What Is A Foot Fetish & Why Is It So Popular? (+ 5 Fun Foot Foreplay Ideas)

Do you have a full blown foot fetish? Maybe foot massage is your Achilles heel in the bedroom. Find out what a foot fetish is and why it's so popular!

Published Jan 04 2019 4 min read

Do you have a full blown foot fetish? Or just curious about what it’s all about?

Whatever your partiality to partialism (the sexual attraction to a specific body part), there’s no shame! The attraction to feet dates back centuries and can lead to new sexual pleasure and fun for both you and your partner.

In this article we will cover:

Ready to tread into what makes the foot so erotic and sexy? Let’s go!

What is a Foot Fetish?

Also called podophilia, a foot fetish is a sexual interest or attraction to feet. 

It is more commonly found in men than women and can include attraction to any part of the foot, including the toes, arches, and soles. Along with bare feetshoes and socks can also be included in foot fetishes.

Feeling embarrassed about your foot attraction? 


This study on fetishes found that “feet and objects associated with feet were the most common target of preferences.”

There are many variations of foot fetishes. Some people love high arches, while others love broad, earthy feet. Some prefer clean, sexy feet, while others like a slight to intense smell

Common fetishes of the feet include high arches, pedicured toes (maybe with nail polish), soft skin, particular nail shape, and average foot size. 

Keep in mind that these commonalities apply to both male and female feet. Even nail polish can apply to men’s feet

Attraction to legs and ankles also closely relate to foot fetishism. 

A foot fetish is one that does not require other sexual objects to be involved. It is merely the incorporation of feet and toes into foreplay, oral sex, and intercourse.

Foot Fetish vs. Kink vs. Worship

Before we move forward in this article, let’s quickly distinguish between:

  • Fetish
  • Kink
  • Worship

Podophilia is the distinct partialism for feet, ranging from fetishism to kink. For clarification, sex educator, Dirty Lola explains that:

“Fetish is heavily tied to having a psychological need for those specific objects or acts in order to experience pleasure and/or orgasm, whereas kinks can add to a sexual experience but aren’t necessarily needed to achieve sexual release.”

Foot worship, on the other hand, involves submission and is an extent of a foot fetish. It is a way of praising one’s partner by worshiping and submitting to the lowest part of their body.


Are Foot Fetishes a New Phenomenon?

Not even close! Foot fetishism has been around for ages. 

Numerous cultures around the world have praised feet throughout the centuries, and several studies and theories have been conducted on why people are attracted to feet.

Historical Examples

People were fascinated with feet, even long before the demonization of the foot in Medieval Europe for its phallic appearance. 

Historian, Daniel B Levine, remarks:

“The notion of Eros was bound to the human foot from early to late antiquity…The foot left its imprint on Greek erotic thought from Homer to the rise of Christianity.”

In 10th century China during the Song dynasty, small feet were celebrated, so much so that foot binding from a young age became popularized among upper-class women. This painful process intensely eroticized feet, up until it began to die out during female emancipation in the early to mid 20th century.

What’s more?

During the Victorian era, footwear fashion, particularly high heels and sexy women’s shoes, became second only to corsets as objects of fetishistic worship and play. But shoe fetish (altocalciphilia) is a whole other kettle of fish. Freud believed that fetishes for women’s shoes were born because “little boys see shoes when trying to look up their mother’s long skirt.” 

Oh, classic Freud…

By 1982, there was a shoe store in New York called Foot Fetish. In 2005, a hilarious British comedy was released called Kinky Boots that surrounded the subject of catering a shoe store to foot fetishists in order to save a business. Foot porn is also now a widespread phenomenon, and is the reason why many men and women discover their foot fetish in the first place.

Even Elvis Presley infamously studied women’s feet before he would get involved with them romantically. And Britney Spears has been rumored that she loves it when men kiss her feet.

The Science - Why Do So Many People Have a Foot Fetish?

For one, incorporating feet within your sexual repertoire encourages more creativity and sexual exploration in the bedroom, which could easily have you head over heels for more.

“It’s just more colors to paint with in terms of playing together.” – Pleasure Mechanics

Where else do foot fetishes come from?

As every sex therapist and expert would agree, there are many possible answers to that question.


Let’s Not Tip Toe Around It – Why Are Foot Fetishes So Popular?

Our feet are powerful sensory body parts with around 200,000 nerve endings in the sole of each foot. Evolutionary biologists suggest that for thousands of years we used our bare feet for “proprioception” to sense our environment for survival.

Despite the practice of foot binding, the Ancient Chinese therapy reflexology, dating all the way back to 2330 B.C. importantly maps the body onto the feet and toes. This reflexology map has also been found on tombs in Ancient Egypt.

Reflexology is the intense massaging of different areas to ensure a balanced flow of energy. Where pressure is applied tension unblocks in different body parts. This includes the genitals – making foot interactions a full body experience.

Scientific Theories

As far as scientific theories go, you already know Freud’s is out there. 

Sigmund Freud theorized that people are attracted to feet because they resemble penises. Just a piece of advice, if your man’s downstairs mix up looks like a foot, he may want to get that checked. 

In more recent news...

Neuroscientist Vilanayar Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at UC San Diego, suggested a new explanation for such fetishes. In his book Phantoms in the Brain, he explains through the study of phantom limbs that foot fetish can result from cross-wiring in the brain. This is due to his belief that the areas of the brain that control both the genitalia and feet exist in close proximity in the somatosensory cortex.

Modern science has also found similar connections. Since the mapping of the Sensory Cortex of a man in 1951, neuroscientists believe that the penis crosses wires with the feet as they sit next to each other on the brain. Though the body of a woman wasn’t mapped until 2011 – including the clitoris, cervix, vagina and nipples – the female genitals have also been found to overlap with the feet too.

Let’s Not Tip Toe Around It – Why Are Foot Fetishes So Popular?

Early Experiences

Sex engineer and relationship therapist, Colin Richards, explains that most sexual fetishes resonate with us from an early experience. Our psychology developed from childhood finds memories that manifests itself into a sexual desire. This could be associating feet with the kindness of a teacher, hence stroking feet helps them feel calm and relaxed which can translate into a sexual scenario.

Further, through Pavlovian thinking, if one discovers foot fetishes during the early years of their sexual engagement, they can be conditioned to have a foot fetish. 

Though you may not realize your sexual fetishism until you are a twenty year old adult, there’s a high chance you have had it since you were an adolescent. 

Submissive Desires

Though this coincides more closely with foot worship, foot fetishism can manifest out of the fantasy to submit to or praise someone. 

What’s more? 

Even in Biblical times, foot washing was used to express praise and submission. Tending to one’s feet and sitting below them is a way of showing utmost praise and admiration. 


Alternatively, just like many kinks, podophilia can arise through the eroticism of social taboos.

This theory coincides with societal judgments of sex, including that sex is dirty, naughty, and shameful. When turned on, these connotations can be sexy in themselves, hence a lust-born foot fetish. 

Moreover, as sexual arousal heightens, feelings of disgust tend to decline. This increases the chances of someone being turned on by things that normally disgust them.

What Fuels Taboos Around Foot Fetishes

Not everyone is into the whole foot fetish thing. In fact, many people are absolutely disgusted by feet and toes, to the point that they can be completely turned off by them.

Why is this?

Public Rules

There are social etiquettes of wearing shoes in public. Aside from culturally in the home, and some places of worship as a sign of respect, going barefoot is typically discouraged. These could easily fuel taboos around the sexualization of feet. Not to mention their phallic shape offending the more pious historically.


A more obvious reason for people’s aversion to feet and fetishes for feet could be hygiene related. 

If not looked after they can indeed smell bad, harbor infection, acquire cracked heels, and toenails can become ingrown. Being shamed for the size or shape of their feet and toes can also create feelings of embarrassment and disgust for feet. 


Richards adds that not wanting people to touch, rub, lick or suck your feet can also be a sign that you need to stay in control. Feeling ticklish can be a very vulnerable experience.



5 Foot Foreplay Ideas To Keep You On Your Toes

In this guide to foot fetishism, we will provide you with 5 arousing foot foreplay techniques to spice up your sex life. After all, foot play is a type of foreplay. 

If you want sexy feet ideas that are a little more indulging and devious, check out our other 9 suggestions in Not Just a FootJob: 14 Foot Foreplay Ideas To Find Your Feet!

Now without further ado...

1. Sensation Play

Stimulate and pleasure the feet through the use of various objects like a feather or a hairbrush.  Tickle the soles and lightly graze between the toes. You can even use a hot or cold metal object like a spoon or hammer if you fancy temperature play.

Craving more tease and interaction?

If you are into foot bondage fun, you can craftily tie a smart vibrator to the feet and tease the submissive with erotic vibrations. Read more about sensation play here

2. Foot Massage

Foot massages can be extremely sexy and tantalizing. I’m sure you can guess why. Slippery lotion or oil...a light tickle followed by hard pressure...

A foot massage is just one of many sensual massages you can give or receive from a partner.

If the receiver is ticklish, firm pressure is optimal. For a more guided massage, use the reflexology map below. 

First, rub your hands together to create warmth. Warm the feet and start awakening the senses by massaging the heel and working your way to the toes. Slide your fingers between the toes, creating arousing friction and light, ticklish sensations. 

To heighten the experience, use quality massage lotions and essential oils that are thought to be aphrodisiacs, such as ylang ylang, rose, and jasmine. Quality lotion is also beneficial for cracked heels, meaning sexier feet. Unless you like a little wear and tear, of course. 

3. Foot Bath

Unless you have a preference for sweaty and slightly odorous feet and toes, a foot bath is a great way to start off the fun. It can also lead to a foot massage, pedicure, or a more sexy mode of foot play.  

Using aromatic soaps that include the aphrodisiac-related smells mentioned above can further turn up the heat. Ask your partner for a foot bath, give them one, or do a trade so you both feel the pleasure. 

If you plan to take advantage of the next technique, be sure to scrub between the toes.

4. Kissing and Licking

In the realm of oral foreplay, a light and gentle kiss can make the feet feel loved and sexy. A french kiss can further heighten the sexual arousal. Slip your tongue between the toe soles for a sexual tickle, or use toe sucking to turn up the kink. 

To tease your partner, lick their foot by running your tongue from the big toe slowly to the end of the foot. A lick or suck of the arch can also lead to an enjoyable sensation. 

5. Foot Domination

Did you ever think body walking would be part of sexual arousal?

Foot domination includes groveling, submission, humiliation and body walking. Some partners prefer to submit by being walked on as if they were a rug, the ground, or rubbish.

Instate masochistic dehumanization by squishing their body and face with your feet (with permission of course). 

If you are in need of a partner who is into kink and BDSM, check out our Roundup of the Best Fetish Dating Sites & Kinky Dating Apps.

Misconceptions About Foot Fetishes

Before jumping the gun and judging a good old foot fetish, gain some insight on the misconceptions of foot fetishes. 

Breaking these stereotypes will allow more people to feel empowered and comfortable with their foot partialism to a man or woman’s feet.

It’s Perverted and Creepy

Foot fetishists are not perverted, nor are they creepy. It is like any other sexual fetishism or sexual attraction, such as role play or sexual food play. A foot fetish merely stimulates the libido, just as when one’s erogenous zones are stimulated. No need to associate a creepy serial killer with foot fetishists.

It’s Temporary

Like any fetish, once it is instilled in the brain, it does not go away. Foot fetishism is not a phase in one’s sex life

It is a preference that has either come to someone naturally or was instilled in them during early experiences as we discussed above. 


There you have it. All you could want to know about foot fetishes, plus more foot foreplay ideas for kinkier, fun foot play tactics

If you are still feeling shy that you like feet and find them to be sexy, check out discussion groups on the topic! Whether man or woman, there are a lot of people out there who feel just like you. 

Have better sex