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This article is about a paraphilia. For the music album, see Foot Fetish. [pic]
The Countess with the whip, an illustration by Martin van Maële Foot fetishism, foot partialism, foot worship, or podophilia is a pronounced sexual interest in feet. It is the most common form of sexual preference for otherwise non-sexual objects or body parts.
|Contents | |[hide] | |1 Characteristics | |2 Relative frequency | |3 Example cases | |3.1 Relationships to health and disease | |3.2 Causes | |3.3 Famous foot fetishists | |4 See also | |5 References |
Foot fetishism has been defined as a pronounced sexual interest in the feet or footwear. It is a mainly male interest. Sigmund Freud considered foot binding as a form of fetishism. For a foot fetishist, points of attraction include the shape and size of the foot and toes (e.g., long toes, short toes, painted toes, high arches, slender soles, fat toes, long toenails, short toenails, small feet, big feet, toenail color, etc.), jewelry, toe rings, ankle bracelets, treatments e.g. French pedicure, state of dress (e.g., barefoot, flip flops, high heels, ballet flats, or clad in socks or nylons), odor, and any form of sensory interaction, e.g. licking, kissing, sucking toes, tickling, person giving foot jobs, or trampling/stomping and shoeplay, socks sniffing, socks licking can also be included in the list.
 Relative frequency
In order to estimate the relative frequency of fetishes researchers at the University of Bologna examined 381 internet discussions of fetish groups, in which at least 5,000 people had been participating. Researchers estimated the prevalences of different fetishes based on the following elements: • (a) the number of discussion groups devoted to a particular fetish • (b) the number of individuals participating in the groups; and • (c) the number of messages exchanged.
It was concluded that the most common fetishes were for body parts or for objects usually associated with body parts (33% and 30% respectively). Among those people preferring body parts, feet and toes were preferred by the greatest number, with 47% of those sampled preferring them. Among those people preferring objects related to body parts, footwear (shoes, boots, etc.) was most preferred (64%).
 Example cases
In August 2006, AOL released a database of the search terms submitted by their subscribers. In ranking only those phrases that included the word "fetish", it was found that the most common search was for feet.
 Relationships to health and disease
Some researchers have hypothesized that foot fetishism increases as a response to epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases. In one study, conducted by Dr. A James Giannini at Ohio State University an increased interest in feet as sexual objects was observed during the great gonorrhea epidemic of twelfth century Europe, and the syphilis epidemics of the 16th and 19th centuries in Europe. In the same study, the frequency of foot-fetish depictions in pornographic literature was measured over a 30 year interval. An exponential increase was noted during the period of the current AIDS epidemic. In these cases, sexual foot play was viewed as a safe-sex alternative. However, the researchers noted that these...