foot fetishes foot play sex feet

Sex Therapists Explain Why You Might Be Turned On By Feet During Sex

It's not just because it tickles.


My friend once met a guy on Grindr with a foot fetish. He was soon engaged in a back-and-forth exchange of pics of his pen pal’s feet stomping on grapes, leaving a pair of used socks in a park, and describing the scent of his feet after a long day of work. The experience turned my friend on to just how sexy feet can be. Could feet be the untapped erogenous zone, some of us have been sleeping on?

Foot play, as it’s also called, can be titillating — and it’s actually way more common than you might think. Your feet may seem tough with all of that walking they do, but they’re actually full of nerve endings just waiting to be stimulated. Psychologically speaking, foot fetishes also offer the chance to explore your dominant or submissive side. It’s also an excellent reason to treat yourself to a spa pedicure. So, if next-level orgasms are on your agenda for the year, foot play may be just the answer to your prayers. I hit up a few therapists for the low-down on why you might get turned on by feet and how to get freaky-deaky with foot play.

What Is A Fetish? What Is Foot Play?

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“A fetish can be defined as a strong desired taste and liking for a particular object or action leading to sexual gratification,” says Rachel Sommer, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist. Is it possible Jason Momoa is my fetish?

Foot play (or podophilia, as it’s technically called), is “a unique form of sexual arousal where the feet, legs, stocking, or socks are the motivating aspect,” says Dr. Sommer. In other words, it’s when a person finds feet sexy. Foot play can involve licking, caressing, rubbing, sucking, or penetration.

Fetishes shouldn’t be shameful. In fact, leaning into them can make you feel good — like, really good. “Exploring fetishes with your partner can release your sexual energy and satisfy your favorite form of intimacy,” Dr. Sommer says.

Why Are Some People Turned On By Foot Play?

When it comes to getting to the bottom of foot fetishes (pun intended!), there is no clear consensus.

Isabelle Uren, sexpert at, cites research from neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, who theorizes that foot fetishes might occur because the parts of our brains that control our feet and our genitals are right next to each other. “He suggests that information between the two areas gets crossed, resulting in sexual arousal and satisfaction from touching or fantasizing about feet,” she tells Elite Daily.

That’s not the only theory out there. According to Gigi Engle, feminist author, sex educator, and SKYN’s sex expert, “Fetishes are widely considered to be developed through conditioning. This means we are exposed to a fetish object under conditions that cause arousal. And through repeated pairings of the fetish object with ongoing sexual stimulus, you begin to associate feet — and/or feet-adjacent items [like high heels or pantyhose] — with sexual arousal, after prolonged and repeated exposure.” For example, if you stumbled upon a video featuring your favorite porn star getting her feet tickled and found yourself intrigued, and then later had your feet tickled, you might come to enjoy foot play, as you have increased positive reinforcement towards feet.

Then there’s the good ol’ BDSM dynamic. “People often consider the feet as ‘below’ people and the feeling of being lower than your partner in the power dynamic fuels foot fetish,” says Dr. Sommer. For those taking the sub role, Moore says, “you can adore your partner’s feet, kneel at them, or lower yourself for them. You could also have your dominant partner place their feet all over your body, forcing you to submit to them.” Or vice versa if you’re in the dom role. You might also enjoy being used as a human footrest, Moore says.

Last but not least, “you’ll find a lot of nerve endings in your feet,” says Aliyah Moore, certified sex therapist. And with more nerve endings come more intense sensations. That’s why massaging, rubbing, or tickling your feet feels so good.”

Are Some People More Into Foot Fetishes Than Others?

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Anyone can be into feet, but men are more likely than women to sexualize feet or shoes, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

That research was backed up by a survey conducted by Dr. Justin Lehmiller for his 2018 book, Tell Me What You Want. Per his research, 18% of straight men, 5% of straight women, 21% of gay and bisexual men, and 11% of lesbian and bisexual women say they have a foot fetish.

How Should I Prep For Foot Play?

While some people like it dirty (and not in the Xtina way), feet that aren’t clean leave your partner at risk for cuts, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other types of infections. “With penetration, long and sharp toenails could cut the sensitive skin around your partner’s vagina, penis, or anus,” says Moore. Yikes.

“Infections from direct skin contact can also be transmitted with foot play,” Moore says. “Ask if your partner has skin infections like impetigo or fungal infections like athlete’s foot before engaging in any kind of foot play. Then, there are STIs shared through skin-to-skin contact. Examples include oral or genital herpes, syphilis, and human papillomavirus (HPV).”

So, even if you’re into the look or smell of unwashed feet, a quick rinse in the shower will keep things safest for everyone involved.

How Can You Incorporate Foot Play Into Your Sex Life?

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“You don’t necessarily need a sexual partner to explore your foot fetish. To start on your own, you can check out pictures or videos of feet online,” says Moore. “Then, if that turns you on, you can explore the fetish further with your partner.”

As with any sexual activity, good communication is key! Since everyone’s foot fetish is different, it’s important to find out what tickles your or your partner’s fancy. “For example, your partner’s foot fetish may only entail thinking that your feet look attractive. And they could express this interest by offering to give you a foot massage after a long day’s work,” says Moore.

“If it's the more the visual aspect of feet you enjoy, and you have a partner that is willing to explore with you, you can select different shoes and accessories for them to wear,” suggests Dr. Sommer. If you’re not sure, “watching some ethical foot play porn or reading some erotic literature can help you figure out exactly what you are into,” Dr. Sommer says.

Foot Job

You’ve heard of a hand job, but have you heard of a foot job? “Whether it's rubbing your feet against [the] penis or using your toes to tease and penetrate the vagina or [anus], a foot job takes many shapes,” says Dr. Sommer. If you’re not an expert right away, don’t despair. “The feet aren't as flexible as hands and it'll take time to perfect the skill,” says Dr. Sommer. And don’t forget to clip those toenails.

Foot Massage

“Many nerve endings cover the feet,” says Moore. “So, massaging them creates exciting and intense sensations.” But why limit yourself to a basic massage? “You could also play around with different sensations and awaken the feet’s sensual erogenous zones,” says Moore. “For example, tickle your partner’s feet using a feather or a wisp of cotton or any subtly sharp object. You can also alternate between warm and cold things to stimulate the feet.”


Dr. Sommer also recommends toe-sucking. “Kissing your partner's toes can be stimulating. Remember, the feet are a hub for unique nerve endings, and when showered with the right attention degree, the results are tantalizing sensations.” Apparently, Cardi B recommends it too. On “Wild Side” she raps, “I wanna put these pretty pink toes in your mouth.” Toe-sucking is Cardi B approved. I like it.

Foot Pics

Forget nudes, send foot pics. “If your partner has the foot fetish, you could send them sexy foot selfies to tease them,” says Moore. Think of all the fun poses you could do with your toes. No hair or makeup needed!


“Washing your partner’s feet or giving them a pedicure is a great start to exploring your foot fetish as a couple,” says Moore. “To set the mood, use warm water with bath salts or aromatic soaps.”

Foot Worship

If BDSM is your thing, you can incorporate foot play into your repertoire. “Get a foot sling or shackles and a blindfold, and let your partner enjoy the heightened stimulation from sensory deprivation,” says Dr. Sommer. “From here, you can either tongue their toes, massage their feet, grind with a penis, or anything else stimulating you can think of.” Moore also suggests using your partner as a footrest or vice versa.

If you’ve been curious about foot fetishes or you’re just looking to spice up your sex life, foot play might just be the thing you’re looking for.


Dr. Rachel Sommers: Ph.D., clinical sexologist and co-founder of My Sex Toy Guide

Isabelle Uren: sex expert, writer, and website manager for

Gigi Engle: feminist author, sex educator, SKYN’s sex expert

Aliyah Moore: certified sex therapist