A man I dated, who was awesomely open about his kinks, including a foot fetish, described that for him, the turn on had to do with the assumed dirtiness of feet.
SOPHIE-SAINT-THOMAS JANUARY 23, 2014
Until this year I had never dated anyone with a foot fetish. Now I wonder if I have, and you weenies were just too scared to tell me. Foot fetishism is reportedly the most common fetish, and as someone I dated – open with his fondness for feet – explained to me, “When I talk about feet a lot of my guy friends admit they are turned on by them too, they are just too scared to admit it to girls, or especially to ask for a footjob.”
I was a little self-conscious about my feet until told otherwise. They are long and skinny, I wear a size 9 or 10, and my toes are what I describe as “peanut toes.” One is rather crooked from an old break that happened in college. I had been out bowling (I went to school in the middle of nowhere in North Carolina, there was not a lot to do) and the bartender at the bowling alley kept giving us these murky, poop green concoctions she called “bong water.” They had the alcohol content of a Long Island Iced Tea. When I got home I stubbed my toe so badly my boyfriend at the time found me sitting on the couch, legs straight out and said “Sophie…your toe pointing in the wrong direction” so we went to the ER. I had to hobble around in a bootie for months. It turned out the first doctor set it incorrectly, so I had to have it re-broken, which sucked, but at least meant more pain pills. I was depressed through much of my time in college (which the opiates worsened in retrospect) so was morbidly thankful my injury gave me an excuse to stay in bed high on Oxycodone rather than go to dumb frat parties.
Yet even with my bent right toe, I received lovely compliments from you delightful foot-fetishists, apparently my long toes would be very useful giving a footjob. It makes sense, I’m great with my toes, I can use them to open doors, pick up things, and freak people out by how far I can spread them apart. Such flexibility and grip could also be applied in giving a footjob. Toes don’t have to be perfectly straight to be sexy. As one reader emailed me, “I like the look and feel of soles, especially wrinkled and scrunched up toes. I’m not sure why, but I just find feet beautiful and pretty amazing.”
It was my OkCupid stint this year that introduced me personally to men with foot fetishes. A real estate agent we’ll call NewYorker82 who I never ended up actually hooking up with, but gave my number after exchanging a string of messages texted me, “So what turns you on in men?”
Sophie: “Hmm, an open mind, a sense of adventure, blah blah, bullshit bullshit.”
NewYorker82: “No, I mean physically.”
Sophie: “Oh. Well I’ve dated all types of people blah blah bullshit bullshit it’s more about someone’s energy, but I guess I like nice hair, it’s fun to play and pull on, what about you?”
NewYorker82: “I like feet (embarrassed emoticon) will you send me a photo of yours?”
I am so happy to have quit internet dating.
A man I actually dated, who was awesomely open about his kinks, including a foot fetish, described that for him, the turn on had to do with the assumed dirtiness of feet, they are what we walk around on all day, the very bottom of our body. It’s taboo, and taboo = turn on. Upon request, or if he was having a bad day to cheer him up, I would text him photos of my feet. Once while lying on his couch, I decided to go for it, and started rubbing my feet on his crotch. No actual footjob took place, it was just a bit of foreplay, as he became so aroused by the touch of my feet we just started having sex.
That relationship ended for a plethora of reasons, so I hate to disappoint anyone, but I have never actually given a full-on footjob. I texted my current boyfriend “I need to give you a footjob for research for an article this weekend xo” but due to recent injury the attempt wasn’t 100% successful, although we did have a fun trying and laughing. (The other morning when groggy up at 6AM to be an extra in a film as a favor for a friend, I stubbed the same toe I broke in college. A week later it is still swollen and hurts to move. I should probably get it looked at.)
Foot fetishism, foot partialism, foot worship, or podophilia is a pronounced sexual interest in feet. It is the most common form of sexual fetishism for otherwise non-sexual objects or body parts, and is more prevalent in men than women.
Toe sucking and foot licking is a common way of expressing foot fetishism.
Foot fetishism has been defined as a pronounced sexual interest in the feet. Extensions of this fetish include shoes and tickling. Sigmund Freud considered foot binding as a form of fetishism. For a foot fetishist, points of attraction include the shape and size of feet and toes (e.g., long toes, short toes, painted toenails, high arches, soles etc.), jewelry (e.g., toe rings, anklets, etc.), treatments (such as pedicures or massaging), state of dress (barefoot, sandals, flip flops, high heels, socked feet, hosiery, etc.), odor, and/or sensory interaction (e.g., rubbing the foot, tickling, smelling, kissing, biting, licking, sucking toes, rubbing genitals on foot, etc.).
To estimate the relative frequency of fetishes, in 2006 researchers at the University of Bologna examined 381 internet discussions of fetish groups, in which at least 5,000 people had been participating. Researchers estimated the prevalences of different fetishes based on the following elements:
(a) the number of discussion groups devoted to a particular fetish
(b) the number of individuals participating in the groups; and
(c) the number of messages exchanged.
It was concluded that the most common fetishes were for body parts or for objects usually associated with body parts (33% and 30% respectively). Among those people preferring body parts, feet and toes were preferred by the greatest number, with 47% of those sampled preferring them. Among those people preferring objects related to body parts, 32% were in groups related to footwear (shoes, boots, etc.).
Foot fetishism is the most common form of sexual fetish related to the body.
In August 2006, AOL released a database of the search terms submitted by their subscribers. In ranking only those phrases that included the word “fetish”, it was found that the most common search was for feet.
Health and disease
Some researchers have hypothesized that foot fetishism increases as a response to epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases. In one study, conducted by Dr. A James Giannini at Ohio State University an increased interest in feet as sexual objects was observed during the great gonorrhea epidemic of twelfth-century Europe, and the syphilis epidemics of the 16th and 19th centuries in Europe. In the same study, the frequency of foot-fetish depictions in pornographic literature was measured over a 30-year interval. An exponential increase was noted during the period of the current AIDS epidemic. In these cases, sexual foot play was viewed as a safe-sex alternative. However, the researchers noted that these epidemics overlapped periods of relative female emancipation. Sexual focus on female feet was also hypothesized to have been a reflection of a more dominant posture of the woman in sexual-social relations. (The first surviving mention of foot fetish is by Bertold of Regensburg in 1220.)
See also: Sexual fetishism § Psychological origins and development
Neurologist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran proposed that foot fetishism is caused by the feet and the genitals occupying adjacent areas of the somatosensory cortex, possibly entailing some neural crosstalk between the two. Ramachandran has noted amputees reporting orgasms in their feet.
Desmond Morris considered foot fetishism the result of mal-imprinting at an early age, the tactile pressure of a foot/shoe being important in this.
Freud’s reading of foot-fetishism also involved early imprinting; but he considered the smell of feet significant in this, as well as the foot as penis-symbol/surrogate (castration complex, especially when encountered while voyeuristic exploring the female body from below). Otto Fenichel similarly saw castration fear as significant in foot fetishism, citing a future fetishist who as an adolescent said to himself “You must remember this throughout life – that girls, too, have legs”, to protect himself from the fear. Where fear of the (castrated) female body is too great, desire is felt not for shoes on female feet but for women’s shoes alone, without women.
Georges Bataille saw the lure of the feet as linked to their anatomical baseness (abjection).
Many foot fetishists refer to their childhood as the start of their fetish. Many recall a specific incident in their younger years that they believe caused their fetish, such as being tickled by a foot and becoming stimulated.