What is Foot Fetishism?
Fetishism, a paraphilic sexual disorder, is characterised by recurrent, intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies towards specific objects for at least six months.
Foot Fetishism (FF), foot partialism, foot worship, or podophilia known as ‘perversion’ earlier, is a modified sexual disorder where a person shows strong sexual interest towards the feet or footwear. It is the commonest form of sexual fetish that is related to the body which is more generally found in men compared to women.
A person with this disorder (foot fetishist) is attracted towards the shape and size of the foot and toes (e.g., long or short toes, polished toenails, high arches, soles, etc.).
The attraction may also be towards:
- jewellery (toe rings, anklets, bracelets, etc.),
- state of the dress (barefoot, sandals, flip flops, high heels, etc.),
- treatments (such as pedicures or massaging),
- odour and sensory interactions (e.g., smelling the foot, licking, kissing, tickling, biting, etc.).
While most fetishists seem to be erotic towards women’s shoes (particularly high-heeled ones), some incorporate high heels into their fantasies and foreplay.
However, Foot fetishism is considered to be harmless and is analogous to a person’s interest in the legs or the breasts.
Is it normal?
Although foot fetish might look unusual, it is quite normal.
What are the Causes?
The cause is not clear. However, researchers and psychologists opine that the following can cause foot fetishism:
- According to investigators, this kind of sexual excitement could have started during a person’s puberty, when the hormones are quite high, making them feel excited about various things. One such excitement could be towards the foot.
- According to neurologist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, this condition can be due to the neural crosstalk between the area that relates to the feet and genitals, which are present adjacent to each other on the surface of the brain.
- According to the psychologists, a child who is poked or tickled by someone’s foot, is stimulated by the touch which gets ‘imprinted’ throughout its life. It can make the child become a foot fetishist in the future.
What do Foot Fetishists do?
Few experts have divided fetishists into two categories, based on their activities:
- Aesthetic: Gaze at the partner’s feet, kiss, suck, caress and adore them.
- Directly sexual: Sexually active individuals rub their genitals against their partner’s feet and sometimes they may also climax over them.
How is it managed?
- Most of the foot fetishists do not choose to seek treatment as they regard their sex lives to be normal. The need for the treatment arises when their partner wants to change their sexual orientation.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): This therapy has been found to be useful in altering the fetishist’s behaviour to a certain extent.
Note: Foot fetishists are unlikely to acquire sexually transmitted infections (STIs) just by virtue of having it. However, there is a minor risk of catching athlete’s foot.
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- Foot fetishism. OMICS INternatina. http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/Foot_fetishism. Accessed on October 13,2016.
- Foot fetishism. Net doctor. http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/sexual-health/a2305/foot-fetishism/. Accessed on October 13,2016.