Therapy is used to treat all types of issues – both physical and mental. Therapy also referred to as psychotherapy or counseling, involves meeting with a therapist to help resolve a variety of problematic behaviors, beliefs, and feelings. But how do you know if the issue you’re facing requires therapy? Or if it’s even considered problematic?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at one specific topic – foot fetishes. With 1 in 7 people admitting to having a foot fetish, most people find it relatively harmless. So what if you enjoy buying feet pics online, getting or giving foot massages, or sucking your lover’s toes? These are all personal, and in many cases, widely accepted practices. But what if your foot fetish goes too far? And is there such a thing as “too far”?
Keep reading for the answers to these questions and more as we discuss what foot fetish therapy is, how it works, and if you’re in need of an intervention.
What is a Foot Fetish?
A foot fetish is a sexual interest in all things related to feet. This includes toes, feet, and ankles. Not everyone with a foot fetish gets aroused by the same things. Some people are attracted to dirty feet while others prefer clean, manicured toes. Others get turned on by footwear, jewelry, tattoos, or the mere look of sexy tootsies while some foot lovers need a hands-on experience that involves touching, licking, and even smelling feet.
What Causes a Foot Fetish?
Like many other fetishes, there’s no one explanation of why people are sexually aroused by and attracted to feet. Most people with kinks or fetishes simply know what turns them on without really knowing why. Since foot fetishes are some of the most common, there’s been numerous studies on what it is about the human foot that’s so appealing. Here’s what researchers have found.
Humiliation and Domination
Over 50% of adults admit that they’re turned on by the idea of being dominated. There’s something thrilling about losing complete control and surrendering yourself to someone else. The dynamic of submission and domination also creates a sort of power play for couples. One partner may enjoy worshiping the other’s feet or being used as a footstool.
This fascination with domination sometimes manifests into a humiliation fetish as well. When it comes to foot fetishes, the feet are often considered “below” some people. After all, the feet are the lowest part of your body. By worshiping this lower extremity, some people feel belittled, which for some, is a major turn-on. In fact, some foot lovers get off on being pushed around by their partner’s foot or lightly kicked. There are even feet pics that depict stomping and other acts of humiliation.
You can’t find genetics. Some researchers believe there’s a biological component to why people develop foot fetishes. As scientific as this sounds, it’s really quite simple – your feet are covered in hundreds of sensitive nerve endings that simply feel good. When touched, tickled, and manipulated, they deliver intense reactions and sensations. For some people, having their feet rubbed or stimulated can feel better than any other part of their body. So, naturally, if it feels good, why not indulge in your love of feet?
Types of Foot Fetishes
While we’ve scratched the surface of the different reasons people find feet attractive, it’s worth noting that there are dozens of different types of foot fetishes – each manifesting themselves in its own unique way. Here are some of the most common categories.
- Shoes (high heels, sandals, sneakers, boots)
- Accessories (jewelry, tattoos, socks, nylons, fishnet)
- Foot attributes (high arches, flat feet, soles, toenails, long toes)
- Specific types of feet (Asian, petite, mature, dancer, chubby, ebony)
- Kinks (stomping, BDSM, dominatrix, ASMR, humiliation, lotion, measuring)
There are also plenty of ways to indulge in these unique foot fetishes including, but not limited to:
- Buy feet pics and videos online
- Share your foot fetish with your partner
- Get or give a foot massage
- Tickle someone else’s feet or have yours tickled
- Foot kissing and toe sucking
- Foot worship
- Foot job (genital contact and stimulation using feet)
What is a Foot Fetish Disorder?
What happens when your foot fetish turns into an obsession? Some kinksters argue that there are no limits to where their fetish will take them and that any expression of their sexual desires is perfectly natural. While this may be true, doctors and other researchers beg to differ.
An obsessive foot fetish could be categorized as a fetishistic disorder, which is a subcategory of paraphilic disorders. A paraphilic disorder is described as an intense and persistent sexual interest in atypical activities, objects, or targets – including feet. While there’s nothing wrong with being attracted to unusual items, when this attraction turns into an obsession, you may be gradually developing a paraphilic disorder. This type of disorder causes significant distress and functional impairment, though these symptoms are exceptionally rare.
A fetishism disorder involves a dependence on non-living objects or non-traditional, non-sexual body parts to achieve sexual arousal and satisfaction. Most sexual fetishes involve both body parts and inanimate objects. This is true for foot fetishes, with the feet being the body part and the inanimate objects being accessories such as shoes, jewelry, bondage materials, or nylons. Foot lovers may become sexually aroused by the mere look of these objects or their fetish may involve other senses like the smell or feel of feet.
While many foot lovers add these objects and behaviors to their masturbation or sex routines, people with a foot fetish disorder need these stimuli to achieve orgasm. Over time, kinksters may actually shy away from sexual intercourse with a partner to indulge in solitary sexual activities that involve inanimate objects including shoes, socks, or feet pics. The longer and more exclusively your arousal focuses primarily on these non-traditional body parts or objects, the harder it becomes to achieve sexual arousal by traditional means. It may also cause serious problems for those in a committed relationship as your ability to connect physically and emotionally dwindles. This can lead to extreme distress and anxiety for both the person with the foot fetish and their significant other.
Symptoms of a Foot Fetish Disorder
Are you concerned that your fun and playful attraction to feet has turned into something more serious? Here are a few signs and symptoms that you might be suffering from a foot fetish disorder and need therapy.
- Intense sexual arousal from nonliving objects (persisting for at least 6 months)
- Shame or distress over your sexual desire
- Impaired social, occupational, and emotional function
- Your fetish objects and obsession aren’t limited to just articles of clothing including socks, stockings, and shoes.
- Your fetish objects and obsessions aren’t limited to devices used for sexual pleasure including vibrators, dildos, and other sex toys.
While it’s perfectly normal for adults to be sexually aroused by random objects or traditionally non-sexual body parts from time to time if you develop a fixation or dependence on feet for sexual arousal that’s causing mental distress, you may need foot fetish therapy.
Dangers Associated with Foot Fetishes
It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. What starts out as an innocent way to play, experiment, and broaden your sexual horizons could actually pose some serious danger. Here are a few safety tips to consider when indulging in your foot fetish fantasies.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
While some STIs are transmitted through genital contact, others are passed by skin-to-skin contact. If you’re someone who enjoys having your genitals stimulated by someone’s foot, you could be at risk for one of these STIs. The human papillomavirus and both genital and oral herpes are spread through contact with the skin. If you or your partner have open sores, you can spread syphilis orally. Always practice safe sex when exploring your foot fetish.
Another risk of indulging in frequent skin-to-skin contact or stimulation using feet is skin infections. The two most common skin infections to be aware of are impetigo and molluscum contagiosum. Fungal infections like athlete’s foot are also common and are transmitted through infected skin or even footwear worn by someone with the infection. This is a real concern for people exploring the world of foot fetishes including shoes, massaging, and oral play.
Cuts and Scrapes
This safety tip is for anyone who is especially attracted to toes, toenails, or pedicures. Without proper care, toenails are not only sharp and dangerous but can carry dirt and bacteria. Putting these toes in your mouth can lead to infection and sickness. If you enjoy having your genitals stimulated by feet, be sure that your partner’s toenails are kept short and clean. The skin in these areas is extremely sensitive and could easily experience cuts and scrapes.
What is Foot Fetish Therapy?
You’ve heard of group therapy, couples counseling, and even rehab for substance abuse, but what exactly is foot fetish therapy and how does it work?
Similar to therapy for sex addiction, foot fetish therapy will teach you to reduce unhealthy patterns and behaviors associated with your foot obsession. Talking to a therapist can help you regain control over your life and the role your foot fetish plays. Find a sex therapist that specializes in paraphilias and takes a non-judgmental approach to the recovery process. A skilled therapist can help identify the factors that lead to and are contributing to your foot obsession. They can also help you overcome your urges and negative behaviors that are interfering with your ability to function in everyday life. If your foot fetish is impacting your romantic relationship, you may also want your partner to join you at therapy.
While every therapist is different, the one you choose will explore when your foot fetish started, the symptoms you’re experiencing, and what has caused your fetish to escalate. Through a combination of mindfulness and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), you’ll learn to change your negative thoughts and patterns and develop a healthier relationship with sex and yourself. This doesn’t mean giving up your foot fetish, entirely, but making small adjustments to improve your overall quality of life and reduce distress. Choose from in-person therapy or an online option if you prefer anonymity.
Enjoy Your Foot Fetish in a Healthy Way
Not everyone with a foot fetish requires therapy or intervention. Just because you enjoy looking at feet pics, giving or getting foot massages, or having your genitals stimulated by your partner’s foot doesn’t mean you have a disorder or need therapy. If, however, any of these behaviors are causing stress or tension in your daily life or relationship, it may be time for a change. Foot fetish therapy can help you better understand your fetish and express and explore it in healthier ways.