There are some unfounded stigmas and misconceptions around foot fetishism. But like with any sexual kink, it is perfectly normal and healthy.
Sigmund Freud believed it was because feet resemble penises, but now neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran has suggested that it might be because the part of the brain that registers sensation from the feet is right next to the area that perceives genital stimulation.
1. They’re sexy
It seems like everyone and their mother has a foot fetish these days. There’s porn featuring feet, ads sexualizing them, and that guy in the bar who stares at your toes a little too intently. But what is it about feet that gets people kinky?
Part of it might have to do with how sensitive and intimate they are. Our feet are covered in hundreds of tiny nerve-endings, and scientific studies show that the areas of our feet that feel the most pleasure trigger a similar area in our brain as our genitals do. It might also be about how exposed our feet are compared to other parts of the body. They’re constantly on display, a constant source of stimulation.
Other reasons might have to do with a person’s cultural or family upbringing. Freud’s theory of foot fetishes states that children who see their mothers’ genitals might imprint on objects or body parts that resemble them, such as feet.
If you have a foot fetish, it’s important to be open and honest with your partner about it. Mistress Tokyo suggests having a conversation about it at a time and place where you’re both comfortable and have some privacy. It’s also a good idea to remind your partner that their reaction is normal, and that it doesn’t mean they’re against you or their feelings.
2. They’re dirty
Many people think feet are gross, and it’s hard to understand why someone would find them attractive. But the reality is, plenty of people do find them sexy. They might have a mild foot fetish where they enjoy playing with their own feet every once in a while or even want to explore foot play sexually. It’s important to remember that fetishes are totally normal and are not considered a psychiatric disorder, so as long as they’re done safely and consensually, it’s really not that big of a deal.
There are a few theories about why some people develop a foot fetish, but it likely starts in the brain. A quirk in the somatosensory nervous system is responsible for sensing things like touch and pain, so when we’re touching our feet, it feels similar to touching our genitals. Another theory is that we’re drawn to feet because they resemble penises, as was speculated by Sigmund Freud. The fact that feet are lower to the ground also makes them a bit more appealing.
Pitagora notes that most people are born with an inherent predisposition for atypical sexualities, but whether or not these fetishes manifest themselves will depend on external stimuli and psychosexual reactions to life experience. It’s common for people to feel hesitant to talk about their sexual curiosities, and it can be especially difficult to bring up foot worship in a relationship. Having open communication is key, and it’s a good idea to start small by asking your partner for a foot massage and build up to more adventurous activities.
3. They’re lowly
Foot fetishism often is associated with a desire for subservience or domination. Because feet are considered a lowly body part, some people enjoy establishing a power dynamic with their partners by worshiping their feet or having them stomped on. Others find pleasure in simply stroking or touching their partner’s feet, especially if the shoes and socks are removed.
As one of the most common fetishes, it’s easy to find a partner who will be open to exploring a foot fetish together. It’s also less stigmatized than other sexual kinks, such as BDSM or voyeurism.
While most people who have a foot fetish are attracted to bare feet, some also enjoy footwear. This can include sandals, flip-flops, sneakers, and high heels. Some foot fetishists also enjoy socks, shoe jewelry and adornments, and foot massages.
Some people who have a foot fetish also have a shoe or sock fetish, which is an interesting combination of fetishes. This can be because the fetishist is sexy with shoes or socks, or it could be that they are just attracted to these objects that carry their partner’s musk and scent. Some people even like to lick their partners’ shoes or socks.
4. They’re a penis substitute
People who have fetishes can experience a variety of sexual sensations with their feet. For instance, they might like licking, sniffing, biting, tickling, or massaging their feet. They also might want to stomp on them or even submerge them in mud. Many foot fetishes have a sexual undertone, but some do not.
One theory about why a person may have a foot fetish is that it is because the feet remind them of a penis. According to Sigmund Freud, the feet are seen as a penis substitute because they are near the genitals. Freud argued that a foot fetish could be due to specific adolescent experiences that left searing imprints on a person’s psyche and sexuality.
Researchers have also found that certain areas of the body — like the butt, breasts, and boobs — give people pleasurable sensations when they touch them. However, the feet are also covered in nerve endings that can arouse people when they are tickled, massaged, or rubbed.
While it is important to be open with your partner about any kinky feelings you have, there is nothing wrong with having a foot fetish. While some people may not be interested in your kinky foot feelings, others will be. The key is to communicate openly and in a mature fashion, so that your partner knows what you are talking about.