“I like to watch them struggle. To see them use their dead legs and floppy feet to even just climb into bed. It turns me on like nothing else can.”
This is a look inside the mind of someone with acrotomophilia–the concept of being sexually attracted to amputees–that is more common in society than one would like to think. Acrotomophilia does not only describe someone being aroused by the stumps of an amputated person but also by those suffering from paralysis, spasticity, the need to use a wheelchair or crutches, and even those with sensory impairments.
Those with this ‘condition’ do not necessarily want to see sexual acts but more so everyday tasks being hindered by the disability. Through my research I came across various articles and statements of amputees that have experienced encounters with acrotomophilia. One woman found it empowering and helped her to cope with the loss of her leg by participating in various chat rooms, encounters, and groups of those who sexually got off on her missing limb. It made her truly believe that “yes, [she] was in a wheelchair but [she] is still feminine and [her] body is still really sexy.” Yet soon after her honeymoon period of sexual encounters she found herself to still be lonely and grew to despise those with this strange fetish because they would do anything they could to get into a relationship. I have come across multiple testimonies of amputees that had someone essentially ‘catfish’ them into a relationship only to be used for the sexual gratification of their disability which left them with incredible emotional damage during their most vulnerable time.
Even the other side of the situation, those with the fetish, feel resentment and shame as well–hinting towards my main worry that this obsession is harming the community of the disabled–yet still continue their frowned upon actions. Part of the reason that they are attracted to them is the fact that something really bad happened to them and no one should feel good about that at all. Most of the fixations have stemmed from childhood events that entice the person to view the disabled as beautiful and sexual while other would just feel sorry for them. Positivity towards those who are minorities and have hard lives is something I incredibly agree with and base most of my community involvements around in my own life but when this positivity reaches the point of manipulation and deceit is when I draw the line. One woman who is an acrotomophilia claims that when she was in bed with her partner she couldn’t see his disability and this would turn her off and she would then have to look at his wheelchair or cane in order to climax. When countless amputees have to put out a front of “call me pretty but don’t call me a pretty cripple” just to try and obtain genuine sexual gratification and love something is not right. My question ponders what should be done about this, is it a crime? Is it bad? Is it something to turn our noses up at? Can anything even be done about this strange, demeaning, and sadly minute and under-represented hectoring.
There is also another side where people become sexually aroused by attempting to turn themselves into amputees. Here is a brief quote from an article explaining this side of disability fetishization.
“On one notable occasion he hammered a stainless steel rod into his left leg and then tried to infect the open wound by smearing it on facial acne mixed with anal and nasal mucous. When his leg showed serious signs of infection he reported it to the hospital. Unfortunately his attempt to force a doctor to amputate failed as antibiotic treatment cleared the infection up. “