“I believe I have a fetish for African American women.”

16 Oct

Those words were said to me without hesitation today by a prospective client in need of help.


Tom, the prospective client, is married to Alison- they are both White.  Apparently, for as long as he can remember, the images of Black women are what spur sexual gratification for Tom.

What exactly is a fetish?

…an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression

Can a fetish be based on race?  Yes.  A fetish can be based on anything one’s mind [and body] fixate upon and associate with sexual satisfaction.  Yes, a fetish can be based on race.

As an aside, I knew immediately this man would not be my client because I’m a Black woman, ultimately I wouldn’t be able to help him, for obvious reasons.

Nevertheless, the conversation was quite revealing.  I asked Tom how this situation has presented in his life.

He says that from a very young age he was sexually aroused by Black women and explained that his older brother used to watch interracial porn with White men and Black women.  He was born and raised in a small midwestern town where interracial dating wasn’t approved of, thus watching the porn, and seeing a White man with a Black woman added another level of excitement as such interactions were “forbidden”.

He went lost his virginity in high school, mostly due to peer pressure, but found the nly way he could adequately perform sexually was to concentrate his energy on mental images of Black women. If he didn’t do this, he couldn’t perform.

Tom went to college on the east coast, in a busy, diverse city where such relationships weren’t taboo.  He estimated that he slept with 100 Black women in 4 years.

He did not have long term relationships with any of these women, “just sex.”  He only dated White women because he knew that was acceptable to his family and he had no desire to push that boundary.

He met his wife, Alison, his 3rd year of college and while he dated her exclusively for the remainder of his time there, but he continued to sleep with Black women in secret.  This has continued for 9 years.  In the beginning of the marriage it was “all the time”, 9 years later it’s “once every few months.”

Tom says he still has to focus on mental imagery of Black women to perform.

The reason he is seeking help is that his wife found his extensive collection of porn on his computer, both video and still images, all with Black women.  Though he hasn’t confirmed it, she assumes he is cheating and is threatening to divorce him if he doesn’t get help for his “problem.”  At this time, Alison is unwilling to participate in counseling.


I’m so flippin’ glad this man is not my client.  I gave him a referral to someone else (White male) and set his first appointment.


4 Responses to ““I believe I have a fetish for African American women.””

  1. Just Curious October 18, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

    Just curious, but why are you relieved he is not your client, if this is what you do for a living?

    • courtingolivia October 18, 2009 at 11:59 pm #

      Good question. I should have expounded on this a bit in the post. I have had clients like Tom, but they were Black men (2 separate men) who had a fetish for Asian women, explained to me much like Tom explained his penchant for Black women.

      Taking Tom on as a client would not have been appropriate because I am Black (this is my opinion, supported by a colleague who has been in this field much longer. I called him to ask his advice). It’s fully possible then, that I could become an object of desire for him. He needs to- among other things- relearn how to see Black women, as they (or any race of women) are not JUST sexual objects. So, it isn’t that I don’t want to help Tom, or I am judging him for his condition. My comment was made because I was, at that moment, thinking about what it would be like if he WERE my client.

      Certainly there is work he must do for himself, with himself (and the guidance of a professional) but at some point he has to bring his wife in on it, because he does in fact want to mend his relationship with Alison. Can you imagine what it would be like for her- to walk into MY office and listen to me talk about their marital problems and his sexual fixation on Black women?

      It would be awful, simply awful. And quite messy. After all, she is already against the idea of participating in counseling, so to get her in a room would be a step in the right direction. That could all fall apart if the WRONG helper is there. My intention is to do no harm, and in the end, I feel strongly that is what I would be doing.

      I hope my answer makes sense. Thanks for seeking that clarification.


  2. Bensen December 21, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    very interesting

  3. Sena Wagar March 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    Great blog and post, keep it up i will be subscribing to your feed!

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