This is part one, of a five part post, on foot fetishes and the sexualization of feet.
This post took me months to research and write. Ihad a lot of questions, but the deeper I looked for the answers, the more questions I had. It is a complex subject with many variables. The definition is subjective, and information on foot fetishes is limited and fragmented. Most of what has been written comes from the same few data sources, or is based entirely on opinion and personal experience. After tracking down the (overstated, sometimes erroneous) statistics, studies, and theories–I was surprised to discover (scientifically speaking) little is known about foot fetishes. Sorting through the information and slowly putting the pieces together was an overwhelming task.
There were several times I nearly gave up, but in the end I just kept writing…
I am not an expert on foot fetishes. Prior to becoming a phone sex operator I had given the topic very little thought. Through the years, I’ve met several men who claim to have foot fetishes, but it wasn’t until taking numerous calls involving the sexualization of my feet, that I began to wonder. . .
What causes a foot fetish? (and) Why is sexual attraction to feet so common?
One of the first things I learned–A sexual attraction to feet, and a foot fetish are NOT the same thing. While the line between the two is not clearly defined, I can state with confidence, most people who think they have a foot fetish–Don’t.
A true foot fetish (like any fetish) develops from a psychological process and/or catalyst, typically in early childhood or adolescents. (part three) They are highly specific, difficult to define, and often misunderstood. Foot fetishists rarely seek/need treatment, and there have been no comprehensive, or large sample, studies conducted. Most of the information available on foot fetishes has been collected from individual case studies, and surveys–making accurate data on the causes extremely limited. There are no concrete statistics on the prevalence foot fetishes, and although recognized as the most common type of fetish–They are rare. (part two)
While an actual foot fetish may be rare, the worship and/or sexualization of feet is not. Examples of foot love can be found in every country across the globe, and have been extensively documented throughout history.
What exactly is a foot fetish?
Technically “foot fetish” or “podophilia” is a diagnostic label for a psycho-sexual disorder. As casually as the term is used in mainstream society today, it is not about being sexually attracted to feet. A fetish is a compulsive and intense sexual dependency to something non-sexual. It is diagnosed as a psychological disorder only when the sexual dependency causes significant distress and/or difficulties in an individuals life.
In other words–no matter how much you love feet, or even need them to get off, as long as it’s not interfering with the quality of your life, you do not have a foot fetish–so say the shrinks.
According to the American Psychiatric Association a fetish is a sub-classification of a paraphilia.
Paraphilias can be any type of atypical (kinky) sex, or sexual preference. I would guess, like me, many of my readers have at least one. . . (I certainly hope so anyway!).
I love to have sex in public, be objectified, and get my ass spanked. . .
among other things.
There are more than 100 different types of paraphilias listed in the diagnostic and statistics manual of mental disorders (one publication lists 500) and only a few of these are illegal, inherently dangerous, or damaging to another. Most paraphilias are harmless, and sometimes enhance a sexual relationship between two like-minded individuals. As society changes its perceptions on what is considered sexually “normal,” the definition of a paraphilia also changes.
Foot Fetish (Podophilia) Vs. Foot Partialism
What most of us think of as a foot fetish (sexual arousal from feet) is actually foot partialism, and really, what we think of as a foot fetish/partialism–is likely just a strong, erotic attraction or preference for feet.
Fetish- intense and persistent sexual arousal to a specific non-living object, i.e., shoes, socks, stockings, soiled panties, leather, latex, stuffed animals. . .
Partialism- intense, persistent, and “exclusive” sexual arousal to a non-genital body-part, i.e., feet, breasts, hands, hair, armpits. . .
Historically, partialisms (body-parts) were considered a sub-category of fetishes (objects). Although they are now classified separately by the American Psychiatric Association–the term fetish is still commonly used for both (as I will use it in this post).
While researching, I discovered that the terms fetish (object), partialism (body-part), podophilia (foot fetish) and paraphilia (atypical sex), are often misused.
Specifically, the term fetish is commonly used without regard to its diagnostic definition. Even within the mental health, and foot fetish communities (the real experts), it is often used with a broader contextual meaning. While some argue it’s time to stop using the words podophilia, partialism and paraphilia–others believe that loosening the definitions will eventually remove the stigma attached to them.
Generally accepted definitions of a foot fetish:
- A pronounced sexual attraction to feet.
- Feet or foot related object (shoes, socks, nylons…) inspires equal or greater arousal in an individual than genitals.
- An object or body part whose real or fantasized presence is psychologically necessary for an individual to achieve sexual arousal or climax.
Fetishes are considered primarily a male disorder.
Straight men fetishize feminine objects, while gay men focus on masculine objects (remember, a fetish is a trigger for arousal). In contrast, it is rare for women to have fetishes (foot or otherwise)–although more likely for lesbians.
The question as to why women seldom develop fetishes, remains unanswered.
German sexologist, Magnus Hirschfeld (part three), proposed in 1920, that women are taught, and biologically predisposed, to sexually enhance or emphasize certain areas of their body. They learn to present sexual stimulation to attract suitable male partners. On the flip side, men are sexually aroused by visuals–they naturally react to sexual stimulation. Although some women may be aroused by male feet, without this propensity for visual stimulation, they don’t usually fixate or fetishize. This theory suggests women may be as likely to sexualize feet as men, but the attraction manifests differently.
Put simply, women are more likely to get turned-on by having someone play with their feet (present), while men get turned on by another persons feet (react).
The psychological developmental process of foot fetishes may give another clue as to why they are more common in men.
During sexual-developmental stages (a key time period for fetish development) males can have a difficult time learning to control their sexual urges. They masturbate more frequently than girls, and often have to hide (or feel embarrassed by) unplanned, visible erections; sometimes leading to sexual repression or shame. This makes males prone to forming accidental sexual associations (part three), and thus more likely to develop a fetish.
Foot fetishists often have psycho-social, developmental issues (also, statistically more probable in males). They have problems with social anxiety, extreme shyness, and awkwardness with the opposite sex. Their sexual acts are objectified and depersonalized. Many have the need for humiliation, degradation, and/or female domination associated with their foot fetishes. These all point to the psychological nature of a true foot fetish. . .
. . . which I will discuss a whole lot more in part three of this post.
Characteristics of a foot fetish
There are a few characteristics related to the foot (or object) itself, that are popular preferences with foot fetishists. Some podophiliacs say the shape of a foot is representative of the female form. They desire nicely formed feet, with high arches, and lots of curves. Flat or misshapen feet are not considered sexy.
Although, it’s not uncommon for a foot fetishist to have fantasies involving a giantess’ huge feet walking all over them (trampling) or crushing things (stomping/squishing)– generally small and dainty feet are considered more appealing to foot lovers. (part four)
Clean, and well-groomed may be preferred by most individuals attracted to feet, but for many foot fetishist the smell of the foot (or object) is a common arousal trigger. Soiled, stinky feet, shoes, or socks often become the focus for a fetishist. Odor (especially a potent one) can be a memory enhancer, and can easily become associated with normally unrelated things. This accidental association implies the smell focus may result from the psychological nature and timing of podophilia development–although others claim it is because sweat glands in the feet emit similar pheromones as the genitals. . . maybe it’s both?!
Foot fetishes evolve from highly personal, detail-rich fantasies, and each is unique. The specific attributes or actions that become most important to the foot fetishist, usually depend on how and when the fixation develops–and are crucial to the foot fetishists arousal.
Foot play arousal triggers
- anything associated with the foot (i.e., shape, arch, or toes)
- an accessory or object associated with feet (i.e., shoes, boots, socks, or nylons)
- physical or sensory state of the foot (i.e., dirty and smelly — bare or bound)
- an action performed on a partners foot (i.e., licking, sucking, or tickling)
- an action performed on the fetishist (i.e., foot jobs, trampling, or being a foot rest)
- an action performed by a foot to an object (i.e. squishing, stomping, or displaying)
- any combination of the above, or any other foot play one could possibly imagine
There is nothing wrong with being attracted to feet, and many podophiliacs have healthy and gratifying sexual relationships. Remember, having a foot fetish isn’t about how much you like feet, or what you want to do with them, it’s about what kind of effect it has on your life.
Kisses and Luv