A brief look at fart fetishes.
Posted February 17, 2016 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan
Olfactophilia is a paraphilia in which individuals derive sexual pleasure and arousal from smells and odours. Typically, the erotic focus relates to body odours of a sexual partner, including genital odours. One arguably bizarre sub-type of olfactophilia is eproctophilia. This refers to a condition in which people are sexually attracted to flatulence.
A couple of years ago, I published the first academic study of an eproctophile in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. My paper was a case study of Brad (a pseudonym), a 22-year old single man from Illinois in the United States.
Brad first contacted me after he read a blog I had written on eproctophilia. I was interested to know where the roots of his fetish began, and he explained that it all started when a girl he had a crush on at school farted in a science class. This appeared to have laid the foundation in Brad’s early adolescence of sexual arousal being paired with flatulence. Brad’s sexual orientation was also far from being straightforward. As he told me:
“I could be any of three, depending on the perspective. In terms of relationships, I am straight [heterosexual]. I could only date or have romantic feelings towards a female. In terms of fetishism, I am bisexual. I get aroused thinking of both males and females in these fetish situations. However, I have no real desire for sexual intercourse, be it penetration or being penetrated, which would make me asexual."
Brad first engaged in an eproctophile act at around the age of 16 or 17 years of age. He was with a male friend and up to that point he had considered himself as heterosexual. This was until he heard his male friend fart in front of him. Brad told me that the fart was appealing in sound, and he found himself fixating on it.
At first, he didn't want to admit he was into farting, but eventually he decided to experiment. He set up a bet and intentionally lost, with the wager being the right to fart in the loser's face for a week. He continued to lose such bets once every few weeks over a period of two years. His sexual attraction to flatulence grew in young adulthood. He told me:
“I have had my face farted on by both men and women, at point blank range. I like the sound and the smell. The ‘worse’ the better. In terms of sound, I prefer a deep bubbling sound. In terms of smell, I like acrid sulphur. I prefer the farter to be clothed. I don't particularly like seeing the anus open. It's not revolting to me, I just prefer fabric for three reasons. Firstly, the sound tends to be better with fabric, particularly jeans or nylons. Second, the smell lingers in cloth, whereas in the nude it is a relatively quick blast of smell. Third, I like the look of butt cheeks better when they are defined by fabric.”
Being farted upon by others also allowed Brad to play a role of being subservient and dominated by someone else, something that could be masochistically sexually arousing. One of the more interesting things was Brad’s insight into his own behavior. He had to be attracted to the person for the flatulence to be sexually arousing:
“To see a beautiful, delicate lady passing wind is a breach of those expectations in a profound manner. That a beautiful woman is capable of producing a disgusting sound and smell is what attracts us, and makes us want to experience it."
Brad’s account of his early eproctophilic experiences are suggestive of behavioral conditioning and/or sexual imprinting — in this case classical conditioning where being sexually aroused by an attractive women is paired with something that is not inherently sexual (in this case, flatulence) and then starts to become an erotic focus in and of itself. Brad also had very specific criteria for the behavior to be sexually arousing (i.e., the person had to fart while fully clothed as it sounded better, and the smell was longer-lasting, and the farts had to be acrid smelling).
Obviously Brad is unlikely to be representative of the entire eproctophile community, so further research is needed. We are currently carrying out interviews with other eproctophiles that we have recruited from the online Gassy Erotica forum.
Like most paraphilias, eproctophilia appears to be found mainly in men, although the anecdotal evidence suggests it is mainly found in heterosexual males particularly attracted to female flatulence. The accounts that I have come across suggest that farts are typically targeted at the face, and sometimes more specifically at the mouth, the ear, or nose. Some claim eproctophilia is a “softer form” of coprophilia (in which people are sexually aroused by feces). The majority of eproctophiles accept their fetish and don’t believe there is anything wrong with the behavior as long as it is consensual.
According to a paper in a 2011 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Dr. Lesley Terry and Dr. Paul Vasey assert that the scientific value of case studies is their utility in highlighting rare phenomena and their role in the generation of new research questions and hypotheses. The eproctophile case presented in my case study hopefully fulfills these values. Other developmental routes into eproctophilia may be possible. Further research is needed to assess the extent to which this case study is representative of eproctophiles more generally, and whether the etiological and developmental pathways are more complex than that described in this instance.
My case study also highlights the importance of the internet in recruitment of people with sexually paraphilic and/or fetishistic behavior for academic study. Over the last decade, there have been a number of studies that have reported paraphilic behavior by using online methodologies such as studies into zoophilia, feederism, hypoxyphilia, and sexsomnia. Without the internet, it is unlikely that my latest case study would have come to light. Brad may not have been able to contact me, and I would not have been able to carry out the interview online. The online medium appears to be a particularly good medium for collecting data on unusual sexual paraphilias and fetishes as online data collection is much better for collecting sensitive compared to offline methods.
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Greenhill, R. & Griffiths, M.D. (2014). The use of online asynchronous interviews in the study of paraphilias. SAGE Research Methods Cases.
Griffiths, M.D. (2012). The use of online methodologies in studying paraphilia: A review. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 1, 143-150.
Griffiths, M.D. (2013). Eproctophilia in a young adult male: A case study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 1383-1386.
Griffiths, M.D. (2013). Bizarre sex. New Turn Magazine, 3, 49-51.
Terry, L. L. & Vasey, P. L. (2011). Feederism in a woman. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 639-645.