Playing Footsie

Whenever my friend Morgan sees a woman he finds attractive, his eyes immediately head south. I mean way south, like below the ankle: He looks at her shoes, the one thing he always notices first. And if he wants to sleep with a woman, he buys her a beautiful pair of shoes. Expensive, stylish, strappy high heels. To him, shoes are a symbol of foreplay and flattery, a unique form of courtship that says, "Your tootsies inspire me, and I want to indulge them." A true connoisseur, he knows more about the difference between slides and mules than any straight man I know. He's even a bit of a snob about it. He rolls his eyes at me whenever I meet him for dinner in sneakers: "What a waste!" he says. His obsession with what a woman slips her arch and heel into is definitely erotic; like most people with a shoe fetish, he prefers when a girl goes to bed in her Manolo Blahniks. Who says that a good pair of pumps should be for public consumption only?

I can appreciate my buddy's love (and lust) for female footwear. I, too, have lingered over pink suede straps wrapped around smooth ankles, burgundy-painted toenails underlined by stripes of metallic fabric, or the peekaboo of just one toe encased in black leather. I love how Cuban-heeled stockings accentuate that curve from heel to ankle, the illusion high heels create of long legs, and the way they tip the body slightly forward, ass out. I marvel at the ability of some women to not only walk, but dance, in impossibly tall shoes. What our feet wear out (or in) says a lot about who we are: Are you red glitter slippers or sensible flats, comfy Birkenstocks or ice-cream-colored Candies?

Stan Kent ( knows the power of bipedal fashion and has made it the centerpiece of Shoe Leather, his erotic novel series that follows heroine Violetta Valery Cutrero, a woman who has the ability to get inside people's minds when she puts on their shoes. Kent says, "Violetta's mantra is 'The Feet Cannot Be Denied,' and I really do believe that. To me, shoes are the sexiest item of clothing because—more than any other item—a sexy pair of heels or boots has more power to change a person than anything else. Watch a woman in heels and it's obvious how powerful and suggestive they make her seem—and it's not just appearance—shoes really do affect a woman's mood." Violetta uses her superpowers to solve crimes, natch, but she also gets to experience some of the naughtier things people do in their sexy sandals.

Speaking of taking one's shoe fetish to the next level, I received a letter to my advice column for Taboo magazine, in which a reader (let's call her Carrie) confessed to fucking someone with her shoe—while it was on her foot. It seems that first her lover asked her to wear a particular pair of pointed patent-leather stilettos he spotted in her closet. Then the lover wanted to be "spanked" by said stilettoed foot. One thing led to another, and the next thing Carrie knew, the pointy pump was covered in lube and nestled in her lover's ass: "By the end, he was riding my shoe, squatting down over my upturned toe. Humping up and down, it went in pretty deep, and he enjoyed it tremendously." Clearly, Carrie wanted to share this piece of prurient podiatry porn with someone (and who better to appreciate it), but she also wanted to make sure that her newfound activity was indeed safe.

Usually, I advise people not to use ordinary objects—think candles, wine bottles, and cucumbers—as sex toys; they weren't designed for penetration and shouldn't be used for it. But Carrie's letter was so deliciously detailed, so enticing, that I couldn't bring myself to tell her to stop her wild ways. She confessed that she had considered using the spiked heel of the shoe, so I recommended against that, since it could definitely do some damage. Then I made some suggestions for picking the perfect pair. Patent leather, her lover's choice, was shiny and washable. Leather is durable, and can be cleaned with a mild soap followed by a nontoxic leather conditioner. I've seen plastic shoes, a very common staple in a stripper's arsenal, which looked very easy to clean, although you'd have to appreciate the slightly trashy aesthetic. In general, I wrote back, think close-toed and smooth (no ribbons or buckles!) and avoid delicate exotic animal skins like snake or crocodile as well as hard-to-clean materials like suede.

Then I went on to propose two options to Carrie for safe shoe fucking. She could nominate one pair of cobbler's creations as her anal-sex shoes, keep them pristine (by not wearing them out of the house), and only use them on her boyfriend to ensure they remain clean and germ-free. If she wanted to wear them outside the house, I wrote ("Behold! I shall dance in the shoes that will fuck you!"), or use them on different people (giving new meaning to the term "shoe whore"), then she could use an extra-large condom to protect both shoe and shoe fuckee. As long as it remained on her foot, there was no danger of the shoe getting lost in anyone's ass and ending up on the definitive list of foreign objects found in rectums (

Shoes usually seduce us in more subtle ways by framing a highly erotic part of the body. Practitioners of reflexology use the principle that there are reflexes in the hands and feet that correspond to every muscle, gland, and organ of the body to treat people for all kinds of physical and emotional health problems. The feet are incredibly sensitive to temperature, stimulation, and pressure, which makes them perfect candidates for sexual hot spots.

For me, a fetish for shoes and one for feet go hand in hand (although that's not true for everyone). I like feet dressed up and I like them completely naked. I like my feet pampered and worshiped, although in order for it to be sexual, it's all about the context. For example, when I get a pedicure, my soles are suddenly extremely ticklish and they jerk uncontrollably; I'm jumpy and tense and it's not an erotic experience at all. Like so many turn-ons, I never considered my feet intense erogenous zones until I met a person who showed me what pleasure lay beyond my penny loafers. Now I want them stroked and petted and massaged and licked. Having my toes sucked can be orgasmic. In fact, my partner can take my entire size six-and-a-half in his mouth. Talk about a toe-curling experience. If the mouth fits . . .

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