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How Does a Foot Fetish Develop?

by | Sep 30, 2021 | KINK, SEXUALITY

Foot fetish on display, one foot bare and another with stockings.

If you’ve ever caught yourself fantasizing about someone’s feet, you’re not alone. A foot fetish is far more common than you might think.

It is said that approximately one in seven people has thought about feet during a sexual fantasy. Chances are that you know someone who has a foot fetish.

But have you ever thought about where a foot fetish comes from? Foot fetishes can develop in many ways but it is important to remember that there is nothing inherently bad about them. In fact, they are a healthy form of sexual exploration.

Keep reading for more information about foot fetishes and how they develop.

What is a Fetish?

A fetish is a sexual response to something that is not considered inherently sexual. Sexual excitement might come from certain objects, certain body parts, or certain features on the body.

Fetishes with body parts can include feet, hands, hair, body fluid, and even body size like obesity. Features on the body that can be fetishized include tattoos, piercings, hair, and clothing. People with these fetishes like to look at, touch, hold, rub, or taste the object of their (fetishized) affection during sex.

Fetishes help you explore your sexuality, your fantasies, and your sexual preferences.

In a healthy relationship, you can be open with your partner about your sexual fetishes. Though some are quick to judge fetishes, with some education it is evident that fetishes are not sexually deviant.

What Is a Foot Fetish?

A foot fetish is a sexual arousal that involves feet. This means that feet, toes, and even shoes can get a person with a foot fetish sexually excited.

An interest in feet can include sexual activity with another person’s feet but it doesn’t always mean that there is an inherent association of a feet involved in sex. This fetish has a wide range of preferences.

Some people like to look at well-manicured bare feet, some enjoy toe sucking, and others like to give foot massages. A foot fetishist might also enjoy foot odor, foot jewelry, foot play, or foot worship. This can involve foot fetish toys or a focus on the feet and toes.

How Common Is a Foot Fetish?

As far as fetishes go, this is the most common fetish of all. You might be surprised to know just how common this sexual kink is. It’s also one of the most openly talked about fetishes.

Approximately 18% of heterosexual men say that they had foot fantasies while only 5% of heterosexual women have had the same fantasy. If you break down exactly who is fantasizing about feet, you will find that cishet men are more likely to have a foot fetish.

With a partner who is open to it, exploring a foot fetish together can be a great addition to your sex life.

How Is a Foot Fetish Developed?

There are varying explanations for why people develop foot fetishes. Some believe that sexual preferences are just like other interests and preferences, varying from person to person.

Here are some possible ways that a foot fetish can develop:

The Physical Touch

Certain areas of your body that are considered the erogenous zones give you pleasurable feelings when touched. Similarly, feet have nerve endings that also arouse certain sensations when they are touched.

Feet are covered with these nerve endings and they can arouse intense feelings when tickled, massaged, or rubbed. At some point these pleasurable sensations were present at the same time as sexual arousal, and they clicked.

The Domination or Submission

A dominant and submissive partner dynamic is another popular fetish for many couples. Incorporating feet is a way that you can exert your dominance on (or be dominated by) your partner.

You might find it arousing to have your partner smell or worship your feet. Or you might want to use them to prop your feet up, making them into a slave.

There are many ways to play with these roles using foot play.

The Freudian Theory

Sigmund Freud had his theories for why many fetishes existed. Many experts like Freud believe that sexual interest is derived from childhood before a person has any understanding of sexuality.

He believed that feet look like penises, and that’s why some people sexualize feet. This is an older idea, but certainly as young people, seeing, smelling, or touching feet might be a part of play at the same time children play with their own bodies and experience sexual arousal. This can influence adult arousal templates.

Cultural Influence

Some believe that culture and environment have to do with the development of fetishes. In some cultures, sex itself is taboo and used only to have children. Other cultures are more sex-positive and encourage safe sex for pleasure and exploration.

People from communities that promote positivity around sex are more likely to have fetishes.

If you are concerned about your fetish or it is taking over your life in a negative way, you may want to consider talking to someone to understand how to explore this areas of arousal safely. While fetishes and fantasies are healthy, sometimes they can lead people down a path they are not sure about or can without containment, can hinder daily life.

Wired that Way

In the somatosensory context, the part of the brain that is responsible for letting us know when we are feeling things, the sensory information for feet and foot is right next to the sensory information for genitals, which leads some researchers to believe that some foot fetishes may simply be because those sections of the brain are engaged in cross communication.

“Getting Your Feet Wet” With a Partner

Many people enjoy exploring their fetishes with a partner. In fact, 90 percent of people say that they prefer fetish play with a partner instead of exploring alone.

When it comes to exploring your foot fetish and dating, you want to communicate effectively with your partner beforehand. Part of intimacy is being able to explain what you would like from sex with a partner.

Remember to start slow and communicate to ensure enthusiastic sexual consent. Here are some ways to get started with some foot play:

  • Give your partner a foot massage
  • Ask your partner to put on high heels or flip flops
  • Give your partner a pedicure
  • Play foot fetish games

These are safe ways to start exploring a foot fetish. If you and your partner are having difficulty around your sexual fantasies, you may want to consider relationship counseling to strengthen your communication.

The Bottom Line on a Foot Fetish

Fetishes are a natural part of our sexual lives. While you may feel that there is something strange or deviant about your foot fetish, it is more common than you think. A foot fetish can develop for several reasons including pleasurable touch, domination fantasies, cultural background, and of course, Dr. Freud’s theory.

For more information about sex-positive relationships and sex tips, schedule a free consultation today.

Modern Intimacy is a group therapy practice, founded by renowned Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This inclusive blog is designed to provide a wealth of information and resources for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. Subscribe today to get the latest information from our expert contributors from all around the world.

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Author Bio

Dr. Kate Balestrieri is a Licensed Psychologist, Certified Sex Therapist, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, and PACT II trained Couples Therapist. She is the Founder of Modern Intimacy. Follow her on IG @drkatebalestrieri and @themodernintimacy.

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