Shoe fetishism is the attribution of attractive sexual qualities to shoes or other footwear as a matter of sexual preference, psychosexual disorder, and an alternative or complement to a relationship with a partner (see also fetishism and paraphilia). It has also been known as retifism, after the French novelist Nicolas-Edme Rétif (1734–1806), also known as Rétif de la Bretonne.
Individuals with shoe fetishism can be erotically interested in either men's or women's shoes. Although shoes may appear to carry sexual connotations in mainstream culture (for example, women's shoes are commonly sold as being "sexy") this opinion refers to an ethnographic or cultural context, and is likely not intended to be taken literally. Another fetishism, which sometimes is seen as related to shoe fetishism, is boot fetishism.
Shoe fetishists often fixate on extreme shoes which are designed as fetishwear, although fixation on typical high-street shoes, or other types of shoes, is also common. High-heeled shoes are often triggers for foot fetishists. High-heeled shoes or boots help to elongate the calf, protruding the buttocks and creating a longer-legged appearance which is generally considered to be more sexually attractive. They also reveal the sole of the shoe, which becomes an eroticised "second skin" taking on the erotic role of the sole of the foot. Shoe fetishists often fixate on stiletto heeled shoes and boots, where the stiletto heel is eroticised in itself.
There are also entire sexual subcultures revolving around other types of shoe fetishism—sandals, combat/work boots, kinky boots, and sneakers are particularly common fetish-objects. The boot fetish is usually more common amongst gay men, but can be seen among all genders and orientations. Some shoe fetishists fixate on the smell of shoes, either the smell of leather or rubber or the smell of worn shoes, which combine these smells with foot odor. Where the foot odor is very strong, this can be regarded as a form of mysophilia.
One theory of shoe fetishism, as well as of foot fetishism, is that an infant's experience of their mother in many cultures may involve crawling around their feet. If sexual behavioural imprinting occurs during this time, it may lead to the feet or shoes becoming the primary object of arousal.
Shoe fetishism and BDSMEdit
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