From catchy songs to dangerous challenges, there’s no telling what kind of content ends up on TikTok’s Discover page. It didn’t come as a surprise when #feetpics started trending on the video-sharing platform, a hashtag that has raked in 35.3 million views at the time of checking.
Anyone can simply Google images of one’s extremities but feet pics are more satisfying when they’re exclusive. Much like people pay for NSFW content and platforms like OnlyFans, there are surely plenty of buyers for pictures of someone’s feet.
It’s 2022 and we’re not here to judge if you have a foot fetish, so long as it remains harmless. But we do want to understand why anyone would shell out a significant amount of cash on feet pics. Why are some people turned on by feet in the first place?
Podophilia: What Is It?
Everyone has sexual preferences so most of us understand kinks. But unless you have one, a foot fetish — including how or why it develops, or why foot play or feet pics are a must for arousal — is incomprehensible to most people.
A fetish is a form of sexual desire for a particular object or body part that’s not usually considered sexual. People with podophilia, for example, are partial to feet as well as related objects, like footwear or pantyhose. A podophiliac viewing feet pics is akin to someone looking at nudes. They could get sexually aroused a lot more than the average person does when looking at feet.
Until now, researchers haven’t pinpointed the exact reason a person develops a fetish of any kind, let alone a foot fetish, but they do have some compelling theories. The main one they seem to agree on is that fetishism or partialism — the attraction to a specific part of the body — typically develops when adolescents begin to sexually mature.
A young person going through puberty may see something exciting, like a nude photo, and fixate on certain objects or body parts in the image. Their developing brain could associate that thing with the feeling they had at a time, and start to seek the object when they want to be sexually aroused.
“Every sexual experience is generally physical and psychological. As we learn to associate an object or experience with arousal, the two become tied together, so ultimately we develop fetishes through experience,” sexuality counselor Jessica O’Reilly, Ph.D. explains.
If you think about it, growing kids who see feet pics on TikTok could theoretically form an intense attraction to feet. Their exposure to the trend at this stage in their sexual development could lead to them imprinting on feet and developing a foot fetish.
That’s not necessarily a cause for alarm. As far as fetishes go, podophilia and exchanging feet pics are largely harmless. A fetish only becomes unhealthy or classified as a disorder under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) when it causes you or another person distress and/or harm.
“Many suffer in silence and do nothing about it,” says psychiatry expert Dr. Richard Krueger. “Some people will find pornography that suits their particular interest and turn to that. Others will develop compulsive usage and it becomes out of control, but that’s generally unusual. And others will find people who share the same interest.”
Consent is key for a fetish to remain socially and morally acceptable, too. This is why we can never justify fetish disorders such as necrophilia and pedophilia. The object of affection in these cases can’t provide their consent no matter how you slice it.
FootTok, FeetFinder, InstaFeet: Where Do People With a Foot Fetish Find Feet Pics?
As a kink and a fetish, the attraction to feet is actually kind of common. About 1 in 7 people are sexually aroused by feet but not all of them are clinically classified as a fetish.
Luckily for these people, feet pics are a trending topic online. The age of online subscription also means you can acquire feet pics from people you find attractive for a fee. A foot fetish is one of the most commonly featured fetishes on OnlyFans, so there are many creators catering to this type of viewer.
But whether you are a creator or a buyer of feet pics, TikTok is the place to be. Some have actually dubbed it “FootTok” because of the popularity of this specific fetish on the site.
However, there’s a lot of misinformation and spam posts that surround the trend. TikTok is facing some backlash for untagged sponsored content for platforms like FeetFinder, and there are dozens if not hundreds of creators promoting similar sites as easy ways to make cash.
There are also clickbait posts in which people flaunt how much they made off of selling feet pics.
If you’re a genuine buyer of feet pics, you’d have to sort through all the spam and clickbait content to get to genuine podophilia content. Sarah Jalees, a fetish content creator, is one of the many who actually make a living by selling feet pics, among other types of fetish content.
According to Jalees, it’s far from being the get-rich-quick scheme others promise. “You have to build a brand, do the research, learn about the different fetishes. You have to actually care.”
Others say they sell feet pics not only on TikTok and OnlyFans, but also on social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit. They have to be active and willing to entertain hundreds of messages to find out who actually has the money to pay for feet pics.
Newer creators typically charge $25 per set of feet pics — but additional features, such as specific poses and footwear, can add to the bill. There’s already a lot of competition, so when it comes to selling feet pics, creators with the highest visibility get more requests and earn the most.
If you want to enjoy foot fetish content, just know that there are no free feet pics online. You’d have to pay a price to satisfy your sexual needs through consensually and legally acquired snapshots or videos of someone’s feet.
As long as you get your feet pics in a harmless and consensual manner, there’s no reason to feel worried about your not-so-unusual attraction to feet. That’s code for: Don’t be this guy who takes feet pics of random strangers.