All these things–erotic clothing or objects of whatever type–are “fetishes”. A fetish is any object which has sexual connotations for you. If it makes you feel sexy to wear it, or to see it on someone else, it’s a fetish. There’s nothing wrong with having fetishes; in fact, it’s a rare person who _doesn’t_ have any! Some people are turned on by armpits; some by painted toenails; some by good old lingerie. The techniques of negotiation and communication that I’ve already talked about can also come in handy in exploring your particular fetishes, whatever they are.

Leather is one of the most basic fetishes in the scene. Leather skirts, leather chaps, leather harnesses, leather cuffs, on and on. Likewise for latex. Much of the appeal of these two substances, it seems to me, is in their tightness and their shininess; clothes made out of them enhance your awareness of your sensual self, and restraints made out of them can cling like a second skin. In general, leather and latex are two really big categories of fetish–and a fetish is defined as something that turns some people on; if you have to ask, you probably won’t understand!

Leather clothes absorb fluids; don’t get them wet. Plain water will damage the leather; blood or other bodily fluids will also leave their scent in the leather. You can use saddle soap and water to clean your leather, and neats-foot oil to keep it supple and in good condition.

Latex doesn’t absorb water-based fluids, but oils will damage it, and prolonged exposure to sunlight will cause it to break down. When putting your latex on, apply lots of talc to yourself and to the insides of your latex; this will make it easy to slide it on. Don’t pull the latex with your nails, or it’ll rip; likewise make sure you cut your toenails before putting on latex stockings. After removing latex clothes, wash them with water to remove oils, then dry them (and some say powder them) for storage.

There are also PVC clothes (“wetlook” clothes), which are usually black, shiny, and stretchy. PVC is basically plastic-coated fabric, and is washable, as well as relatively inexpensive.

Of course, good old lingerie can be very arousing indeed. It’s often true that a little clothing is even sexier than none at all. Erotic costumes and attire can add a lot of spark to a scene; they can set the stage like nothing else. The mind is the biggest erogenous zone, and role-playing and mock acting can be very very hot. whether combined with any other elements of SM, or not.

As for corsets and high heels: they’re both restrictive garments that enhance the curves of the body, and that work really well as part of SM play–they can enhance the domineering tread of a mistress or hobble the steps of a slave. They are some of the classic fetish items. High enough heels can make it altogether impossible to walk, which can be very sexy! Corsets, properly applied, can dramatically change the shape of your body, while intensifying sensation through- out. And corsets and high heels, like any fetish, can be combined with many many different kinds of scenes.

Other fetishes: dirty jockstraps, boxer shorts on women, formal clothes on men, cowboy gear, uniforms (police/military/what-have-you), nurses’ outfits, harem girl attire… the list goes on and on. If it turns you on to wear it or to see your partner wearing it, why not make it part of a scene? (A button I heard about recently: “Are you into casual sex… or should I dress up?”)

In general with fetishes, anything goes! If you find yourself becoming more involved with a fetish than you want to be, then you can take steps to look at your behavior and determine if you want to change it. But if you like it, and your partner likes it (or likes that you like it), and if it’s consensual all around, then go for it! And if you like fetish clothing, check out the newsgroup–it’s young, but it’s growing….