Thursday, October 9, 2008
The term describes a form of sexual arousal relating to the foot, stockings or shoes and first appeared in a paper written by William Rossi (1990a). Whilst self-incorporation of feet in foreplay or lovemaking is innocuous only when it becomes the point of psychological dependence, can paraphilia be diagnosed.
To this end feet, shoes, or hose require some specific attraction, which may include special colours, shape or smell. People with sock fixation have no special attraction to feet or shoes. Similarly shoe fetishists (retifists/restifists) have no attraction to feet and vice versa.
Podophiles may seek pleasure and pain by several means. Those aroused by feet may use frottage i.e. non-consensual touching to seek a thrill. This may involve just fondling the foot or shoe and in some cases deceitful means may be employed. A common form is to accidentally step on another's foot in a crowd. The podophile usually apologises immediately and no more attention is paid to the incident. There have been rare incidents of men assaulting strangers and fondling their victim's feet before running off.
Podophiles may use the big toe as a phallus and let their nails grow long then file them to a point. Painting the nails is common with dark burgundy a popular colour among practising podophiles.
During the 1970s it was common for many eating and drinking establishments in North America to allow customers to play 'footsie footsie" under the table (Love 1995). Referred to as 'toe jobs', this type of foreplay has been around since the Middle Ages. (Rossie, 1997)
In S/M a dominant partner (referred to as 'top') often demands their servant ('bottom'), soak their feet and give them a pedicure. A dominant partner may also massage a slave's back or genital area while wearing spiked heels. Rubbing ointments or lather is used to alleviate friction and produces a sensation that is drastically different from normal skin to skin contact. The combination of scent with massage can add to the attractiveness. Stimulating the olfactory centre under erotic stimulus of touch can evoke an emotional response, free a person to some degree and allow natural chemistry to occur. For many centuries in China, Japan, Spain for a woman to allow a man to kiss and fondle their feet was an invitation to intimacy. Podophiles like watching feet and are frequent visitors to the beach (Rossi ,1990a). Many podophiles, it appears, are envious of podiatrists and according to Steele (1996), some podiatrists are themselves podophiles. For some foot lovers the mere mention of feet in reading or conversation is enough to cause arousal.
Stekel (1964) cited a case of someone who was sexually excited by reading the scriptures. The passage in question was where Mary Magdalene wet the feet of Christ with her tears and kissed his feet.
Love B 1995 The encyclopaedia of unusual sex practices London: Greenwich Editions
Rossi W 1997 Sex life of the foot and shoe Kreiger Press
Rossi WA 1990a Foot and shoe fetishism: Part 1 Current Podiatric Medicine 19-23.
Steele V 1996 Fetish: fashion, sex and power New York: Oxford University Press
Stekel W 1964 Sexual Aberrations NY: Grove Press Inc