Acrotomophilia Essay

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Acrotomophilia is a type of fetish from which an individual (acrotomophile) derives sexual pleasure or arousal from having intercourse with or sexually fantasizing about a person who has a body part amputated (an amputee). Acrotomophilia is a type of paraphilia, which is derived from Greek (para = altered, philia = love). Specifically, an acrotomophile is drawn to the stump(s) of the person whose limb(s) are amputated. In order to understand the topic of acrotomophilia, it is important to learn about the prevalence, development, and practice of acrotomophilia, as well as to examine related terminology.

Prevalence

The prevalence of acrotomophilia is hard to quantify and appears to be rare. Very little has been written about acrotomophilia in the scholarly literature, though there are a number of Internet sites devoted to the topic.

Development Of Acrotomophilia

As theory around acrotomophilia evolves there are some suggested, but not researched, beliefs about the origins of acrotomophilia. Experts offer a range of hypotheses as to how and why acrotomophilia develops; some posit the paraphilia is developed unconsciously during childhood. Others believe the origin of the paraphilia is unknown and not necessarily linked to childhood experiences.

Practice Of Acrotomophilia

Due to the stigma attached to acrotomophilia, individuals with this paraphilia tend to be secretive about their sexual preferences. While the practices of each acrotomophile vary widely, it appears that masturbatory fantasies related to amputees are most common. Some acrotomophiles seek out a person with an amputated body part and focus on their disability. Subsequently, some acrotomophiles have partners who are amputees or role-play the part of an amputee. According to case studies published in the scholarly literature, many partners with an amputated limb are not interested in the sexual attention that is based primarily on their amputated limb.

Body Integrity Identity Disorder

Related to the topic of acrotomophilia, there are individuals who wish to amputate a body part of their own, generally their limbs. These individuals are called apotemnophiles. Informally, acrotomophiles are widely referred to as “devotees,” while apotemnophiles are referred to as “wannabes.” In case studies published in the scholarly literature, apotemnophiles report not feeling whole with the body part they wish to amputate. Michael B. First, a researcher in the field, has identified the term body integrity identity disorder as an alternate and preferred term to describe apotemnophilia.

Some apotemnophiles may fantasize about being an amputee or pretend to be one to achieve sexual arousal; others may desire elective surgical amputations or pursue self-amputation. While few if any medical professionals are willing to perform voluntary amputations, apotemnophiles are left to their own resources to, in rare cases, carry out self-amputations using a variety of means. Often times, self-amputation attempts are unsuccessful in nonprofessional settings and result in emergency room visits, which, depending on the severity of the attempt, can result in a medically necessary professional amputation.

Bibliography:

  1. Elliott, C. (2000, December). A new way to be mad. Atlantic Monthly, 286, 72–84.
  2. Lawrence, A. A. (2006, June). Clinical and theoretical parallels between desire for limb amputation and gender identity disorder. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 35(3), 263–278.
  3. Wise, T. N., & Kalyanam, R. C. (2000). Amputee fetishism and genital mutilation: Case report and literature review. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 26, 339–344.
  4. Body Integrity Identity Disorder:

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