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Foot fetishism is one of the most common of all the fetishes. Although usually associated with male sexuality and male preferences, women may also exhibit a sexual fetish although the focus and object would be different, e.g., a fetish for womens’ shoes.
Sexual fetishism, or erotic fetishism, is defined by Wikipedia as the sexual arousal a person receives from a physical object. The object of interest is called the fetish, the person a fetishist who has a fetish for that object….Arousal from a particular body part is not to be confused with fetishism because it is classified as partialism.”
The amazing fact about fetishes is that if it exists, there is someone out there who is attracted to it. And with the advent of the web, there is probably a special club devoted to that specific fetish. Some common fetishes focus on body parts, such as feet, breasts, breast implants, legs, or butt. Other fetishes focus on bodily functions, such as sneezing, urination, or bowel movements. Then there are fetishes focused on clothing, such as womens’ underwear, leather outfits, or baby diapers. And some fetishes require specific treatment, such as being given enemas, nursing at a woman’s breasts, or being spanked or tickled.
Recently I searched online to find research and statistics about the prevalence of fetishes, specifically foot fetishes. One sire listed 34 Yahoo and 6 MSN Foot Fetish Groups, some targeted for lesbians, indicating that it is not only men who have foot fetishes.
In August 2006, AOL evaluated search terms used by their subscribers that included the word “fetish.” At that time, the most commonly searched “fetish” was for “feet.” Another study in 2007 at the University of Bologna examined 381 Internet discussions about fetishes which had involved about 5000 participants. They found that the greatest number of discussion groups and the greatest number of messages written were focused on body parts. And interestingly, the body parts most mentioned were feet and toes. In one discussion group, some people quoted statistics as high as 20-40%.
However, to put things into perspective, as a practicing sex therapist and marriage counselor for over 25 years, I have worked with only “TWO” men who had real foot fetishes. There has to be a distinction made between “partialism,” a focus on one body part that is found to be most arousing versus “fetishism,” a focus on one body part that is often the ONLY means of sexual arousal.
Men, or women, with a true foot fetish usually CANNOT become aroused without totally focusing on the partner’s feet. Men, or women, with a partialism toward feet may enjoy their partner wearing high heels, having toes that appear perfectly lined up, or some other aspect that they prefer, but they can also become aroused by the touch and other aspects of a partner’s appearance or presence.
There do not appear to be valid statistics on the prevalence of foot fetishes, but in my working experience the prevalence is quite low. Of course, this could mean that some people with extreme foot fetishes have not sought therapy because their fetish does not appear to harm anyone and they do not feel a need or desire to change.
If you know someone who has a foot fetish or if you, yourself, have a foot fetish, you probably need to understand that this is not an easily “cured” sexual arousal pattern. The brain stimulation and association was probably formed at a very young age, possibly even at a preverbal age, in early childhood or early adolescence. And often, the person with a fetish does not really want to change, even though it can be inconvenient and preclude creating an intimate relationship with a real partner.
write by roberts