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Hi there, Doctor Robert,

When I was between the ages of 8-11 (I cant remember the exact age) I asked a friend to take his shoes and socks off during play wrestling, he said no then I asked another, the other friend did (all same age). The reason I was asking them is so I could put them in positions where I could grab at his feet. I now have a foot fetish in adulthood although I have kept it to myself. The incident I am talking about was a one off and never repeated. I have been told by another therapist that it is normal to experiment in childhood. Interestingly enough two of the boys I asked used to grab at other peoples genitals whilst wrestling. I dont know if I picked it up from them or if they were acting out that behaviour as a result of me grabbing at my friend's feet, and the other witnessing it.

Very confusing. Please answer because it has taken a lot for me to reveal this as I am very guilty.

Gordon 24,


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As you will read here in my article about whether childhood sexuality is normal or not, I agree with your therapist, and with the opinions of many of my other colleagues as well, that your actions as a child in wanting to explore your sexual curiosity were perfectly normal. I advise you to forget your guilt—just put it behind you--and advise that you try to enjoy life (which passes all too quickly in my experience), and to enjoy your sexuality even if it is centered on feet. After all, why is a sexuality centered on feet any stranger than one centered on breasts (which would usually not be called a fetish)?

Be well.

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Dear Dr Robert,

Thanks for putting my mind at rest. I just needed a second opinion and you have given me that.

I have felt like a criminal most of my life, and had also considered taking my own life through it. I would like to thank you for your time in getting back to me. It's just when you said "I agree with your therapist, and with the opinions of many of my other colleagues as well," as if not everyone in your field agrees that this is normal. I may be looking too deeply into this and if I am I apologise, but to be guilt free after all these years is something I am struggling to come to terms with. I feel as if I should still be feeling guilty.


24, Scotland

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It would have been more accurate to have said "most or almost all of my colleagues" as you will now have learned by reading the article about childhood sexuality. Stop trying to analyze it—you have done nothing wrong at all. Your actions comprised totally normal and expected childhood experimentation.

Giving up a long held guilt takes a bit of work. It’s like quitting smoking or any other pernicious habit: first you have to decide to do it, and then you must work on sticking to your decision even when tempted to revert to the old behavior. If you find yourself feeling guilty, just tell yourself. "Gordon, stop it!," and then change the subject of your musings to something in the present.

Be well.

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Thank you Dr Robert.

I really feel you have quite possibly saved my life along with my other therapist. Talking really does help and I should have done it a long time ago. Your website is very helpful and has made me feel free.

God bless,

Gordon, 24

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For more on the subject of foot fetish, as well as for an illustrative example of obsessional guilt, please refer to the article on obsessional guilt about childhood sexual activity.

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page last modified April 4, 2009

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