Written by sex journalist and expert,Alexander Cheves for The Cowgirl
If you have a foot fetish — also called podophilia — you’re in good company. Quentin Tarantino, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Tommy Lee, Elvis Presley, Dita Von Teese, and F. Scot Fitzgerald are just some of the famous foot-lovers out there. Von Teese, the world-famous burlesque vedette, shows off her nude feet in her performances, and Tarantino is known to show women’s feet in his movies — actress Uma Thurman, the oft-barefoot star Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, once mocked his fetish by drinking champagne out of her shoe at a roast of the director.
Fetishes for feet are fairly common, so you’re not alone. A foot fetish is considered a more mainstream sexual kink, meaning it is more talked-about and understood than other fetishes. A 2007 study found that almost half of people surveyed had a foot fetish.
Want to know more? This is a guide to the foot fetish basics.
So what exactly is a foot fetish?
First, let’s start with the definition of a fetish. A fetish is a sexual desire in which gratification is linked to a specific object, item of clothing, part of the body, scenario or situation, and so on. A foot fetish is a sexual interest in feet.
You may be turned on by a person’s feet, toes, or ankles — every foot fetishist is different. Some folks are turned on by seeing feet, others are aroused by touching or massaging them. Some treat the fetish as a form of erotic degradation — they submit to someone by kissing and worshiping that person’s feet (or, in more extreme play, being kicked and/or stepped on). For many, a foot fetish goes hand-in-hand with a fetish for certain footwear (like high-heel shoes).
How do I get started?
As with all fetishes, if you’re new, you should start slow and take baby steps. The hardest part of exploring any new kink or fetish is finding a partner and communicating to them your desires — more on that later.
It’s okay if you’re not comfortable with the idea of kissing or licking someone’s feet, even if the fantasy of doing so turns you on. Start with something easier: take foot selfies and send them to your partner, or find pictures of feet online that turn you on. Sniff your partner’s shoes to see if the smell turns you on, and if it does, see if you want more.
Pro tip: It’s a good idea to enjoy both the giving and receiving end of a foot play experience (for example, to give a foot massage and have your feet massaged) while figuring out what you like. Try both and see which one is more fun!
I have a partner. How do we talk about this?
All kinks and fetishes can be a little intimidating to talk about, especially if you’re still gauging your own comfort level with whatever it is you’re interested in.
If your partner brings the idea of foot play up to you, listen to them. Ask questions — ask for specific fantasies, specific ideas. Don’t judge. Be patient and don’t jump to conclusions. Just let them talk. Even if you’re not into the idea yourself, let them know how appreciative you are that they felt safe telling you about this, and assure them that you’re a safe person to talk to.
They may tell you they think your feet are attractive, or they really like a certain shoe you wear. They may reveal their interest in feet by offering to massage yours after a long day. They may ask to kiss your feet during sex.
Each person’s interests are different, so you need to hear from your partner what they like. For some people, foot play is foreplay — something to heat things up before sex. For others, foot play is sex. It’s okay to have many questions.
And finally, reserve your judgments until you actually try something twice. After that, you can decide for certain if it’s something for you or not.
If you’re the one interested in foot play and want to tell your partner, remember that honesty is the most essential ingredient of all relationships, from casual sex buddies to long-term romantic partnerships.
Find the right time to talk about all this. The wrong time is in the heat of sex when they might feel vulnerable and unprepared for this information. Plan a non-sex time to share this fantasy — like when you’re relaxing, shopping, or watching TV. Low-pressure situations are best for sexual confessions.
You might not want to say, “I have a foot fetish.” The word “fetish” can make it sound more extreme than it actually is. It’s better to broach the subject by talking about your partner: “I have a confession to make: I think your feet are really beautiful and would love to give you a foot massage,” or, “My feet are really erotic for me and if you wanted to turn me on, I’d really love a massage.” Or: “I love when you wear your red high heels. They make your feet look so sexy to me, and I’m realizing that you wearing them really turns me on.”
If your partner has a lot of questions, that’s a good thing! Be ready to engage in honest dialogue. Share how you discovered this interest. Give specific examples of your fantasies — even give examples of what you’re not into.
In the end, no matter how gently you introduce the idea, your partner may simply not be willing to explore your fetish, but the conversation is still valuable, as it can open up a larger talk about things that turn you both on. Ask if there are any other things your partner would want to explore.
Finally, it’s good to set limits before you play. Remember that consent matters before and throughout a sexual experience, and consent can be revoked at any time.
If you’re looking for something more intense or extreme — like being a foot slave, having a foot slave, foot worship and licking, and so on — you need to cast your net among kinky people who publicly advertise a fetish for feet. You’re more likely to find these folks on fetish dating and chat sites like FetLife.com and others.
How can I explore a foot fetish by myself?
Single fetishists have just as much fun — if not more fun — than folks in pairings.
The wonderful world of foot porn:
The internet is a place where you can find anything, including the feet of many famous people. There are pornstars and models known for their feet, and you can find foot-focused videos all over the internet (there is an active web community of people who love seeing videos of women in high-heels stepping on gas pedals).
A pedicure (a foot washing done in a salon) can be satisfying for anyone with a foot fetish and, as a bonus, you will have lovely groomed feet.
A sexy selfie is gratifying, even if you never share it with someone. You don’t have to post it — but if you do, you might find someone interested in feet in your DMs.
Wearing sexy shoes that rock your legs and feet is a great way for a foot fetishist to feel sexy and show off.
How can I explore a foot fetish with my partner?
If your partner is game to give it a shot, these are some good places to start.
Not only can a foot massage be erotic, but it can also really help ease those aches and pains after a day at the office.
Start by giving those shoes or boots a peck. Boot licking is a major fetish for queer men into leather and BDSM.
One common element of a foot fetish play is humiliation. Feet are often considered “below” people, meaning some consider them a “lowly” body part. Some people like to feel “lower” than their partner by pampering their partner’s feet. Some foot fetishists want to be treated like human footrests.
Toe sucking (shrimping):
Feet and toes are, for most people, hypersensitive to touch, so even some gentle kissing, sucking, and light tongue tickling can feel extremely sensual.
There are many nerve endings in the feet — this is why feet are so often considered prime tickling zones.
Foot worship is closely related to the idea of feet play as an act of domination and/or submission. People with a foot fetish may want to worship their partner’s feet, which can involve many things: kissing, licking, massage, verbal praise, and much more.
Feet can be very stimulating on the genitals, but some preparation is recommended here: long, sharp toenails can hurt.
Fisting is the erotic practice of slowly inserting a hand into an orifice (anal and vaginal). The global fisting community is huge, so you must know footing is also a thing. If you plan to penetrate someone with your foot, lots of appropriate lube is necessary, and be sure to clip and buffer your toenails so that they are very, very short: sharp, long toenails can cause injury inside someone. Remember that feet are not as dextrous or nimble as hands, so go slow and remember that you might have to train and practice for a long time — over many months or years — before you can take a foot inside you, even partially, or slide a foot inside someone else.
Are there any health risks?
All sex involves some risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), though most forms of foot fetish play are pretty low-risk and safe. Some STIs are passed through genital contact, but others can be shared by rubbing skin on skin, such as genital herpes, oral herpes, and the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Fungal infections like athlete’s foot can be shared through contact with infected skin or even through shoes a person with the infection wore.
And, as mentioned above, sharp toenails can hurt the delicate skin of the genital area and inside the anus and vagina, so keep your toes closely trimmed and clean and ask your partner to do the same before you play.