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How A Fetish Destroyed My Sex Life

Freud would be thrilled to know that my fetish began when I was about four years old. It was only in my late twenties that I discovered what that feeling really was and started to use it for sexual pleasure.

In the year that followed, I became the most smiley version of myself, putting my new found fetish into action two, three, sometimes four times a day. I’d laugh at myself for behaving like a teenage boy, and while I blabbed to my friends and boyfriend about this late sexual awakening, I kept the fetish underlying it a secret, from everyone, because it’s so weird.

At the time of said discovery I was having regular sex with a long-term partner. We’d always had good sex, but it started to change with this unlocked thought. I began to initiate it at odd hours, when he wasn’t in the mood. We’d start having sex, and I’d focus intensely on the thought, reaching orgasm within 30 seconds or less, after which I’d quickly lose interest. This single thought had turned me from someone who enjoyed sex but had to work at it to orgasm, into a mean coming machine.

When my boyfriend really wasn’t up for it, despite my frank desperation, I’d sneak off to the bathroom and pretend I was… examining my pores. Once, alone, I had an orgasm just from the thought, 40 Days and 40 Nights style, without touching anything.

Excited but a bit freaked by this deep-buried part of myself, I turned, like every other person who’s thought about sex in an unholy way, to the internet, where I found others just like me. Well, not many. My particular brand of fetish is niche, so a lot of the videos only have around 200 views. I also got into reading short stories so badly written they made 50 Shades sound like Ulysses. I even thought about writing my own story and submitting it to the forums, but worried I would be traced by some conscientious fetish objector. Plus, the act of writing about it made it too real – and I do see the irony in that.

So back to my four-year-old self, and here comes the big reveal. Like any other little girl brought up in the 90s, I liked playing with Barbies and not being a particularly pretty little girl myself, I was quite fascinated by Barbie’s beauty. In particular her long blonde hair. I would shut my bedroom door, get out my red, child-safe scissors, wet Barbie’s hair, and start cutting. A normal thing for a little girl to do, but the feeling attached wasn’t.
“Only boring people get bored”, my mum would say, and my game certainly kept me occupied, for hours. I realised even as a small child that the intensity I associated with this game was strange. Of course I didn’t know what a sexual feeling was back then, it just felt exciting and fun, and like something I shouldn’t be doing. I found it incredibly embarrassing too, so I’d hide the evidence from everyone around me, tidying up the cut hair, hiding my badly bobbed barbies, and pretending I had been… examining my pores.

I know all children do weird things, but now, as an adult, and here it is: I get off to haircuts. Also known as trichophilia, though I literally just learnt that word. Sorry to disappoint. Would it be better if I preferred being tied up? Or blindfolded? Or any of the other bad fiction approved BDSM practices? Mainstream literature has convinced normal people who like normal sex that they are masochists. I enjoy adventurous sex as much as the next person, but that’s not BDSM, that’s just vanilla ice cream with a flake.

Fetish is a displaced sexual feeling, so a person who’s got one will associate sexual feelings with typically unsexual things, hence (more commonly known) – a foot fetish, a shoe fetish. Mine’s about hair. God knows why. I didn’t have any traumatic hair experiences when I was young except a couple of over-zealous fringe trims and some common winter frizz.

“Haircut fetishism”, describes some piece of internet, “is the arousal a person feels from having their hair cut, cutting someone else’s hair, or watching hair being cut.” I like to watch videos and read stories about people having their hair cut.

I chanced upon my fetish as an adult while watching an old Youtube clip of a breakfast show where a model was getting a hair makeover. That's it. Not exactly the sexual awakening you imagined? It is fairly tame, until you get into the submissive/ dominant thing whereby the haircutee is submissive and the haircutter dominant. But we won’t get into that.

Some haircut fetishes involve head-shaving, and there’s a great many more videos about this where girls orgasm as someone shaves their head – I’m not into that. It’s also worth noting that actually having my hair cut doesn’t turn me on, neither does cutting other people’s hair; it’s a fantasy scenario, between people I don’t know, and it only turns me on because it doesn’t exist.

In his essay ‘Fetishism’, Freud noted that “the fetishist is able at one and the same time to believe in his phantasy and to recognise that it is nothing but a phantasy. And yet, the fact of recognising the phantasy as phantasy in no way reduces its power over the individual.” Someone called Octave Mannoni put it this way: "Je sais bien, mais quand-même" or "I know very well, but nevertheless."
So there I was with my niche fetish, watching and thinking about haircuts, a lot, and having a nice time. Until it started to freak me out, a lot. I was brought up in a reasonably religious family and I started to wonder if my sexual deviation was immoral. I was taught that sex was for pleasure, sure, but only to be enjoyed with your partner and preferably in the marital bed. I had a serious case of Catholic guilt and instead of just feeling embarrassed, I began to feel ashamed, sex-obsessed, fetish-obsessed – weird.

So I tried to stop it. I would force myself to think about other things during sex – things that used to satisfy me – but I found it so boring. Pre-fetish I had a fun, fulfilling sex life. Post-fetish, I was totally bored by the whole thing. Vanilla just wasn’t cutting it.

I get that society is liberal, and I’m liberal, and it’s what, anti-feminist? to deny myself sexual pleasure just because I’ve got a harmless fetish – so what? Get over yourself. But my obsession became a problem in my relationship, it was too much, and it wasn’t about the other person at all, it was just about me getting what I needed and then totally zoning out for the rest. Not that I believe in “making love” as such – I’ve never seen sex that way – but you should at least notice the other person, and I felt like a user.

The relationship ended and it wasn’t because of my fetish, but where good sex had always held us together before, I realised it was all that held us together at all.

Now I use my fetish for pleasure about three times a week. I’ll be totally absorbed in the fantasy, then once it’s over I’ll say out loud “you’re such a weirdo”, and go to sleep feeling troubled. I suppose I should come out, to the people I’m sleeping with at least, but then what’s the point? I’m only interested in the fantasy.

So, that’s my sex life. Don’t freak out.
*Names have been changed.