We all have at least one of them: a special something—which can be anything from an item of clothing, a smell, a taste, or a specific body part—that arouses us on a basic, primordial level.
Though technically fetishes refer to when these special somethings must be present for sexual satisfaction, the popular definition is that, while this can occasionally be true, many enjoy them just to . . . well, enjoy as part of what turns them on.
And when you talk fetishes, the one at the top typically lies at the bottom of most people’s bodies.
But what exactly is foot fetishism—also called foot worship?
Not only that but what kinds of foot play are there, what are the prevailing thoughts regarding its origins, and—if it tickles your fancy as well as your toes—how do you bring it up to your partner?
Boots are made for walking
The other thing about fetishes, again using the common usage of the term, is that even after narrowing them down to a single element, like a body part, there’s often still a tremendously expansive world of what this excitement might involve play-wise.
And foot worship is a perfect example. As a quickie sample of its variations, some enjoy bare feet as a whole, while others get aroused by certain anatomical specifics, like the shape, feel, and smell of toes.
For some it’s about what covers the feet, running from black leather boots to haute couture stiletto heels. On the first, just look at the BDSM community:
Bootblacking plays a major role in the leather subculture, especially in Leather BDSM competitions.
There are also those who find pleasure in the aesthetics: the look over the feel of feet. The site of a fresh pedicure or lacy underwear dangling from somebody’s toes could be a big turn on.
For those of you who prefer function over form, play might involve:
- receiving feet-focused corporal punishment (with things like canes and floggers)
- being commanded to paint a dominant’s nails
- servicing toes orally
- trodden on — with or without boots or heels, to name only a few.
I could go on and on, but hopefully, I’ve made my point. There’s no limit to what foot worship can involve. That is — though it’s not necessarily a kink-thing, it remains a goal to live by— if it adheres to the three rules of BDSM: that everything must be safe, sane, and always consensual.
Getting to the foot of the matter
But where does this arousing passion for this body part come from? Hate to break it to you, but though theories abound researchers haven’t, as yet. Managed to pin anything down.
In one corner, there’s the nature over nurture, that foot worship is a sexual orientation. On the other side, there’s the opposite: that early experiences, imprint it as pleasurable.
I particularly remember neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran’s hypothesis put forth in “Phantoms in the Brain.” The hypothesis states that due to the region of the brain involving sexual pleasure being close to where foot sensations are processed, a bleed-over between the two might be the case.
This article from Men’s Health does a pretty good job covering a good percentage of these theories, with the added benefit of sharing alternative ways people enjoy their own or other people’s feet.
Though we don’t yet have an explanation, I have no trouble saying that what there is at least one iron-clad certainty about these and all other fetishes that will ever be:
If your play is with another person, you both must stick to the BDSM rules of Safe, Sane, and Consensual.
Beyond that, unless it affects your ability to function or is the source of negative emotions like anxiety or depression, then however and whatever you like is unequivocally healthy.
And even if it does result in bad feelings, it doesn’t mean you’re bad or broken for having them: just that you might consider assistant from a qualified therapist to overcome this negativity, and then possibly accept who you are and what you enjoy.
Tap dancing around it
It might also help to remember that foot worship isn’t exactly rare. In fact, according to that Men’s Health piece, as many as 18% of heterosexual men reported fantasizing about it, with it jumping up to a whopping 21% for gay and bisexual men.
Keep in mind that due to the unfortunate stigma foot worship has retained for these numbers may not tell the whole picture. If anything, I’d say it’s safe to assume this is half, if not a third, of those with these kinds of desires. Which potentially could be a way to bring up the idea of foot play with your partner.
Like that segway? Clumsy or not, it does get me to my next point:
How can you open up to others about your foot worship desires?
As with anything involving sex, your path will be your own. Not that you shouldn’t consider how others have done the same, with this WikiHow article offering many quite excellent ones.
From my own experience, I’d suggest first and foremost practicing the self-acceptance and support I touched on previously. Not only is this good for your overall mental health but if things don’t go well don’t with your partner the result won’t be too traumatic.
“I believe that if you’re in a loving and healthy relationship discussing things like foot worship should be relatively easy.”
It may lean towards the woo-woo side of things, but I believe that if you’re in a loving and healthy relationship discussing things like foot worship should be relatively easy. Not that there won’t be challenges to face, but far less than without this fundamental respect for your mutual pleasure and happiness.
This doesn’t mean leaping, excuse the bad joke, feet first into the idea. Instead, begin with baby steps forward. Okay, that’s enough of that — the poor attempt at humor, I mean — but the concept’s still sound:
Patiently explain your feelings, what turns you on, and from there possibly negotiate bedroom activities while respecting your partner’s comfort level and their own needs.
If you’re unattached and looking for foot worship play, the BDSM community is a good place to start. It isn’t exclusively about whips and chains but includes all kinds of fetishes and interests.
Here, I recommend taking a reasonable amount of time learning how the scene functions and from there ways to potentially find playmates. And if things go extra slowly, take comfort in knowing — as those figures above touch on — that you’re far from being alone in your foot fetish desires. Locating someone to have fun with is simply a matter of time and patience.
Stepping out with pride
If I could leave you with anything about foot worship, it would be to reiterate my previous point that unless a fetish affects you or the people around you negatively, no matter what you like — as long as it is safe, sane, and consensual — then more power to you.
If anything, accepting this about yourself should be a moment of pride and a source of self-love. After all, you’re pretty-darned courageous for beginning to explore your sexuality — and braver still when armed with new-found self-knowledge and personal acceptance, you go out into the world in pursuit of happiness.