Originally published September 9, 2010.

I'm a single male in my mid-30s who over the years developed an incapacitating fetish. I can only get fully aroused when smelling the odor of maple syrup. When I was younger, it was not a problem getting aroused without it, but as I got older, I inhaled the scent while pleasuring myself, and now I can't perform without it. I have tried to wean myself to no avail.

What should I do, short of taking all my dates to the house of pancakes and "accidentally" spilling syrup on them? I don't think it would be fair to require such a thing from anyone and would not expect it to be tolerated in a long-term relationship. Any advice?

Odor Regretfully Generates A Sexual Malady

Look, ORGASM, the human brain is an inscrutable bag of slop, and you aren't the only person out there whose brain saddled him with a seemingly random sexual fetish. But you shouldn't view your fetish—assuming you're not making this up—as "incapacitating." You could be into things that were much worse and/or more complicated and/or literally impossible to realize. Nor should you blame yourself for your growing reliance on your kink. As we age (men particularly), we tend to lean more on those things—fantasies, fetishes, scenarios—that help us get there and get off.

Stop viewing your fetish as some sort of freakish ailment that disqualifies you from love and affection, ORGASM, and start viewing it for what it is: an endearing quirk and not too much to ask from a long-term partner. People in love and people in long-term relationships—two distinct groups with some significant overlap—like to say things like "I would walk through fire for him" or "I would take a bullet for her." Well, all you're asking is for a tiny bit of maple syrup dabbed behind the ears before sex. It's not fire, it's not a bullet, and it's not too much to ask.


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