Chus Martinez On Trichophilia (Hair Fetishism)

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Hair fetishism or trichophilia is a partialism in which a person sees hair, most commonly head hair, as erotic and from which the person experiences sexual arousal. Arousal may occur from seeing, touching or eating hair, including head hair, pubic hair, auxiliary hair, chest hair, or fur. Hair arousal may come from seeing or touching very long or short hair, wet hair, certain colours of hair (blonde and red being the most common) or a particular hairstyle. Different textures of hair (straight, curly, wavy, etc.) may also lead to arousal. Tricophilia also encompasses the excitement caused by plucking or pulling hair.

Haircut fetishism is a related paraphilia in which a person is aroused by having their head hair cut or shaved, by cutting the hair of another, by watching someone get a haircut, or by seeing someone with a shaved head or very short hair. Pubic hair fetishism is another common hair fetishism. Fetishist may be aroused by a full bush of pubic hair, or prefer it trimmed into styles such as airstrip or even completely shaved off.

Hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. In humans, hair can be scalp hair, facial hair, chest hair, pubic hair, auxiliary hair, underarm hair etc. Hair does not in itself have any intrinsic sexual reproductive function. The erotic attributes of hair are given to it socially in a variety of cultural contexts. Some cultures regard body hair as attractive while others view it as ugly. Many cultures see women’s hair as erotically charged. For example, many Islamic women cover their hair in public, and display it only to their family and close friends. Similarly, many Jewish women cover their hair after marriage. During the Middle Ages, European women were expected to cover their hair after they married.

Even in cultures where women do not customarily cover their hair, its erotic significance is recognised. Some hairstyles are culturally associated with a particular gender, with short head hairstyles and baldness being associated with men and longer hairstyles with women and girls. Hair, especially head hair, is regarded as a secondary sexual characteristic. In the case of women especially, head hair has been presented in art and literature as a feature of beauty, vanity and eroticism. Hair has a very important role in the canons of beauty in different regions of the world, and healthy combed hair has two important function, beauty and fashion. In those cultures considerable time and expense is put into the attractive presentation of hair, and in some cases to the removal of culturally unwanted hair.

Hair fetishism manifests itself in a variety of ways. A fetishist may enjoy seeing, touching or eating hair, pulling hair or cutting hair; some activities such as stealing locks of hair by snipping off pieces in public places take hair fetishism out of consensual territory and make it abusive. Hair fetishism can become an obsession, resulting in extremely frequent hair washing or a dread of losing hair. Arousal by head hair may arise from seeing or touching very long or short hair, wet hair, a certain colour of hair or a particular hairstyle.  Such fetishes are common among both men and women.

Some people are aroused when their hair is being cut or groomed. On the other hand, other individuals feel anxious when their hair is being cut.  The forcible removal of women’s hair is seen as demeaning, hence the shaving of the heads of women who had collaborated with the Nazis after the defeat of the Axis powers at the end of World War II.

Technically, hair fetishism is called trichophilia, which comes from the Greek “trica-” (τρίχα), which means hair, and the suffix “-philia” (φιλία), which signifies love. The term is especially applied to excitation by long hair, which is sometimes referred to as the Rapunzel syndrome, named after the fairy tale published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. In the tale a parallel is drawn between the beauty of Rapunzel’s hair and the story of a young woman with blond hair who is locked in a tower room, with the only way of reaching her being to climb the tower on her long hair.

In order to determine the relative prevalence of different fetishes, in 2007 some social scientists used a sample of more than 5000 individuals from 381 worldwide internet discussion groups. The relative prevalence of various fetishes was estimated based on (a) the number of groups devoted to a particular fetish, (b) the number of individuals participating in the groups and (c) the number of messages exchanged. From the sample, 7 percent were turned on by head hair (as opposed to 12 for underwear, but only 4 for genitals, 3 for breasts, 2 for buttocks, and less than one for body hair).



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