Pleasure-seekers often only think about their feet during sex if their dogs start barking mid-way through standing doggy. But it can feel good to intentionally incorporate your tootsies and treads into your sex life—even if you don’t have a foot fetish.
While you might assume that foot play of any kind is for foot fetishists only (aka people who need their own or their partner’s feet to be incorporated into sex for arousal), anyone who has feet could tip a (literal) toe into exploring foot play or foot jobs. “Having interest in exploring a body part beyond the genitals is not always a fetish, though some folks might describe their relationship with feet as fetishistic,” explains sex educator Searah Deysach, owner of Early to Bed, a pleasure-product company in Chicago that ships worldwide.
That said, Zachary Zane, a sex columnist and sex expert for Momentum Intimacy, recommends against worrying too much about whether something you’re feeling is technically a fetish or not. “If it’s something you want to explore and enjoy doing, just go ahead and do it! Ironically, I think this level of introspection doesn’t actually help,” he says.
Why foot play can feel so freaking good
“There are a number of reasons someone might enjoy incorporating feet into their sex lives,” says Deysach. For starters, because feet aren’t often incorporated into sexy time play, adding them in can introduce an element of novelty that keeps things feeling fresh, she says. So long as it’s done in a safe environment, exploring new acts, positions, toys, and body parts with your partner can be really intimate, she says.
Second, your feet have thousands of nerve endings that make it a super sensitive area for sensual exploration. Deysach says the bottoms of the feet and toes in particular can respond erotically to flicking, licking, or pressure. “Just as stimulating other erogenous zones like your ears and neck can feel good, so can stimulating your feet,” she says. (Although whether or not it’s a universal erogenous zone is up for debate—a 2013 study found that people tended to rank feet and toes relatively low in erogenous intensity compared to other body parts.)
Finally, you might be interested in exploring foot play because it’s something your partner wants to explore. “Many people get excited when they give their lovers a place to explore their turn-ons,” she says. Watching and feeling your boo get turned on? H-O-T!
How to explore foot play with your partner
1. Make sure your partner is into it
Before incorporating anything new into the bedroom—pleasure aids, props, positions, body parts, etc.—you should make sure your partner feels comfortable trying it! Not only is this communication practice vital for consent, but it also ensures that you and your boo(s) are on the same page about what is/can about to go down.
As for how to bring it up? You could make a Yes/No/Maybe list together to get a pulse on your partner’s feelings about feet or ask them outright how they feel about foot jobs or foot massages. Another option is to travel your lips and hands down their leg while you’re teasing them, asking “Is this okay?” and “Can I use my mouth?” before going further.
2. Keep it clean
For some foot play enthusiasts, the stank of your feet may be part of the appeal (this is known as olfactophilia). But unless your partner has explicitly asked you not to shower ahead of sexy time, Deysach says you should be washing, callus shaving, and nail clipping your tootsies. “You can use feet to explore any part of your body,” she says. “But the genital tissues are very sensitive. A rough nail or calloused foot could injure, or simply feel too intense against, someone’s more sensitive bits.”
3. Get handsy
“A great way to start off your foot play exploration is to ask your partner if you can massage their feet,” says Deysach. Surprisingly, a foot massage can be a great option for ticklish folks, since they involve applying firm pressure to the foot.
Deysach recommends incorporating massage oil into the rub-down to make it easier for your fingers to slide and glide over the skin. If your partner expresses interest, you might even try stroking each toe up and down between your fingers the way you might a penis or clitoris. “While tending to your partner’s feet, try making eye contact to make it even more erotic,” she suggests.
4. Explore footsie foreplay
A fun thing to do if you and your partner are into public play, says Zane, is to tease your partner with your feet under a table when you’re at a restaurant or bar. Rather than sitting catty-corner to your partner at dinner, sit across from them. Assuming the room is dark enough and/or the tablecloth is long enough, try running your toes up and down their calf before traveling higher and higher. When you eventually settle on your partner’s junk, rock your foot back and forth against their crotch, experimenting with different pressures and angles as you do.
5. Give a foot job
Foot jobs are like oral sex or hand play, but rather than using your mouth or hands to stimulate someone’s genitals, you use your feet. A foot job often involves rubbing a penis with your feet. “You hold your feet together with your soles facing each other, then have your lover penetrate your soles with their penis,” says Deysach. “You can also rub one of both feet up and down your lover’s shaft.”
The technique is slightly different for someone with a vulva. “If your lover is up for it, you can use your toes and feet to stroke their vulva and tease the entrance of their vagina,” Deysach says. Try sitting across from them, she suggests, so that you’re facing one another. “This will also allow you to make eye contact that ups the sexy factor.” Hello, intimacy!
No matter your partner’s genitals, lube ‘em up. While some friction can feel good, too much can create discomfort and chaffing. Adding moisture—no, sweat doesn’t count—to the area helps keep the play pleasurable. A silicone-based lube will keep everything slippery for a long time, says Deysach, a but water-based lube like Sliquid Sassy ($18 for 8.5 ounces) will be easier to clean up after. “Be careful of standing up if your feet are covered in lube… your feet will be slippery!,” she adds.
6. Pop ‘em in your mouth
“You can also lick your partner’s feet or suck on their toes,” says Zane. Just ensure your partner isn’t ticklish, he says, because otherwise you might just end up getting kicked in the face. There is no wrong way to tongue a toe or insole! Experiment with suckling each toe like hard candy, moving your mouth up and down to simulate oral sex, and flicking the tip at warp speed. If your partner prefers foot play to toe play, try nibbling their insole with your teeth, smooching their sole, or kissing their ankle.
7. Play with penetration
Once you’d graduated from beginner foot explorer to advanced foot play, Zane says you can experiment with anal or vaginal penetration. “If you and/or your partner are really into feet, you can explore foot penetration where you insert your feet into your partner’s anus or vagina,” he says. Just make sure your feet are cleaned and nails are filed down so that you don’t introduce foreign bacteria into their most sensitive canal. (And don’t forget the lube!) Start by stroking them externally, he suggests, then enter the hole one toe at a time, depending on their girth preferences.
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