Ask Emily: What’s the Deal With Foot Fetishes?

Dear Emily, 

This is a little embarrassing, but I find feet incredibly attractive. I think I might be one of those people who has a “foot fetish” but I’ve never seriously explored it or felt brave enough to disclose this to a partner. Is it something worth exploring or should I just keep this to myself? I’m afraid of scaring off any future dates!

Seth  29

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Dear Seth,

Thank you so much for your vulnerability! First of all, I want to start by saying that as long as your sexual experiences are between two consenting adults, there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Foot fetishes are far more common than most of us assume. (Trust me when I say that I get sooo many questions about this sort of thing.)

So, why feet? There are a few different explanations as to why a foot fetish is a common turn-on when it comes to sex.

  • For some, it’s as simple as power-play: the person worshipping the foot is often more submissive, while the person having their feet worshipped falls into a more dominant role.
  • Some believe the fascination is rooted in our brain chemistry. Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at UC San Diego V.S. Ramachandran writes in his book, Phantoms in the Brain, that a foot fetish can stem from neurological cross-wiring. According to Ramachandran, this is because the areas that control the genitalia and feet exist in proximity to the somatosensory complex. Because of this “cognitive closeness,” it’s easy for a person to very innocently develop a sexual interest in feet.
  • It might be that feet are simply an erogenous zone! We all have different “pleasure spots,” and for some people, that includes feet.
  • Some people’s “sexual awakening” or sexual formative years might have included feet.

In any case, it’s totally normal. But now that you know the why, let’s move on to the how. While actually acting on your foot fetish might be intimidating, there are all different ways to do so at whatever pace feels best for you. 

Start with some self-exploration.

Luckily, there are so many resources out there for people interested in feet. You can explore foot-focused porn as a way to “research” ideas. There’s also a huge community for foot fetishes on Instagram—try searching some the hashtags: #footfetish #feet #footfetishnation #toes #foot #soles #footfetishcommunity #feetporn #prettyfeet #feetworship #feetpics #feetlovers #footmodel #sexyfeet #footporn #footgoddess #barefeet #feetfetishworld and #instafeet. 

When you’re “dipping your toes” (sorry, can’t help it!) into these communities, take note of what you like and don’t like. Are there any scenarios you’d like to explore? Do you like having your feet played with, or are you more interested in someone else’s feet? Is this a fantasy you can enjoy on your own or is it something you need to explore with a partner? Getting clarity surrounding your fantasies is a great way to ideate the next steps. 

Sharing your foot fetish.

While there’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to your fetish, many people feel hesitant to share their foot-related desires. Start by taking some of the pressure off yourself. Real progress in our sex lives happens when we have a judgment-free attitude towards ourselves and others. 

If you’re currently in a relationship, sit down with your partner and ask if they’re willing to have an open conversation about your sex life. Start by sharing what you love, and express that you like making them feel good. After all, exploring your fetish could be as simple as giving your partner a foot massage after a long day at work. (And who doesn’t want that?)

Remember to stay compassionate and empathetic throughout the conversation. If your partner is confused by your fetish, share this article with them! Education is one of the first steps toward destigmatizing fetishes in general. They might be interested but just need a little more information before getting started.

If your partner is interested but doesn’t want to incorporate feet into sex, you can always do pedicures, hold their feet while watching a movie, or carry on with the aforementioned massage. Try playing footsie at dinner, or take a bath where your feet are in each other’s laps. If your partner is on board for some of the more hardcore foot stuff, then you can start exploring things like toy sucking or using feet to stimulate the genitals. (AKA a foot job.) And don’t forget the lube! 

Remember: you are normal!

Regardless of how a partner responds, remember that there’s nothing wrong with you or your fantasy. What matters is that you approach your sexual interests with a compassionate and curious attitude. And the more we approach our fetishes and kinks with a loving heart, the better sex we start to have.