Your partner has told you that he or she has a fetish. What does this mean, for you and for your relationship?

First, what is a fetish? A fetish is defined as any inanimate object given unreasonable attention, or any part of the body not of a sexual nature that arouses erotic feelings.

In other words, a fetish is when an individual is sexually aroused by a specific object or objects and is generally unable to achieve sexual satisfaction without that object being present.

Let's say your partner is turned on by feet. How do you feel about this form of arousal? Is it acceptable to you if he also spends time focusing on other areas of your body? Do you wonder whether he likes you or your feet? Do you resent his attention to your feet and the lack of romantic loving in the relationship? Do you sometimes wish he'd get a set of false feet and play with them? Does he stare at other women's feet? Is this fetish interfering with your relationship?

Psychiatrists and psychologists don't agree on what causes a fetish. In the case of a foot fetish, they believe it started when the person was a baby and played with Mommy's toes, sucked them instead of his thumb, was sexually aroused and became attached to the feelings. Therapy and medication can reduce the attraction, but not cure it.

So, back to you. This is a harmless fetish, but you have to decide how you feel about it. Can you accept and tolerate this behaviour, or is it starting to bother you and interfere with the other dynamics of the relationship? Would he be willing to see a therapist and would you feel better if he did. Or is this arousal pattern just not acceptable to you? If so, you need to talk to your boyfriend. Be gentle, but be very clear that you are not comfortable with the fetish and you are ending the relationship.