(1) Dear Alice,

I like to kiss my wife's feet. Do I have a foot fetish?

(2) Dear Alice,

I get sexually aroused by feet. Am I a freak, or what?

Signed,
Foot Worshiper

Dear Reader and Foot Worshiper,

To answer your question, Reader, though the sight of toes and soles stirs your senses, it isn't clear that you have a foot fetish. If you feel as if you rely on contact with your wife's feet for sexual stimulation, your erotic preference may point to a fetish. If not, you may just enjoy that activity as part of your sexual repertoire. And Foot Worshiper, you ask if you’re a freak for favoring feet. Do you wonder about this because you feel like you’re the only one with this proclivity for podiatric preference? Are you concerned about whether this fetish is normal or not? It may be good for you both to know that not only is it relatively common for people to fancy others’ feet in this day and age, but foot fondness even dates back to ancient times, when kissing someone's feet was a sign of reverence (how’s that for some bedroom talk?!). This type of sexual attraction or fetish falls under the umbrella of paraphilias. And though the literal translation of paraphilia means “love of the abnormal,” there’s nothing wrong with feeling sexual attraction toward non-genital body parts (like feet) or non-sexual objects (like shoes). When it comes to attraction of this variety, as long as you’re not harming others or disrupting your own life due to pursuing your erotic preference, it’s A-OK to indulge in some tootsie bliss. 

Although fetishes aren’t studied all that much (especially in women), it has been found that feet do take the cake as the most common fetish topic in online discussion boards. In one study, as many as 14 percent of men reported that indulging in a fetish (e.g., of feet, objects, or clothing) was their all-time favorite sex fantasy. Fetishes, overall, are much more common in men and are believed to develop in childhood. While the factors that influence the development of a fetish is a bit murky, it’s possible that, over time, certain objects — like feet — become associated with arousal through repeated use in masturbation or other sexual activities.

It’s good to reiterate that simply having this type of turn-on doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything “wrong” with you. A fetish, in and of itself, is not a disorder, and your interest in feet may just be a fun and exciting way to express your sexuality. A fetish (or other paraphilia) only becomes a concern (and a potential diagnosable disorder) when the attraction or behavior has been occurring for six months or longer AND the person’s life and/or ability to function in society are significantly impacted (which can include inflicting harm on others, such as in pedophilia). As long as your partner(s) are okay with (or even turned on by!) your phalangeal fondling and your fetish doesn’t disrupt your day-to-day life, then you can likely continue toe-touching without worry.

However, if your life (or the well-being of a partner) is negatively impacted due to this attraction, it may be a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional for more information or help. Now that you’ve got your foot in the door with a little info on foot fetishes, hope you (and your sole-mates!) can continue to enjoy a little consensual footsie fun!

Alice!

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