I was recently quoted for a story on Santa and fetishes on fatherly.com. Here's the link:
You know you're in the right profession when an journalist asks you about Santa fetishes. Happy Holidays, everyone!
Here's a full transcript of my answers:
Why are some people (consciously or unconsciously) sexually attracted to Santa? What psychological mechanisms are at play? Is it just that it's taboo, or something more?
I’m not sure any scientific studies have been done so I can only hypothesize. First, I would imagine that some people are attracted to that body type or beards or whatnot, and therefore they’re attracted to Santa. Nothing psychological, per se, just attraction. As far as “psychological” goes, there could be many factors in play. Children are discovering themselves as sexual beings at the same time that they’re still sitting on Santa’s lap. If a child experiences pleasurable sensations while sitting on Santa’s lap it may become associated in their minds and might ultimately lead to a “fetish” in later years. There’s also a power dynamic involved, and that can lead to sexual attraction. Santa is the one who knows if you’ve been bad or good and he has the power to punish you for it (although those punishments never actually manifest and instead Santa gives only joy). “Being naughty” or being punished can be a turn on for some people and Santa is kind of the ultimate arbiter of naughtiness. Finally, I can imagine it playing into some Daddy/daughter fantasies or May/December fantasies.
Does this qualify as a fetish? How common of a fetish is it?
I assume you mean is it diagnosable as fetishistic disorder? There are two qualifications for a diagnosis:
A. Over a six month period, the individual has experienced sexual urges focused on a non-genital body part, or inanimate object, or other stimulus, and has acted out urges, fantasies, or behaviors.
B. The fantasies, urges, or behaviors cause distress, or impairment in functioning.
If they meet A and not B it’s a fetish in the popular sense. Only if it is causing distress or impairment would it it be diagnosable. So, for instance, if adults are going to sit on mall Santa’s lap, grinding into it, for their own sexual satisfaction, I would say that’s a big impairment seeing as they’re resorting to sexual assault in order to satisfy those urges. Or, less extreme, if they were so stuck on fantasizing that they were neglecting other areas of their life, or it were interfering with important relationships, they might want to seek help in dealing with the thoughts and urges.
Is there a gender or age range that this is more common for? I'd imagine adult, heterosexual women, but don't want to assume.
I honestly couldn’t say, but if it’s a fetish that developed in childhood I would think it wouldn’t conform to any one category of person. If it’s developed due to the power dynamic, I would imagine it would affect those who find cis hetero males attractive (so numberswise that would probably be het females). I suggest checking FetLife and searching the keyword “Santa” to see how the various people who identify it as a desire or fetish classify themselves.
How has porn and entertainment and other aspects of culture helped to perpetuate this?
If anything, we’re seeing fetishes become more commonly discussed and more acceptable (to the person involved) due to the internet’s way of connecting like-minded people. A key stigmatizing factor of fetishes is thinking you’re the only one. When you can google “Santa sex” and get hundreds of thousands of hits, it seems a little more acceptable. Rule 34 has really opened up the world of kink and fetish.
Do you have any theories as to how Santa became fetishized? Has it always been this way? Is it just because he's a cultural icon?
I think I answered up above but in general I would say that Santa being the ultimate judge of whether you’ve been good or bad and whether you should be punished or rewarded play into it, as these are themes that lend themselves well to sexual desire.
Does this translate into people being attracted to overweight men with light hair and beards? Or is it more about the image of Santa itself?
We are seeing a rise, I think, in “silver foxes” and “dad bods” being attractive so in some ways Santa is a natural combination. Throw in power equally mixed with kindness and I can see where the attraction may grow.
Is there anything wrong with being attracted to Santa? Is there any harm from fetishizing Santa?
I’m firmly of the opinion that there’s nothing “wrong” with any attraction as long as it’s between consenting adults. It strays into harm when it turns into something that affects other people. Grinding on a mall Santa is sexual assault. Becoming so obsessed with the fantasy that you neglect important areas of your functioning life is harmful. However, if someone wants to watch Miracle on 34th Street to get in the mood or request their partner dress up in a red suit and fake beard, I say go for it! Santa rewards those who have been good, after all.