Leg fetishism or crurophilia is the sexual fetish for legs. Individuals may experience a sexual attraction to a particular area such as the thighs, knees, or calves. Crurophilia is often connected to other fetishes with regards to preferences in attire; people with a leg fetish may desire to view specific articles of clothing such as shorts, skirts, thigh-high boots, or stockings.
A leg fetish is a partialism in which one is sexually attracted to an individual's legs. Common expressions of this attraction may include intimate physical interaction with the legs or simply act as a fantasy to be admired from afar.
Leg fetishes are elucidated by the stringent expectations placed on women. In order to conform to western societal standards, women are encouraged to shave their legs and use skin softeners, for a cleaner and more feminine look. Men self-purported to have crurophilia tend to view the legs as the most attractive part of the female body because of their seductively-teasing nature. Whereas display of the breasts and buttocks is considerably "in your face", presentation of the legs offers more control over how much and for how long.
Although leg fetishes are typically associated with men, they are not a gender-specific phenomenon. A 2008 study by researchers in Wroclaw University in Poland featured a sample of 200 male and female volunteers. Participants were presented with images of people with the same height but varying leg lengths. Their research supported that both men and women find longer legs attractive; the majority preferred legs 5% longer than average, and the ideal female leg length was found to be 1.4 times the length of the upper body. As stated by the lead researcher, "There are good evolutionary reasons for the preference. Long legs are a sign of health." UCLA associate psychology professor Martie Haselton said, "Legginess is something that we know men prefer in mates. The news in this research is that women prefer longer legs in mates." Although leg length isn't always a sign of good health, people tend to prefer longer legs for a more attractive appearance.
Historical and cultural background
Areas of the body deemed sexually-desirable are affected by contemporary social norms and dress codes. A substantial portion of Victorian men famously boasted a knee or ankle fetish. This is due to the modesty of the nineteenth century which considered bare legs in public scandalous.
In the modern era, leg fetishes can often manifest as a subconscious byproduct of western media. Whereas many eastern cultures consider public display of the legs scandalous, the vast majority of western culture has normalized exhibition of the legs. In many countries, shorts which reach at or below the knee are considered sufficiently modest. Yet much of western media promotes viewing female thighs. A study on sexual imagery in magazine advertising found that in 2003, 78% of women in magazine advertisements were sexually attired, much attributable to the category of "very short shorts". It is this consistent interaction with media which some ascribe to the fetishism of the legs.
The widespread social acceptance of women showing their legs in public can subconsciously affect men's perceptions. In a 1981 study, both male and female subjects rated their first impressions of female job applicants in 12 outfits. The study supported that, "Male subjects found female models more physically attractive and more likable in short shorts and short skirts compared with regular lengths."
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