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The History of Foot Fetishism

It seems that people really love feet. It's considered the most common fetish, not only in fantasy, but also in practice. This creates many questions, such as where did it come from? How long has it been around? A cross-cultural historical study shows that this fetish is nothing new. GetLusty staff writer and history lover Matt Stickles takes a look back into history to explore our love of feet.

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Foot fetish is huge! It's everywhere... and always has been, it seems. The fetish can be traced back as far as the ancient Greeks, and it shows up all over the place from then till now. Its popularity isn't really that difficult to understand.

Most of us love having our feet rubbed and pampered, so if someone wants nothing more than to worship your feet, then hell yeah. Go to town. Studies have shown that foot fetishes are the most commonly pursued fetish throughout the world.

Many celebrities and famous figures have come out of the closet, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Hardy, Jay Leno, and even the great Casanova himself. However, just as any other fetish, it's considered to be taboo and weird. If it's so common, then why do we think it's so abnormal? What ever your opinion, the love for feet is nothing new.

The Greeks

The ancient Greeks had no problem expressing their love of feet. In fact, the basic unit of measurement we still use today, the “foot,” is commonly thought to have come from what they considered to be the length of a Goddess's foot. Goddesses drew powers and strength from their feet, in which their second toe was thought to have provided their male powers. Though feet were a source of power for Goddesses, they were still considered a private part of the female anatomy as Greek art depicts virgin Goddesses with their feet covered.

Now back in these days a woman was free to walk around with her breasts exposed, but if she revealed her foot, it was thought of as a blatant sexual advance.

In the Mediterranean

Around the 1st century, feet were still pretty important to cultures around the Mediterranean, and not just in Greece. Washing someone's feet was a huge sign of respect and admiration. Though it is not nearly as sexy as the Greeks' depiction of Goddesses, many accounts of the life of Jesus Christ reference foot washing. Also, washing the feet of house guests and strangers is still a common practice today in many Mediterranean cultures.

Western Europeans, STDs & feet 

Similar to the Greeks, religion was influential on what a woman's sexy foot was supposed to look like. The attractiveness of a woman's foot was based on the Christian belief that all physical characteristics were to be God-like. The poetry of the time reflects that the ideal female foot was white, narrow with high arches and long straight toes. Toe nails were supposed to be long with large white moons on pink pale nail beds.

Back when crusaders were returning from the Holy Land, an array of STDs came back with them. An increase in the amount of foot fetish material is seen during outbreaks of gonorrhea and syphilis.

More recently, evidence shows that there was an increase in foot fetishism during the AIDS epidemic of the early 1990s. In fact, according to one study of 8 pornographic magazines, pictures of bare feet increased explosively. This is not enough information to draw any real conclusions, but it does hint that when penetration is coupled with fear, people seem to be drawn to their feet to fulfill their sexual desires.

The Far East

No nation past or present can compare to the Chinese in their historical love affair with feet. Beginning with the Sung Dynasty, in the 10th century, young girls had their feet bound in order to preserve their daintiness. The Japanese also had their own cultural practice surrounding feet, in which a child of royalty would be carried up to the age of eight or ten as their feet were believed to be too pure to touch the Earth. According to extensive BBC research, "The bound foot was also a symbol of identity and virtue. A bound foot signified that a woman had achieved womanhood, and served as a mark of her gendered identity. The Neo-Confucian thinker Zhu Xi (1130-1200 AD) promoted foot binding in southern Fujian in an attempt to instill in the natives a sense of propriety and chastity." Chasity, indeed!

Feet have long been of cultural importance, whether it was erotic and sexy, or a sign of respect. Soon, we'll be talking more about getting lusty and we'll have more on exactly what is foot fetishism. For now, stay lusty!

Our newest writer is a history, sex and love... lover, Matt Stickles.

Matt is a recent grad from the University of Kansas with Bachelor's degrees in History and Anthropology. Matt currently lives just outside of Chicago. When Matt is not writing and reading articles on GetLusty for Couples, you can catch him getting drinks with friends, reading science fiction, watching the Jayhawks dominate college basketball, or hanging out with Hannah, his Bernese Mountain dog. Have questions, comments or concerns? E-mail him at
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