Do I have a smoking fetish?

Image by the excellent Stuart F Taylor

I’m pretty obnoxious and annoying sometimes. I can be far too loud in some situations, and far too quiet in others. Sometimes I sit nervously in a corner checking my phone because I’m too shy to introduce myself. At other times, I drink a couple of pints in rapid succession to calm my nerves and end up saying things I wouldn’t say if I was sober. Both of these traits, along with many others, have caused me to miss out on opportunities to get laid. But none more so than one thing: smoking.

I smoke. And I kind of want to add ‘too much’ to that, but realistically smoking at all is usually too much when seen through the eyes of a non-smoker. When I was dating, the sheer number of people who’d write ‘I can’t stand smokers’ on their dating profiles, or tick the boxes that say ‘smoking is a dealbreaker’ means my pool of potential shag buddies was severely limited.

But smoking has also helped me get laid. Not because men see me across a crowded beer garden and go ‘oh look, her who’s too pissed to light the right end: she’s the one for me’, but because for the best part of my formative years, smoking was considered cool.

Which means that I have a really fucked up relationship with smoking and sex.

I fancy guys who roll their own cigarettes – the delicate, precise movements of their fingers and the gentle licks as they moisten the paper. I fancy guys who offer me a light – holding it out to me and looking hard into my eyes, as I touch the end of the cigarette to the flame. I fancy guys who smell like fags and whiskey – the combination of flavours which, to me, smell like a night out – the kind of evening that ends with a fumble on the night bus and a good, hard fuck.

There’s also something about standing alone outside a bar, cigarette in one hand. Before we had phones (and believe it or not, young people, there was a time when we really didn’t) there was nothing to occupy your hands when you waited for someone. The smoking ban’s done wonders to get people smoking less – freezing, drizzling British January is no season to be a ‘cool’ smoker – but I think smartphones have done wonders too. I can hold my phone like a talisman against looking alone, in the same way I used to slowly extract, tap, and light a cigarette. Well, in almost the same way, at any rate.

The world of smoking fetishes

A while ago I watched a documentary about cam girls – one of whom explained that some of her regular clients go to her for the smoking. They liked to watch as she put a cigarette between her lips, inhaled, exhaled slowly so they could watch the tendrils of smoke slowly escape her mouth. They liked to see her play with the cigarette, rolling it back and forth in her fingers before she took a drag.

Not only can I see why they like this, I can empathise. Guys who smoke are hot to me in a way that I struggle to explain. There are some people who’ll tell you that smokers project a kind of ‘devil may care’ attitude – a casual ‘fuck you’ to people who’d tell them what to do that’s incredibly hot, but I think that’s bollocks. Smokers are often the least casual, laid-back people in the world – just ask us how chilled we are when we’ve one fag left and no way of getting more till the shops open tomorrow morning.

If pressed, I’d say it’s a sensual thing. The sight of a dude rolling, smoking, cupping his hand round a cigarette in just the right way, draws attention to his hands – a visual cue that points to a part of his body that I obsess over. In the same way as quick typing or wearing a good, chunky watch, smoking highlights the movement of his hands, and hands are sexy as fuck. Beyond the visuals, the smell of someone lighting up reminds me of evenings spent laughing, touching, fucking in between post-coital cigarettes. Combine it now with the taboo – the fact that smoking is Bad and Wrong and Naughty As Fuck? Yeah, I can see why people have smoking fetishes.

What’s more, I have to admit that I’m fucking delighted that people do. Not that I want everyone to smoke, of course – I’d be pretty happy if no one (including me) had ever felt the desire to. But something which I’ve been repeatedly told makes me disgusting and horrible being not just accepted, but actively embraced as erotic? I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that feels pretty good.

Smoking is Bad, OK?

And yet, as I’m sure some people will point out in the comments, smoking causes cancer (and a whole bunch of other diseases). People who smoke should quit. I should, as I remind myself once every month, quit. Smoking is not just bad for you, it’s unattractive to a huge swathe of the population. For every person with a smoking fetish, who wants to watch you tap, light, inhale, and exhale, there are fifty others who’ll make snide comments as you sneak outside for a quick one, and tut and cough when you come back inside.

Once a guy I loved told me I tasted nice when I kissed him. Not all the time: just once. A single afternoon, during one of my many attempts to quit smoking, we had a long, deep, horny snog – the kind you have when you’re fifteen and you’ve only just discovered snogging. He told me:

“That was hot. You tasted good. You tasted like a kiss should taste.”

A different guy, a long time later, held a light out for me and looked deep into my eyes as I inhaled.

“You’re so fucking hot,” he told me, and I returned the favour – watching him slowly lift his fingers to his lips as he took a drag himself.

So what am I saying? Smoking is sexy? Or smoking is bad? Smoking gets you laid? Or smoking stops you from getting laid? Well, fuck it – sometimes people email me going ‘oh what I love about you is your HONESTY’ so here’s what I really think: smoking is, and does, all of these things. Which isn’t to say that these things are all equal. Smoking is one of very few things which give me serious guilt, guilt which no amount of hedonistic lust will suppress.

Sometimes when we fuck we embrace that weird cognitive dissonance that says ‘this thing is bad, but this thing is also sexy.’  A lot of the fucks I have involve doing or fantasising about things I know are dodgy in contexts other than hot ones. I want to be degraded in ways I’d reject outside of the bedroom. I have fantasies in which I’m hurt in ways I wouldn’t want to be in reality. With all of these things, I can fully embrace the act itself and understand that it doesn’t have to have an impact beyond that one wank, or fuck, or horny fantasy that I use to pass the time on the night bus. I can wholeheartedly embrace the hotness of something that I’ll simultaneously condemn.

Smoking is the only one for which I can’t.


  • Jo says:

    Oh, man. I’ve been trying to completely quit for years and every time I get close, I fall back down the rabbit hole. I don’t smoke often — only when I’m out drinking all night — and I always feel like such a failure the next day. This wasn’t a big deal when I was in my early twenties and all of my friends smoked, but now that I’m in my mid-thirties and there’s a great divide between smokers and non-smokers, the dating pool is smaller. I’m actually grateful when I date non-smokers because when I’m out with someone who I’d like to kiss later but who is grossed out by smoking, I don’t smoke because the sex is more important. And even though I smoke sometimes, when I’m not smoking, *I* don’t like kissing smokers. I get what you’re saying about hot boys who smoke, though — when they slowly exhale the smoke (or rather, let it effortlessly slide out of their mouths) and it floats up over their smoldering eyes and always-rumpled hair, it’s pretty sexy.

    As a random side note, some folks who have smoking fetishes like their partners to use their mouths as an ashtray. So that’s a thing.

  • Henry Davidson says:

    Well, I find smoking girls very sexy. Smoking porn is a big turn-on, but when I had the chance to have sex with a girl while she was smoking it was not particularly hot – but I think she was just not vey good at fucking.

    In contrast, there is a long term lover with whom I have often shared a cig – one puff for her and one for me… She has never smoked while shagging but sex is brilliant. Suppose she concentrates on the fag when she is smoking and on the sex when she is fucking.

  • Elphaba says:

    Oh fucksake. Now I need a fag.

  • Vida says:

    Cigarettes were like an extra person in my marriage… my husband pretty much chose them over me. So… there’s that, in case it’s a cheering fact.

  • David says:

    Oh my Oh my oh dearie dearie my.

    It is most disconcerting for an absolute stranger whose work I have never read to put into words that which defines me.

    I thank you – and salute you.

    Oh – can I light that for you ma’am?

    • Girl on the net says:

      Oh wow – thanks so much for your comment! Was a bit nervous about publishing this one because of the whole smoking is bad thing. Delighted you enjoyed it though =)

  • Sarah says:

    I quit smoking a few months ago. It has had a profound affect on me sexually. I share your views on this, I also share the dilema.
    I dont feel as sexy or hot anymore, its like, now I dont smoke I have also lost my ‘wing woman’; she who gave me the balls to stand there saying “yup, I smoke and I look fucking hot doing it”.
    I dont have that mindset anymore and have lost a lot of my ‘bad girl’ attitude. Im sure it will come back, eventually…..I hope.

    P.S. blatantly miss that post coital fag, was definately the hardet to give up.

  • Chris says:

    I smoked for 17 years and have been completely free of them for the past 21 years. While smoking, like issues with weight and eating, is a unique set of experiences, emotions and physiological nuances for each individual, there is enough commonality among us human smokers for me to say that your sexualization of aspects of smoking does not rise to the level of fetish. Just one man’s opinion, but an informed one.

  • David says:

    Sarah – as the textbook “smoking fetishist” who cannot stop reading GOTN’s post I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt you can still exquisitely and deliciously hot without a cigarette! It’s a mindset thing – and someone who intuitively understands the inherent power and sexuality behind smoking doesn’t lose that when she gives it.

    I admit the irony of me saying this – but is borne from experience!

    • Sarah says:

      You can hide behind smoking. Its a scary thing to not have that. For me to appear confident now, I have to actually be confident. Thats the trick.

      Thank you for the vote of confidence :-) That sassy gal is still in here somewhere… just need to let her out again.

  • Tstriker says:

    I still fondly remember that very old video (now) of that Thai girl smoking a cigarette with her vagina.
    THAT’S a deal breaker for me.

  • I get it, I do. You articulated it perfectly. Smoking is dangerous, it’s sensual, and there’s nothing hotter than a man who stops you from lighting your own cigarette. I dated a guy who wanted me to go down on him while smoking. But I finally quit when I realized how much anxiety I was stifling by smoking. As much as the smell can still turn me on, the idea of being addicted to anything turns back off.
    This post was a super interesting read! Thank you for delving into yet another curious facet of human sexuality.

  • Exhibit A says:

    ‘Brave’ is a word that gets bandied around a lot with sex blogs; it’s also a word that I actually very seldom think of in connection with your writing – perhaps because when you post stuff it often feels like the literary equivalent of just whipping your balls out and plonking them down on the table. That’s a really good, valuable thing, which I hope never changes – the world desperately needs people who are just joyfully unashamed and scampish and blunt about sex – but at the same time I kind of enjoyed reading this (on a subject about which I have strongly negative feelings) and thinking “yeah, that was pretty brave.”

    Make of that what you will!

    • Girl on the net says:

      =D “the literary equivalent of just whipping your balls out and plonking them down on the table.”

      I am TOTALLY having that for a bio somewhere. And thanks. This one was trickier than most.

  • marmont says:

    I too can remember a time before cell phones, when I could walk down the street and see so many women — smokin’ hot — literally. Interspersed amongst all those modern evil eyes staring at you when you light up, there are people like me, whose day you just made even if the glimpse lasted but a moment.

  • Yaya says:

    Ah yes! Totally! I’m a non-smoking girl and 95% of my snogs/one-night-stands/boyfriends were smokers. I don’t do it on purpose, the boys were interesting for other reasons. But I just end up that way. I love the smell and taste. I love seeing the muscles of their lips at work, and knowing that they will kiss me with just as much skill. When I had longer term relations with smoking men, there tended to be a slight dissonance between me worrying about their health and enjoying their scent (never did talk about it with them; it’s their business). By the way, the attraction to smokers can be confusing in other ways. I remember standing on a crossing and having this lovely smell invading my nose. I looked right and there was this old greasy man in a leather coat. Not a man who I would find attractive, but I was so turned on by his musky, smokey, almost dirty scent.

  • Bodhi says:

    Ranty one:

    You could be the sexiest, most beautiful woman in the world, but if I see you light up a cigarette or smell one on your breath it just kills any attraction for me. Kissing is one of my favourite things in the world, but if someone’s been smoking it just isn’t worth it.

    Smokers are the most anti-social people that you will encounter in everyday life. Forgetting the fact that it kills people – and not just by causing cancer etc.; it’s also responsible for a third of house fires that result in death – a smoker won’t think twice about walking down the street blowing smoke in people’s faces as they go.

    I’ve always seen it as a sign of weakness. Most people start in their teens as a result of peer pressure and/or to try to appear ‘cool’. I haven’t known anyone that enjoyed smoking when they first started. It was only later, after they’d become dependent upon the nicotine that they enjoyed it – see The Insider, starring Russell Crowe, based on a true story. I’ve also never heard anyone whine as much as when they couldn’t have a cigarette (except maybe tea drinkers, but don’t get me started on that one).

    Smokers smell. BAD. They make everything around them smell too – their clothes, their homes, their cars, anyone unfortunate enough to cross their path… I’ve always had lots of friends that smoke and because it dulls your sense of smell and taste, they never realise until after they quit – at least for a while – just how bad they smelt. They also discard their cigarette butts anywhere – often without extinguishing them first. I’m yet to meet a smoker that cares more about being considerate to others than they care about their own habit. Every smoker that I’ve ever lived above has ended up smoking indoors at some point – despite not being allowed.

    There’s no logic to it. Especially now, when electronic cigarettes are available which (while not healthy, as such) aren’t AS dangerous, are cheaper in the long term and have flavoured/scented liquids that actually make you smell nice to be around. When I used to wake up after a night out – back when you could still smoke in pubs – the stench that came from last night’s clothes made me ill.

    I realise that nothing I say is likely to make anyone quit smoking any time soon, so instead I have a request: the next time you nip out for a quick fag, do the people inside a favour – after you’ve finished, take a few deep breaths before going back inside. It will be appreciated!

  • Paul says:

    You’re not alone. Relish that fact.

    Ooooh, you like women smoking all-white cigarettes. Or maybe it’s guys smoking Marlboro Reds. Whatever.

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