Are You Watching Fetish Content Without Even Knowing It?

If you've been on TikTok lately, you probably are

November 28, 2022 6:38 am
random objects including a foot, hot dog, and handcuffs on a pink background
Whether you're watching it on purpose or not, you've probably noticed something off about these videos

On TikTok, like all social media platforms, you’ll find some questionable content that is probably sexual in nature, even if it doesn’t appear so at first glance. And it’s not even necessarily “sexual” in the way you’re thinking. It probably doesn’t even feature nudity — but if you watch a clip that has you thinking “hmm” you’ve likely stumbled upon what we’re talking about.

That gut feeling is the easiest measure of this type of fetish content: videos that are meant for people who get turned on from things that are decidedly non-sexual on the surface. Some are more explicit than others (see finger placement in the video, below), but for the most part, the videos themselves are best described as “odd.” 

Emerson Karsh, on Instagram as @thekinkeducator, starts first with a definition. “A lot of people use the terms kink and fetish interchangeably, but I define kink as a broad term that encompasses any form of sexual, sensual or intimate behaviors that fall outside of the norm, so fetish falls into the kink category,” she explains. “But a fetish is a little bit more specialized. It’s attraction or arousal or sexual stimulation to certain stimuli, especially if it’s non-sexual. So like non-sexual body parts, or inanimate objects or non-sexual situations.”

We got some answers from Karsh about fetish content on TikTok and how to spot it. 

Two of the most prominent fetishes: Feet and WAM. 

Lots and lots of feet. Feet being spread, feet with long toenails — just feet in general. “The immense showing of the feet,” Karsh says with a laugh. “Research and surveys that show that foot fetishes are one of the most common, whether that’s because it’s become so normalized or because it’s become so taboo with the normalization,” she tells InsideHook. “Fetishes can be, unfortunately, the butt of a joke a lot of the time. On the other side, it can also result in more people having that fetish once they hear about it.”

Karsh also confirms how innocuous some of these videos might seem on first glance, but how even she is seeing weirder and weirder content on her TikTok feed that blurs the line. “There’s this new tool that I keep on seeing on TikTok, it’s like a chiropractor tool to stretch the feet, and now I’m thinking, is that fetish content? I think it might be.”

Then there’s WAM, which is short for “wet and messy,” and is also known as splooshing. These are videos where food, or any kind of mess, is involved. Karsh explains how these videos are going viral on other social media apps as well. “There were videos like that on Facebook of a man and a women getting really messy with food. I remember thinking that it could definitely arouse someone who’s interested in wet and messy.” 

What makes them easy to spot? 

A lot if it is in the pacing of the video. “Fetish content on TikTok seems very odd and intentional,” Karsh explains. “Something I started noticing about the fetish content on my TikTok is that it feels very slow compared to the faster, more upbeat, ‘regular’ TikTok content.” If it feels like the performers are maybe belaboring the end of the action, that is probably the point. 

Pay attention to the background noise, too. “If you’re hearing someone making moaning noises,” she says, “or saying ‘ooh, ah, that’s so cool,’ you know those sort of sexual things.” A good rule of thumb? If you close your eyes and think something else might be going on, that’s an indicator that they could be meaning for you to think something else is going on. 


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♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依

Who’s making it?

There’s two kinds of fetish content present on the site: purposeful content, and then “accidental” fetish content. “Some people are making this through content farming — you know, people who are just making this content to get their views, those ‘hack’ creators,” Karsh explains. “But then there’s people who are just doing the trend, like the one where people were getting their jeans soaking wet to stretch them, or the current giant woman trend on Tik Tok. Even if it’s not porn, like somebody who has a giantess fetish, or a forced urination fetish, would probably find arousal from those videos.”

What if you find yourself…liking it?

“One of the reasons why these videos are getting so many views and so much content like this is being made is because there are people out there that enjoy it. If fetish content was not getting viewed, it would not be content,” Karsh says. 

Admitting interest in a fetish doesn’t mean you have to change the way you’re having sex. Instead of the outdated idea that fetishes are required by the person that enjoys them, which historically has been used to stigmatize and pathologize fetishes, Karsh prefers to think of fetish as a kind of special interest. “I think of a fetish like something that you enjoy doing more often than not, but doesn’t have to be required,” Karsh explains. It’s just about the act of enjoying it. “If you are enjoying it, and like, that is arousing you but not all the time, then it’s still a fetish.” 

If you do go searching for fetish content, then it’s probably best if you do it off of TikTok; while the content is present on the app, it’s not the safest way to consume it. “The Internet can be a great source of finding those communities, so I would say go out and find them,” Karsh says. “Mainly, go out and find that content that is done by ethical fetish content creators and sex workers.”

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