Police Psychology | Fetishes and Philias
by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
Do you know you can get pictures of the feet of Hollywood’s top stars? Want to see Jennifer Aniston’s feet up close? How about Charlize Theron or Minka Kelly? What to see what Brad Pitt has been playing footies with the past ten years: look up Angelina Jolie’s feet? Or maybe his rumored clandestine squeeze, just type in Marion Cotillard and gander at those French tootsies. Yes, it is all there on a site called “Wiki Feet,” the foot fetish dream site. Between 14% to 25% of males have a foot fetish, and wiki feet is well-known in foot fetish circles.
The cops that work in computer crimes say pictures of sex with animals is next highest up there on people’s computer and “scat” fetishes rank real high too. Don’t tell a “scat” fetisher to eat sh-t because that gets them off (coprophilia). There is a whole world of untowardly sexual focus and perversions out there that most people aren’t even remotely aware of. And most of it passes through a shrink’s office at some time or another. So let’s get into what “floats your boat” or at least the other boats in your harbor.
What is a Fetish or a Philia?
A fetish is a sexual attraction to an object, item of clothing or a body part that is not essential to coitus. A paraphilia is very similar but described as when a person sexual arousal and/or gratification involves acts or behaviors that are atypical or extreme. What’s the difference between the two? Nobody’s really clear on that and sometimes they overlap, but the paraphilia seems to describe things that are more extreme, more of patterns, and more dangerous. So Sadomasochism in sexual acts is more of a philia, whilst focusing on women’s underwear is more of a fetish. Outside of sex, the word fetish was used for something that had magical powers or spirits in it. Makes you wonder about the world view of sex, huh?
It is said that fetishes are tied to quality of childhood experiences, like a quarter of males in this world had sucking toes in their background as a kid. I am not sure of that. It seems that both of these are a combination of genetic and experiences in early childhood at many different times and levels. Remember no one cause can be chosen for most things in this world. It seems to happen mostly in males, or perhaps women are better suppressing it or much less honest about it and it is happening in both sexes equally. Or perhaps men just have a much stronger sex drive. Whatever your explanation is, it is more likely to happen in men’s lives.
Kinky, Freaky or Just Plain Whacko!
Now to the real meat of the matter, when does a fetish or paraphilia go from being a little off, to being the function of a major freak that needs to be corralled. Kissing, smelling, licking a boot or two is not a problem or at least not a problem if it is behind a closed door. Having sex with animals (zoophilia), eating someone’s “scat” or drinking their blood (haematophilia) start to get out there, even if it is behind a closed door. There are potential health issues that get added in. Going after kids (pedophilia) or elderly women (gerontophilia) is a major problem. And remember in the extreme cases, often paraphilias go together. I had a cop tell me a story of going to a known supermodel’s house and her and her husband offered his partner and him some water to drink. They of course didn’t take it following the rules and procedures manual. Well once they discovered DVD’s and looked at them, the couple had used the same water glasses offered to them to hold their own urine and eat each other’s feces. Then the DVD’s showed some sex play with children. Keep your heads up when you are dealing with paraphilias especially. They run together.
In the movie “Eyes Wide Shut,” with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Cruise’s character stumbles on a cult of power hungry grown men who were into S & M and had a few young prostitutes ritualistically killed. It was a wild sexual fantasy movie, but those groups do exist and it has not been uncommon for people to describe coming upon them by mistake or finding out their husband was involved. Don’t rule anything out in the sexual arena because you were not aware of it before. A big mistake for young and sometimes old-timer cops my age.
Prelude to Suicide
Another real important thing to consider. When you arrest someone for a paraphilia behavior, remember some are sociopaths and are dangerous because they have no conscious. Others actually feel very embarrassed by what they were doing and feel a strange kind of relief for being caught. But neither like the consequences that go with a sexual behavior. Jails are not too kind to sexual deviants just going in, at least that is the perception. They may have a strong desire to end their life before they find out. Look for a suicide behavior, or even a suicide-by-cop attempt. A paraphilia person knows they are a little strange and may just want it to end. I have done evaluations on these guys for the court, and almost all talk about wanting to end it all. I am contacting court many times and asking for suicide watches. And a few have succeeding in suicide after the evaluation and before sentencing. Just be careful. The cop is always to blame regardless of the threat in society so take precaution.
A Small Fetish Joke
A man was arrested for having sex with farm animals in a small town. His brother was going to hire a lawyer and gave the man a choice of two of the most successful lawyers – one was good as trial lawyer and one was good with jury selection. He told his brother to make the choice and went to trial. He didn’t know who his brother had picked and was in dismay until he heard something in court to change his mind. As prosecuting attorney called the first witnesses, the witness said he heard a tremendous screech from the goat pen, like a human crying, and went to look and found it was a goat bleating out at the top of his lungs. One juror turned to another and said under his breath, “the good ones sound like that when you get them, you know.” He won the case.
Most fetishes are harmless and not against the law (although it is neither in the joke). There’s a large number of people that can at least relate. But the people are usually not bad people, just have a kinky side to them. When it gets to be a stronger philia, watch yourself. Don’t get too caught up with the people or the problem. They tend to easily run awry of the law.
Site Editor: Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
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