14 Things To Know About Toe Sucking

Yes, it can fall under the foot fetish category.
PHOTO: GRINVALDS/GETTY IMAGES

While it might seem totally salacious and perhaps disgusting, toe-sucking is a lot more nuanced than you'd think. And yes, while toe sucking *can* fall into the "foot fetish" category, it's also popular enough as a standalone sex act that anyone can experiment with. If you’ve ever wanted to try it out, or are just curious about the schematics of toe sucking, here are some things to know.

1. Okay obviously, it doesn’t have to he sexual, unless you want it to be.

Armie Hammer was a trending topic a few weeks ago when he posted a video of his son sucking on his toes, which was ew, but not necessarily sexual. "Kids go through an oral phase," adds Carol Queen, Ph.D, and sexologist at Good Vibrations. Just think about all the "CHOKING HAZARD" labels on things—kids will legit put anything in their mouths. "When a kid starts chowing on your toes, it doesn't even mean you are glimpsing their future as a kinkster. So going off as though an adult is doing something inappropriate may mean that the observer is overlaying a sexual shame (and shaming) response onto something where there isn't any sex," Queen says.

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2. Toe sucking was involved in THE royal scandal of 1992.

While still married (but separated) to Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson made headlines when photos of her getting her toes sucked by her businessman boytoy John Bryan on vacay leaked.

3. Julianne Hough is supposedly into it.

An interview with her hockey player hubs revealed that she's into it when he sucks her toes. I mean, go off sis. She's dancing all day and considering many toe sucking activities also involve a foot massage, it really only makes sense.

4. Yes, toe sucking is popular in the kink world (seen a lot in femdom communities), but it can also be a vanilla sexual act.

A more vanilla approach to shrimping could stem from just wanting to pleasure and enjoy all of their partner's body. Whereas "foot worship" is a step beyond that, and is a consensual way of one person being subservient to another, explains Queen.

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When it comes to toe play, "Some people DO think this is a 'low' sort of activity and a form of abasement," Queen says. "But it doesn't have to be. Dom/sub players are always looking for sexy abasement things to do, while everyone else is all, 'We both have feet, that makes us equal.' It just depends on your kink!" Basically, toe sucking is only kinky if you want it to be about power exchange, otherwise, totally cool to just treat it like any other body part or erogenous zone.

5. It's also called shrimping.

Dr. Laura Deitsch, resident sexologist at Vibrant, explains that yes, a toe suck by any other name is called "shrimping"—just like the shellfish. It makes sense when you think about it, because what are toes if not shrimp of the feet?

6. Being into toe sucking doesn't necessarily mean you have a foot fetish.

As sex and relationships expert Kryss Shane, LSW, LMSW, explains: Toe sucking is often considered to be part of the foot fetish category. Shane adds there are distinctions, because while "toe sucking is something a partner does for their mate as foreplay, typical foot fetishes focus on shoes, stockings, or the shape of the foot and toes."

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7. There's a reason it feels so good.

"There are so many nerve endings in the feet," Shane says. Not only can it feel similar to getting a foot massage, but when you add in the endorphins and eroticism of interacting with your partner in a taboo way, it's a double whammy.

8. Being the giver can also be a turn-on.

Shane says many people enjoy doing it not only because it gives their partner pleasure, but also because it's a less common way of turning their partner on during foreplay—which checks out. Not everyone can be a person who pulls toe jobs out of their back pocket.

9. It's probably worth discussing first.

As with anything in bed, communication and consent are key. If you want to perform this on your partner (or want your partner to try this out with you), Shane recommends asking them to consider including it in foreplay, and asking them to reciprocate.

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10. It doesn't have to be literally dirty.

Sunny Rodgers, a clinical sexologist and certified sex coach, recommends bathing each other before diving in. "This adds a new level of intimacy and can also make your partner feel better and more relaxed when their toes are in your mouth."

11. In fact, the preparation can be just as sexy.

Jenni Skyler, certified sex therapist and sexologist for Adam and Eve, says that some foot worshippers consider cleaning their partner's feet as part of the ritual.

12. Treat it like you would oral sex.

Rogers suggests licking and teasing the tips of your partner's toes to start. Think of it like genital oral sex—you want to start slow and soft, and then ramp up. You can also try swirling your tongue around their toe as well as kissing and licking the tender area between each toe.

13. You don't just have to use your mouth.

Yes, the physical act of sucking on your partner's toes involves your mouth, but you can (and should) also get handsy with it. Shane recommends starting with a foot massage, and then move onto kissing individual toes.

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14. There shouldn't be any shame when it comes to toe sucking.

"Toe sucking and other acts of eroticism and pleasure are nothing to be ashamed of, no matter how rarely these are openly discussed," says Shane. "The only thing wrong with fetishes and desires is when a person feels shame about them. While there may be some sexual actions that are typical, being atypical does not mean you are abnormal in any way."

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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