Excerpt from Sexual Deviance

Excerpt from: “Sexual Deviance, Second Edition: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment”, edited by D. Richard Laws, ‎William T. O’Donohue – 2012

(all links added by me)



Prevalence and Incidence

As is the case with many other sexual disorders, satisfactory epidemiological data for fetishism are lacking.  In general, the disorder of fetishism is considered to be rare. Out of a series of 4,000 patients seen in private practice, only 0.1% were identified as having fetishism as the primary problem (Curren, 1954). Chalkley and Powell (1983) estimated that only 0.8% of adult psychiatric cases involved fetishism, while Kafka and Hennen (2002) found that 8.3% of a group of 88 outpatient males with paraphilias were diagnosed with fetishism. Even within a forensic population, fetishism appears to be relatively rare.   In a group of 561 non-incarcerated sexual offenders (all diagnosed with paraphilias), only 19 (3.4%) were diagnosed with fetishism (Abel et al., 1988).

In terms of fetishes that do not reach clinical significance, it is virtually impossible to estimate the prevalence of fetishism, due to the secretive nature of the behavior/fantasies /urges.  Gosselin and Wilson (1980) reported that 18% of their control sample reported having fetishistic fantasies, while Crepault and Couture (1980) found that 77.7% of males admitted having fantasies in which they imagined part of a female body. Judging by the availability of fetishism sites on the internet (Wise & Kalyanam, 2000), as well as pornographic magazines catering to specific interests, there appears to be a substantial market.