The human foot, with its 26 bones, 33 joints, is an architectural marvel of evolutionary development. Its complex structure contains more than 100 tendons, ligaments, muscles. But you knew all that.
The foot is also the focus of much sizable erotic pleasure. (That is, if you’re trim enough to bend over and touch your toes or those of your bed partner du jour.)
Statistics show that 1.14 percent of the global population, roughly 68 million people, are “into feet.” (And, it goes without saying: a greater number – notably, most gay men – are, for whatever reason of Olympic measurement, also “into inches.”)
In 2007, researchers at the University of Bologna came up with that data in a study of 5000 responders – presumably all hot blooded Italians – finding the most popular body parts when it comes to sex to be feet and toes, with 47 percent surveyed preferring this taste-worthy combo.
Two evolutionary psychologists at the University of Albany, Jeremy Atkinson and Michelle Rowe – perhaps intent upon wasting research grants on findings of little, if any, lasting importance and significance – find that women with little feet tend to be more attractive to men. Heterosexual men, that is.
My source for this podophilia (“love of feet”) data is soon-to-be-released, “The Book of Kink: Sex Beyond the Missionary,” by Eva Christina, an NBC-TV writer, film maker, editor of Notorious magazine. (Perigee Press, $14)
Observes Ms. Christina, “There are foot parties worldwide, with high attendance rate.” (PG readers please note: I have personally been invited to none. My bunions have limited marketability, I’ll admit. However, my passport is just recently renewed.)
“Partygoers mill around models high up on the platform with bare feet. Photographs adorn the walls of all types of feet. And the entire night is focussed on worshiping the foot. Doug Gaines and Gary Brett started foot fetish parties, one for straight people (the Foot Fetishists and Fantasies Society), one for gay people (the Foot Fraternity).”
I haven’t a clue who Gaines and Brett are, but I would assume that their intentions are honorable, aimed at non-controversial, leave-your-shoes-and-socks-at-the-door, safe sex, this-little-piggy-went-to-market, etc., digital manipulation.
Ms. Christina also reports that things occasionally get out of hand in what is, at bottom line, an often foot-in-mouth business proposition with attendant clubfoot risks. “The Foot Worship Palace in New York City was popular until it was closed down in 2009.
“According to owner, ‘Jason,’ in an email sent to customers, the reason was because police came and filed charges such as prostitution against him, which he claimed were untrue.” (My imagined headline: Toes Get Foot ‘Palace’ in Jam.)
Among famous devotees of feet adoration, a thoughtful comment or two merits reflection. Actress Brooke Burke shrimps, “I love to see a man’s bare foot, but it’s got to be taken care of. If they’re not well manicured, you’ve got to wonder what the rest of him is like. I don’t want to get in bed with somebody and feel his gnarly feet.”
This nail-polished gem from Jack Black, reported in Playboy, “They have to be clean. I’m not into, like, funky odors, but I do have a bit of a foot fetish, yes. I find myself staring at feet. I like a heel. If she’s wearing clogs, that does something for me. Flip-flops. Sandals. Bare feet are the best.”
And, what about shoes? “Plenty of movies, TV shows – ‘There’s Something About Mary,’ ‘Sex and the City’ – have entertained us about shoe fetishes.” Two terms can add subliminal allure to cocktail conversation: “shoe retifism” (or fetish) and “altocalciphilia” (love of high heels).
One final Madonna lace-up is not remiss in this odoriferous discussion when tripping life’s light fantasy fantastic, “Shoes are better than sex because they last longer.” Anyone into ‘gnarly’?