Feet, Foot Fetishism & Foot Hedonism
An Essay on Podophilic Sexuality

by Susan Block, Ph.D.

What is it about some people's feet that make other people wild with desire? Who is a foot fetishist? A foot hedonist? A foot lover?

Feet are two of the most denigrated parts of the human body. We literally step on them all day. Rarely pleasured, often overworked, we walk, run, hike, dance and jump on our feet. Indeed, our feet are the slaves or pack mules of the rest of our bodies. Yet feet can command tremendous passion in some people. There are Leg Men, Breast Men, Bun Men, and there are Feet Men (or maybe it's Foot Men). But unlike breasts, legs and buns, the charms of feet are rarely examined, except by podiatrists, pedicurists, foot fetishists, foot hedonists and shoe salesmen.

Though my doctorate's in philosophy, not podiatry, I've studied the pleasures of feet for many years in my famous Foot Fetish Salons, as well as through my radio, TV and Internet shows, my private sex therapy practice and in my own personal life. Why feet? I love to explore love in all its many splendored aspects, and the foot is an aspect of love. After all, even if you're not "into" feet, if you love someone, you love them head-to-toe, right?

The first part of my body I let my husband Max touch was my feet. Now that we're married, there isn't a part of me that he hasn't touched (well, I won't let him pick my nose). But during our courtship, I wanted to take it slow, so I wouldn't let him move his horny hands much above my knee. But I did let him play with my feet, and oh, how he played with my feet! He caressed my ankles, massaged my arches, kissed my soles and sucked my toes; he literally made love to my feet. And my feet fell in love with him. And even now that we're married and having all kinds of sex, there's a very special relationship between Max and my feet.

Foot Fetish Types

Before I get more personal, let's return to our general discussion of foot fetishism. According to most experts (as well as my own informal but extensive research), it's mostly males who are aroused by female feet. Of course, gay and bisexual male foot fetishists do like men's feet, sometimes quite intensely. And some lesbians are turned on by women's feet. As for straight women, they might be turned on by a man's feet, and several have deeply enjoyed pleasuring their male partners' feet at our Foot Fetish Salons. But women very rarely lust after men's feet, at least not to the fetishistic extent that so many guys lust after ladies' feet. Thus, when I speak of foot fetishists, I usually refer to them as male.

What do foot fetishists like about feet? Preferences for foot types vary. Some crave big giantess feet, though most go for small and dainty. Some like dirty feet, though most prefer clean. Some like feet of a particular race, tanned feet, athletic feet, high arches, polished toe nails, high heels, leather boots, sandals, stockings, toe cleavage or toe rings. Some adore massaging, pampering and pedicuring feet. Others want to be walked on. There are foot-lickers, toe-suckers, heel-sniffers, arch-ticklers and Imelda Marcos types just into shoes. Some go for stockings, often relishing the powerful aroma of just-worn nylons. Some couples do 69, but instead of having oral sex, they suck each other's toes. Some guys love to masturbate against a woman's foot, or use her big toe like a butt plug. Others are into foot bondage; they like to tie feet up and torture or tickle them.

Still others are "crush" or "squish" fetishists. They like to watch women step in things, or on things like grapes, jello, dolls, bugs. Their ultimate fantasy is to be mashed under the foot of a "50-foot woman," but since that - if it were possible - would be terminal, they satisfy their lust by voyeuristically watching ladies' feet wreak destruction on other crushable items. Usually these items are inanimate objects, fruits, vegetables or eggs, though occasionally they can involve crushing living creatures such as insects or mice. This is where I personally draw the line, as it involves torturing and killing defenseless animals. Though I do love the crush-lovers who keep their fetish to fruits and veggies. I've had tremendous fun stomping on grapes or squishing my toes through cake and then letting a foot lover or two lick and suck it all off.

Foot Lovers vs. Foot Fetishists

What makes a foot lover a foot fetishist? Both the intensity and exclusivity of the desire. If you'd rather have sex with your lover's feet than any other body parts, or if you must focus on feet to reach orgasm, or if you'd usually rather screw a shoe than a person, you're a foot fetishist. The technical term is "podophiliac." If you are turned on by attractive feet or sexy shoes, but your sexuality doesn't completely revolve around them, you're more what I'd call a foot lover, a foot appreciator, or maybe you just playing footsie. You don't have to be a certifiable foot fetishist to appreciate feet, or to enjoy having your feet appreciated.

In the classic sense, a "fetishist" invests god-like magical powers into the fetish object. The true foot fetishist objectifies, glorifies and downright deifies the foot, or shoe, or the foot in the shoe, with or without the stocking, being licked, caressed, massaged, worshipped, tickled, bedecked in jewels or stepping on something squishy.

Roots of a Foot Fetish

Why do foot fetishists fetishize feet? For as many different reasons as there are different foot fetishists. But typically, fetishes begin in early childhood. As a toddler toddles and crawls, exploring the world, feet are often the first part of Mommy that he encounters. There is a theory that says that if a mother doesn't pick up and hold a child very often, his main physical contact with her will be with her feet; thus, he is more likely to develop a foot fetish. This is by no means a hard and fast rule, just a theory.

Intense childhood experiences with the feet of other relatives, like older sisters or cousins, as well as friends and, most notoriously, babysitters, may also lead one to become a foot fetishist. Mothers, beware the babysitter with the pretty pedicured toes, strappy sandals and an attitude; she may inspire your child to like feet! On second thought, what's so terrible if your kid likes feet? You could do worse. As long as he's capable of love - and if you love him, hold him and give him affection, he'll probably be capable of love - what difference does it make if he's into feet or breasts, armpits or elbows?

But what about those foot fetishists who are so obsessed with feet that they truly can't get above the ankle, and love a whole human being? One reason fetishists become "obsessed" is they feel that their interest in feet is wrong. Whenever we feel that something we crave sexually is wrong or shameful, it becomes ultra-exciting in a naughty way. But it also becomes frustrating and disturbing, as we can't integrate it into our everyday lives. Ultimately, it makes us feel bad about ourselves, sometimes even incapable of love. Most sex criminals have desires they feel ashamed of. Even if you've never done anything illegal, if you're deeply ashamed of your sexuality - whether you're a foot fetishist or just a garden variety sex maniac - your love life is bound to be troubled.

Sharing Your Foot Fetish with Someone You Love

So many foot fetishists are married to women with whom they never share their desire. Why not? They're ashamed to reveal their true feelings. And the real shame is that some of their wives would enjoy a nice foot rub or foot licking, if it's presented well. They might even enjoy wearing fetishistic shoes or stockings. They might even be closet "foot hedonists." But their husbands view their own erotic interest in feet as something perverted that they couldn't possibly share with someone they love.

If you have a foot fetish, I hope you can share it with someone you love. Some men are adamantly against this. They wouldn't want to share their foot fetish with their wives even if their wives wanted them to. Their foot fetish is an obsessive masturbatory interest, something they would only share with a therapist, phone sex worker, prostitute or dominatrix, not a wife or girlfriend. These men generally feel tremendous shame about their feelings and are afraid to share them with someone they really care about. They can be mortally afraid of being rejected by wives or girlfriends for being "perverted" or having a "fetish."

There are simple, effective ways of introducing your foot fetish to the lady in your life without much risk of rejection or humiliation. You probably shouldn't call it a "fetish;" that sounds kind of scary to most people. But you can use creative and sensuous ways to integrate your favorite forms of foot play into your lovemaking.

For example, if you've just gone on a long hike with a lady, offer to give her a foot massage. Most women won't refuse a nice foot rub. You might wash her feet first, if they're sweaty and you prefer clean feet. Foot washing is a sensuous, loving activity. Even Jesus washed the feet of his disciples before the Last Supper. As you massage her toes, you can tell her how beautiful they are. If she reacts well to the compliment, try going further. Give her big toe a little kiss. Seduce her feet gradually, and they will fall in love with you. That's how my own feet fell in love with my Max, and the rest of me soon followed.

What About Shoes?

A fetish for shoes also tends to be conditioned in early childhood or adolescence, just like the fetish for feet and most other things.. By the way, the shoe fetish is not limited to humans. At least one male chimpanzee raised in captivity developed a bit of a shoe fetish, masturbating obsessively by rubbing his caretaker's leather boot. Boot Time for Bonzo, indeed.

High heels are the most fetishized type of shoe. They began with Catherine de Medici, a 16th century Italian who married Henry II of France. The petite Catherine had shoes custom-designed to give her height, starting a high heel rage among the French. A fetish often starts as a fashion. High heels go both ways. They started as a fashion in the 1700s, and became a fetish, probably around the 1800s. But then fetishistic shoes often become quite fashionable, sometimes worn by young ladies who don't have the slightest idea that they are wearing objects of intense fetishistic desire on their innocent feet.

Submissive men find the extremely spiked heel menacingly arousing, like a lethal feminine weapon. Sadomasochistic pictorials often show a woman's stiletto resting on the neck or genitals of a submissive male. A shoe slave might adore the smell of the leather shoe mixed with a woman's foot smell. He might crave being humiliated by having a shoe strapped around his face or a high heel "force" into his anus.

Dominant men also tend to like high heels, but for totally different reasons. A dominant male might like the way that high heels alter a woman's posture, creating a more dramatic curve of the spine that makes her butt and calves seem rounder, her thighs seem thinner, her breasts stick out, and gives her hips that sexy sway when she walks. This precarious "wiggly walk" appeals to the traditional man's desire to protect a fragile woman, or maybe to pounce on her. After all, how far can she run? Those first Italian leather heels were so difficult to maneuver in that male escorts had to carry high-heeled ladies up and down stairs. High heels are much easier to walk in nowadays, and they still have a way of compelling a gentleman to be gallant or aggressive. Many men and women are aroused by frailty in the object of their desire. Politically incorrect as it may be, this is part of our prehistoric predatory attraction to the weak, and it underlies the feeling of power that many men feel when they see a woman in precarious high heels.

Many foot fanciers love sandals, combining the leather shoe with naked toes. The sandal fetish is as old as the Bible. "How beautiful are thy feet in sandals" is a line from the erotic lovers' dialogue in The Song of Songs, attributed to King Solomon who is said to have had 1000 wives. That's 2000 feet, 10,000 toes - wow, there must have been some bill from the palace pedicurist!

Bound Feet

The Chinese have had the longest, most controversial love affair with feet. Foot-binding was practiced from the T'ang Dynasty in the 10th century through the 1930's. A girl's feet were first bound at age five or so, continuing until they quit growing at around 18. This resulted in a foot about 2" wide and 4" long, with a very soft curved sole that made walking extremely difficult. There are a few theories about the popularity of foot-binding. The binding of a woman's feet certainly made her more dependent and, as mentioned, many men are aroused by feminine fragility. Indeed, bound feet were a status symbol, like the aristocratic Chinese man's long fingernails; both handicaps attributed to the wealthy, leisurely life.

There were various erotic purposes for these soft bowed little feet, crippled as they were. Women masturbated by rubbing their feet together. Lesbians maneuvered their feet into each other's vaginas. Men indulged in licking these podophilic delicacies, being brought to orgasm by a woman's curved arches, and performing fellatio on her big toe. Well, I suppose there are a few odd benefits to bound feet, but, all in all, I prefer being able to walk.

It isn't only the old Chinese that appreciate "bound feet." Many Western foot fetishists enjoy tying up a woman's pretty feet, often in intricate ways, such as with toes tied apart. A foot sadist would like to torture the lady's feet. A tickle fetishist would prefer to tickle the feet, perhaps with his fingers or some other tickling instrument. A milder, more sensuous form of foot-tickling may be done with a feather. Sadistic foot-ticklers derive pleasure from tickling a victim's feet until he or she is gasping for breath or screaming with laughter. For a tickler, the sounds of the lady's shrieks and giggles are just as arousing as the sight of her helpless feet.

Foot Hedonism

As for me, I am what I call a "foot hedonist." I love to have my feet pleasured, in part, because I step all on them all the time, squeezing them into heels, dancing all over them, and it feels so good to have them treated well. I have also noticed that the best foot love makes the rest of me feel better too. I enjoy having my feet bathed, massaged, rubbed with oil, kissed and adored. Sometimes the pleasure does involve considerable pain, as in when I get my feet massaged, though the end result of a good result massage is a tremendous feeling of release, comparable to the release one feels after orgasm. I call myself a foot hedonist because - orgasmic pleasure or healing pain - I enjoy having erotic attention paid to my feet.

Foot hedonists like me are often attracted to foot lovers like Max. If you're a sensuous foot fetishist, you would do well to seek out a foot hedonist who would appreciate your interest in feet. But to serve a foot hedonist well, you must be sensitive to the needs of her feet, not just totally wrapped up in your own foot fetish.

Foot Massage

Whether you're a true foot worshipper or just an average sex fiend, foot massage is a superb aphrodisiac. Often, when I think I'm too tired or tense for sex, all Max has to do is massage my little tootsies and I get wetter and hotter than an oil slick in August.

Foot massage is also a great way to be sensual without getting directly sexual on a date. As a first move, it's pretty rude for a dude to say "May I squeeze your breasts?" But it's quite all right to say "May I give you a foot massage?" Especially if you've just gone out dancing. And it's good for you! Reflexology and shiatsu are massage systems based upon the tiny electrical reflexes on the bottoms of your feet which correspond to parts of your body. When you massage one of these pressure points, you stimulate the analogous body part with healing energy.

It's an excellent tension releaser. Sometimes screamingly so. When Max massages my toes after a stressful day, I shriek to high heaven! Max doesn't just rub my feet; he rolfs them; the neighbors probably think he beats me. Sometimes I feel obliged to yell: "He's not beating me! He's massaging my feet!" It's kind of embarrassing, but truly amazing. When I have a headache or stomach ailment, it usually vanishes when Max massages my feet. Then he gets aroused, and we have sex.

Here's a helpful hint for footlickers: If you want to suck your lover's toes, but she's just too ticklish to take it, try massaging her foot first. This tends to relax it so it won't go into shock when it goes in your mouth. Sometimes, when I'm getting my big toe rubbed and sucked just right, I have a positively orgasmic response. I call it a "toegasm." And if Max is pleasuring my foot while I'm masturbating, I have an orgasmic-toegasmic climax that takes me over the moon and a few other planets as well.

For a sensual foot massage, use oil or lotion. Every foot lover has a favorite lubricant. Baby oil, almond oil, aloe vera cream are a few popular foot lubricants. Mary Magdalene used myrrh on Jesus' feet. Try flavored oil so you can suck your lover's toes after rubbing. Foot pleasuring is an ancient art. And foot massage is one of the most perfect safe sex activities; it's healthy, sexy and doesn't involve an exchange of body fluids - unless your feet are really sweaty.

Smelling and Tasting the Feet

Speaking of sweat, foot-sniffing excites many foot lovers. Some foot-sniffers like it because it smells really good, while others want feet to smell really "bad." For shoe enthusiasts, the smell of the shoe - that heady mixture of sweat and leather or rubber - can be extremely arousing.

Smelling, of course, can lead to eating. Max loves eating various foods off of my feet. I cover my toes with caviar and sour cream, chocolate syrup or honey, and he licks it right up, savoring each saucy digit. His favorite podophilic cuisine is toes dipped in cocktail sauce with fresh shrimps in between, a succulent hors d'oeuvre before a full meal of sex. Since "shrimping" is slang for toe-sucking, we call this a "shrimping cocktail." At our Foot Fetish Salons, we'll have shrimping cocktails and "Tequila Toe Shots": rub salt and lime on the toes, then suck them off and down your shot. Olé!


Many foot fetishists are into toe-sucking. If you're into feet, then there's just something inherently suckable about a toe. Is it because toe-sucking is akin to sucking a large nipple? Or a small penis? For some men, sucking a lady's big toe is a surrogate for sucking another man's big cock. These men might have homoerotic oral desires that, for one reason or another, they can't or just don't express with men. They channel their desire to be with a man into the sucking of a woman's toe. Does this mean that a man who enjoys sucking women's toes "should" be sucking a man's cock? Maybe, maybe not; it depends on the individual.

Foot Slavery

What about foot slaves? A foot slave - usually a he; sometimes a she - loves to be at the feet of his mistress or master, considering this to be his proper place in life. He surrenders himself - body, mind and soul - to his mistress's feet, with or without the shoes or stockings, depending on the preferences of the mistress and slave. Of course, a woman's foot is literally the lowest part of her body. Kissing her foot can be humiliating, which is part of the thrill. Since ancient times, the kissing of the foot has been a sign of submission. The foot slave is happy to humble himself like that, to kiss her foot, even the bottom of her shoe, while groveling before her, lying prostrate on the ground, as low as he can go.

Some foot slaves enjoy having the mistress walk on them, sometimes in spiked heels, as if to say, "I'm only worthy of being trampled beneath your feet." A mistress might kick her foot slave if he's "bad," demand he clean her boots with his tongue, or give her a pedicure. If he does a good job, she could reward him by rubbing his throbbing member with the soft sole of her foot, or placing it between her heel and backless slipper.

Some foot slaves exhibit a reverent devotion to the feet of their mistress, their goddess. Their worship is only partly sexual. Some adhere to über-feminist philosophies; believing women to be superior to men. They feel that since most women are not as violent as most men, males need to feel the controlling influence of a female foot on them every so often. The feminist male foot slave surrenders himself to the civilizing, sexual power of Woman via his mistress' foot or boot, going beyond roleplay into sexual politics. With a philosophy like that, it seems that every feminist should have a foot slave! And every feminist could; there are more than enough foot slaves to go around.

Playing Footsie

Foot fetishism can be a very serious matter. But feet can be fun. Feet can be sweet. Who hasn't played the piggies game? Some people enjoy foot sex just because it's not serious, but kind of silly and childlike, much more innocent than adult genitalia. Max likes to talk to each of my toes as he plays with them, treating all ten as individual "girls" with distinct personalities. He handles them like puppets in a Punch & Judy Show with the rest of my foot as the stage. Maybe he should do an act: A Foot Lover & His Favorite Foot...

Foot hedonists like me tend to be playful with our feet. Sometimes, I use my feet like I might use my hands to play with, stroke and even spank Max while we make love. I like to caress his muscular butt with my foot while he goes down on me, and give it a good foot-spanking when I want him to lick me faster.

Whew, all this foot talk is making my toes curl!

I hope this essay has shed some light on your podophilic interests. If you want to attend our next Foot Fetish Salon, coming soon to the Dr. Susan Block Institute, or if you'd just like to find out more about your personal foot fetish, drop me a line or call me at 213.749.1330.

In the meantime...Love your feet. Love your life. I love you.