|Next to masturbation, fetishism was one of the first sexual phenomena that sparked the interest of nineteenth century psychiatrists. At that time, specialists already started tracing fetishism to associations, as would later continue to be the case within the scope of psychoanalysis. Hirschfeld dismissed this theory and developed his own, one consistently based on a sexual biological approach. According to Hirschfeld, sexual attraction is "never" attached to an entire person, but only to certain personality traits. He spoke of an innate partial preference that is hormonally controlled.
"The number of fetishes is unlimited. From head to toe there is not a single spot on the body, and from hats to shoes there is no fold in a garment that cannot trigger a fetishistic pleasure." (Hirschfeld, 1920) 1 2 3 4
Hirschfeld felt that there are healthy 14 15 16 and pathological 9 fetishisms. Fetishism ceases to be healthy when the attraction of the part--whether a tongue or a braid--becomes so overvalued and detached from the person that the person him- or herself loses all significance.