A sexual fetish is a particular object or non-sexual part of the body that causes sexual arousal in some people. For example, a bare foot, a glove, a hairstyle, or a tattoo can be a fetish. The person who is sexually attracted to such things is called a fetishist. Fetishism can manifest in varied degrees ranging from simple fascination to absolute obsession. Is fetishism wrong? Is it sinful to have a sexual fetish?
There is nothing wrong with finding a particular part of the body especially attractive. The Bible says that our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Within the confines of marriage, there is nothing wrong with a husband or wife enjoying a particular characteristic of his or her spouse’s body. While some fetishes seem very strange—and may be considered “kinky”—there is no body part or sexual behavior that is “off limits” between a husband and wife, as long as the sexual expression is God-honoring, exclusive, loving, other-oriented, unifying, and mutually agreed to (1 Corinthians 7:5). Within a marriage, having a sexual fetish is only sinful if it becomes an obsession (an idol), if it interferes with complete sexual expression, or if it goes against the will of the other spouse. Please read our article on “What is a Christian couple allowed to do in sex?”
Any type of preference or attraction that turns into a desire to do something immoral is sinful. An unmarried person needs to be especially careful in this area. An attraction to the opposite sex is normal and natural. And being “turned on” by a certain body style, non-sexual body part, or piece of clothing might not be wrong per se. But Jesus warned us that sin begins in the heart: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28).
Fetishes, as strange as some of them may seem, are not necessarily sinful within the confines of a God-honoring marriage. Both spouses must agree, however, that the fetish is a healthy part of their marital union. Anything that leads to obsession or lust or that makes the other spouse uncomfortable is sinful.
Romans 6:19 lays down a principle for all believers: “Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.”