Please, Take My Limbs
The sexual worship of stumps

You would think that having all of your limbs would make you feel complete. But for an apotemnophiliac or an acrotomophiliac, less is more. Acrotomophilia, or amputee love, is rare. These folks, sometimes called devotees, feel a sexual, ecstatic joy when fantasizing about or faced with a limbless person. In some extreme cases, that desire turns inward -- leading to the powerful urge to self-amputate (apotemnophilia).

See also...
... by M. Christian
... in the Crave section
... from August 2, 1999

Why would anyone voluntarily amputate a part of oneself? The amputee fixation and the desire to self-amputate can be attributed to people trying to get the love and affection they feel they're missing. As one man says, "When I was young, my mother used to see crippled kids and say 'Oh, that poor child.' I guess I just wanted that kind of sympathy and kindness, too."

There are a few other causes of this cutting-edge fetish: an eroticization of the stump or the desire for over-achievement despite a handicap. Thus, several times a year there are reports of perfectly healthy men and women who either find a doctor to perform this very unnecessary surgery or attempt it themselves. This is usually done by whatever means happens to be handy, or by infecting themselves and therefore giving a more reputable surgeon no recourse but to cut off the limb.

"I just didn't feel right," says one woman, who successfully worked to have part of her leg removed. "Now I feel like a real person."

For many with acrotomophilia, the desire becomes wildly sexual -- making it just about impossible for them to have good sex with anyone who has two arms or two legs. Fantasies can include caressing and making love to the stumps of missing limbs.

"I would spend hours," says a young woman with this outré fetish, "just thinking of caressing a man's stump: the way it would feel, smell and taste."

Sites such as Ampix allow devotees to share amputee pictures, stories, and even contact information -- so those missing limbs can find amputee aficionados.

While many devotees and self-amputators are not ashamed of their odd predilection, many express outrage that they might be considered homosexual. One fellow was even quite adamant that he might like to make love to the stumps of amputee women, and constantly masturbate to fantasies of being amputated himself, but he was absolutely straight. "I mean," he says, "I might be weird, but at least I'm not gay."

Apotemnophilia and acrotomophilia, while still pretty rare, get down to the very basics of sex: love, nourishment, and caretaking. And what better target or vehicle for such things than someone who's missing a limb or two?

M. Christian writes non-fiction and edits. His collection of short stories, Dirty Words, is due out in 2000 from Alyson Books. He has all his limbs.