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I don’t even know where to start on this article.  As we read through this article it is very clear that these researchers may have a perspective of the very extreme shoe fetishist, but they do not seem to have a clue as to most shoe fetishists that make up a large part of the fetish population.   I am posting this because different views are always considered.  It is impossible to be open minded without sharing all views.  The theory here, simply put is that men are replacing the lost female penis!  Really!!!  Maybe it’s me???  I don’t think this fetish is as complicated for many of us as this article reads.  Judge for yourself?  They also state this is an all-male fetish?  Perhaps for years that was true and many of us were aware amd thought this statement to be true.  That is until the internet provided anonymity and places women cold talk, and talk they did talk. 

Women’s shoes & boots today are so different from their historical counterparts that old theories no longer seem to apply as easily.  There is no denying it, sexuality is now built into many women’s shoes by the designers, intentionally, and specifically to attract attention and or sexual partners.   The angles the shape the material are all intentional.   Every person has the ability in the right setting to cross a line into bisexuality and men and women always had a hidden attraction to a few in the same sex wehter they admitted it or not.   With the increased sexuality everywhere including fashion.  The internet has shinned a light on men and women with various degrees and types of shoe/boot fetishes as well from extreme shoe shopping and to other subjects LGBT and BDSM encounters of varioous degreees are on the rise.  These researchers, as outdated as they appear to be, think the fetish is because most of us are not able to accept the difference between the sexes?  For some this may be true, but mostly this is doctoral thesis nonsense.  I think modern fashion and the internet has made it easy to accept many types of more unique and interesting behavior and today people can make a conscious informed choice as to what they wish to do.  In my data and research I call it a form of bisexual or multi-sexual behavior.  People don’t view sex as just for reproduction today.   Yes, of course some may try to but down their multi sexual stirrings, yet deep down the curiosity remains for many different pleasurable concepts.   Of course the Castration theory is noted to explain a shoe fetish, this is mostly more nonsense, again.   Freud notes the fetishist does not understand what a vagina might look like.  Really!!!  I mean really!!!  There may be a few but outdated nonsense again.  The internet has provided vaginal views for anyone who is interested and more than they care to ever see.  For Freud the mystery was real, no internet, for us there is no longer any mystery there.  Anyone who has explored their sexuality and done both women and shoes knows this is very much the shoe fetishists secret making the right kind of shoes an almost perfect alternate masturbatory tool.  





The Article as it was received --- Shoe Fetishism



International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis | 2005 | Lussier, Andr |




Fetishism first interested psychoanalysts as a sexual perversion, in the strict sense. The term referred to a man's compulsive use of an inherently nonsexual object as an essential condition for maintaining potency and achieving pleasure when having sexual relations with a person of the opposite sex. This view emphasizes that perversion, as originally understood, was viewed as a strictly masculine phenomenon. Freud presented his thinking on the subject in three texts, which represented his changing ideas on the subject: Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905d), "Fetishism" (1927e), and "The Splitting of the Ego in the Process of Defense" (1940e [1938]). The views expressed in those essays are as relevant in the early twenty-first century as when they were first written.



In all observed cases, the fetish, in the fetishist's unconscious fantasy, is a substitute for a woman's "penis." It "completes" the woman by making her phallic. Consequently, the woman's genital organs lose any erogenous quality, in the eyes of the fetishist, erogeneity being completely transferred to the fetish. The fetish becomes the source of excitement, an idealized object capable of providing sexual pleasure to the fetishist.


The psychopathological behavior of the fetishist can be considered exacerbation of a universal anxiety. Freud saw in this perversion one of the clearest demonstrations of the difficulty that some men (perhaps all men) experience in accepting the differences of the sexes.

It has become clear that the most important factor behind this perversion is castration anxiety experienced to an extreme degree. Fetishism arises entirely from defensive measures unconsciously adopted to reject castration and eliminate it from the field of possibility. Only a part of the man believes that a woman does not have a penis. So as far as the fetishist is concerned, castration is still possible under these circumstances. But if both sexes are equipped with a penis, castration cannot occur in this world. It thus becomes essential to remedy this unacceptable reality by attributing a penis to the woman at any cost. Creating such a reality is the primary function of the fetish in the unconscious imagination of the fetishist. The fetishist must then shelter his fragile mental apparatus from the return of disturbing sexual perceptions. He does so by choosing as a fetish an object that is always available, like a high-heel shoe. One fetishist is quoted as saying, "Every time I am in the presence of a naked woman, I imagine a high-heel shoe; I couldn't tell what a vagina looks like." As Freud demonstrated, the fetish makes the woman "acceptable" as an object of sexual love.


Freud considered fetishism important because this pathological structure can be used to observe the workings of two important defense mechanisms that had been partially ignored until then: splitting and denial. Fetishism enabled Freud clearly to identify the mechanism of splitting for the first time, that is, splitting of the thinking ego (to be distinguished from the splitting of the object representation). The fetishist demonstrates that he can accommodate two clearly contradictory conceptions of a woman within himself: a conscious affirmation ("The woman does not have a penis") and an unconscious fetishistic affirmation ("The woman has a penis"). The first is unimportant in the mental representations of the fetishist. These two modes of thought operate in parallel and have no effect on one another. The second mode of thought, a defense mechanism, denies castration, the lack of a penis, the crucial difference between the sexes. Most authors see splitting as arising to ensure the continuity of the denial, though it may be that splitting and continuity of denial occur simultaneously.


Since splitting and denial are observed in psychosis, some see fetishism as a protection against an otherwise threatening psychosis. Fetishism is also thought to protect against homosexuality. We should not conclude, however, that the fetishist is homosexual. In terms of his own feelings of identity and his own self-representations at all levels of thought, he sees himself as a man, a man in relation to a woman, except that the woman in this case also has a penis, according to the man's unconscious imagination. This is a major difference with the transvestite, who sees himself as a woman, in this case, a woman with a penis. Overall, in spite of the exceptions encountered, the transvestite is much closer to homosexuality than the fetishist. Rare cases of fetishism alternating with homosexuality have been observed, however.


It follows from the above that fetishism is a sign of narcissistic pathology, with mental operations functioning at a very archaic level, primarily through the extensive use of primitive identification (which some authors refer to as "narcissistic identification" or "projective identification"). This assertion is based on the fact that by endowing the woman (the mother, in the unconscious) with a penis, the fetishist preserves his own sexual organ by identifying with the mother. In doing so, the fetishist exhibits considerable narcissistic vulnerability regarding the integrity of his physical image.


Although opinions are divided, it seems justified to view the mechanism and structure of fetishism as resulting from a massive regression following the oedipal stage. The oedipal conflict was traumatic and results in significant regression to all levels of pregenitality, accompanied by strong anal and oral components. These components are manifest in an anxiety of disintegration, which is very noticeable during psychoanalysis. Another school of thought suggests viewing fetishism as essentially determined by pregenital conflicts.


Psychoanalytic work in the 1990s has shown that the fetish can also take on, in most cases, several other functions in varying proportions. These secondary functions include protection against trauma and depression, release from the outward expression of hostility and contempt while expressing them secretly, relief from psychosomatic symptoms, control over separation anxiety. As a partial delusion, fetishism protects the subject from the delusion. And finally, fetishism provides access to the maternal breast and full possession of the idealized mother.


  • Freud, Sigmund. (1905d). Three essays on the theory of sexuality. SE, 7: 123-243.
  • ——. (1927e). Fetishism. SE, 21: 147-157.
  • ——. (1940e [1938]). Splitting of the ego in the process of defence. SE, 23: 271-278.
  • Gillespie, William H. (1964). The psychoanalytic theory of sexual deviation with special reference to fetishism. In Ismond Rosen (Ed.), The pathology and treatment of sexual deviation (pp. 123-145). London: Oxford University Press.
  • Lussier, André. (1983). Les déviations du désir:Étude sur le fétichisme. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, 47 (1), 19-142.
  • Rosolato, Guy.(1967).Étude des perversions sexuelles à partir du fétichisme. In Guy Rosolato, Piera Aulagnier-Spairani, Jean Clavreul, François Perrier, and Jean-Paul Valabrega (Eds.), Le désir et la perversion (pp. 9-52). Paris: Seuil.


Further Reading
  • Bak, Robert. (1953). Fetishism. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 1, 285-298.
  • Greenacre, Phyllis. (1960). Further notes on fetishism. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 15, 191-207.
  • ——. (1969). The fetish and the transitional object. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 24,144-164.
  • Nersessian, Edward. (1998). A cat as fetish: A contribution to the theory of fetishism. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 79, 713-726.
  • Renik, Owen. (1992). Use of the analyst as a fetish. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61, 542-563.