Fetishism and the brain

I recently read a book entitled: Welcome to your brain – why you lose your car keys but never forget how to get home.  The book talked extensively about brain function and development.  While they didn’t explicity discuss fetishism, based on my reading I concluded that a fetish is a mapping tied to the synapses and brain segments responsible for sexual desire.

When something triggers the brain activity responsible for sexual desire, electrical activity happens in that region of the brain.  You see an attractive person naked, electrical activity occurs, next physiological responses follow (blood flow to sexual regions of the body).

In a fetishist the associated object triggers those brain regions to fire.  This is all fairly obvious and factual.  My question is how come a fetish is not developed late in life.  How come you don’t hear about fetishists who ‘discover’ their fetish at age 50?  The story is always the same – some environmental factor led to the development of a fetish in the early years (7-15).  It’s never after that period that a fetish can be formed.

If this is the case, it must mean that the development of our brain is set so that the mapping of sexual desire is done at a window of opportunity.  Just like with speech, where mapping of the brain to the production of sounds occurs during the age range of 1-3 years old, sexual desire is mapped at a specific time period.

The brain may be particularly receptive to sexual stimuli at this time.  Is it the case that confusion of sexual stimuli at a specific age range results in a fetish?  Are their genetic factors involved?  With all the media that surrounds us, I find it difficult to believe that the majority of humans don’t have fetishes.  However, formal studies show the rate of fetishism found in the general population as quite low, typically around 3%.

I wish there was more scientific analysis of fetishism, but alas the medical community seems content to let us rubberists run around in latex as much as we please without much interst in us.  Do you want more information about your fetish or do you prefer to frolic in your desires without the knowledge of their origins?

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