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Why Do People Have A Foot Fetish? Sex Expert Explains

Dr. Lisa Lawless

Dr. Lisa Lawless, CEO of Holistic Wisdom
Clinical Psychotherapist: Relationship & Sexual Health Expert

Picture of manicured feet on a towel with roses around them

What Is A Foot Fetish?

A foot fetish (podophilia) is when someone has a sexual interest in feet which can include the whole foot or parts of the feet, such as toes and ankles. Some people enjoy just looking at bare feet, while others may find adornments, such as shoes, stockings, painted toenails, jewelry, or other items on feet appealing. In addition, many people enjoy massaging, worshiping, or exploring sexual activity with feet.

Fetishes are highly connected to neural pathways in the brain and foot fetishes are the most fetishized body part, besides genital body parts. When it comes to foot fetishes, it may happen because of overlapping neurotransmitters that connect to another part of the brain.

Because the location of the brain associated with feet is exceptionally close to the brain's sexual pleasure center, it has been theorized that neurotransmitters for those two parts of the brain overlap in some people, which would explain why so many people have a foot fetish.

Are Foot Fetishes Healthy?

It is important to remember that fetishes can be a healthy part of human sexuality. As long as behavior surrounding a fetish is consensual and does not cause harm to anyone, it should be up to an individual to determine what they find sexually appealing.

Foot Orgasm Syndrome

An interesting story occurred in 2013 when a 55-year-old woman in the Netherlands began experiencing undesired orgasms from nerve stimulation going on in her left foot. After having her gallbladder removed in 2008, she began having tingling in her foot which was suspected to be nerve damage (dysesthesia), and she was given an antidepressant (Paroxetine) to treat it.

Once she began taking the Paroxetine, she would experience orgasms from nerve activity going on in her left foot without having sexual thoughts. It was later thought that nerve damage may have caused her brain to confuse sensations from her genitals and her foot.

This would be easy to occur because foot and genital sensations are right next to one another in the brain. They can be easily confused in the body image map (somatosensory cortex), which is responsible for processing sensory information. This may be an example of why so many people have foot fetishes and feel sexual sensations regarding feet.

Foot Fetishes More Popular On Social Media

Foot fetish content has become more prominent in social media, here is why:

  • There has been increased awareness and acceptance of this sexual fetish. With more exposure, the more normalized it becomes in social media and other formats.
  • Platforms like OnlyFans have increased exposure to foot fetishes because it allows content creators to provide partial exposure to their feet rather than explicit sexual content. It allows more ease in delivering such content, and there are many people who desire it. 
  • With more content, there is increased accessibility on other social media platforms. However, it is essential to keep in mind that the algorithm for social media platforms are highly sensitive, so people who are not interested in foot fetishes typically do not see this content.
  • If one is seeing a lot of foot fetish content, it is most likely because they have a foot fetish or have an interest in learning about it out of curiosity or a desire to become a foot fetish content creator.

How To Tell Someone You Have A Foot Fetish

  • Fetishes can be challenging to discuss with a partner as they can make you feel vulnerable and risk feeling judged. When you discuss it, you choose a good time and place where you will be free of interruptions and that your partner is open to communicating.
  • Let them know that you wish to share something quite personal with them and that it is because you trust them that you feel comfortable opening up to them about it.
  • Explain what a foot fetish is and clarify any misconceptions about them. Ensure they understand that it's quite common and a harmless sexual desire.
  • Understand that not everyone will be familiar or comfortable with the idea of a foot fetish. Give them space to express their feelings and concerns, and be prepared to answer any questions. Have educational resources available for them.
  • Let them know that you will respect their boundaries, as you want to ensure consent and open communication. Make sure that you are patient and allow them time to fully process what you have shared and allow them time to consider any requests you have made.
  • Reassure them that a foot fetish does not define who someone and is just a sexual preference. Let them know that you value their sexual desires and are simply looking for them to respect yours as well.
  • If your partner decides they are open to some of your foot fetish suggestions, start slowly and build up to ensure both partners are comfortable and mutually satisfied. 

Aspects Of Foot Fetishes

Foot worship is frequently sought after by individuals with a penchant for feet, but what are some of the methods for incorporating feet into intimate encounters? Let's explore several popular approaches:

Humiliation & Domination

There is a humiliation aspect of foot fetishes as many people see feet as an inferior body part. Thus, having one's feet placed on them, making them admire or take care of them may be seen as submissive. By the same token, feet may be used to dominate a partner by using them as a human footrest or making them worship your feet. This type of roleplay is often used in the BDSM community.


Some people really enjoy feet being adorned in shoes, socks, stockings, jewelry, or other items to add to the excitement of the foot. Others enjoy bare feet or having feet immersed in something such as soapy water, honey, whip cream, etc.


It can be enjoyable for some to indulge in a pedicure either by giving or receiving one. The sensation of being pampered in such a way is often appealing and can be quite sensual if there is a sexual attraction to feet.

Foot Photography & Videos

Capturing feet in beautiful or sensual poses can make for stimulating photography for those with foot fetishes. In addition, filming feet that are taking part in sexual activities can allow some couples to explore different forms of sensuality.

Shoe Play

Some who have foot fetishes enjoy shoe play when they or their partner wears specific types of shoes and engage in foot-related erotic acts such as making their partner kiss or lick them. Others simply enjoy having them placed on their body of watching someone walk in them.

Foot Massages Or Tickling

Some couples enjoy giving or receiving foot massages which can also include tickling. These may lead to intense sensations that provide sexual arousal and satisfaction as the feet are highly sensitive.

Foot Kissing & Toe Sucking

Feet and toes are both sensitive to touch, so gentle kissing or sucking toes (shrimping) is quite pleasurable and erotic to some. This can be used as a form of foreplay or performed during sexual acts.

Foot Jobs

For those with a foot fetish using feet to provide genital contact, such as manual stimulation to the penis, anus, or vulva, can be sexually satisfying. Making sure that toenails are short and not sharp to prevent injury is highly recommended should one engage in these sexual activities.

Additional Foot Fetish Considerations

Foot Fetish Risks

Unlike some sexual activities, pregnancy is not an issue with foot play; however, it is possible to get an STD by having skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes, syphilis and human papillomavirus (HPV). In addition, it is possible to contract bacteria and fungal infections as well as be cut by sharp toenails, so make sure to take precautions.

Online Resources For Foot Fetishes

If you want to explore foot fetishes online, there are many forums and online groups, as well as porn, apps, and dating sites that cater to those with them.

In Closing

Foot fetishes are often misunderstood as deviant behavior that is a personal choice when in reality, it is more likely the brain's somatosensory cortex that controls it. They can be a healthy part of one's sexual expression when behavior is consensual, and boundaries are respected and there is nothing abnormal about them.

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