15 Photos Of Men Who Enjoy A Fetish You've Never Heard Of

Photographed by Corinna Kern.
At first glance, female masking may seem like a form of cosplay or crossdressing, since the fetish involves donning latex masks of women's faces and assuming female alter egos. But according to photographer Corinna Kern, who shot a photo series on female maskers last year, it's far more complicated than that.

To start, unlike many people who engage in cosplay or crossdressing, female maskers don't tend to show off their fetish in public, Kern told Refinery29 (though she was lucky enough to find a few who were willing for her project). This niche community exists mostly online, and it's molded by male, transgender, and a few female members who seek a way to explore their gender identity on their own terms.

"For a lot of maskers, their alter egos form a deeper part of themselves or bring to life something that their ‘regular’ self does not hold," Kern explained. "It can be a projection of their desires, or something that they lack but long for, even if they only aspire to live out those sides temporarily."

Masking means slightly different things to each individual masker. For some, it's a fetish; for others, a lifestyle. Some consider it a form of performance art.

For her project, Kern spoke with and photographed German men who were female maskers and came from a vast range of backgrounds — some were in their 20s, some in their 60s, some were single, some were married, and some were even engineers, metal musicians, or mountaineers. According to Kern, the one unifying factor among her subjects was an admiration for and fascination with femininity. As she put it, female masking is "rooted in the idea that every person has both male and female parts in them."

"[Female masking] also gives them an opportunity to counter the roles that are imposed on them by society — for example, not having to be the strong and tough man," she said, adding, "Others desire to be as sexy as a woman and want to experience the recognition and attention a woman receives when wearing a beautiful dress."

Kern reiterated that, although all female maskers engage with female performance, they do so in pursuit of their own feminine ideal. Each masker's alter ego reflects a part of themselves that they keep hidden most of the time, that they may not even reveal to their loved ones. Kern's work takes us behind the masks.

Click through to view a selection of Kern's photographs of maskers, along with her behind-the-scenes accounts of each photo.
1 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Augsburg, Germany — August 5, 2015

"Manu, alias Mina. Female masking presents an outlet for him, as a heterosexual and cisgender male, to live out his female side and latex fetish."
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2 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Augsburg, Germany — August 5, 2015

"'Chrissie Seams' prepares himself in his living room. His lifestyle of female masking is based on his latex fetish; since he only likes seeing latex on women, he cannot gain anything from wearing latex as a male. Hence, he transforms into his female alter ego Chrissie Seams."
3 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Elze, Germany — August 20, 2015

"Katrina, 46, gets out of her friend's car to go to the supermarket. Katrina often goes out as a 'rubber doll,' wearing latex and one of her female masks.

'In latex I am courageous. I like the provocation when going out in public as a rubber doll,' she says. 'You don’t see latex on every street corner, [so] in the eyes of most people, you are perverted or abnormal. That makes me think I'll show you that there is something else.'"
4 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Hannover, Germany — August 23, 2015

"Chris dressed as his alter ego Romy von Dornfelder."
5 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Augsburg, Germany — October 2, 2015

"Chrissie Seams gets his lighter out of his handbag in order to light his cigarette."
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Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Hannover, Germany — August 20, 2015

"Katrina goes for a walk in the city."
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7 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Augsburg, Germany — October 3, 2015

"Chrissie Seams wears his transparent latex suit with breast inlays. He has been a masker for 18 years, yet only went public about a year ago."
8 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Munich, Germany — October 4, 2015

"Katrina (left) and Leyla, alias Bear Girl, 39, (right) check the timetable for the subway to take to Oktoberfest. It is the first time they've met. Due to social pressures, the masking community is a hidden and small subculture. Members often live hundreds of kilometers away from each other, rendering real life meet-ups a rare occasion."
9 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Hannover, Germany — August 22, 2015

"Chris, 49, dressed as his alter ego Cecilia Mc Arthur. Being a cisgender man, he has six female alter egos and four male ones, each with their own characteristics and life stories, which he lives out through photo shoots. Cecilia currently enjoys lying in the moorland."
10 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Munich, Germany — October 4, 2015

"Katrina and Leyla on the train to Oktoberfest."
11 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Augsburg, Germany — August 5, 2015

"Chrissie Seams in his living-room. On his right are a variety of masks that he uses for experimenting with airbrushing and other alteration techniques, in order to individualize the look of his alter ego."
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12 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Munich, Germany — August 4, 2015

"Bear Girl takes a walk."
13 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Braunschweig, Germany — June 20, 2016

"Andre, 30, alias Lisa Kirschbaum, in his bedroom. Being a heterosexual man, Andre transforms into his alter ego at least once a week to live out his female side and sexuality. Developed from his fantasies and projections, Lisa embodies the woman of his dreams. Wedding dresses with large puffy sleeves, in particular, fascinate him as they engender a femininity that barely any other piece of clothing is able to achieve."
14 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Munich, Germany — October 4, 2015

"Katrina wears the clothes and mask from a fetish store. As with many other maskers, this lifestyle is related to Katrina's latex fetish."
15 of 15
Photographed by Corinna Kern.
Göppingen, Germany — February 21, 2016

"Mina (right) and Chrissie Seams (left) pose for a portrait."
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