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Are Sexual Fetishes Hereditary?

Do we inherit our fetishes?

Nobody wants to think that while we’re in bed licking and sucking our partner’s feet, dad’s in the next room doing the same to mum… but he might be. This week, we investigate hereditary fetishes.

This thought first crossed my mind one night when I was in my late teens. I walked past my parents’ room on the way to bed and I heard them having sex. If that wasn’t traumatic enough, my mum sounded just like me!

I threw up a little bit in my mouth.

But it makes sense, right? We look like our parents, we share certain personality traits and mannerisms, it’s only logical that we’re like them in other ways also…

So I researched the matter; “Are fetishes hereditary?”

There’s a bit of a nature, nurture debate taking place…

Like with any human behaviour, psychologists ask “was it learnt or is it innate?”

Generally speaking it is agreed that human behaviour is a little bit of both.

In a large number of cases it is thought that a person develops a fetish because of something that happened in childhood or during the early years of sexual experimentation. With that in mind it is perhaps more likely that you don’t have a fetish because your genetics, rather you have a fetish because of the way you were raised or how you were treated as a kid.


For example, it is not uncommon for a man raised by a strict mother or stern nanny to enjoy being disciplined and berated by a dominant female partner in adulthood.

It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what childhood experience may have gradually warped and developed into a fetish as an adult, but sometimes there are particular moments which stand out in a person’s memory as being unique, exciting or pleasurable.

An experience with a clown at a birthday party can lead to a clown fetish, an evening with a busty babysitter may result in breast fixation and a sneaky search through your mum’s knickers drawer could give you a fetish for nylons.


It may be true that no one is born with a fetish. How can one have a fetish for stilettoes at birth without any idea what a stiletto is? However, can it not be said that we’re born with a predisposition to certain characteristics; shapes, textures, tastes, smells, etc, in accordance with our genetic heritage?

Often fathers and sons are attracted to the same women, just as mothers and daughters can be attracted to the same men. Well perhaps we may have the same perversions as our parents also?

The “innate” explanation may be the answer where there has been no bizarre childhood experience, no teenage trauma nor any sexual abuse. Sometime we just like something because we like it.

Take your favourite colour for example. What is it? Why do you prefer it to any other colour?

Some people have an answer to that question; “I love sunshine so my favourite colour is yellow” or “my favourite colour is green because I like to be around nature”, but not always.

My favourite colour is pink, just because I like the way it looks.


There isn’t always an explanation for why something turns you on. For instance you may be watching a movie and in a bathroom scene a girl picks up a razor and starts shaving under her arms and suddenly you’re very aroused. You don’t know why, you just get a feeling.

Ultimately human sexuality is very complex and is the consequence of our genetics, upbringing and sexual experiences and without certain encounters or specific stimuli we never discover what our fetishes are.

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