As far as fetishisms and kinks go, the foot fetish is a classic. It's mainstream enough that most people have heard of it, yet still niche enough that it's kinky. But what is it about feet that turns so many people on? Here, four men and women open up about what it's like to have a thing for feet.
How old are you?
Man A: Twenty-five.
Man B: Thirty-five.
Man C: Twenty-three.
Woman A: Twenty-eight.
And do you date men, women, or both?
Man A: Women.
Man B: Men.
Man C: Women.
Woman A: Men.
When (and how) did you first realize you had a thing for feet?
Man A: I realized that I had a thing for feet around fourth grade, around age 10. Whenever my teacher wore heels, I found myself looking at her feet.
Man B: I've always enjoyed feet. Even as a young kid going through vocabulary cards with pictures, something about the illustration for "foot" excited me a little. When I hit puberty, it was one of the things I'd focus on when checking out guys in the locker room or pool.
Man C: Since I was young, I considered legs to be sexy, but I didn't care much about feet—as long as they weren't terrible-looking, I was fine. When I was 17, a classmate mentioned he liked to watch videos on YouTube where women showed their feet on purpose. I became curious and watched some of the videos only to discover I also thought they were sexy.
Woman A: I was 20 years old when I went from being a tomboy who didn't really pay attention to my feet to a girly girl who went to the nail salon to get her first pedicure. I loved seeing guys go to the salon to get their feet massaged and their toenails cut. I loved how clean and soft-looking their feet were. I watched the women in the salon massage and caress the guys' feet, and liked seeing how nice they looked after they put on their sandals. That's when I started liking feet and I became curious to try something new with my boyfriend.
What do you like about feet?
Man A: For me, feet are just another part of the body to appreciate. I still like the rest of the female body, but when a girl has nice feet it is a big turn on. It's a part of the body that can be appreciated and should be appreciated more, and it's kind of fun being a bit different and liking a girl legitimately from head to toe.
Man B: I've liked them for so long, it’s like asking what I like about a nice smile or well-toned body build. I like the look of feet, especially the instep and the soles. I guess a sturdy looking foot at the end of a well-muscled leg helps denote strength. Feet, especially toes, have nice, titillating sensations when licked or massaged.
Man C: They're usually soft, the shape is cute, but my favorite thing about them is that they are very curvy. There are curves everywhere, the toes, ankles, heels, insteps, and the best one, the arches.
Woman A: Men's feet can be very soft and smooth-looking; they're big and the shape is nice. I love the arch of a man's foot, how it is masculine with the toes and ankles that are strong with muscle.
Are there any particular types of feet (size, shape, smell, toenail color, etc.) that turn you on?
Man A: I like when a girl has skinnier feet and longer toes, but not too long. I am not a fan of toes that are too short. As long as the girl takes care of her feet, that's what matters. As for nail polish, I prefer lighter colors, especially on tan feet. White, light blue, French–anything along those lines. I don't like when a foot has a smell, in fact I'd rather there be no smell to it. I also like when a girl takes care of the bottoms of her feet and keeps them soft.
Man B: I like bigger feet (around 10 inches or more). I prefer clean toenails that are free of nail polish. I also prefer clean feet or mildly sweaty (say after walking around casually) rather than overly pungent. I don't like feet with overt calluses, injuries, or infections.
Woman A: The shape of the foot, like a size 10, very masculine, and clean and strong. I also like nicely shaped toenails. Since I started massaging feet and giving my boyfriend pedicures, I love how smooth his feet are and watching them breathe with his sandals on. It's very sexy to me.
Man C: I didn't realize until someone pointed it out to me on Tumblr, but most of the feet I like share three characteristics: They are around size 8 or bigger, they're slender, and they have very high arches. Just to give an example, I think Emma Stone's feet are gorgeous, especially because of her high arches, and they fall into the group mentioned before. I think blue and red nail polish look sexy on hands and feet, but polish or no polish, it's the same.
Have you ever given or received a "foot job?"
Man A: Yes. I'm not sure of the exact number of foot jobs I've gotten, but there have been a few. Sometimes it'd be a foot job from start to finish, while others were during foreplay and I didn't climax from them.
Man B: Yes, a number of times. Often I’m just content with rubbing my foot over the other guy’s penis, or having him do the same to mine. The extra surface area on the bottom of the foot seems to allow for even longer contact and sensation with the penis. I don't often do a full “foot job” with both feet, as it takes more coordination and effort.
Woman A: Yes, to my boyfriend. I think it's fun and flirty to rub our feet against each other. If we go out to dinner with friends, he'll put his feet in between my legs and start massaging me. I also massage him with my feet.
Man C: I've been with women who shared my foot fetish or indulged mine, but they didn't seem interested in receiving a foot job, so I've never given one. But they were all right with giving them.
If so, how does it differ from a hand job?
Man A: They feel good, but I would rather get a blow job or hand job. For me, the visualization of it is the big turn on. Knowing that a girl is cool about giving one and seeing a nice pair of feet on me really makes it sexy. With that being said, when a girl has longer toes (the reason I prefer longer over short toes) and uses them right, it could feel great.
Man B: Giving one is more difficult to fully perfect. It takes some different coordination and even a little balance while resting on your butt as you angle your legs. Receiving one can be fun, though a hand is better at manipulating the shaft and head with degrees of pressure.
Woman A: Start out playing footsies, and let him feel, rub, and caress your feet, legs, and thighs with his. Then allow him to put his foot in between your legs and massage each other at the same time.
Man C: As I mentioned before, feet tend to be very soft, so that feels nice. Also, unless you're dating a contortionist or someone who is an expert at giving them, people can't really manipulate things with their feet the same way they do with their hands. We usually don't have that kind of control over our legs, which causes the movements to be sloppy compared with a hand job. There's also less pressure. That's not necessarily a bad thing though—it prolongs the physical pleasure. By the way, lube is your friend if you try this.
Do you like having your partner(s) touch or play with your feet as well, or are you only interested in other people's feet?
Man A: I actually hate having my feet touched and played with. I only like playing with my partner's. I rarely ever go barefoot, I'm always in shoes and socks.
Man B: I like both. I know that not everyone has a foot fetish, so I usually rely on the fun and thrill of exploring their feet. It’s fun to introduce someone to it if they’ve never really tried, but then find that they like having their foot worshiped and pleasured. I do enjoy when someone does actively play with my feet, especially if they lick the toes or along the sides of the soles.
Man C: I'm mostly interested in other people's feet. I'm completely open to letting my partner play with my feet, but the women with foot fetishes I've met either didn't like male feet or were more into having their feet worshiped, so that might never happen.
Woman A: I love it when my boyfriend touches and caresses my feet after a long day at work. I sometimes get lost staring at him as he massages them.
How else do you work feet into your sex life?
Man A: I enjoy giving my partner foot massages, but I also like kissing and licking my partners feet either during foreplay or sex. Sometimes, if the girl is open, I like licking a girl's feet while she either gives me a hand job or blow job. I don't need feet to get me off, but I would rather feet be involved. Whether it's licking her feet during sex, getting foot jobs, or playing with them during foreplay, I just enjoy them being involved some way.
Man B: If I'm checking out a hot guy, I’ll often see if they're wearing sandals. I like getting that free exposure of their foot even if their other erogenous zones are still covered. I love licking a clean foot and sucking on the toes. Same goes for receiving, which feels intense and pleasurable. I also enjoy giving and receiving foot massages. If I'm sitting on someone for receptive anal intercourse, I like leaning back to touch their feet. It's hot having contact with the foot, and the position provides a good angle for reaching the prostate, as well. If I'm on top, then I like holding their feet as I perform.
Man C: Foot jobs are awesome, but they're not the only thing you can do. You can worship her feet, which includes kissing, licking, massaging them, sucking her toes, smelling them—if you're into that. There are different moments to do those things. For instance, I don't mind giving my girlfriend a foot massage when she asks for one, but sometimes those innocent massages put her in the mood and can turn into something else. I love it when that happens. Certain positions, such as the ones where you can put her ankles on your shoulders, allow you to lick her feet or suck her toes. I'm also into female dominance, during which feet can be used in many ways, but that's a different story.
Woman A: I like to worship my guy's feet. I like to caress them and grip them softly with my hands. Tease his toes with my lips to kiss, give it soft licks with my tongue and suck it softly to get his attention. That will lead to other things…
How do you bring up your interest in feet with your partner(s)?
Man A: It depends on the person and the type of vibe I get from them. If they seem like an open person and we are having an open conversation about sexual interests, I'll just say that I am into feet. I will either compliment their shoes, their heels, their pedicure, or anything like that to see what they say. Sometimes they'll ask if I'm into feet, other times the conversation will just lead down that road.
Man B: I usually just start by offering a foot massage. A fair majority of people enjoy receiving these, and providing them already gives me a small thrill. Some people decline if their feet are too sensitive or they dislike any foot contact, so that’s a easy way to determine if they’ll be open or closed to further exploration. If we're in bed, I'll sometimes touch or graze their feet in the positions noted above and see their reaction. If they like it, I continue. If not, I move on along the body. Once I'm comfortable with the person and have had a few encounters, I'll share my interest.
Man C: I don't have a problem with confidence about this fetish, so I just mention it at some early point in the relationship. Maybe I start by complimenting her feet, or I kiss them after giving her a massage, but sometimes during the "ankles on shoulders" positions I instinctively lick her soles and she ends up asking. The best thing is to be direct.
Woman A: Early in the relationship, when I gave him a pedicure, he started to keep his feet clean. I loved that about him. I always look at his feet whether we are outside or in the house. I tell him how his feet look nice and smooth, then I slowly massage his feet with grip, and I like it when he says "mmm."
What's the best/worst reaction you've had from someone?
Man A: The worst reactions are the people who automatically assume you're a "freak" because you are into feet. The worst was probably hearing that a girl wouldn't continue to date me only because of my foot fetish. She said I was a great person and she had fun, but she just couldn't get past the idea that I was into feet, even though we didn't do more than talk about it. The best reactions are the girls who are interested in learning more about it.
Man B: The best reaction is, of course, someone fully interested in it as well, who wants to start mutually rubbing and sucking each other's feet. The worst is someone recoiling their feet away as I offer a foot rub. Usually, if I get that response, I don't admit the foot fetish interest and just leave it at me trying to be nice with offering a massage, in general. I'd feel embarrassed if they expressed disgust at the foot fetish.
Man C: The best reaction was when she ended up being the one asking me to worship her feet after I introduced her to my fetish. The worst, I don't know, I guess when another woman didn't like it, but at least she tried. I've been lucky in that respect—like my 17-year-old self, my partners have been curious about it instead of just calling me a freak and never considering it.
Do you have any advice for Cosmo readers considering exploring a foot fetish?
Man A: Keep an open mind. The way it is portrayed in shows and movies is not how a normal person with a foot fetish acts. There are "weirdos" out there into everything. A foot fetish is harmless. Don't knock it until you try it. Usually after I show it to people, they say they never realized how sexy feet can be.
Man B: See if your partner has their own fetishes or interests, so that there can be mutual exploration. That puts less of the focus on just your own fetish. Start with foot rubs, since most people enjoy receiving those, and then see or ask if the person is open to other contact with the foot (tongue, genitals, et cetera).
Man C: I guess "don't knock it till you try it," really. A foot fetish is one of the most innocuous fetishes out there. It's also safe sex. If you give it a try and discover you like it, then that's great, and if it does nothing to you, at least you'll have a fun/awkward story.
Woman A: If you are curious about it, explore it with your partner. Play around with his foot with your own. If your partner takes good care of their feet, give a compliment and caress them. Have fun with it. #FootFetish.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.