“I like to get it inside the holes,” was the last anyone heard from Jason Derulo as he poured condensed milk onto a stack of sugar-glazed doughnuts and topped it off with several bars of Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme, Snickers and Kit Kat. More condensed milk follows, filmed from an ant’s eye view of the entire crime scene. A whole box of ‘Super moist French vanilla’ cake mix is then sifted with bricks of butter, before the dessert—also synonymous with ‘diabetes on a platter’—makes its way into the oven.
By the time Derulo cools his creation by squeezing generous amounts of chocolate and caramel syrup on top of it, eyebrows are raised—not only about the man’s blood sugar levels but a plethora of messy food videos that involve mixing questionable ingredients in the gooiest way possible, always on pristine-white kitchen counters.
The videos are all similar. A perfectly manicured woman in her early 30s stands in an upscale kitchen, housing everything from cake frostings and ground beef to power drills and shaving razors. Filmed by an impatient camera person who occasionally bursts out comments of approval and curiosity, the supposed ‘chef’ illustrates food hacks crazy enough to scare Troom Troom out of its wits. ‘But how?’ I hear you ask. Well, by mixing everything I just mentioned—plus constant narration, minus the spoons.
Prego sauce is slathered onto kitchen countertops, mac ‘n’ cheese is mixed with bare hands, bread slices are frosted with ice cream—again with bare hands on a kitchen countertop to amplify the mess—before they’re topped with breakfast cereal. On another side of TikTok, hotdogs are being filled with mayonnaise narrated with “shove it in the hole and fill it up,” Oreo towers are doused in peanut butter and Nutella coupled with questionable lip biting and ‘oh yeah’-s while Zebra cakes are mounted on a waffle iron with dripping caramel syrup and breathy moans of “almost there.” Oh, and let’s not forget staged cake smashes and bare hands stuck into peanut butter jars.
At this point, people are too confused by what they’re looking at to scroll away. Deep inside, you know why they’re doing it but find it hard to understand exactly why.
Originating on Facebook, such videos typically appear on TikTok and Twitter before going viral on every subsequent platform it visits. Days after the trend gripped our FYPs, several TikTok users called out these ‘food hacks’ for their sexual undertones. “You guys know these weird Facebook videos, right? Where the girl is always nicely manicured and she’s always playing with food and it gets everywhere?” TikToker Alli Baggett voiced our collective suspicions in a video, currently standing at 1.9 million views. “I’ve seen some where they are literally sticking their whole hand in a jar of frosting to ice a cake. I’m fully convinced—and you cannot convince me otherwise—that these videos fulfill a very specific fetish.”
Months later, Insider concluded Derulo’s videos as the classic example of a specific food kink. Enter the wet and messy world of ‘sploshing’, an erotic food play where participants “spray, drip, rub, mush, consume or cover each other in foods of different flavours and textures.” In a bid to break down the community behind this TikTok trend and get their perspective on it, Screen Shot sat down with several enthusiasts and interviewed Dr. Susan Block, also known as Dr. Suzy, a Los Angeles-based sex therapist and author of Splosh ‘n’ Art Magazine, who used to host sploshing parties before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coined and popularised by British fetish magazine Splosh!, sploshing is a form of erotic food play wherein participants seek arousal by slathering various substances onto naked skin, face or clothing. Interchangeable with the Wet And Messy fetish (WAM), the term ‘sploshing’ is majorly preferred in the UK and exclusively includes the use of food—compared to other substances like water, mud or baby oil in the former.
The mere presence of food, however, does not make it a sploshing activity. “Sploshing is not using vegetables as dildos,” writes author Wamlanta, who was kind enough to send me a digital copy of his book SPLAT! An Introduction to Sploshing and Food Play. “Perhaps looking seductive while shopping for produce is a good way to communicate your desires to your fellow shoppers, but it certainly doesn’t encourage any wet and messy activity.” Wamlanta additionally noted how bodily fluids are generally not welcome under the WAM umbrella. The fetish is also not about using a bit of whipped cream and chocolate to ‘spice up’ the bedroom. It’s about using these same treats, but in copious amounts.
In my chat with Dr. Suzy, the sex therapist highlighted how sploshing can involve different types of BDSM—a concept she terms ‘50 Shades of Splosh’—wherein sploshers dominate sploshees with their consent of course. This spin-off includes “play-forcing their partners to eat unappetising combos like hot peppers and ice cream or raw eggs and granola, pouring buckets of spaghetti on their heads, sticking cucumbers (nature’s own dildos!) or even handfuls of Hershey’s kisses into their orifices, allowing sploshees to safely feel weird, tickled, humiliated and turned on.”
Other spin-offs are synonymous with free-for-all splosh parties, “a food and sex orgy where people smear food all over each other and lick it off lingams or out of yonis.” Dr. Suzy summed up this concept as ‘eating while eating’. “It could be dignified and elegant, like eating sushi off of a naked body in a fancy restaurant, or sweetly silly like giving a candy-coated blowjob,” she explained, adding how a birthday sploshing party might involve sitting on your own birthday cake and letting your partner(s) gobble it up off your butt.
According to the therapist, some splosh lovers also create ‘splosh art’, enjoying the somewhat exhibitionistic performance of sploshing for their ‘audience’. This is often done by documenting, videotaping and photographing their explorations for the benefit of splosh art connoisseurs, voyeurs, fetishists and just everyday people that go both “Wow! I want to do that” or “Yuck! I’d never do that.” Dr. Suzy links the latter reaction to the fact that one person’s idea of ‘erotic’ is another’s idea of ‘disgusting’. “The ‘yuck factor’ is an important aspect of sploshing, even for those of us who love it,” she added. “Sometimes, things that gross us out also arouses us. In the right context, of course.”
In addition to parties and art, the therapist also broke down the concept of a ‘sploshgasm’, which, you guessed it, refers to having an orgasm while sploshing. Varying in degrees, a sploshgasm can be achieved with a partner’s hand, tongue or even with the food used in the process. In the latter case, whipped cream or peanut butter—the smooth kind, please—often acts as a lubricant or stimulant while oblong fruits and vegetables, such as squash and bananas, may be used as sex toys. “Though you can use a regular vibrator—or just have sex or masturbate while sploshing—and have yourself a sploshgasm, just make sure you don’t get molasses in your battery pack,” Dr. Suzy advised.
At times, however, a sploshgasm isn’t a real physical orgasm for the sploshee as much as it’s a visual metaphor for the entire concept. “As in spraying cream in someone’s mouth or all over his or her chest (with the right boob-splosh it could even look like lactation or a pearl-necklace, depending on your pleasure), or dribbling coconut milk over a nice round bottom,” the therapist added, explaining how this is especially satisfying for a splosh voyeur because the milk looks like a ‘fantasy ejaculation’—which, in turn, has the potential of stimulating a real ejaculation in the viewer.
Be it ovaphilia or eproctophilia, niche fetishes mostly have a trigger that can be traced back in time to events that are often overlooked. In order to answer the burning question of ‘why sploshing?’ I visited r/WetAndMessy, a subreddit dedicated to the umbrella fetish which sploshing is a major part of. When asked about the members’ initiation into the fetish through an open call, I unearthed a common thread running throughout the answers: messy scenarios depicted in children’s television shows.
“It started with Nickelodeon shows when I was younger,” a user admitted. “And at some point, I started to get aroused by the thought of being the victim of the sliming or pieing—which escalated to dreams and fantasies about incorporating that desire into sex.” Another user credited her initiation to Double Dare, an 80s’ game show for kids, along with anything live-action on Nickelodeon which always had girls getting slimed. “I wanted to be one of those girls!” she exclaimed. “When some teenagers have the house to themselves, they sneak into their parents’ liquor cabinet. I’d raid the refrigerator and spray chocolate sauce or whipped cream into my panties or down my shirt. Once I got naked and poured a whole jar of spaghetti sauce over my head! I was hooked early.”
Other television programmes mentioned by splosh lovers included the BBC entertainment series Noel’s House Party and British children’s game show Get Your Own Back. An Axe body spray commercial on YouTube is also among the mix. In his book based on the community, Wamlanta noted how at some point in our youth, when our perverted brain either sees or even recalls these shows again, a subconscious switch is flipped. “Anecdotally, in the same way it’s awkward when nudity pops up on TV when your parents are in the room, I recall being embarrassed when someone was slimed. I didn’t realise it back then, but hindsight can reveal lots of things,” the author wrote.
Among the splosh enthusiasts was a Redditor who highlighted their arousal upon hearing about people swimming in clothes or falling in mud, later scrolling through Wikipedia’s list of paraphilias to find the haven. “Back in 1996, when I was 11 years old, I started having sexual fantasies about a girl I liked. But the fantasies were always me covering her—or being covered by her—in things such as yogurt, custard, strawberry jam and more,” another Reddit user mentioned. Although nothing ever came of the fantasies, it wasn’t until the user was 18 that they started an online quest to find others interested in the same.
“After looking for the sort of food stuff I was into for days, I found nothing. So I gave up searching for the things that specifically piqued my interest and instead looked up ‘mud wrestling’,” the enthusiast continued. It was then that they discovered websites like Messy Fun. “It was so hard to find the community, especially before I knew it had names such as WAM and sploshing. But once I discovered all of this, I realised I wasn’t alone!”
Now that we’ve traced the forms, degrees and initiations of sploshing, it’s time to hop onto the scientific side of things. What makes this fetish so appealing to its enthusiasts? Is it the physical factors of the food involved—such as taste, colour, texture and temperature—or is it coupled with psychological factors looping back to their childhood? Additionally, does the food involved have to be ‘messy’ for its appeal? And if so, what are the typical edibles preferred by members of the community?
A once-over of all the responses concludes that the fetish’s appeal majorly lies in its physical aspects, ranging from texture and smell to deprivations. “It just feels nice to have something wet and smooth against your skin, particularly when it runs down your body,” one user admitted, while another explained the visual appeal in terms of substances soaking or staining the clothes. “I also think about the tactile element of the clothes becoming heavier, clingier and stickier,” they added. Others highlighted how this physical appeal falls on a huge spectrum with its participants having specific tastes.
“Many people are into synthetic gunge or slime, so it doesn’t even have to be food,” a splosher explained. “For me, it has to be food and ideally not raw ingredients that ‘maximise’ the messiness like cake batter.” According to the Redditor, part of the appeal also lies in the naughtiness of wasting food and destroying prepared desserts like cakes. However, much of it is based on how these substances look on someone they find attractive. Colour of the treats also plays an important role in the fetish for some. “Contrast in colours are important,” an enthusiast said, outlining how custard should go on brunettes while chocolate sauce is preferred for blondes.
On a psychological note, the community agrees on the fact that sex is messy. “We all produce some kind of warm, sticky fluid when we get off—and being covered head to toe in warm, sticky fluid is just an extreme version of that feeling.”
When asked about her sexpert take on these terms, Dr. Suzy reminded me of the ‘don’t play with your food!’ phase of our childhood. “To a great degree, splosh psychology all goes back to mom, dad or whatever authority figure who almost undoubtedly reprimanded you as soon as you were old enough to eat,” she said. The therapist explained how babies and toddlers love to play with food, at times more than eating it. But it does make a mess which someone other than you has to clean up, so parents teach you not to play with your food—every day at breakfast and every evening at dinner.
“You learn that if you continue to play with your food and make a mess, you will never be invited to dine at the distinguished table of adulthood. Thus, you are trained to use forks, spoons, plates and napkins for the good of both your long-suffering parents and human civilization,” she continued, describing how you then learn to repress this basic desire to play with your food. This is how the activity eventually evolves into a taboo. “That’s what makes sploshing so deliciously transgressive. So naughty and so nice. You are not supposed to play with your food, but you do when you splosh, and it’s awesome.”
When it comes to preferred edibles, most of the sploshers came up at a loss of words to define a ‘clean’ food. “It’s not a mess fetish if you’re not messy,” one reminded me. The lengthy shopping list of sploshers thereby includes everything from marshmallow fluff, custard, pies, peanut butter, jelly and syrup. This list, however, is subjective—with the spectrum including some who don’t put much thought into this specific element unless it concerns their partner.
Now, it’s finally time to address the elephant in the room: TikTok’s recent obsession with manicured women and messy food hacks. In previous investigations conducted by Insider and InsideHook, the publications deemed such videos as “fetish content hiding in plain sight.” Considering all the knowledge we’ve gathered on the entire community so far, it’s easy to see how certain videos—like the one with the staged cake smashes and bare hands being stuck into peanut butter or mayonnaise jars when the creator could have conveniently used spoons—appeal to the fetish.
To get Dr. Suzy’s views on these claims, I subjected her to a few of these videos (one where a lady oils a hotdog before blowing into a hole drilled inside a pickle, the infamous taco-making video on a marbled counter and, obviously, the dripping Zebra cake one). “You don’t have to be a sexologist or splosh enthusiast to know that a hot dog is phallically shaped—especially looking like a penis when you rub it like that—and that messiness is sexy when someone you find sexy makes a mess!” Dr. Suzy started.
She also opened up a new perspective into the similarities between two of our most basic animal drives: food and sex. “Isn’t it funny how the moans of gastronomic enjoyment can be so similar to the moans of sex?” According to the therapist, almost everyone likes both food and sex, usually separately, but they are still common pleasures. “In a very controlled and civilised way, we combine food and sex when we share a romantic dinner with kisses in between courses, when we feed each other grapes, or when we use a little whipped cream or honey to make oral sex tastier,” she said, adding how such TikTokers are playing on all of these juxtapositions, partly because showing sex itself is forbidden on the platform, given its gen Z-centric userbase. “But food videos of all kinds are no problem. So, lots of people are getting sexy with food in a bouillabaisse of ways.”
In order to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, I asked several sploshers about their thoughts on this side of TikTok. The responses were mixed, looping back to the ‘spectrum’ aspect of the entire fetish. For some, messy kitchen counters, peanut butter hands and dripping salted caramel syrups are a huge turn on. “The sounds and moans help things,” one enthusiast admitted. While some blatantly disagreed with being aroused by such content—highlighting how the creator isn’t really getting themselves messy apart from their hands—some quickly noted Rule 34 of the internet coming into play with the trend, while others speculated that celebrities like Katy Perry are churning such fetishistic content in plain sight.
“There are lots of [videos] of her getting messy in various ways online,” a user noted. “Everything from a paint party she had for a birthday, jumping into a giant cake on a live show, taking a self-pie in the face in one of her music videos and behind the scenes to recently posting a pie fight she had with many people on Instagram.”
Apart from the ‘Bon Appétit’ artist, another splosher diverted my attention to the gratuitous mud-wrestling scene in the 1999 film adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream—categorising it as WAM in plain sight. Although some of the members agreed to see how these TikToks appeal to certain participants, they highlighted how their appeal is also subjective and more explicitly tied to porn. “If a woman receives a pie to the face on TV and I’m aroused by it, has she sploshed? No. If she did this while filming porn, then yes,” a Redditor said, while another added how these videos seem like a waste of good food for the most part—instead focusing more on the coverage and views they can gather.
This brings us to the next burning question, do these TikTokers create such videos despite knowing their fetishistic undertones? If so, do they purposely—I know, who are we kidding?—enhance their yummy moans and eye rolls of delight? “All of the videos in question here indicate that these TikTokers are aware they are being sexier, whether or not they know the word ‘splosh’,” Dr. Suzy said. However, she acknowledged the presence of some cooking videos that aren’t as intentional, but also arouse splosh fetishists. “It might be just because they’re sexy people handling food or they might inadvertently get messy. It’s all out there.”
Before labelling the trend’s appeal to sploshers as ‘in the eye of the beholder’, it’s important to note how such videos are here to stay, whether you like them a bit too much or not. So stay tuned for more cake batter being wiped off counters, cheese holes being filled with breathy ‘fill it up, yeah’s and hamburger buns stuffed into underwear to whip up make-shift diapers.
And if all of this has piqued your curiosity and you’re looking to dip your toes into the messy waters, here’s what Dr. Suzy had to say. “Spontaneity is the spice of sploshing, but try to have all necessary ingredients and equipment (including cleanups so you don’t run around your house dripping chocolate sauce while looking for a mop) ready before you start making a mess.” And if you’re looking to experiment with one partner or thirty, make sure all participants are consenting adults on the same page.
“The most important ingredient, of course, is the food. I tend to go for sweet, creamy and saucy stuff but I know sploshers who have a marvellous time dumping pots of spaghetti or bowls of guacamole on each other’s heads,” Dr. Suzy continued. She further issued cautions about hot sauce getting into a sploshee’s eye. This is where clear plastic wraparound goggles come in handy. A blindfold can also double up as a shield while fostering an air of visual mystery.
The therapist also listed other accessories to incorporate into sploshing sessions—including squeezy bottles, tarp, saran wrap, cameras (unless you’re a closeted sploshing fetishist), water and garbage pail. As for the advice from the community itself, shouting from the welcoming gates to their haven, “Go for it! Get one of those squeezy bottles of chocolate syrup and spray it all over your face. Pour a jar of strawberry jam down your pants and leave it there all afternoon. Bake a cake with a ton of frosting, just so you can smoosh your face on it and grind your bare booty into it.” And if you’re not horny after all that, then maybe sploshing isn’t for you. But like with anything you are introduced to, you won’t know until you try it…
Foot fetishism is surprisingly common. Academic studies on the prevalence and membership of fetish discussion groups have found that feet and foot accessories are the most fetishised of all non-genital body parts and objects. According to Live Science, nearly half of all such fetishes focus on feet, and almost two-thirds of fetishes for objects associated with the body are for shoes and socks.
Although Sigmund Freud claimed that people sexualise feet because they resemble penises, it turned out he was wrong—not much of a surprise there. A recent, more objective, theory has appeared since then, but before we get into it, let’s have a quick look at what fetishes are exactly.
A fetish is a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, and more. A foot fetish, also known as podophilia, is where the feet, legs, stockings, shoes, or socks, are the cause of a person’s sexual arousal.
Although the terms ‘fetish’ and ‘kink’ are often used interchangeably, it is important to note that there are some key differences between the two, which lay in the psychology of a specific sexual desire. A kink applies to many different ‘alternative’ sexual interests, preferences, and/or fantasies. A fetish is specifically for body parts and their associated objects.
More often than not, a fetish will be psychologically ingrained in someone’s desires—for example, it becomes almost impossible for someone with a fetish to feel sexual pleasure without including this particular thing in their sex life.
Sometimes, a fetish is a kink that has become psychologically essential to sexual gratification. For some, participating in a specific BDSM activity may start as a fantasy and eventually lead to something they need in order to feel arousal, pleasure, and sexual release.
When it comes to foot fetishes nowadays, there is a big online market for people that are looking to purchase pictures of feet. The millions of people who have a foot fetish have turned to specific platforms to satisfy their needs and pay for pictures of feet that are tailored to their taste.
The idea of how fetishes are formed has been a question of intrigue for a long time. As mentioned before, Freud was one of the first people to study fetishes-related behaviours. He believed that they arose during early childhood, and further suggested that when a male child saw their mother’s genitals, they were shocked to find that their mother did not have a penis, leading to a fixation on objects or body parts that looked like penises. In his mind, feet were seen as a ‘penis substitute’.
Another theory surrounding fetishism suggested that there are prerequisite personality traits that enable us to become more or less likely to develop certain fetishes. According to psychologist Doctor Justin Lehmiller, the idea that people are ‘born with’ fetishes likely won’t be proven—but there is merit to the idea people may be born with a generalised predisposition to developing fetishes.
“Although personality is undoubtedly influenced by environmental factors, several studies have suggested that a number of personality traits are heritable to some degree. So, to the extent that individuals are born with tendencies towards certain personality traits could explain why some people are more likely to develop fetishes than others,” Lehmiller explained to Big Think.
In his book titled Tell Me What You Want, the psychologist reported that one in seven people have reported having a foot-related sexual fantasy before. However, he added that the number of people who have a true fetish for feet is likely to be much smaller than that. Indeed, it’s important to note how just because someone has fantasised about feet in a sexual capacity doesn’t mean they have a fetish for feet.
Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition (CBC) at the University of California, San Diego, has spent years studying and analysing the neural mechanisms that cause human behaviours. The results of a study he conducted on the clinical phenomenon known as “the phantom limb,” where people who have lost limbs continue to have vivid sensations (pain or otherwise) where the missing limb would be, have highlighted a new theory on why some people may have foot fetishes.
Chronic phantom pain is present in about two-thirds of patients who have had a limb removed. According to Ramachandran, every point on your body has a corresponding point in your brain. When someone loses a limb, the brain rewires the area of the brain that is connected to that specific part of your body and can often make it feel as though there is still a limb there. This is the explanation found in studies of phantom missing limb pains.
In one of Ramachandran’s studies, many people who had lost a foot also reported that they could experience sexual pleasure from thinking about their missing foot. While this may sound strange, a groundbreaking study from the late 1950s backs this new theory.
At the time, American-Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Graves Penfield established the “body image map” (also referred to as “The Penfield homunculus”), which found that sensations in the body directly correlated to stimulations in various parts of our brain. The sensory perception for our feet is located directly adjacent to the sensory perception area for our genitalia—perfectly explaining the normalcy behind foot fetishism.
Yet, until now, no one else had put two and two together and realised that foot fetishes could possibly result from cross-wiring in the brain between the foot and the genital parts. Due to the complexities of sexual psychology—at least, that’s what I like to assume—there is still very little research available on the subject.
Sometimes, it’s just difficult to fully explain why our brain reacts the way it does to certain stimulation. And as Ramachandran wrote in Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind, “Maybe even many of us so-called normal people have a bit of cross-wiring, which would explain why we like to have our toes sucked.”