Foot fetishism

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Dildo shoe from Westward Bound

Foot fetishism is a pronounced fetishistic sexual interest in human feet. It is also one of the most common fetishistic interests among humans.


Scope of foot fetishism

A foot fetishist can be sexually aroused by viewing, handling, licking, tickling, sniffing or kissing the feet and/or toes of another person, or by having another person doing the same to their own feet. Some also enjoy being "trampled", which is to say, being walked upon. Some foot fetishists enjoy having their genitals manipulated by their partner's feet to the point of orgasm or ejaculation (which is called a "footjob", analogous to the concept of a "handjob"), while others prefer being merely touched by feet or used as a foot-rest by another person.

The fetishist response to the foot is the same or very similar to a conventional person's arousal at seeing genitals (or the sex-specific features like female breasts or male broad shoulders). On the other hand, enjoying the look of pretty feet and good pedicure as well as caressing the partner's feet is normal human behaviour, as long as the interest in his/her whole personality persists.

Like other paraphilias, foot fetishism varies widely and can be highly specialized, therefore one fetishist may be aroused by elements another might find repulsive. Some foot fetishists prefer to concentrate on feet that are arched, others concentrate on relaxed feet. Some prefer bare feet, while others may prefer feet dressed in certain types of shoes, socks or hosiery. Some even concentrate on specialized scenarios, such as bare feet resting on a car dashboard. Thus there is often a blurred distinction between foot, nylon, pantyhose/stocking, shoe, dirt and similar fetishes.

A foot fetishist can be male or female (although males account for over 70%), and can have an interest in the feet of either sex, albeit usually parallel to their sexual orientation. Other fetishes such as tickling or bondage often accompany foot attraction.

Proposed explanations for foot fetishism

One explanation, advanced by neurologist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, highlights the fact that the feet and the genitals occupy adjacent areas of the sensory cortex, possibly entailing some neural crosstalk between the two.

An alternate hypothesis is that in many cultures, an infant's experience of its mother may involve crawling around her feet. If sexual/behavioural imprinting occurs during this time, this might lead to the feet becoming the primary object of sexual arousal.

Another theory is that the shape of the human foot is distinctly phallic from certain angles and replicates the shape of either male genitals (explaining homosexual attraction to male feet), or the curves of the female body (again explaining the tendency of heterosexual foot fetishists to be men).

Yet another theory proposes that visually, the feet and genitals occupy the same space within the sexual visual field that a male sees of a female, when the legs are raised for sex, and that some males are genetically brain imprinted to find parts of the body within that field as erotic.

Freud considered foot binding as practiced in China as a form of fetishism.

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