Foot Fetish

communities forming on- and offline so that likeminded souls can share their kinks. In honour of Feet Week, we have looked into podophilia, the official term for foot fetishism. As with most sexual appetites, there is no one standard – what makes one podophile tick might not work for another. ADVERTISEMENT Some people prefer to involve senses beyond touch – getting turned on by the odour of smelly or sweaty feet – others like seeing a beautiful pair of feet in high heels and some might like to be ‘tooed’ (the foot version of fingering). Scientific research around this fetish is severely lacking, as much of it is connected to singular cases, as opposed to studies with multiple participants, which give a wider overview of why some people get frisky at the thought of feet. But there is some insight. One study from 2007, which looked at the frequency of fetishes and involved 5,000 participants, showed that ‘feet and objects associated with feet were the most common target of preferences’.

So if you like sucking on toes or kissing your partner’s ankles, you’re not the only one. Other findings reveal a (somewhat loose) link between foot fetishes and a person’s childhood, with studies into children who are obsessed and/or (physically) aroused by feet. A foot fetish doesn’t necessarily have to be about the body part in itself, but rather what it represents – its position, i.e. at the bottom of a person’s body. Feet are used in dominance play, and in this scenario, the sexual arousal could be a result of the humiliation or submission associated with our trotters. A global survey conducted by the sex toy company Lelo further confirmed that feet are a big deal in the sack, beating out hands, hair and even breasts as the top body part. ‘As far as we can tell, it’s always been common, and references to it appear in early literature and art across the world,’ says Stuart Nugent, the brand’s sex expert. Illustration of a woman’s foot, close up. Some people link feet to domination or humiliation (Picture: Ella Byworth ) ‘

The third century sophist Philostratus wrote in a love letter, “O feet unfettered! O unhampered beauty! Thrice happy me and blessed, if on me ye tread!” ‘The reason why foot fetishism is so popular (and, yet, so under-discussed) is argued energetically by any number of specialists from all clinical backgrounds. ‘ According to Stu, there are three common lines of thought to explain our obsession with feet: the psychological, neurological and biological. He explains: ‘A psychological school of thought suggests feet become fetishised because of early childhood imprinting and conditioning, where sexual responses are paired with non-sexual objects, like feet, very early in a person’s psychosexual development. ‘A neurological theory suggests that podophilia might develop because the feet and genitals occupy adjacent areas in the brain’s somatosensory cortex, and there might be some sort of neurological wires being crossed. ‘There’s even a biological theory that the characteristic scent of feet can trigger a hormonal reaction in some people. The truth is that the cause of


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