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Paraphila is an umbrella term used to cover the family of philias. In sexology, it is sometimes more widely used to cover atypical sexual interests or deviances. While the word paraphilia may seem alien, the philias it encompasses may seem slightly familiar. Think fetishes and unusual desires and you're on the right track!

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Buster's Bursting!

Suffering with bronchitis and lacking TLC, I attempted to perk up my life with some left over chinese and an episode ofSex And The City

As much as I love the Carrie and Mr Big storyline, I was entranced by Charlotte and Buster, the shoe salesman who truly loves his product line. Buster allows Charlotte to have expensive shoes at no cost in exchange for him being allowed to assist her in trying on pairs of shoes. By the sixth pair, Buster's ready to burst with excitement (literally) and Charlotte's only just understanding the trials and tribulations of shoe fetishism.

Also known as retifism, the shoe fetishist's fixation on footwear may extend to interfering with their life - particularly the sexual arena. Rather than let fetshism interfere with his existence, Buster appeared to have built his existence around his fetish.

Brame, Brame & Jocobs (1996) define foot fetishism broadly - it is a deep sexual interest in the lower limb or anything that covers portions of them. The fetishist's response to the foot is similar to a conventional person's arousal at seeing genitalia. The allure of the traditional erogenous zones is literally transposed onto the lower limbs.

As with any fetish, there are unique preferences of the individuals. While some merely fixate on the foot, others may get a kick from a stiletto-heel, purr with delight at the sight of a kitten-heeled boot or long to stroke a silk-stockinged foot. Wet High Heels caters for many different needs with image libraries including: abused shoes, wet shoes, muddy shoes and so much more.

Acts involving feet, including podiatry also may cause arousal. Enthusiasts of the ancient Chinese art of foot-binding, which Freud called a fetish, have many outlets on the internet. Despite being outlawed in the early 20th century, the lotus-foot holds an interest, whether sexual or otherwise, with books such as Beverly Jackson's Splendid Slippers: A Thousand Years of an Erotic Tradition in print.

As odd as this fetish may seem, it is by no means alien to the general public - albeit in a milder form.

In February, The Independent reported of scientific findings from a research team at the University of Bologna investigating sexual preferences who found that feet and their associated objects were the most common desire.

Perhaps this common human obsession with feet is an expected biological one. Apocrine sweat glands in the feet emit pheromones, in a way similar to the glands in the armpoint and genital area. For mammals, the smells admitted play a huge role in sexual attraction for most mammals.

So what is it about shoes that send women into a spending frenzy and men's hearts (and groins) a-flutter?

Speaking to the Independent, designer Christian Louboutin expressed it in simple terms: "A good shoe is one that doesn't dress you but undresses you. So if a woman is naked, and wearing shoes, she should still look nude."

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