Dear Dr. Locker: I am sexually aroused by feet more than anything else. Feet turn me on when I see them, and I want to come when I touch them. Is this a "foot fetish"? To what extent should I consider it to be "unhealthy"?
Answer from Dr. Locker
Yes, that sounds like a foot fetish. A foot fetish is the need or desire to see or touch or lick or suck or kiss a foot in order to soar to orgasmic heights. It may focus on the whole foot, or sometimes just the toes. It sometimes includes an erotic interest in shoes (especially high heels), pantyhose, or socks.
When a body part such as the foot is fetishized, the person feels more aroused by that seemingly nonsexual part than he or she would from a typical sexual body part.
Is a foot fetish unhealthy? Well, not usually. It is just a sexual variation. For example, think about a man who adores women's breasts to the same extent to which you love feet. The term “breast fetish” doesn't really exist, because it is so common and accepted for a man to be passionate about breasts and need to touch or see or lick them to feel sexual satisfaction (and because they are considered a sexual body part). But if we thought of that as a "breast fetish" then it may make it easier for some people to understand that a foot fetish is just another in the vast world of sexual variations — no better or worse than being totally into breasts, just different.
If practiced in private with an understanding partner, then a foot fetish would not be unhealthy. If, however, the individual feels compelled to masturbate in public when he is looking at a stranger's feet (such as in the shoe department of a store, or at a beach) then that would be an unhealthy expression of the fetish. (If you can not resist an urge to act on it in public with a stranger, then you should see a sex therapist for treatment.) Most people with a foot fetish are happy to keep it in private, and do not need sex therapy in regard to their sexual preference for feet.
In my opinion, if you are married or in a committed relationship then it is best if you share this information about your sexual interests in feet with your partner. If your partner understands that it is a normal aspect of sexuality (and it does not conflict with being monogamous in your relationship), then you will hopefully be able to enjoy a mutually satisfying relationship. If you are single and can find an open-minded partner who enjoys having his/her feet massaged or stroked, then you may be able to find a good match.
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