Wetlook originally means the scene of a person or persons wearing wet clothing; it can also refer to the act of getting wet while wearing clothing, and having fun either in doing so or in watching others do it. To many, it is asexual fetish, where pleasure is derived from observation of wet-clothed persons as well as getting wet oneself, but other people enjoy getting wet themselves for entirely non-sexual reasons, such as a social hobby. For example, wetlook could involve swimming in clothes, taking a clothed shower or bath (sometimes with a lover), etc. Although it may seem to be a strange thing at first glance, there are quite a lot of people who like it; there are many sites dedicated to wetlook on the Internet.
The phrase "to each his own" applies to wetlook. Different people prefer to get wet in different kinds of clothing and in different places. Certain well-known preferences for clothing, at least from a sexual perspective, include business suits, dresses and other formal wear, and denim, jeans particularly. For those who engage in it for the fun of it, normal wear is often T-shirts and shorts or jeans, or for girls at clothed pool parties, normal party wear.
In most cases, there are two reasons why people like wetlook. Firstly, wet clothes change their shape and color, clinging to the body and becoming shiny or transparent; this partly reveals the body shape while still covering it, which some people find erotic and teasing. It can also be sensual to the wearer, and some people enjoy it more or entirely for how it feels, especially women. See more discussed at wet and messy fetishism.
Secondly, swimming in clothes can be nonconformant. By doing so, people express pleasant feeling of freedom and openness. It carries a positive regressive feel, of doing something that you know you shouldn't be doing and are probably too old to be doing, and enjoying it.
Some people engage in wet activities privately, either alone or with friends and lovers in the bathroom or garden pool, but others do it publicly in places such as public swimming pools (where permitted). Some countries in Europe have quite a thing for clothed pool parties it seems, Germany and Switzerland in particular. Another fun way to get wet in public is of course dunk tanks at public events. There are always natural bodies of water to play in, too, and rivers, streams and waterfalls.
Some people like seeing others underwater; whereas wetlook generally requires you to be above water for hair and clothes to look wet, some people are happy with the drifting effects on clothes and hair underwater. This can involve people being naked, in swimwear or in normal clothes.
Some people like to cover or immerse themselves in other substances, such as mud, oil, paint, shaving foam etc., usually also in clothes. These activities are called wet and messy (WAM). Generally speaking, the term WAM does not tend to consider the "wet" part to be wet as in clean water, or it simply disregards it all together: WAM is treated to mean messy only.
Many wetlook aficionados choose to photograph or videotape their own material, either by discreetly taping at public beaches or putting the clothed frolics of themselves and/or significant others on video. For those who appreciate wetlook with a professional touch, there are several major producers of wetlook videos and photo sets. Professional videographers treat the subjects as models, compensating them for their work of getting wet in fashionable clothes in private pools, showers and bathtubs. As most people who buy tapes and photosets are doing so with sexual gratification in mind, all wetlook producers require their models to be of the legal age of consent. In contrast to staged wetlook, the term "candid wetlook" refers to the photography of people swimming clothed in public places. Many wetlook lovers prefer candid shots to staged ones as the subjects are not aware they are being filmed and therefore act in a natural manner. The subject of candid wetlook has been at times hotly debated in the wetlook community. On one side, there are those who say that people who use public places have no reasonable expectation of privacy and therefore are ripe subjects for videotaping. This assumption is backed by the laws in many countries, including the United States. On the other hand, some say that people who swim in clothes in a public place often do not intend to have themselves looked at in a sexual way (in many parts of the world, clothed bathing is done for reasons of modesty), and therefore their rights should be respected. A particularly hot-button issue involves baptisms. People being baptized happily allow themselves to be immersed fully clothed, but some wetlookers point out the fact that they are doing so to express their faith, not to be subjects of someone's fetish. The candid-wetlook debate will probably never be resolved, and pro-candid people often say to anti-candids, "If you don't like it, just don't watch it."
The debate aside, candid wetlook is a very popular facet of the wetlook scene, and many videographers around the world flock to beaches, fountains, club pool parties and festivals to get the perfect shot. Probably the most important wetlook event is the New Year's celebration in Thailand – Songkran – which takes place every April. Thais believe that dousing oneself in water on New Year's will wash away bad luck. In this tradition, Thais fill the streets in several major cities for several days and drench each other with water. Wetlook producers worldwide converge on this event each year.
Psychology of wetlook
The psychology behind the wetlook fetish is largely unknown. An informal poll conducted on a wetlook forum several years ago revealed that the majority of wetlookers are introverted males, and many admitted that they had "forbidden" clothes-wetting sessions while young. Most wetlook lovers state that they were aware of being aroused by wetlook at a very young age (5-6 years old on average.) Most wetlookers could recall with vivid clarity the first time they were aroused as a child by a wetlook event, even though they were way too young to make a connection between the arousal and something sexual. Clearly, more research needs to be done to discover the roots of wetlook as a psychological phenomenon.
People who admire wet clothes have probably been around ever since mankind invented clothes. In large part, it is harmless - it amounts to looking at something millions of people do every day around the world in a different light. Like everything else, though, there are those who get obsessed with wetlook and let it dominate their lives and can possibly abuse others. Fortunately, this rarely happens and most wetlookers carry on normal and sometimes even happily married lives while enjoying wetlook - sometimes with their partners, sometimes without.
It should be noted that wet clothes alone do not constitute wetlook and cannot arouse wetlookers. Wetlook is the integrative image of both human body and wet clothes worn on the body.