The sex toy – a synthetic foot with a fake vagina attached to it – caused a media frenzy last month. We asked the people that make it about how well it's selling.
Would you fuck the inside of a foot?
Some people would, apparently, because the Vajankle – a sex toy in the shape of a foot with a vagina attached – has been bankrolled. Last month, the item caused an international furore when news websites started reporting on it in a state of torrid incredulity. But now that the media frenzy has died down, what lies in store for the Vajankle?
What many don't know, as Bronwen Keller of Sinthetics – the company that makes the Vajankle – informs me, is that the Vajankle was in fact created in 2013 when a repeat buyer contacted the company and asked if they could put a vagina on one of the feet they already manufactured. "He explained he wanted to be able to see and massage the foot while having sex with it," Keller says, "And so the Vajankle was born."
Why, then, wasn't it until 2015 that the Vajankle shot to fame? Keller thinks the foot may have piqued the interest of the internet because an individual named Dixie De La Tour, founder of sex storytelling show Bawdy Storytelling, began talking about the product on Twitter. And yet, despite the ensuing media attention, Sinthetics have probably sold fewer than 100 Vajankles to date.
This is partly because the company doesn't advertise, says Keller. "But our foot guys do manage to find us. We've sold hundreds of pairs of feet over the years." If this sounds like a small figure, consider that each foot takes quite a long time for Keller's husband Matt and his production team to make. "Everything we do is individually handmade," she says. "We use medical-grade platinum silicone, which is an expensive and finicky product. The moulds we produce from are made in our studio, from sculpts and life casts that we also do in-house. Each Vajankle has two different silicone parts, then it has to be trimmed by hand, painted, sealed, finished and, finally, given toenails."
"Each Vajankle has two different silicone parts, then it has to be trimmed by hand, painted, sealed, finished and finally given toenails."
Sinthetics don't just make vagina feet. No one could make a living thus. They specialise in a variety of alarmingly lifelike manikins (they prefer not to use the term "dolls", though many of their customers are comfortable doing so), and the Vajankle becomes less creepy the more time you spend on the website. This is in part because it isn't a faithful replica of an actual body part; people don't, in other words, tend to have vaginas growing out of their feet, nor does a severed limb often resemble a vagina at the wound.
Keller is so unfazed by the whole thing, she could be selling bathroom furniture. She must have seen so many Vajankles by now that she is sick of them, right? "No way!" she says. "That thing is hilarious!"
The section of the Sinthetics website in which the aforementioned "foot guys" ask questions about the Vajankle is a remarkable insight into human behaviour. Here are five queries, all of which seem perfectly sincere and have been diligently answered by a spokesperson for the company:
1. Are the toes strong enough to hold bees?
2. Would you consider putting a butthole on the other food [sic] that doesn't have a vagina?
3. Would you consider putting some teeth inside?
4. Hi, are you considering a Vajarmpit at all?
5. Is the foot small enough to put in my anus?
Despite the fact that the Vajankle has yet to fly off the shelves (and who can expect it to, at $175), what it has done is render foot fetishes tabloid-worthy, where they have previously been deemed a relatively innocuous example on a vast, technicolour fetish spectrum.
What the coverage of the Vajankle seemed to do, in pushing the fetish into mainstream media, was exaggerate its weirdness, and imply that if you were turned on by feet, then why wouldn't you be turned on by a foot that had a bonus vagina? But there are, of course, plenty foot fetishists who don't have a desire to actually pound one made of silicone.
*Graham, 19, from North Carolina, is one of these people. I ask him about this particular turn-on. "I used to feel pretty badly about it," he says, "until I found out that a lot of people have it, even if it's suppressed in their subconscious." Graham's Twitter profile is 'Toes in my Mouth'. His fascination with feet is very clear to see. He regularly posts photos of nude women baring their feet, speaking to them on Twitter, too. "The fetish for me is more online than in real life," he says. "Mainly because in real life you may run into issues (i.e. a woman may not share your fetish). I'm very private about it, because most people simply don't feel the same way."
It's the toes that arouse Graham the most, and he therefore doesn't think he will be a convert to the Vajankle. Though he admits that the toy is "innovative", he objects to the vagina being at the top of the foot, as opposed to by the toes themselves. A huge fan of the footjob, Graham prefers it when a woman's toes mimic the effect of a vagina. "Some people like soles, and I can appreciate them too, but not as much as the toes."
How do these foot fetishes start, you wonder? Graham knows he can trace his obsession with feet back to when he was three. "I just remember my aunt had really nice feet," he says, "and when you're three you're a busy body, always curious. One time she came to our house and I remember her toes just glistened. And I was shy but I still loved her toes. So I threw a cover over myself like Shaggy and Scooby and went to her while she was on the phone, and just inhaled her toes. It was amazing. Not sexual, but I just loved her feet. My mama pulled me off her, though, and I realised then that it wasn't going to be acceptable or cool to be into feet. That's kinda why I keep it suppressed."
Graham thinks that foot fetishists are still perceived as oddballs, but that the situation is "getting better". Perhaps if his fetish can be accepted, so can a desire to use the Vajankle. The affectionate way in which Keller speaks about her clients indicates that she is perfectly at ease with their wondrously varied fetishes, and that the company aims to keep a dedicated demographic very happy.
The Vajankle exists because a man was comfortable enough to ring Sinthetics up and ask that his specific sexual fantasy be brought to life just for him. In doing so he wasn't hurting anyone, nor was imposing anything on anyone, and he has likely enjoyed the fruits of his decision since. If you, too, like the idea of fucking a foot but felt too shy about buying a Vajankle during the media storm, the time might be ripe to buy one.
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