Erotic likings come in many ways, attraction to amputees and amputations not excepted. As stated previously, there’s a touchy aspect in feeling attracted to amputations, and the attraction generally being rather specific makes it extra touchy. As far as I know, the reasons for this specificity are unknown, but they easily place devotee attraction in the corner of objectifying, and maybe with good reason. While attraction to slender, BBW, big breasts, red haired, oriental, shaven or whatever comes to mind here is generally pretty accepted, a devotee preference like a single high arm amputation is definitely at odds with that. At the same time it exists. Often within the crypts of secrecy, but it does. And I feel the need to discuss it.
I once read a book review of Ruth Madison’s novel “(W)hole” on Amazon. There, the reviewer appeared to take offense in the author letting her main character be excited by her disabled – paralysed in this case – boyfriend being unable to move his legs. Now, I’m not into ‘para-devoteeism’ myself but I can well imagine this to be a pretty essential part of the attraction. It’s also pretty exactly why it’s controversial, like my own attraction is controversial because I’m excited by a leg amputee being forced to adapt in walking with just one leg. It’s not that I’d actively wish her to have the amputation, I’m nonetheless attracted by it, and it does include every aspect of how to cope with it.
This is a point where various forms of this liking start to differ, though. I myself am not attracted by the amputee being disabled. I’m attracted by how it’s making her differently abled. My finding an amputee’s walking with crutches a beautiful thing to watch is – see my previous blog – largely esthetical, my finding it beautiful is however also in how she succeeds in overcoming the absense of her leg, not in how she’s being limited by it. The same goes for hopping, which I enjoy seeing because it demonstrates new and different ability.
I do know however this is not the case for every devotee, and personally I find ‘the kick of disability’ ethically dubious. It’s often seen with devotees having a preference for multiple amputees, with their becoming more dependent on help as a result of that seeming to add to a thrill essentially based in helplessness.
This may – I’m no expert there – touch upon similar likings seen in the world of BDSM. I’d be inclined to think though, the concept of choice and free will should be a crucial factor in the enjoyment of helplessness, and it’s not by definition as soon as (perceived) helplessness becomes irreversible, which is necessarily the case for an amputee. There is of course the choice of the amputee herself in this, which would make it mutual consent, when addressing this from the devotee’s perspective alone, I’m finding myself to have strong feelings of rejection here. I look at it as a perversion of pity and an unhealthy glorification of physical limitations, and in my view, that should never be part of an erotic attraction, at least not in any respectful enjoyment of it.
Please let it be clear that I know those seriously involved in BDSM to be extremely respectful of these rules of play, so I’m not in any way insinuating this community to be involved – nor wishing to – in what I consider to be a dubious side of amputee devoteeism. I’d say it makes the main reason for devotees being found perverts by amputees, very rightly so, and anyone seriously into BDSM will no doubt reject it as much as I do.
As with many things in BDSM – and not only there, perhaps -, there’s a thin line between taboo and forbidden and deep enjoyment, and I’d say the same goes for amputee devoteeism. Once it becomes grounded in mutual consent and other aspects considered necessary for serious sexuality and erotic enjoyment, its touch of forbiddenness can turn from rejectable to exciting. Obviously – I will repeat this over and over – there’s first the amputee to like as a person and then her amputation, but assuming that to be the case may well open the way to an enjoyment that will do good to the amputee as well as the one being erotically fascinated by her being one. And then, not even the specificity of the devotee attraction need be a problem anymore.
The forbidden aspect is also two-sided, I think. The unfortunately wide-spread societal perception that disabled people would be excluded from the pleasures of sexuality has an effect on disabled people themselves as well. I recently read about a congenital amputee’s revelation experience to see her stumps be included in sex, while – to me at least – the question ought to be why for god’s sake they shouldn’t be. Irrespective of an amputee’s opinion on devoteeism, I’d say she has a right like anyone else to see and have her body be part of sexual pleasures. Her body as it happens to look.
However, as soon as disability steps in, there’s also (perceived) taboo stepping in. An amputation is ‘bad’, which sort of lets it be instantly eliminated from anything having to do with pleasure. It’s ‘not done’, at least it’s often perceived as such. And while that’s a pity, also keep in mind that the wrongness of it is not just solved by those who happen to be attracted by it. As long as ‘the perfect body’ remains the societally dominant perception, self-esteem issues will be a part of how amputees look at themselves, and hence of how comfortable they’ll feel in excercising their right to a full (sexual) life. A devotee’s attraction may be a bit of a help here – and perhaps a bigger one within the privacy of a good relationship – any claim on their being a gift from heaven is a preposterous misperception of what this issue is about, both for the amputee as an individual and as a regrettable societal reality.
So, devotees are not saviours. More strongly, nobody’s waiting for us, at least not for us being a devotee. And those who would be, might actually be doing it for the wrong reason…