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Paraphila is an umbrella term used to cover the family of philias. In sexology, it is sometimes more widely used to cover atypical sexual interests or deviances. While the word paraphilia may seem alien, the philias it encompasses may seem slightly familiar. Think fetishes and unusual desires and you're on the right track!

Monday, 26 March 2007

Frame Your Desires

Hitting the town at the weekend with friends, I was approached with a friend's dilemma: glasses or no glasses? Without glasses, she was aware she couldn't see. However, she believed that with them perched on her nose, she wouldn't attract men. Most dilemmas are best solved through compromise, so I suggested a combination: glasses til the prey was in her sights followed by the specs being secreted in my handbag. She invoked memories of my childhood desire to be one of the few, one of the bespeckled. Looking back now, it was an odd want: a craving for imperfection. Perhaps I desired to inspire thoughts of myself as an intelligent bookworm or to stand apart from the crowd, but with near-perfect vision, it was never meant to be. While my urge was short-lived, for some their desire for corrective vision in themselves and others is a long-term obsession.

Glasses fetishism describes an attraction or arousal towards people wearing prescription eyewear or sunglasses, or in some cases, the act of wearing spectacles. Occasionally, even the glasses themselves as a stand-alone object are fetishised. While it is not technically a paraphilia, rare, extreme forms of this fetish verge on parphiliac.

Initially, I admit, this may be a difficult fetish to relate to. However, anyone who has had a fantasy involving the headmistress or master discipling them, will most likely imagine them in glasses. Or perhaps your taste is more in corrupting a schoolboy or transforming an uptight bespeckled bookworm into a wild, crazy nymph. Perhaps if eyes are the windows to the soul, glasses frame its desires.

While the glasses themselves can be a turn on for some, fetishists cite a variety of sources for arousal including:
  • watching women struggle - either with losing their glasses or adjusting to a new pair

  • spectacles slipping down the nose

  • the cleaning of smudged lenses

  • seeing a person wearing or manipulating eyewear both sexually and non-sexually
Erotic fiction such as Specs4Ever's tale "A Town Called Myopia" tittilates the glass fetishist through writing. Accompanying this, a wide range of DVDs are available ranging from the mangaka title "The Sky over my Spectacles" to "Specs Appeal 9" which features a memorable catchphrase: "Spray my glasses with hot jizm!". These sorts of 'money shots' feature strongly on the many websites which cater to girls with glasses (GWGs) such as the imaginatively titled Jizz on My Glasses site. Forums, such as Eye Scene, which describes itself as a 'different outlook on eyewear', encourage an open discussion for all things optical.

Some fetishists wear eyeglasses - sometimes even over contacts. This practice, glasses over contacts (GOC), requires the use of contact lenses prescribed at a strength which allows the user to see clearly through strong eyeglasses. For some hopeful fetishists, they let their eyes go overcorrected for a length of time so that stronger glasses will be necessary.

Czech GOC-fetishist Bobby Laurel believes that his fetish for thick, strong lenses is similar to those who enjoy pretending to be an amputee or handicapped. On his website, he writes: "All of them pretend a kind of disability. Please, do not misunderstand the concept of this pretending. They do not do it to lodge a fraudulent claims, to get benefits, to get money, to beg etc. No! They wheel or crutch just for the pleasure (Yes, they like it!) ... Those pretenders and us - the GOC wearers - are the same kind of "freaks". None of us know exactly what happened in our brains that we like pretending to be disabled. We just like it. Please, realise we do not harm anybody. We do not wish that the other people really needed thick glasses, wheelchairs or crutches. Of course, we like the people who happened to need the stuff. They attract us, it is true, it often makes us excited or even sexually stimulated when we see a person who wears strong glasses or needs crutches or a wheelchair."

Research into this realm of fetishism (as well as many others) is sparse. Perhaps it is the fact it is not as well-known or more likely that it rarely impacts on anyone apart from the fetishist.

Currently, a group of European researchers have joined forces to investigate fetishism in the hopes of increasing understanding. The Internet Sex Survey Initiative are looking into various fetishes including glasses fetishism. So, if the site of a face framed in specs warms your loins, take part in their survey by clicking: www.intercult.su.se/ISSI/sur...rvey.html.

So...glasses or no glasses? I'm not sure there is a right answer to that one. As with any desire or want, it's personal. With age, poor eyesight soon follows. But I don't think I will fret - for some men still do make passes at girls in glasses.

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