It seems that people these days are just bursting with bizarre and morbid curiosity. From charged nipple clamps to glow-in-the-dark butt plugs, chances are if man can create it, someone, somewhere is going to have a fetish about it. Sexual fetishes are a source of my fascination due largely to the fact that I don’t have one. In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t know anyone who truly has one either, but I know you people are out there. Come to think of it, I’d bet that some of you even study a major in the College of Creative Studies here at UCSB.

When I say fetishes, I’m not talking about some strange girl who prefers to use a squiggle pen for a vibrator or a guy who occasionally enjoys giving his partner a pearl necklace. These are minor in comparison to the urban oddities that one can see on late-night HBO or the Playboy Channel. I’ve heard of clubs that consist, for instance, of people who saddle and ride each other like horses. It really makes me wonder what the hell kind of people join in on things like that because to me it just sounds like bending over and waiting for a spur up the ass.

Likewise, I once saw a television program about a grown man who dresses as an infant, diapers and all, and has topless, voluptuous “nannies” come take care of him. They feed him, burp him, punish him when he is bad and even change him. Perhaps some of you are thinking, “Hot women attending to my every need? That doesn’t sound so bad.” But let’s get real here: Since when does adult defecation in an oversized diaper equal sexual gratification? If it turns you on so damn much, start volunteering in an old folks’ home.

I wager that most individuals would be shocked to discover what some people come up with to get off on. Honestly, I don’t understand what is sexual about adults in large animal suits rubbing up against each other. Yet there are people who actually do this, and they call themselves “furries.” Is it the mounds of synthetic fur that turns them on? Or is it one of those situations where they feel they must take the “man’s best friend” saying to a new level?

Normally I would consider myself pretty liberal in the bedroom, but I can’t even imagine being sexually intrigued by such weird situations. In order to truly enjoy something of that nature I think you have to have some hardcore issues. For instance, I have a friend we’ll call Little Miss Fiend-for-Pain because she likes to get strangled during sex. I wouldn’t say it’s a full-blown fetish, but really, what is that all about? Is it sexy these days to turn blue while copulating? I bet as a kid your parents used to tell you things like, “If you don’t stop making that face, it’s gonna freeze that way.” Lucky they were lying because who would want their face to be eternally locked into a look of orgasmic lack of oxygen? That’s worse than a wax museum exhibit of creepy clown heads.

Finally, when it comes to fetishes, it’s even more astounding when people pretend they have them just for the attention. You know the type; they go around trying to be all intense as if they could handle anything in the bedroom, when the truth is they have never even so much as been handcuffed during sex. Not that I think fetishes warrant bragging rights — but come on, if you are going to talk the talk, you better be able to stroke the cock, so to speak.

To me, trying out strange fetishes sounds about as fun as getting burned in the eye with a cigarette butt, so I think I’ll continue to avoid them. But who knows? Perhaps some of the whack shit that I just wrote about turns you on. If that be the case, by all means, try out some of your newfound freakishness. As long as no one’s getting hurt, laws aren’t being broken and ethics are staying in check, I suppose fetishes could be an innovative way to exercise your pent-up sexual aggression. But if you agree to join me in the tamer crowd, stick to weekly masturbation and the porno industry – they are usually reliable for a good squirt when you need it.

Kate Rice is the Daily Nexus sex columnist.