Shoe fetishism

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Classification according to ICD-10
F65.0 fetishism
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

As Schuhfetischismus (obsolete Retifism ) is a generally sexual deviance understood in the shoes, as part of a sexually fetishistic behavior, as stimulus of sexual arousal and satisfaction of serving. In the context of sexual medical diagnostics or psychoanalysis , this form of fetishism, analogous to that of sexual fetishism, is understood as requiring treatment if the fetish serves as a complete substitute for sexuality in a partnership, sexual satisfaction without the use of shoes is difficult or appears impossible and a corresponding level of suffering arises in the person concerned. As a sexual fetish, shoe fetishism is listed as part of the group of personality and behavioral disorders as a disorder of sexual preference in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) under the code number F65.0. There are various theories about the causes of this behavior, none of which are fully recognized. In some cases there may be comorbidity with other paraphilias , for example fetishistic transvestism . The scene is often assigned to the sadomasochistic subculture due to overlaps in the sexual deviance itself as well as due to the common diagnostic classification of erotic sadomasochism and fetishism .

Origin of terms and delimitations

Nicolas-Edme Rétif de la Bretonne, 1785


The term retifism, which was previously used in sex research , but is not in use today, goes back to Nicolas-Edme Rétif de la Bretonne . He described his fetishistic preference for women's shoes in his work Le Pied de Fanchette in 1769 . This makes shoe fetishism the only form of sexual fetishism that has been given a proper name. All other technical terms within the circle of forms of paraphilias are formed by the appendix of -philie (from Greek φιλοσ - dear / loving), for example agalmatophilia (love of statues) or podophilia (foot fetishism).

Colloquial use of terms

The colloquial use of the term shoe fetishism can also refer to a harmless predilection for shoes. This is especially true when the term is used in the typical social sense when the person concerned is concerned with the accumulation of an indefinitely large number of shoes in order to either wear them or - for example, as a fashionably coveted object - simply to have them in their possession . Cliché is attributed to women in particular as a shoe tick . A mere passion for collecting or an extraordinary interest in fashion in shoes are not shoe fetishism in the clinical sense without a sexual component.

Medical classification and diagnostics

A singular clinical examination of shoe fetishism does not usually take place and hardly makes sense within psychiatric and forensic diagnostics. The medical-psychological classification therefore follows the underlying diagnostic criteria of sexual fetishism, to which shoe fetishism is assigned and those in the ICD-10-GM (GM: German Modification ) and the frequently cited Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV) that in the United States by the American Psychiatric Association ( Psychiatric American Association are) committed.


According to ICD-10-GM F65.0, the “use of dead objects as stimuli for sexual arousal and satisfaction” is defined as sexual fetishism. The further diagnostic criteria for the need for treatment include unusual sexual fantasies or compulsive behaviors that persist over a period of more than six months, as well as the person's subjective suffering from these fantasies and behaviors and the restriction in several functional areas, for example in social contact or the Gainful employment. If another person is harmed, injured or mistreated in the process, this is sufficient for the diagnosis to be made.


The American Psychiatric Association has with the appearance of the DSM IV published in 1994, more extensive diagnostic criteria for sexual fetishism under number 302.81. The diagnosis may only be made with regard to the sexually motivated manifestation of this disorder if the person concerned cannot achieve sexual satisfaction other than through the use of shoes, he himself rejects his own sexual preference and feels restricted in his living conditions or suffers from it in some other way. In addition, the diagnostic criteria do not differ, but are not to be understood hierarchically.

Causes and origins

The causes and the mechanism of development are still unclear and are usually considered together with the general causes of sexual fetishism . Possible explanations include early childhood conditioning or imprinting on shoes, in other cases the psychoanalytic attribution to a triggering event is possible or it occurs as a concomitant phenomenon in the context of a more complex mental disorder.

Sigmund Freud judged shoe and foot fetishism in the context of his observations on sexual deviations as a “substitute for the sexual object”; the foot or the shoe takes the place of the “seriously missing penis of women”. The individual psychologist Alfred Adler described shoe fetishism as an autoerotic overestimation of the big toe. Possibly the sense of smell plays a special role in the context of shoe fetishistic behavior, that is, the concrete and individual smell of the shoe must coincide with the olfactory concept of the individual in order to trigger the corresponding sexual relationship between the fetishist and the object.


There is practically no knowledge about the extent to which fetishism is widespread; this also applies to the extent to which shoe fetishism is widespread. It is unknown what proportion of the population is fetishistic and from which population groups the number of fetishists is composed. Researchers claim that figures are difficult to determine because lighter fetishistic manifestations, to which shoe fetishism usually belongs, can be easily integrated into a sexual partnership and fetishists are rarely treated.

Despite the lack of precise figures and the fact that most theories on fetishism are based on male heteronormative sexual behavior, several confirmed diagnoses, at least for sexual fetishism in general, have confirmed that this occurs not only in men but also in women. Rare exceptions, such as the case of a six year old girl with pronounced shoe and foot fetishism, have been described. However, various pieces of evidence indicate that fetishism occurs more frequently in men than in women; this includes, for example, the gender distribution in relevant chat rooms .


High heel

The fetishistic behavior of those affected is similar, but is directed towards very different shoe types. The shoe fetishist can be aroused by looking at, touching or smelling, the so-called sniffing (English. "Sniffing") of the shoes or the use of shoes, for example when trampling on objects (English. Crushing ). There is a widespread preference for shoes with high heels, the so-called high heels , which are often perceived erotically as part of female clothing. In addition, sports shoes or boots can also be viewed as fetishistic objects. One of the first descriptions of boots as a fetishistic object can be found in Zola's 1868 novel Thérèse Raquin . The women who are portrayed in the widespread erotic or pornographic representation of shoe fetishistic characteristics at the beginning and middle of the 20th century are often portrayed as dominant in the sense of a sadomasochistic context. The shoes of women in literary or pictorial representation are often kissed and worshiped (English. Worshiping ) or the sexual practice of cock and ball torture carried out by the woman with the help of the shoes, which then as Ballcrushing or Ballbusting be called. High heels can also be used for sexual stimulation; shoe tips or heels are inserted into the vagina or anus, and this is less often referred to as heel fucking . An overlap of different paraphilias is therefore obvious.


Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Frank: Psychiatry. Elsevier GmbH, 2007, ISBN 978-3-437-42601-8 , p. 185.
  2. Original text of ICD-10-GM 2007 F65.0 ( Memento of the original from August 31, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ A b Tilmann Habermas: Beloved objects: symbols and instruments of identity formation. Walter de Gruyter, 1996, ISBN 3-11-015172-3 , p. 306 ff.
  4. ^ Nicolas-Edme Rétif: Le pied de Fanchette ou l'orpheline française. Eslinger / Humblot 1769.
  5. D. Lingenhöhl: What does someone with retifism suffer from? June 2006. Retrieved February 12, 2006.
  6. Norbert Nedopil: Forensic Psychiatry: Clinic, Assessment and Treatment Between Psychiatry and Law. Georg Thieme Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-13-103453-3 , p. 200.
  7. ^ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. DSM-IV. American Psychiatric Association, Washington DC 1994, ISBN 0-89042-061-0 .
  8. ICD-10-GM, F65.0
  9. BehaveNet: Diagnostic criteria for 302.81 Fetishism ( Memento of the original from February 21, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. DSM diagnostic criteria in English. Last accessed on July 26, 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Almuth Bruder-Bezzel (ed.): Alfred Adler: Personality and neurotic development early writings (1904–1912). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007, ISBN 978-3-525-46051-1 , pp. 112-113.
  11. Ingelore Ebberfeld : Messenger substances of love: About the intimate relationship between smell and sexuality. LIT Verlag, Berlin / Hamburg / Münster 2005, ISBN 3-8258-8489-9 , pp. 113-114.
  12. Stephan Grunst, Ralf Flüggen: Neurology and Psychiatry. Elsevier GmbH, 2005, ISBN 3-437-48120-7 , p. 218.
  13. SJ Hucker: Fetishism. ( Memento of the original from August 13, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. ^ Elke Gaugele: Fetishism and Gender in Elisabeth Hackspiel-Mikosch, Stefan Haas: The civil uniform as symbolic communication. Franz Steiner Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-515-08858-X , p. 279.
  15. Trevor Lubbe: The Borderline Psychotic Child: A Selective Integration. Routledge, 2000, ISBN 0-415-22220-6 , pp. 80-83.
  16. Stephanie Pedersen: Shoes: What Every Woman Should Know. David & Charles, 2005, ISBN 0-7153-2234-6 , p. 12.
  17. ^ Edward Shorter : Written in the Flesh: A History of Desire. University of Toronto Press, 2005, ISBN 0-8020-3843-3 , pp. 222-223.
  18. Stefano Re: Femdom: preludio all'estinzione del maschio. Castelvecchi, 2003, ISBN 88-7394-095-1 , p. 219.
  19. Datenschlag: Datenschlag - The Paper Tiger: Hackenfick. Accessed January 30, 2018 .
  20. ^ Edward Shorter: Written in the Flesh: A History of Desire. University of Toronto Press, 2005, ISBN 0-8020-3843-3 , pp. 223-224.