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Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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Ok. I have a dilemma. Im not gay. Well I dont consider myself

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Ok. I have a dilemma. I'm not gay. Well I don't consider myself to be but I have a male foot fetish. Nobody knows. Nobody. I am 20 and have never had sex with a girl because I don't know if I will be able to get an erection because I'm so used to just masturbating to feet but I want to have a normal life and want to be with a girl. I want to quit masturbating to feet but it's so hard not to at this point. Any tips or any idea of how I can cope with this? I don't know what to think.I just need some help!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question. I'm happy to try to help you with this issue. The first thing I'd like to say is that having a fetish like this doesn't mean you're gay. A lot of people have fetishes that you might think would be an indication of a sexual preference or inclination, but it's not always the case. So I hope that helps to calm a bit of your anxiety about this issue. Secondly, you admit that you want to have a "normal" life and you want to be with a girl. I am wondering if part of your feeling unable to stop is because you're afraid of being rejected or you're afraid of being truly intimate (not just physically) with another person. Images (of feet or anything else, really) are "safe", to a certain extent, so there's no risk of being hurt or being told you're not good enough, for example. You say in the last part of your message that you're feeling the fear of being inadequate - but rest assured that EVERYONE feels this way at one point, and especially in the beginning. So you're certainly not alone in this feeling!

Now, that being said, getting over a fetish is not easy. Many experts believe that fetishes are ingrained - although I'm not entirely sure I agree with this belief. Regardless, it may take a combination of self-help and professional help (if you're interested in pursuing professional help, that is.) So, self-help means doing things like getting rid of everything that reminds you of the fetish (so, no more pictures, videos, no more going online to look at pictures or videos). The second step is a combination of what you're already doing - *not* doing it, praying (prayer is actually extremely helpful for some people when dealing with problems like this) and also, finding replacement thoughts for your current fantasies. There's a specific type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy that actually might be helpful to you, not only in terms of dealing with the fetish, but also in terms of dealing with the feelings of insecurity and inadequacy you mentioned, too. You can read more about CBT (as it's referred to) here:
http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatments_and_Supports&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=7952

The article is a bit lengthy, but in a nutshell, CBT can help you overcome your feelings of insecurity, develop more confidence and help you change certain negative or dysfunctional thought patterns. In fact, CBT has been shown to help people overcome fetishes in some (albeit limited) clinical studies. So it might be worth looking into. In addition to changing "dysfunctional" behaviors (or behaviors you just don't want anymore), CBT helps you identify and replace negative or maladaptive thought patterns that can be holding you back or preventing you from taking certain actions that you otherwise really want to do - such as initiating a relationship with a girl.

If you'd like to find a CBT therapist, you can use this website:
http://www.nacbt.org/searchfortherapists.asp

I hope that helps, and I wish you lots of luck. If you need additional help or if you'd like to discuss this further, please let me know.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well Alicia I think I am very willing to look into this cognitive restructuring. I try to think back to the fiirst time I liked feet and it seems like it has been forever. Intimacy is a big fear for me simply because of my fetish and what it entails. I often have a lot of thoughts of depression I think because girls I do seem to begin to talk to end up getting drove away because of my own feelings of insecurity. I'm sort of embarrassed by my fetish and it's almost like I live a double life. I just want it all to stop. I will read that article and delete everything! What type of resources would professional help provide if I did choose to further seek it?
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
Hi again,

It's usually the case with fetishes that they go back very far in your memory, so it's not so unusual that you say it feels like it's been "forever". People deal with the fear of intimacy in different ways, and it's something most people experience at one point or another, so you just chose a different way to handle it than many people do. There's nothing "wrong" with that, necessarily, except when it interferes with your happiness, well-being or ability to function the way you want to. In light of everything you're saying and have said so far, I do believe that CBT would provide the most benefit to you, in terms of helping you stop, in terms of developing more self-confidence, and so forth. So basically, if you did choose to see a professional, you would engage in short-term (at least, it's usually short-term) treatment with a professional who's trained in CBT (that website can help you find someone near you). You'll talk about the patterns that have developed over the course of the years, the things you want to change, and the negative or non-functional/dysfunctional thought patterns that back up the behaviors you're looking to change. And the therapist will work collaboratively with you to devise a treatment plan to achieve the goals/desired outcome - so changing the underlying thoughts (easier said than done, of course, so it does take conscious effort and work on your part) to change the behaviors. I hope it will help (and I believe it will, because you seem to have a lot of insight about this issue), if you do choose to pursue this route - and I wish you the best :)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm going to rate you very highly. It's just that this is the FIRST time I have ever had someone to talk to about this and I just have so much to say. I'm so glad that there is a way to actually still fight this and lead a normal life, in theory. But what would you suggest in your professional opinion I do in terms of this cognitive restructuring? Is it almost as if when I get the urge to go view the feet go view a vagina instead or boobs? It has held me back confidence wise and just in persuing alot of things. I hear that nobody can really ever get over their fetish, I guess the major goal is to just form control over it and then from there, taking initiative to see what being with a woman is like. I've kissed and even tried viewing porn and images of girls but I never seem to get fully aroused as with a pair of feet? Will that change? Is it possible? Do you think the sensation of actually being in the heat of the moment with a girl will make me aroused? Sorry I'm so long winded!
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
I can understand the relief you must be feeling to be able to talk about it. Especially if you've been keeping it a secret for so long. There's no need to be ashamed of anything, by the way. (And you're not being long-winded, I really do understand where you are coming from!) That being said, in terms of the cognitive therapy, it's not something you really can "do" on your own, you really do need the assistance of a therapist for support and to "learn" how to do it. But as far as what you're asking, it's not necessarily the way you describe (in terms of picturing a vagina instead :)) it's more adapting your behavior and thoughts so they are more acceptable to you. (So, maybe it's a matter of moving from a male foot fetish to a female one, for example, since you say you want a relationship with a woman. It might sound like a silly or small step, but everything works in steps - you don't make major changes like this overnight! Plus, you might also meet a woman who is okay with this, too. It doesn't have to be that you have to give it up completely. But that would also be something to discuss with the therapist.) Another thing to keep in mind is that your feelings may change when you meet the right person - if you develop a real emotional connection with a girl, for example, you might just feel like the "real" thing is better than the fantasy (with feet or whatever it is.) So I do believe there's a great potential for change, but the specific change is really up to you, and it's a process. The one thing I would advise against is putting too much pressure on yourself right now, while you're in the beginning phases of dealing with this. Try not to see the fetish as "bad" - just realize that it is one of those things you want to change about yourself (everyone has these things, of course, yours is just different than some!) It's not exactly along the same lines of what we're talking about, but I came across this article from Psychology Today that you might find interesting, when you have a moment to take a look:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/valley-girl-brain/200911/get-kinky-it
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 629
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
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