This may be what causes foot fetishes, says science.
The subject of foot fetishism may be a taboo, but it’s incredibly common.
But what exactly is it about feet that gets so many people hot under the collar?
1. Scientists might have discovered where the roots of foot fetishes begin.
Over the years, significant studies have been undertaken into the mysterious workings of the brain and sometimes scientists have come up with answers to questions they didn’t even know they were asking. One neuroscientist believes his studies into phantom limb syndrome have offered up and explanation for foot fetishism.
Vilanayar Ramachandran conducted and intensive study into phantom limb syndrome, which led to some surprising discoveries concerning foot fetishism. While looking into the phenomenon that causes people who have lost limbs feel as though their missing parts are still there, he found that the human brain's "body image map" tells us where our limbs are so we can carry out tasks like walking or picking objects up.
Which leads us to No. 2.
2. The brain decides what the person considers as kink — including feet!
When a limb is lost the brain can rewire itself so that the person feels as though their missing limb is still there. That’s fascinating enough, but what’s even more amazing is that Ramachandran discovered that in many cases people who had lost feet reported that their phantom foot felt ‘sexy’ and could gain sexual pleasure and even orgasm from physically stimulating the space where a foot should be or simply thinking about and focusing on their phantom foot.
Which leads us to ...
3. When the brain rewires itself, it associates sex with feet.
During the 1950s, prominent neuroscientist Wilder Penfield found that sensation in the body was mapped to particular areas of the brain and using electrodes placed on the heads of willing volunteers, he pinpointed the strip of brain tissue which focused on sensory perception.
While the majority of mapping appeared to be in logical order with face next to lips, thumbs next to hands and so on, Penfield found that sensory perception for the feet was adjacent to that of the genitals.
4. Until the study into phantom limb syndrome was conducted, no one had considered that a foot fetish could be caused by the brain ‘cross-wiring’ between feet and genitals.
But Ramachandran’s studies concluded that those who are turned on by feet may be experiencing sexual stimulation because the wires in their brain linked to the feet and the genitals have become mixed up. However, he could not confirm that ‘crossed wires’ are responsible for the fetish in all foot lovers and his study does not explain why far more men than women appear develop a foot fetish.