What Is a Foot Fetish? Sex Experts Explain

A foot fetish is more common than most people think—here's what it means to worship feet.

Woman touching her feet poolside.

Fabrice LEROUGE / Getty Images

A foot fetish is any sexual interest or arousal triggered by feet. And, like many sexual preferences, more specific subtypes of foot fetishes exist. 

Someone with a foot fetish may enjoy kissing and sucking the toes, watching videos of feet, taking photos of a partner's feet, rubbing someone's sweaty feet after a workout, or genital stimulation with feet. Some folks may also fantasize about what happens when removing shoes and what kind of foot is under the shoe. 

A person with a foot fetish may prefer naked feet or be aroused by footwear like stilettos, sandals, sneakers, or boots. Foot fetishes can also include actions with feet-related items, like having their partner wear high heels or take off socks.

A woman is receiving a foot massage and pedicure.

Trinette Reed / Stocksy

How Common Is A Foot Fetish?

While an exact number is hard to pin down, foot fetishes are likely more common than you'd think.

In a 2007 study that examined 5,000 people in online discussion groups, 33% of people had a fetish for body parts or features, and 30% of people had a fetish for objects related to body parts. Feet and feet-related objects were the most common body part that drove these fetishes.

Another study that explored BDSM preferences found nearly 10% of the 1027 Belgium participants had a foot fetish, and 10% had a shoe fetish. Overall, more men had fetishes related to feet or shoes.

Why Do People Have Foot Fetishes?

In many cases, a fetish arises from the fantasy of being close to and touching a body part that isn't randomly touched by strangers, Ashley Grinonneau-Denton, PhD, certified sex therapist and co-director of the Ohio Center for Relationship & Sexual Health told Health. Feet are typically covered up, so some folks find feet sensual and erotic, just like other covered-up body areas like breasts and butts.

Other folks with foot fetishes enjoy the submission aspect. "The feet are at the bottom of one's body, so you're worshipping someone from below, which can be seen as a desire to be dominated," sex therapist Moushumi Ghose, owner and director of Los Angeles Sex Therapy, told Health.

But where do these feelings for feet actually come from? Like any fetish, a foot fetish may stem from a mix of social, cultural, and behavioral factors. Some theories include: 

  • People's hormones and emotions may drive them to be aroused by certain objects.
  • The brain's sensory input region for the feet is close to the area for genital stimulation, which may create an accidental arousal link. 
  • Living in sex-positive communities may make sexual exploration more acceptable, potentially resulting in fetishes that make sex more fun or pleasurable.
  • People may tie sexual arousal to objects that remind them of their childhood.
  • Certain cultures may emphasize particular objects or body parts, creating a fetish.

Is It Bad to Have A Foot Fetish? 

Having a fetish doesn't mean something is wrong with you. A foot fetish is simply a part of a person's sexual preferences and a source of arousal. 

Still, the word "fetish" often makes a foot fetish sound freaky. Pop culture references that poke fun at or demonize foot fetishes don't help, either. "To 'fetishize' something is often deemed an unhealthy obsession and is typically borne out of something being taboo or not normal," said Ghose. "Fetishizing is often not seen in a favorable light."

However, having a foot fetish is not considered problematic unless it becomes harmful. If someone's foot fetish does cause significant distress, harm, or impairs daily life, they may have a fetishistic disorder. This is a type of psychiatric disorder that is treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

How Does A Foot Fetish Work In a Relationship?

If your partner has a foot fetish, and you're on board with it, foot play can be pleasurable for you, too. "There are a lot of nerve endings in the foot, which makes it a highly sensual erogenous zone," said Ghose. Of course, you probably already know that a foot massage can feel amazing. Other foot-touching activities can also feel good.

If you have a foot fetish, communicating your desires and getting consent from your partner is essential. It may take time and different activities to figure out what your non-foot fetish partner is comfortable with. For example, they may be more comfortable taking foot pictures than diving into foot worship. 

Bottom line: If both partners consent to activities driven by a foot fetish, it can be a regular part of your sexual experiences. 

A Quick Review

A foot fetish can be a completely normal and healthy source of sexual arousal. As long as a foot fetish doesn't cause harm and all partners consent to foot play, it can be a regular part of someone's sex life.

There's also no shame in finding feet and foot-worshipping sexy. "As a society, we've historically gotten far too caught up in what we should and shouldn't like sexually," said Grinonneau-Denton.

If you or your partner are aroused by feet, don't be afraid to talk about it and explore it if you wish. Just make sure everyone is on board.

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4 Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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