Ok, this is embarrassing but critical. I am in numerous sexual addiction therapy groups. My particular addiction is fueled by a Fetish and I’d like to get to the root of it and ferret it out. Since childhood, I have been sexually stimulated by the sight of a woman (and to a lesser extent, a man) going to the bathroom. By that I mean the actually sight of the excretion process, not merely them sitting on a toilet. Also, I am also sexually stimulated by the exhibitionist side of the coin as well. My question is the following: would this be considered a fetishistic disorder, or voyeurism/exhibitionist disorder? I would like to find a support group geared around this particular problem but am not sure where to look. Thanks.

A. Much like bathroom activities, sexual activities are supposed to occur behind closed and often locked doors. We don’t talk about our bathroom activities because in this culture we consider bathroom activities to be embarrassing, shameful or dirty. So to combat this we have invented bathroom sprays to cover up the evidence of this shameful behavior. Even though everyone defecates and hopefully on a daily basis, we keep this “shameful” behavior a secret, whose existence can only be implied and evidenced by a poor selection of potpourri and an undersized bathroom fan.

God forbid, you forget to lock the bathroom door, someone walks in on you in the midst of a muscular contraction, with the resultant facial contortion. And what if they had a camera and took a picture of you in that highly compromised position? What would you pay to have that picture destroyed so that your friends, family and even total strangers would never get to see you sitting and contorting on the ceramic throne? I guess that’s why we securely lock the door, or wait until we are alone in the house, or often wait in pain until we can return to the safety of our own home and the tested strength of personal door locks. Many people try desperately to defecate nowhere other than their own home.

Why? Defecating is desirable, normal and odorous. Yes, it stinks and that is true for everyone. So why are we so ashamed of something that is desirable, normal and by its very nature odorous? Do we complain about water being wet? Do we find breathing to be a shameful, secretive act that should be hidden? All physical acts are normal and necessary for life. Should we be ashamed of anything that is necessary for our existence? We celebrate food and we seek it out. We relish it when we chew it and swallow it. However, it is a far different thing when that food is excreted from our bodies.

Our excretory parts are the same as our sexual parts or at least occur within millimeters of each other. Urine comes from the penis, as does sperm and, yes, people do engage in anal intercourse. There is a natural overlap. It’s just the way it is. It is not uncommon for bathroom activities to become associated with sex and thus develop fetishistic qualities.

It is generally agreed upon and has been for a very long time, that any sexual activity that does not lead to self-harm or the harm of others is perfectly all right. If you are being harmed by your sexual thoughts, then by all means seek out a good therapist and discuss this matter. There are people who are sexually aroused to raincoats, flowers, handbags, leather shoes, plastic shoes, whips, lingerie, soiled underwear, etc., etc., etc, ad infinitum. The very definition of a sexual addiction, is that you are being harmed by your sexual behavior. If that is true for you, then with the help of therapy, you must stop harming yourself. You must never, under any circumstances, no matter what the original intention, harm another human being to satiate or help to satiate a sexual desire or impulse. Never means never.

Talking to a knowledgeable therapist, reading good, sound, widely accepted, professionally written, books on the topic of sexuality, should help and hopefully resolve your concerns. Good luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle