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Feet — they’re not just for walking. For many, tootsies are downright sexy. A foot fetishist is someone with a sexual interest in feet, toes, and ankles. Here’s everything you need to know about foot fetishes.

Let’s talk about feet, baby

Foot fetishes vary from person to person. Maybe you really appreciate a nice pedicure, or perhaps you’re into pampering, foot worship, and toe sucking.

If you have a foot fetish (aka podophilia), chances are you know someone who shares your interests. In a 2007 study, about one-third of participants said they had a sexual preference for a certain body part, and almost half of those people had some kind of foot fandom going on.

Fetish fast facts

  • Some common fetishes include leather, shoes, feet, fur, rubber, and piercings and tattoos (stigmatophilia).
  • Hair is also a common fetish (tricophilia) — in one survey, almost half of people said they had some degree of hair fetish.
  • Pictophilia is when you get off on porn or racy photos.

Sexual kinks are like any kind of preference — they’re highly personal and subjective. One person’s boring or weird is another’s aphrodisiac.

When it comes to why so many peeps are into feet, there’s no exact answer. But there are some theories that may explain the mysteries of foot magic.

Foot anatomy

Foot massages feel good for a reason. Feet are superhighways of nerve endings — scratching the bottom of your foot likely feels way more intense than scratching your elbow. This could explain why feet can play a role in sensual pleasure.

Power play

You’ve likely heard of BDSM. The D and S stand for dominance and submission. Feet can be a part of that kinky power dynamic. Some people get off on foot worship or being used as a footstool. These are just a few of the many fun forms of being dominated.

It feels good to be bad

A lot of cultures treat feet with disgust. That “dirtiness” might make feet feel like forbidden fruit. And taboos can be hot AF.

Domination is the not-so-distant cousin of humiliation. People with humiliation-type foot fetishes may engage in foot play that feels demeaning. This could be your partner rubbing your face with their feet or walking on you.

If you dig feet, you may also enjoy foot accoutrements (e.g., nail polish, anklets, toe rings). High heels and different types of socks and hosiery also have a dedicated fan base.

On the other hand, there are purists who prefer an unadorned foot. That’s cool, too, because variety is the sexy spice of life.

Foot play is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of thing. Depending on your brand of foot fetish, there’s a whole menu of possibilities to explore.

Magical massages

A good foot rub can be orgasmic for some people. Rubbing and tickling are familiar ways to get the party started. Even if it doesn’t take you over the edge, a relaxing rubdown can still be stimulating and erotic.

Grooming to get off

Some foot fetishists may enjoy admiring a well-manicured foot. Others find more pleasure in getting in on the action themselves. If you’re on the receiving end, consider it the sexiest way to get a free pedicure.

Show your shoes some affection

Shoe fetishes are often linked with foot fetishes. If you want to try shoe play on for size, start experimenting with kissing or licking your partner’s shoes. If you’re both comfy with it, you can take things to the next level

PSA: Clean shoes are definitely recommended.

Photo-ready feet

Nudes get a lot of attention. Maybe it’s time to give foot photos some love. If your partner has a foot fetish, dip your toe into the kinky waters and start sending them foot pics. Don’t be afraid to get creative with accessories and different kinds of footwear.

All hail feet

If your partner has a foot fetish, they might take pleasure in worshipping your little piggies. Using your partner as a footrest is a fun sub/dom activity. Or rub your feet up their legs and work your way to the end zone.

It’s not a job if you love it

If you’re ready to level up your foot fetish game, it might be time for a “foot job.” That’s when you rub your foot against your partner’s genitals. Or you can try some kind of penetration (vaginal or anal) if you’re both up for it.

If any kind of fancy footwork is on the table, make sure your feet are clean and your toenails don’t have any sharp edges. (Ouch.)

Put your foot in their mouth

Some folks enjoy kissing their partner’s feet or sucking their toes (aka shrimping). Given the sensitivity of the human foot, it’s quite the erotic sensation for the receiving party too. If you’re new to the game, start with some gentle kissing and work your way to shrimping.

As far as sexual kinks go, foot fetishes are pretty safe. You certainly can’t get pregnant from foot play, so there’s that. However, as with any kind of sexual contact, there are some risks to consider.

Fungal infections like athlete’s foot can be spread via direct contact or even by sharing shoes. Impetigo and molluscum contagiosum are other skin infections that can be passed through skin-to-skin contact.

Cuts are a concern too. Unkempt toenails can do a nasty number on delicate nether-region skin. Keep those little buddies clean and trim.

Can foot f*cking give me STIs?

Not all STIs require penetration. You can catch these from skin-to-skin contact:

  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • genital and oral herpes
  • syphilis, which you can get through oral contact with an open sore

Talking about your fetish might make you feel vulnerable. It’s extra rough if chats with previous partners didn’t go well. But try not to let previous disappointments get in the way of your current relationship.

Keeping secrets won’t do you or your relationship any favors. As soon as you feel comfortable enough, be honest. Here’s how to navigate “the talk.”

Be ready to answer some questions

Your partner may have some questions about your fetish. As long as you’re being honest, there are no wrong answers. Preparing responses ahead of time can help you feel more confident about discussing your desires.

Timing is everything

Find a time when you’re both relaxed. Introduce the subject lightly to gauge your partner’s reaction. Drop hints like “I love giving foot rubs” or “I think your feet are super sexy.”

Pro tip: Don’t bring up your foot fetish for the first time in the heat of any high-stakes moment (e.g., in the middle of sex or an argument).

Don’t rush it

With any sexual act, consent is key. If your partner is willing to experiment with foot play, it’s prob unwise to go from 0 to foot job ASAP. Instead, work your way up with some more familiar options like foot massages or pedicures.

If your partner brings it up

First of all, take their honesty as a positive. Opening up about a fetish can be intimidating. If they’re willing to tell you about it, that means they trust you. Here’s how you can approach the situation.

Listen up

A friendly ear is a great way to show support. Your partner may not be up front about their foot fetish at first. They might start small by offering you a foot massage. Foot fetishes are highly individual, so it’s important to understand the nuances of your partner’s desires.

Questions to get the conversation going:

  • What kind of foot play do you like?
  • Is foot play more of an appetizer (foreplay) or the main dish (a means to climax)?
  • What would you like to try and when?
  • Do you want me to reciprocate?

“It’s not my thing”

If you’re not comfortable with your partner’s foot fetish, you can say no! You don’t have to make up your mind right away, either. Let the thought marinate a bit. But if feet are a definite no-fly zone for you, make that clear.

Keep in mind that foot fetishes are really common. There are ways to say no without kink-shaming your partner.

One foot a time

If you do want to indulge in some footsie action, don’t feel pressured to dive in headfirst. Take things at your own pace and communicate. Always tell your partner if something makes you feel weird. They should respect your boundaries.

If you’re still exploring the world of foot fetishes, there are loads of resources available.

  • Porn: Porn is a great way to discover all kinds of foot play. You can also get inspo for things you may want to try. However, porn isn’t always a great representation of real sex or pleasure. So don’t feel bad if reality doesn’t meet your pornspectations.
  • Online forums: If you’re not ready to discuss your foot fetish IRL, check out an online forum. Online groups can provide answers to all your burning questions and make you feel less alone.
  • Dating apps and sites: There’s a host of sites and apps that cater to the kink community. Some are dedicated exclusively to foot fetishes, like Footfetishmatch.com.

Fetishes and kinks are nothing to be ashamed of, but being open about them can be a challenge. Honest communication can be a profoundly empowering tool when exploring your foot fetish with your partner.

Just be mindful of how fast you tread into foot fetish territory and keep the conversation going!