Photo by bark.
Feet — for many, they are the most abhorrent part of the body, but for many more than you might think they are worth hundreds of dollars just to touch, tickle, and tease.
With the exponential growth of the Internet and technology, it is now possible to find networks and clubs for virtually any subject or interest, and fetishes are no exception. In fact, the United States is likely home to more fetish clubs than any other country, and an estimated 15% of the population has a foot fetish according to Doug Gaines, founder of the Cleveland-based “Foot Fraternity.” That percentage, however, is based on his reception of over 80,000 requests for club information. Members of the fraternity all share common interests in feet, footwear, and other types of clothing, and can use the website to post fantasy stories, ads, photos, and opportunities for meet-ups. Gaines also asserts the fraternity as the longest running male fetish group in the world.
Though, the Foot Fraternity is far from being the only place for foot fetishists to convene. Google retrieves myriad results for foot fetish parties in New York City alone. Many of these parties seem to share the same basic rules: Attendees pay an average $30-$50 admission, and about $20 for every 10 minute session with the foot models, plus tips. Models can make anywhere between $200 and $500 or more per party, depending on their popularity with guests. The events offer the same perks of non-fetish related parties, including drinking, dancing, food, and even hookah. You might be wondering if these gatherings are illicit, but since nudity or contact with body parts other than feet and legs are strictly against party rules, no illegal conduct is actually taking place. And yes, the girls do clean their feet throughout the party.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III defines a fetish as, “the use of nonliving objects (fetishes) as a repeatedly preferred or exclusive method of achieving sexual excitement.” The objects “tend to be articles of clothing, such as female undergarments, shoes, and boots, or, more rarely, parts of the human body, such as hair or nails.” Paraphilia, on the other hand, is defined by the DSM III as “compulsive, sexually motivated thoughts or actions by a socially maladjusted individual that may cause distress or problems for the individual and his personal relationships.”
There are many psychological theories on the origins of fetishism, many of them pointing to the significance childhood experiences. John Money, an expert on paraphilia, believes sexual shame experienced in childhood can reappear as fetishes or paraphilia in adult life.
Foot Fraternity founder Gaines agrees with researchers who identify fetishes with childhood encounters. He states that the predominant early memories of most of his club members are of being tickled, playing ‘horsey’ by riding on a parent’s foot, or seeing a parent’s foot immediately prior to being picked up.
If you don’t think fetishes are that common now, the future will only show growth in interest according to Ted McIlvenna, president of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. He predicted that:
“…we will see a group of people seeking information and support groups for their sex interests which, in the past, people have considered excessive or compulsive. This is not an evil path; instead it is remedial sex education. Because of the massive number of people involved—in the U.S. the estimate is 40 million people—I have labeled this the ‘sexual accessories movement.’”
40 million people, and growing! I’m not very good at math, but statistically some of you reading this article already have some fantasy fetishes of your own. Whether you do or not, know that it’s not something to feel ashamed or embarrassed about, as there’s a good chance that someone near you might just be wondering what’s hiding inside your big, beautiful… shoes.