This article is a response to a Spiritual Conundrum recently submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named Jared. We’ll get to his query in a minute.
But first, the question in the title is not the question Jared asked. Rather, it is the question I am asking Jared, and others who have a foot fetish—which is what Jared did ask about.
I ask this question because for those who have a foot fetish, their answer will say a lot about whether their foot fetish is a serious problem or just one of the particular harmless idiosyncrasies we humans have, or is somewhere in between.
But first, let’s let Jared ask his question.
Foot fetishes, pornography, masturbation, and lust
I recently found your website, and I read your thoughts on masturbation, pornography, and lust / adultery. This is something I have struggled with since I was little, and I was hoping I could hear your thoughts about this.
I have a foot fetish, and it’s something I’ve had since I was young. I don’t watch pornography (like people having sex), but I do watch videos or look at pictures of girls posing their feet, wearing nail polish or jewelry. These can be easily found on non pornography sites like YouTube, and Instagram. It’s also incredibly easy to find pictures of girls including their feet on Facebook.
My entire life I’ve been told about “lust” and how it’s a sin, and how you were supposed to wait for your wife for all of those feelings. Throughout my teenage years I beat myself up over it to the point of depression. I’m just now learning that the Bible truly says nothing about masturbation, and it’s actually a huge stress reliever and an output, and in moderation is healthy and natural.
But I’ve had very mixed feelings about the “visual aid” part of this. I still want to wait for my wife, but obviously there are still strong sexual desires I have. Throughout using these videos, I’ve learned what colors of nail polish are attractive to me, what poses are most attractive, even the length of toes I find attractive. Part of me is worried that I am becoming too selective with my preferences, and that’s the only harmful thing I can see out of using this. But God has given me these specific desires for a reason, right? Is it wrong to explore those?
So, I’m not sure how to feel between using these videos / pictures or not. After finding your thoughts on these things, I’m starting to understand the actual biblical definition of lust and Jesus’ words about them and adultery. Pornography obviously is on that scale of evils you talked about, as it involves people committing fornication and adultery. But, here’s my question. Is it an evil to use these videos or pictures as an aid during masturbation? And what about using your imagination, a picture of your girlfriend, or a Facebook picture (Things that aren’t porn and don’t involve fornication or adultry, but are still exciting)?
Thank you for your time, I hope you understand where I’m coming from. Thanks again!
First, Jared, I’m glad the articles here have helped you better understand, and relax about, such hot-button issues as masturbation, lust, pornography, and so on.
For those just tuning in, here are some of the articles Jared is referring to:
- What does the Bible Say about Masturbation? Is Masturbation a Sin?
- Can You Masturbate Without Lusting? What about Matthew 5:27-30?
- Is Masturbation Always Sinful? Does it Always Come from Lust?
- What does the Bible Say about Pornography? Is Pornography Sinful?
Whatever our individual variations on it may be, our sex drive is something God built into us—and for very good reasons. Yes, our sexual drives can and sometimes do go very wrong. But there is nothing wrong with feeling sexual desire—and our sexual desires are going to find one outlet or another whether we like it or not. Perhaps the main point of these articles is that when the ideal situation isn’t available to us for one reason or another, our job is to keep our heart, thoughts, and gonads generally headed in the right direction.
First, let’s deal with Jared’s final round of questions, relating to pornography and foot fetishes.
It’s true that pictures of girls’ and women’s feet are very common on non-pornographic websites and in magazines and other media as well.
However, it’s also true that these women and girls probably aren’t showing their feet so that guys with foot fetishes can get their rocks off.
This means that using photos of female feet as an aid to masturbation also exists in a gray area. Even though pornography does commonly involve fornication and adultery, at least those involved in “legitimate” pornography are well aware that men (and women) are going to use their sexualized photos and videos for sexual gratification. For women and girls who post pictures and videos that include their feet, or who appear in non-pornographic videos and photo shoots, the idea that someone is going to get sexual gratification from looking at their feet can feel like a violation.
Does this mean that using pictures and videos of female feet as an aid to sexual fantasy and masturbation is horribly bad and wrong?
Not necessarily. As discussed in the above articles, we humans commonly live in a gray area when it comes to our sexuality and sexual expression. Few, if any, people are able to keep their sexuality entirely pure all the time. And pragmatically speaking, we humans are sexually attracted to one another in various ways. We are sexual beings. It is not possible to erase that fact from our culture or our individual lives.
So although using pictures and videos of girls’ and women’s feet for sexual gratification isn’t entirely innocent, it is also part of that general gray area of the continuum of sexuality that most people commonly live in.
The bigger issue, as covered in the articles linked above, is what direction we’re going with all of this.
Are foot fetishes evil?
Now let’s deal with Jared’s first round of questions.
First, saying that God gave you those particular desires may be putting it a little too strongly.
Yes, God built a desire for sex and intimacy right into our basic nature as human beings. However, the particular variations and directions our sexual desires take is highly complex. Psychologists don’t agree on what causes some people to find feet sexually stimulating. But many theories hold that human and cultural factors have a heavy influence on this particular sexual variation.
That doesn’t necessarily mean foot fetishes are bad or wrong. Just that they may have human origins rather than divine ones.
As for whether having a foot fetish is bad or evil, from a Christian perspective, this is on the same footing as whether masturbation or even pornography is evil or sinful. The fact of the matter is that as with masturbation and pornography, the Bible doesn’t say one word about foot fetishes, or about any other kind of body fetish. It’s simply not something that the Bible is particularly concerned with. So those pastors and priests who shout about the evils of body fetishes have very little basis for all that shouting.
What the Bible does talk about is not making or worshiping idols.
Of course, in the context of Bible times, that meant literally making a statue of some fish or bird or animal that one then worshiped as a god. But it’s not hard to make the jump from literal idol-worship to having something other than God in our life that we focus on inordinately so that it becomes the most important, driving factor in our life. Some common idols that we moderns worship are money, fame, physical pleasure, power, and popularity.
It’s not that money, fame, physical pleasure, power, popularity, and other things that people make idols of are necessarily wrong in themselves. It’s when we make them the most important thing in our life—more important than loving and following God, and more important than loving and serving our neighbor—that they go out of bounds and become evil and even sinful.
The same principle applies to a foot fetish. By itself it may be nothing more than a pleasant quirk in a guy’s (or girl’s) character and inclinations. Different people find pleasure in different things. Nothing wrong with that, as long as nobody’s getting hurt in the process.
Where a foot fetish begins to verge over the line is when it becomes so much of a focus, and so consuming, that other more important things get pushed to the side.
Things such as real human love and relationships.
That’s where my question to Jared and others with a foot fetish comes in.
What if the right woman has the wrong feet?
Though being sexually attracted to feet may be less common than being sexually attracted to breasts or pelvises or penises, feet are a part of the human body, just as those other parts are. And we humans are sexually attracted to one another’s bodies, and to the various parts that make up those bodies. So aside from it being “unusual,” there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with finding a woman’s (or man’s) feet sexually attractive.
However, feet really aren’t the most important part of a person. Neither are breasts or pelvises or penises. In fact, the body as a whole isn’t the most important part of a person—and it’s certainly not the most important factor in finding true love and a lasting marriage and sexual relationship.
Secular psychologists sometimes say that the brain is the most important sexual organ. What this means from a spiritual perspective is that our romantic and marriage relationships are, first of all, a connection of minds. In a healthy sexual relationship, no body part comes first. Rather, a sense of inner oneness between the two people is the real relationship, and physical sexual intimacy is an expression of that inner oneness.
Yes, of course our sexual attraction to another person’s physical body and physical characteristics may prompt us to connect with that person and pursue a possible romantic relationship with her or him. But as an example, any man who decides what woman he’s going to marry based primarily on her cup size is an idiot, and is probably in for a very rocky and short-lived marriage.
Hence my question for those with a foot fetish: What if the right woman (or man) has the wrong feet?
If you find someone who is a good match for you in character and values, and whom you have feelings for, but whose feet are too fat or too skinny, or have the wrong toe length or the wrong nail polish, or in any other way don’t fit the particular type of foot that turns you on, what do you do?
If you were dating a woman and the two of you were mutually attracted to each other, but then you saw her feet for the first time and she had the wrong feet, would that be curtains for the relationship as far as you’re concerned? Or would the growing mental and emotional connection building between the two of you override those “wrong feet” in your mind, and in your feelings toward her?
Your answer to these questions will determine for you whether your foot fetish has become an idol that you worship, or whether it is just one of many relatively harmless variations on human sexuality and sexual desire.
This article is a response to a spiritual conundrum submitted by a reader.
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