawal simply defines it as “sexual arousal from sinning or guilt”). Dr. Brenda Love in her Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices also provides a similar definition and says that pecattiphilia is “the sexual arousal one gets from sinning…this may also display itself as a form of guilt”. The Wikipedia entry on pecattiphilia is also similar and defines the behaviour as “sexual arousal from performing an act one believes is a sin”. The short entry then speculates that it “would presumably include, for example, such acts of lust as fornication or sodomy, or also the acting out any of the other seven deadly sins beside lust”.

Finally, the online medical website Right Diagnosis describes the symptoms of pecattiphilia as (i) sexual interest in stealing or sinning, (ii) recurring intense sexual urges involving stealing or sinning, and/or sexual arousal from stealing or sinning. As far as I am aware, there is absolutely no academic or clinical research on pecattiphilia, and much of what I have read on the topic is purely speculative. In her encyclopedia entry, Dr. Love wrote that:

“Religious teenagers sometimes suffer from a dilemma when they masturbate because they are taught that God will punish or perhaps kill them for this ‘perversion’. A few have grown up with a fascination for sex play that involves life and death risks in order to recapture the same emotional intensity that this fear created. Anther type of ‘sinner’ may intensify their feelings of guilt by seducing a virgin, a member of the clergy, wearing religious costumes, listening to hymns during sex, or breaking into a church and using the altar to engage in a form of ritual sex. They may also have their partner say things to make them feel shame or guilt”.

I have no idea where Dr. Love got her information but it certainly wasn’t from any scholarly texts. I would also argue that some of the types of behaviour listed above overlap with other sexual paraphilias and sexual fetishes including melognia (sexual arousal from music), parthenophilia (sexual attraction to, and arousal by virgins), harmatophilia (sexual arousal from sexual incompetence or mistakes), hierophilia (sexual arousal from religious and sacred objects) and uniform fetishism. Dr. Love then goes on to say (again in the absence of any empirical evidence) that:

“Those suffering from extreme pecattiphilia may feel an overabundance of guilt and try to reduce these feelings by having their partner chastise or punish them before they orgasm. This seems to relieve their guilt feelings. Some develop a fear of sexually transmitted diseases afterward or salve their conscience by judging their sex partner. In extreme cases, a psychotic person will murder their victim (usually a prostitute) to expiate both their sins”.

I’m not entirely sure how “extreme pecattiphilia” manifests itself any differently from less extreme pecattiphilia but the whole paragraph is highly speculative. Nothing that I have read on the origins relating to a fear of sexually transmitted diseases (such as my previous blog on syphilophobia) is linked to pecattiphilia. To conclude, Dr. Love writes about both the positive and negative role that guilt may play in the development of pecattiphilia:

“Guilt can have a positive force in our lives if it calls attention to conduct that requires more responsible action. Additional understanding of our behavior, values, and needs help to prioritize our goals and make relevant changes. Guilt can help us to become more empathetic toward the weaknesses of others making it easier to develop and maintain relationships. Conversely, guilt can have negative effects when people use it to judge and inflict emotional and physical pain on themselves and others. Some psychologists believe that guilt is higher among people who have a more limited awareness of life and who have a more limited awareness of life and who are stuck in a restrictive and repressive lifestyle. A person who imposes guilt on others is practicing a form of sadism because they expect the person to self-inflict emotional pain”.

Dr. Love’s assertion that imposing guilt upon others is a form of sexual sadism is not one that I personally adhere to as I personally think guilt is not a form of pain (although I acknowledge that for some people extreme guilt can be psychologically painful). The only other article I have found on pecattiphilia was an admittedly non-academic one by Susan Edwards writing on Lady Jaided’s Sex Talk for Wicked Women website. Her article noted:

“Sin is sexy. Probably has something to do with the belief that sex is sinful. The more taboo you make it, the more compelling it is. If I had known about [pecattiphilia] in junior high, I would have thought of it as the Catholic School Girl and Preacher’s Kid Fetish. Those were the two groups in my neighborhood who seemed to get off the most on sinning, who were the most creative in coming up with ways to sin and the most energetic in pursuing its pleasures. When Wynona Ryder got busted for shoplifting, people wondered why such a rich, famous person would so such a thing. Maybe she’s a pecattiphiliac”.

Although I started this blog by saying pecattiphilia is very rare, one very small (very unscientific and self-selected sample) 2007 survey of 40 people (32 men and 8 women) responded to the ‘First Ever Viner Fetish Survey’ at the Celestina Newsvine website. The survey listed dozens of sexual paraphilias and asked respondents to tick any of them that they had “enjoyed” or “think they would enjoy”. Four of the respondents (10%) responded affirmatively. Obviously, I have no why of knowing the extent to which the four people had or hadn’t engaged in a pecattiphilic cat (or whether they were even telling the truth). However, it is the only statistic I have ever come across relating to the behaviour. Given the arguable overlaps with other sexually paraphilic behaviours, I’m really undecided about whether pecattiphilia really exists. As far as I can see, there are no published case studies, no online forums for pecattiphiliacs to discuss their sexual preferences, and no niche pornographic sites associated with the behaviour. In short, I have found very little evidence (even anecdotally) that it exists and/or or is a genuine sexual paraphilia.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Celestina (2007). First ever Viner fetish survey, December 3. Located at: http://celestina.newsvine.com/_news/2007/12/03/1138900-first-ever-viner-fetish-survey

Edwards, S. (2008). Tempting transgressions. Sex Talk for Wicked Women, September 10. Located at: http://sextalkforwickedwomen.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/tempting-transgressions.html?zx=b773f275f414b3f9

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Right Diagnosis (2013). Pecattiphilia. May 7. Located at: http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/p/pecattiphilia/intro.htm

Wikipedia (2013). Pecattiphilia. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pecattiphilia

Virgin on the ridiculous? A brief look at harmatophilia and parthenophilia

One of the more unusual paraphilias I have come across in my reading is harmatophilia. Dr. Anil Aggrawal in his 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices defines harmatophilia as individuals that derive sexual pleasure and arousal from sexual incompetence or mistakes, usually in female partner. Other definitions I have come across are similar such as the Sensual Swingers website that defines harmatophilia as sexual arousal “from a sexually inadequate partner” whereas the Inspire Jessamae website simply says it is a “penchant for partners who are useless in bed”. The Right Diagnosis online medical website describes harmatophilia more widely as referring to (i) sexual urges, arousal or fantasies involving breaking rules or making mistakes, and (ii) recurring intense sexual fantasies involving breaking rules or making mistakes. However, there is a general consensus amongst most harmatophilia definitions that the mistakes that are most sexually arousing are from sexual inadequacy and/or sexual incompetence. Dr. Brenda Love in her Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices notes that:

“Harmatophilia refers to one who is aroused by mistakes or rules being broken…A great majority of men are aroused by their partner having less sexual knowledge or competence than themselves. This bolsters their self-esteem and makes them feel more secure in the relationship. Of course, this preference for sexually inept females can cause some women to either feign incompetence or prevent them from wanting to experiment or learn more about sex”.

As far as I am aware, there is absolutely no empirical evidence relating to harmatophilia – not even a single case study (although all mentions I have come across assume that it is predominantly male-based), so this appears to be yet another sexual paraphilia that has been created as a theoretical opposite to a legitimately known phobia (i.e., harmatophobia that refers to those people who have an abnormal fear surrounding sin, and making errors and mistakes). However, there is another sexual paraphilia that might be psychologically and conceptually similar to harmatophilia, and that is parthenophilia, which Dr. Aggrawal defines as individuals who are sexually attracted to (and aroused by) virgins.

Dr. Brenda Love in her Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices noted that sex with a virgin is avoided by some people while other individuals “find it novel, feeling honored, enjoy the feeling of power in defiling a virgin, are relieved that they cannot be compared with anyone else, or have a religious ethic that would create prejudice against a partner who was not a virgin”. She also cites some evidence that some brothels and bordellos often catered to men who paid extra to have sex with a virgin female. A brief entry on parthenophilia at the London Fetish Scene website claims that In 18th and 19th century England “there was a somewhat sordid trade in the prostitution of girls or young women who were claimed to be virgins (often involving the attempted reconstruction of the hymen in order to obtain a high price for her deflowering more than once)”. There is an implicit assumption that such practices no longer exist but I have come across more contemporary anecdotal accounts that suggest that some men who regularly visit prostitutes prefer virgins and are willing to pay extra for such a service.

The historian and writer Hanne Blank made a few references to parthenophilia in her 2007 book Virgin: The Untouched History. She describes parthenophilia as “a pronounced sexual interest in virginity or virgins” and that it “is a genuine, observable sexual predilection”. Although she admits there are no studies on the topic, she then goes on to note that:

“The reason I propose we have for so long lacked a term for this particular erotic attraction is that unlike sexual interest in children, a sexual interest in virgins is something our culture considers normal, acceptable, and ideologically correct….We do not know how many people experience it. We do not know when the desire begins to be felt, whether those feel it perceive it as an innate or learned preference. We have no idea how many people have pursued specific sexual encounters on account of this desire, or what kind of sexual encounters they have pursued. No research into its possible role in motivating sexual assault or abuse has been conducted. We do not know to what extent it does or does not play a role in child sexual abuse or child prostitution. Even Sigmund Freud did little more than glance at it”.

There are a few online articles that write about the ‘virginity fetish’ (such as Tracy Clark-Forty’s article for Salon magazine, and Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell’s article in The Twelve) but none of these really concern virginity fetish as such as they are more concerned with the ‘purity’ movement (i.e., people not having sex until they get married) and the ‘fight against pornography’. There are also various online discussions on online sexual forums that discuss parthenophilia (although no-one actually calls it that). For instance, one man posted a question asking if anyone had a virgin fetish and it generated some interesting responses. Here are two extracts:

  • Extract 1: “I have a virgin fetish, but with real virgins! (Born again virgins don’t count!) (Pretending is not the same either!). And not just any virgins, Asian girl virgins!” (Cy83rDra90n).
  • Extract 2: “To tell the truth, this sounds at least very disrespectful, and kind of sick to me. It’s a stereotypical behavior that women have complained about and fought against for centuries. If you’re just looking to carve notches, I think your virgin partners should have a chance to carve a notch also – and I could suggest where they should carve it” (daletom)

According to the Right Diagnosis website, treatment for harmatophilia (and by default parthenophilia) is “generally not sought unless the condition becomes problematic for the person in some way and they feel compelled to address their condition”. If harmatophiles and/or parthenophiles exist, it would appear that they accept their fetish and manage to achieve gratification in an appropriate and non-problematic way.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Blank, H. (2007). Virgin: The Untouched History. New York: Bloomsbury.

Clark-Forty, T. (2009). The virginity fettish. Salon, May 16. Located at: http://www.salon.com/2009/05/16/purity_myth/

Cotton, K. (2007). Harmatophilia heaven. Philia Phrenzy, March 2. Located at: http://philia-phrenzy.blogspot.co.uk/2007/03/harmatophilia-heaven.html

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Mathonnet-VanderWell, S. (2012). Virgin fetish. The Twelve, April 24. Located at: http://the12.squarespace.com/steve-mathonnet-vanderwell/2012/4/24/virgin-fetish.html

Right Diagnosis (2012). What is harmatophilia? November 6. Located at: http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/h/harmatophilia/basics.htm