Some time ago, a person named Katharine Gates designed a map of human sexuality. Her Web site appears to be defunct now, but the map has gained exposure in other places.

My first impression upon seeing this fetish map was that it was woefully incomplete. About the same time as I became aware of this attempt to map the range of human fetishes and sexual activity, I also saw a conversation on another forum in which a woman was complaining that she wanted to spice up her sex life, but she didn't want to do too much, because if she did too much too fast then by the time she was 30 she'd have done every sexual act there was to do, and where would she be able to find sexual ideas after that? There was also another conversation on the same forum with an 18-year-old who claimed to be "bored with sex" because he'd "done it all." This got me to thinking about the range of the human sexual condition (vast beyond all reckoning) and the range of sexual things many people think there is (tiny).

I wanted to try my hand at designing a fetish map that would be a bit more complete than Ms. Gates', and I thought, why not do it as an actual map? One of the ideas I wanted to convey was how small most folks' sexual experience is, how small most folks' conception of the whole range of sexual expression is, and how vast the actual range of sexual expression is. And, I thought, a map of an imaginary world might be a way to do that.

You can click on this map to see a bigger version. A much, much, much, MUCH bigger version.

There's no particular meaning to the size or color of the various areas; it'd be an impossible task to try to, for example, figure out how many furries there are compared to how many folks are into TENS units. Likewise, some of the activities listed could reasonably belong to more than one classification, and some things (like "gay sex") are within the realm of knowledge of most folks but aren't really activities per se (most sexual activities not requiring physical possession of a penis or a vagina can be done by people of any sex or sexual orientation). Nevertheless, when folks think of "sexual things to do," gay sex does seem to be considered its own thing, even though it's not actually an activity by itself, so it's on the map--right across the Straits of Fear.

This map has grown way beyond what I ever expected, and is now both a full-sized poster (complete with glossary) and an interactive Web site.