Lver since I can remember, hotel rooms have incited the most profound form of eroticism within me. As outrageous in its mundanity as it may sound, hotel rooms are my fetish.
When we think of fetish it usually evokes images of leather,
whips, and dungeons into our consciousness; however, fetish is far more democratic than those rather old-fashioned connotations. Defining fetish often perplexes people, more so because it is so simple but simultaneously so abstract. A form of sexual desire for something ‘unsexual’ is usually how dictionaries explain it. To describe it more fluidly, it could be deemed as sexual arousal from something common and nonmortal that is incapable of intentionally interacting with you. So uninteresting that in its totalitarianism it becomes carnal—a total role reversal from its populist and shared functions.
Of course the fact that a hotel room has a bed enhances its direct sexuality. But perhaps what is so special about hotel rooms is that you can feel totally alone there—an equitable solitude that is incomparable to anything else.
It wasn’t until I was alone in a cheap hotel in Milan last year that I fully realized the depths of my sensual infatuation with these semi-permanent homes. This hotel room was dated: the bed had a pine wood headboard and watercolor prints with horses and sunsets hanging over wallpapered walls. The sheets were a crisp white and the bed had that European decadence of being the size of two large single beds pushed together. There was a palpable yet anonymous history to the space.
The way it was decorated was so democratic, devoid of any personality, making it impossible to irritate anyone’s taste. In fact, so much effort went into not displeasing anyone that the longer I concentrated on the timidly ornate wallpaper—with its pleasant hues of cream and yellow—the more incredibly titillating it was in its tedium.
The tension between privacy, an unfamiliar city, and a shared unknown history of a hotel room heightens the erotic potential of the space. Even the motions of checking into a room at reception, being handed your key, and having to navigate an unknown building to find your temporary place of privacy for the evening is ritualistic. A build up much like foreplay, almost as if the carpeted hallways hint at an experience they know but you don’t. Then, once inside, you have no real responsibility to the space. You are both happily non-committal, with a sense of freedom from your daily routines, the normal stresses of life discarded for one mutual night.
But perhaps the most alluring aspect of a hotel room is the humid electricity of anonymous lust—knowing that countless sexual acts have been performed in the room and you will never know exactly what has happened. After all, is there anything sexier than a room with so much potential?