Fetish 101: Podophilia (Foot Fetish)

Polished nails or bare? Silver toes rings or sparkling jeweled anklets? A graceful high arch? Pretty long toes? Cute short ones? Sexy high heels? Fun flats? You get the idea. When it comes to feet there is much to consider with many options for preferences. But one thing we can all agree on: feet are intriguing.

According to Wikipedia, the ultimate source on such matters, foot fetishism is “the most common form of sexual fetishism for otherwise non-sexual objects or body parts” and is most commonly a male interest. 

It’s worth mentioning that a fetish and a kink are not the same thing. Fetishism is the use of an object or a “non-sexual” body part or situation to create one’s own sexual arousal. A kink is a practice that goes beyond what is considered “typical” and often has an end goal of enhancing intimacy. And so, it seems to me, a man who enjoys a woman’s feet, ankles, shoes… is not necessarily a foot fetishist. He may just be a guy who thinks women’s feet are…inspiring.

Still, it’s interesting to ponder the question: why is foot fetishism the number one fetish?

Some studies suggest that suggest foot fetishism increases as a result of epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases. For example, in the 16th and 19th centuries, Europe experienced significant syphilis epidemics and as a result, there was an increase in sexual attention paid to feet. The same has been said about the US in the 1980’s due to the AIDS epidemic. The increase in all instances was measured by the amount of sexually charged material, be it illustrations, photographs, videos and online chat rooms, available. The theory is, feet are safe, no diseases from foot porn.

Another explanation, this one offered by neurologists, is that feet are nerve-rich body parts. From a
practical standpoint, this makes sense. The soles of your feet are responsible for balance; it takes only milliseconds for the nerve endings in your feet to transmit sensory information to your brain. This transmission is necessary and gives your brain the information needed to adjust legs, hips and spine for movement. And so, there is a intuitive association between feet and sensory sensitivity.

When considering the politics of women’s’ feet, many think of the Chinese custom of foot binding. There are current politically charged practices. “Crush freaks” are people with a crush fetish. They become sexually aroused when someone, often a woman, crushes something, typically with her foot. Their interest may include being crushed underfoot themself. No doubt, such practices wander far from the fun, simple aesthetics of a woman with painted toenails in strappy sandals. I mention it to show the complexity of issues related to seemingly simple feet.

My own opinion on why so much attention is paid to feet is that, as I started with, there are a lot of variety possible. A bonus to that variety, you might even be able to get an idea of what’s on someone’s mind by the shoes they’re wearing. Another fun thing about feet, it’s totally possible to look at and comment someone’s footwear without appearing overly forward. Maybe that’s why shoes are popular and common conversation topics.

Want more? Check out:

Sophie Saint Thomas’ article, Advice About Secret Foot Fetishes.

The graphics on this one made me laugh, but could be some useful info: How to Admit to a Foot Fetish.

Check out #footfetish on Twitter. There are a couple more hashtags, but I don’t want to spoil your fun…so I’ll let you find them on your own.

And, of course, there’s always YouTube.


Cerise DeLand said…
I did my master's in Chinese History and of course, the Chinese are known for their foot binding. The woman with the smallest feet, and the most misshapen were the most desirable. It also made them most dependent.
When the Empire fell, the women who suffered the most were these who had no means of support, literally and figuratively. Many Westerners would comment for the next 5 or so decades about these women who were seen begging on the streets, pushing themselves around by their hands on wheeled flatbeds.
Nice POST!!!!!
I read a bit about the foot binding, that the slow, unbalanced walk of the women with the bound feet was considered sexy and alluring. Is that true, do you know?
Kelli Scott said…
Nothing makes me feel sexier than a pedicure.