Dear Anna,

I like female feet. How soon into a relationship should I mention this? With the warmer weather (eventually) coming, ladies will be wearing flip-flops, open-toe sandals ... and the adventurous types will go barefoot. As a woman, would you appreciate knowing this beforehand? Thanks!

Dear reader,

You should definitely tell her before you start to slather the mayonnaise on her arches, but after you know if she’d prefer Hellmann’s or Miracle Whip.

First off, let me just say that everyone has a “thing,” that is, a thing they like to do in bed that falls out of the realm of normalcy (for lack of a better word). It could be as tame as wanting to be blindfolded occasionally or as specific as wanting to be blindfolded with the homespun fibers of virgin sheep while being whipped with Jewel grocery bags. Determining when to reveal your “thing” should be weighed against frequency (how often you’d like to do the thing), how uncommon the act appears to be and your ability to gauge your partner’s interest.

Since foot fetishism is relatively common and not too shocking, I don’t think you’ll have any big problems bringing it up early on. If your thing doesn’t have to happen every time you have sex, and you’re not sure how into it your partner will be, start slow. Try touching her feet a little during foreplay, compliment her shoes (women like this anyway) or give her a massage before launching into full-on foot play during sex.

If your thing is more of a necessity than a casual dalliance, you should try to work it into a conversation fairly soon. Whatever you do, make sure the conversation is relevant before bringing it up so it doesn’t sound completely out of left field. Once you’re with a lady you like and you’re vibing and chatting about what you’re interested in, ask her what she’s into and then bring up your thing.

Another thing about your thing: Own it with pride! Some people talk about their kinks (and even their relationship preferences: See this previous column on polyamory as if they are announcing something terrible, like a terminal illness or how Evanescence is your favorite band of all time). But if you approach your thing with no sense of shame, people are far more likely to respond positively. Granted, if you have a thing that is way outside the mainstream, you might want to be more selective about whom you tell, and seek out a specific kink community (thanks to the Internet, there is a community for everything.

So start slow, gauge interest and own the thing—you’ll be a shoe-in for sure.

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