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26 Nov

Maschalagnia: contained in the world of armpit fetishism

From kink club nights to JustForFans content, Ryan Cahill lifts the lid on the armpit partialism scene

Once you hear the word “kink”, what’s the very first thing that involves mind? For a lot of, it’ll be the things which are represented within the mainstream most frequently: bondage, feet, roleplay. For others, it is likely to be your individual personal kink, perhaps that’s tights, tickling or trampling? But for some people, the very first thing that springs to mind can be armpits. We see them in all places: on billboards, in magazines, on the gym, you’ve probably even had your face stuffed in a single on public transport, but while many wouldn’t give armpits a second thought, for individuals who experience maschalagnia (armpit partialism), it might probably be essentially the most erotic a part of the human body.

In 2013, a research study found that pheromones in sweat, and specifically underarm sweat, is shown to enhance mood in women and queer men when it’s smelled or licked. The particular pheromone, Androstadienone, doesn’t actively change behaviour, nevertheless it does have an effect on attention. For that reason, it’s commonly present in male fragrances, alleged as a tool to extend sexual attraction.

But smelling or licking underarms isn’t the extent of sexual intercourse that involves armpits. Axillism, the act of using the armpit to achieve climax, is the head of sexual interaction for an armpit partialist. There are different preferences that include axillism, resembling the length of the armpit hair, the usage of lubrication and whether the armpits are freshly cleaned or unwashed. With the rise of OnlyFans and NSFW Twitter, more area of interest sexually explicit content is on the market than ever before, satisfying the needs of all kinks, no matter how leftfield these could also be.

Ace Squalor is a JustForFans content creator whose work particularly focuses on pits and sweat. He first realised his own armpit partialism as a youngster, and would use Tumblr as a sexual outlet for his quirks, but following the ban on explicit content on the location he was inspired to create his own armpit-centric content. He’s since amassed a 35k burgeoning fan following on Twitter. “For some time, I used to be only thinking about sharing content and meeting others who shared my passion for armpits. Recently I’ve realised I have been missing a possibility financially. I just began a JustForFans page, so I’m still working on growing that. But I actually have made a good amount selling worn clothing,” says Squalor. “Armpit partialism is a distinct segment market with little or no on the market that highly focuses on it, so I feel a number of people on the market can be willing to pay for quality pit content.”

Beyond the financial advantages, Squalor is grateful for the connections that he’s made with other fellow armpit partialists via his content. “I’m an exhibitionist, so I really like sharing my content, but through putting it on the market, I actually have made connections with men all around the world who share my passion for armpits. I’ve formed close friendships.”

Partialisms like maschalagnia aren’t unusual, but society’s general gagging of kinks implies that we don’t often hear about them. Silence breeds silence. Clinical psychologist Dr Christopher McCormack, who specialises in sexual health and anxiety, believes that the taboo surrounding kinks is potentially problematic, because it results in us having “very narrow and perspective ideas of what sex is and what it should appear to be”. He also believes there’s a toxic shame attached to kinks that may leave many viewing themselves as ‘perverts’ or psychologically damaged. On the subject of armpit partialism specifically, he acknowledges that the shortage of information on the subject could also be linked to the secrecy around sex, which implies it’s hard to pinpoint where partialisms like maschalagnia might stem from.

“If we take into consideration armpits specifically, there is sort of lots to be aroused by! Beyond our natural body smell being a strong player in sexual attraction and our armpit sweat being laden with pheromones, armpits could be related to intense sensory stimulation,” he says. “For instance, tactilely it might probably feel distinct from other parts of the body – the skin could be delicate and soft, which might play into arousal. It’s also related to tickling and even discomfort, which might result in a flirtatious playfulness. Armpits are also an element of the body that we don’t get to see a number of – there’s a novelty and intrigue.”

On the subject of his own work on the material, it’s vital to Dr McCormack that he identifies whether or not a kink negatively impacts the lifetime of the person, saying that he would seek to be non-pathologising and take a sex-positive approach. “I’d encourage the person to actively explore and embrace the partialism, in the event that they felt able. My view is that if the exploration of the partialism involves consenting adults then it ought to be embraced and celebrated. It will possibly be a source of immense sexual energy and be something exciting to explore with partner(s). In my experience, the distress related to having a partialism is commonly a direct consequence of stigma and shame. If we drop the shame related to our sexual preferences and learn to explore these in a non-judgemental and compassionate way, then it’s difficult to argue how having a partialism is an issue.”

The celebration of kinks doesn’t appear to be too far into the long run, especially with the likes of Phil Miner championing kink acceptance. He’s the founding father of Pheromone, a Latest York-based club night specifically targeted towards armpit lovers. He began the monthly party in 2021 after acknowledging his own passion for pits. “Every time I discovered a picture or video of men sniffing or licking one another’s armpits, I’d be sure you bookmark it,” he says. “I came upon through Instagram that there was the same party in San Francisco called Stank. It looked incredibly fun and I used to be insanely jealous, so I made a decision to attempt to start something similar in Latest York.”

The night draws a various crowd, attracting a combination of ages, body types, races and gay archetypes, with people travelling from all around the States to experience the night. “It’s a very friendly, social event. Unlike many other fetishes, individuals are open to letting strangers sniff their armpits even in the event that they aren’t sexually interested in one another. There is certainly a ‘sniff hello’ culture,” Miner explains. “We’re taught that our body odour is shameful and have to be covered. Because of this, we’re socialised to imagine that having fun with someone’s natural smell is taboo. The shame regarding our personal smell runs so deep that many don’t mention it to their sexual partners for fear of rejection. Because of this, my events feel incredibly indulgent. We get to spend a night revelling in the way in which humans actually smell.”

Events like Pheromone are helping to provide those with kinks a secure space to have a good time without fear of prejudice. Sex-positive parties generally are on the rise, with events like Torture Garden in London and Sex Club in Leeds attracting big crowds. Squalor already can’t wait for the kink revolution, so he can fully embrace his love of his armpits. He rounds off by describing his ideal pits. “I like a number of different pits, each by way of scent and look. The one common denominator is that those pits are hairy. The hairier, the higher. I often imagine dark hair after I fantasise about pits, but among the best pit sessions I ever had was with a person with extremely bushy blond pit hair,” he says. “The riper those pits are, the more aroused and excited I turn into.”

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