Police in Conway, Arkansas, are looking for a phantom foot fetishist who is causing them alarm by randomly approaching women and trying to kiss their feet. Interestingly enough this is not the first time such a thing has come to the attention of the Conway constabulary. In the 1990s, a man, known as the "Toe Suck Fairy" did similar things but his modus operandi was to pretend to be a podiatrist in order to fondle and suck women’s toes. Often with these types of crime there are concerns the felon may graduate to more serious assaults.
Why some people find feet attractive in a sensual way is quite a mystery. Often these things are a mixture of biological factors combined with history, environment and nature. Biologically the sensory nerve supply to feet originates in the same part of the brain as the sensory nerves which go to the pelvic area and in some people; there is neural print through, which means touching the sole of their feet would be the same as tickling their fancy. Very young infants recognise gender by feet/footwear and may later subconsciously associate this to their developing sexuality. Later ‘being partial to a bit of leg,’ may become for many a normal development of intimacy.
Sigmund Freud was the first described fetishism as compensation behaviour when performance anxiety arose in males. He called this the Castration Theory and upheld that fetishistic objects like shoes, feet or pantyhose helped the men (invariably) overcome their anxiety. Anxiety neurosis manifests in a continuum of behaviour with intensity and range which varies from a partial liking of the object to a complete obsession with it. Abnormal fetishism is called paraphilia and describes established anti-social behaviour. Fetishistic objects may be either inanimate (e.g. a shoe); or animate (e.g. a foot). In the majority of cases, low level fetishism poses no danger to others and individuals usually pursue their use of the fetish object in private or with other consenting adults. Retifists (shoe fetishists) collect women's shoes (sometimes by stealing them) to have sex with the shoe. Retifists usually have exquisite taste for elegant styles with specific form and media determining their preferences. Pedal lovemaking is usually combined with elaborate games which involve trampling (walking over a person). There are enormous variations which include tickling, bondage, licking and shrimping (i.e. toe sucking). It is quite impossible to know how many foot and shoe fetishists there are simply because fetishists usually keep their preferences a closely guarded secret. As a group they maintain a close network where they function comfortably within a culture of clubs, websites and magazines to support special interests. On the World Wide Web there are literally million of websites which deal with foot fetishism alone. Fetishists are found in every level of society with the number of low to mid level fetishists in Australia would be enough to fill the Subiaco Oval.
Salophilia (salopholiac) describes sexuoerotic arousal from tasting salty body fluids such as perspiration. Saliromania, on the other hand, describes sexual arousal from being ‘dirty.’ The odour of fetishistic objects adds to their sexual allure. Pheromones are odourless gases which can sexually excite. These enter the nose and are picked up by Jacobson's organ or the vomeronasal organ. Bromidrophilia describes arousal from body smell. Mysophilia refers to becoming aroused by smelling, chewing or rubbing against foul smelling objects like socks.