Like many obscure sexual fetishes that have their origins in childhood, throwing foodstuffs around and getting yourself messed up is a way of reconnecting with childhood frivolity whilst breaking adult taboos.
Whilst the WAM crowd love all things potentially wet and messy, participants can largely be divided into 3 distinct sub-groups: wetlook (water) mudlarking (mud and clay) and sploshing (food and paint, etc.). In the UK, wet and messy devotees tend to fall in the latter catch-all category.
Bill Shipton and his partner Hayley are UK-based publishers of Splosh! Magazine, a specialist publication catering to this group. WAM enthusiasts themselves, they launched their magazine in the 1980s, calling it Splosh because they wanted a fun name that sounded both wet and messy. Prior to coining the term, they say that fans hadn’t had a name to unite them.
Bill and Hayley both see a distinction between the UK scene and the American fanbase, citing the biggest difference as attitude. Americans are far more earnest about it, according to Bill, and take a more academic attitude towards the activity with such things as chat groups discussing every custard pie that appears on TV. He also believes that Americans tend to like one thing and one thing only: the pie fans only like pies, the mud fans only want mud, and so on. Apparently, in the UK, sploshers are more likely to be people who just enjoy mess or wetness in all its forms.
So, if UK WAMers generally eschew following narrow avenues of WAM activity, unlike their American cousins, just what exactly do they like to use?
According to Hayley: some like the idea of baked beans or spaghetti squishing round their bits, others enjoy sticky things like syrups and sauces that can be licked off. Chocolate sauce, cream, and custard are probably the most popular — along with custard pies and cakes either for sitting in or smearing over each other.
Going along with the idea, Mike, a splosh enthusiast from Seaford, says: For normal day wear I put on size 14, but if I feel like slopping around the house with a large tin of apricots in syrup and two tins of Ambrosia rice pudding dropped down my drawers, then I wear a pair of voluminous satin bloomers size 24!
To some, this behaviour might seem bizarre. But, sploshers highlight humour as a key element to this pastime.
As a solitary splosher its unclear whether Mike of Seaford would agree. But, if we indulge vicariously in a pie-fight for a moment, in many ways its easy to see the fun side; imagine the look of shock and mock-anger on the recipients face as you splosh them with a pie, and then see the wicked grin and glint in their eye as they prepare to splosh you in return. In this scenario, as well as the humour associated with such slapstick sequences, there is an inherent naughtiness attached to doing such a thing as an adult, lending itself a deeper appeal; like many obscure sexual fetishes that have their origins in childhood, throwing foodstuffs around and getting yourself messed up is a way of reconnecting with childhood frivolity whilst breaking adult taboos.
However, the ultimate motivation for sploshing is getting wet and messy for sexual pleasure. Aficionados describe the physical sensuality of feeling substances on the skin and the contact of hands on body, and a psychological thrill in disappearing under layers of stuff.
There might also be an element of sado-masochism on the psychological level. In Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex, author Katherine Gates states: something like a pie fight is a socially acceptable, fun way to enjoy a bit of very mild humiliation and domination
And when we consider the wide-ranging substances, and uses thereof, that sploshers employ, then we can see that there can be elements of degradation, humiliation and domination involved, which crosses over into BDSM territory. But, sploshers insist that their activities are not about the act of degrading another person or being humiliated; they will tell you that any outrage at being sploshed is pretence and part of the slapstick fun, just an aspect of a behaviour that allows you to break free from inhibition.
Just dont forget to stop at your local supermarket on the way home.