As part of our new Fetish Encyclopedia series, BaDoink will investigate the varied and interesting world of fetishes. From a simple preference to a way of life, many people use fetishes as methods of exploring their own or others’ sexuality, to seek new thrills or to do nothing more than to satisfy an urge, no matter how brief. We will be bringing you reports from across the fetish spectrum, from common desires that crop up every day to those that require a little more devotion, skill and training.
Part one of Fetish Encyclopedia finds us starting at the bottom with (and working our way up from) feet.
It was Teddy Roosevelt that said, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground”, but why bother when you can keep your eyes on the feet of the stars?
Indeed, foot fetishism (or podophilia if you’re keeping score) is one of the most common fetishes around. Names as famous and as varied as Quentin Tarantino, Elvis Presley, James Joyce and erm… Ted Bundy have all admitted publicly that they too are, or were, podophiles.
It’s no modern phenomenon either. Casanova enjoyed the fruits of the ankle now and then (although with him that’s not saying too much). Achilles was torn down by his. It’s long been believed that the feet of a Goddess were marked by the second toe being longer than the rest. Symbolically it has come represent cleanliness, the art of taking a journey, virginal mores and something that embodies the mood of a free spirit.
Some academic quarters hold the opinion that a rise in the popularity of foot fetishism can be linked directly to explosions in STD rates; that is, when a disease is making its way through people, they will resort to other means of getting their rocks off past penetration. Human ingenuity at its finest.
Frankly, it’s not difficult to see the attraction. While in some cases feet are essentially the body’s punching bag, being squeezed into tight shoes and bearing the brunt of our manic daily lives, the form of a female foot itself can be very enticing. Even the Bible says feet are “symbols of desire. They must be bare: drawn out of everything temporal and mortal.” And when has religion ever been wrong, huh?
From well-defined arches, long toes, smooth soles, well-rounded heels, or even just a commendable taste in footwear, the spectrum for the discerning podophiliac is huge. Bear in mind we are heading day-by-day towards longer, sunnier days. There’ll be a time when flip flops and bare feet smack against tarmac and grass with reckless abandon. Salad days for the foot fetishist. Sandal days even.
So with commonality, the weight of history and endorsements from some of the world’s most recognizable names, why is that foot fetishism becomes like its cousins; swept under the rug, or, in this case, trampled underfoot? In a world where people can identify as different genders, animals, express a fondness for most other things, is it not a little odd that something as simple and harmless as foot fetishism is still dealt with in schoolyard terms; giggling over something ‘weird’?
A number of users at Wu’s Foot Fetish Forum message board were more than happy to offer their opinion.
“It’s taboo, out of the ‘norm,’” explained ‘Gormee’. “Too accursed for the ordinary individuals to accept. It’s an extremity, two definition word; a. the farthest limit, point, or part of something. b. a limb of the body. When people think of feet, they think dirty. But in all actuality, our hands are dirtier than our feet on some occasions. But we still shake hands to greet.”
It’s a view shared by many like Gormee. ‘Rocky TSM’ believes that, “if something isn’t portrayed as ‘normal’, mainstream gives a negative image to it.” ‘Tadpole In A Jar’ gives it in even more simple terms: “Foot fetishism is not talked about in society… the stigma of how people perceive feet as ugly and smelly.”
So it’s a case, once again, of people being chased into the shadows by those who deem something to be irregular, or ‘not normal’ (whatever that means).
One thing seems to be for certain, those who contributed to this article share very similar backgrounds in terms of how their fetish originated. It has stuck, grown and evolved by and large due to everyday normality. The majority of those surveyed for this article share shopping trips and/or one or two particular women that set their minds walking.
“The first time I was aroused by feet I was around 10-11 shopping with my aunt in a clothing store” says Gormee. They had a variety of clothes on the moveable racks. Through one rack I saw tan legs and the most beautiful tan feet. I walk around to get a better view. A cute Caucasian surfer girl with orange flip flop wedges and French tipped toes. She noticed me staring (didn’t know how to look without getting caught then). She smiles looks down at her feet and spreads her toes as if to say, well here you go! Priceless! From that I can remember me in search of that feeling again.”
Cain has a similar story to tell: “I first started checking out feet when I was really young. I think I remember all the way back when I was 5 years old or so. But my fetish really kicked in when I was about 11 or 12 when I would try to catch glimpses of women barefoot in shoes stores or behind counters when I shopped with my mom.”
For some, the experience is largely more personal and resonant. Rocky TSM finds a more familiar connection. “I was four. I lived with my mother, so I would visit my father on occasion. During a visit, he had to go to the store for dinner and my step-sister babysat me. I started misbehaving and throwing a temper tantrum on the floor. She put one foot on my stomach and said, ‘I’m the step-sister. I win.’”
…and that’s all it takes. Just like a snippet of one song might make you fall in love with an artist forever, or one movie can bring back floods of memories, so it is for fetishists too. The biggest impacts are made when we are young. Those first flourishes of sexuality, learning what we like, can be the most profound. Perhaps if another body part had been on display it could all be so different for these people. As it stands, we’ll never know.
But we’re talking about feet, godammit. Stay focused! When it comes to just what makes the form so attractive, it’s a broad range of answers. It’s to be expected for a body part that, while being relatively small, packs 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. There’s a lot to choose from given the lack of surface area.
Toes are the main priority for Gormee and Cain. Rocky TSM views it more analytically, remarking that the “overall appeal of them attracts me. I see the same things in feet as I do the entire body… size represents height, shape for body type, arch for curves.” Perhaps it’s a more metaphysical form of the Golden Ratio; correspondence, symmetry, mirroring communicated from one part of the body to another.
It’s surprising that two of our fetishists, dougiezerts (who owns and maintains the Vintage Barefoot group) and Tadpole In A Jar, offer no real concrete answers to or definition of their preference. Tadpole half-heartedly suggests that “it’s about liking something that so many people tend to ignore.” Dougiezertz posits that it’s simply “the way I’m wired.” It’s interesting that two people, with long histories of enjoying and participating in foot fetishism, devoted enough to sign up to an online community, still don’t have the answers to their own questions. It’s not our way of saying that everybody should be able to account for their tastes. Of course not. Perhaps it’s curious enough to put on the table during any future Nature Vs. Nurture debate though.
Given we’ve already talked about how people may be aware but not really willing to accept a thing such as foot fetishism being popular and common, it’s a little surprising that for those we asked, reactions to their various ‘coming out’/confession moments have been positive overall.
Rocky TSM poses it as something that is intrinsically linked to his essence of being. It’s not simply a hobby or a preference. It’s even more than a ‘lifestyle’.
“Every friend and partner that’s been in my life knows of my fetish. I don’t hide it. I make sure it’s known since it’s a part of who I am. If someone has a problem with that, oh well. I’ve never converted someone, but I did get one friend into getting kicked.”
Others have even allowed the influence to spread to others. A process that, for some people, appears to be a lengthy and potentially frustrating one.
“I have slowly revealed this to a few close friends,” said Tadpole. “… and I did even convert someone to my side of admiring this fetish.”
So if there are some of you reading this who have always felt a little reticent about podophilia, or remain suspicious of those who indulge in it – fear no more. It’s healthy, it’s common and… if you’re inexperienced… it could be a lot of fun.
Getting into something new? That would be a hell of a feat.