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Apotemnophilia is an erotic fetish where individuals become aroused or reach orgasm when they fantasize about themselves living as an amputee.
This phenomenon was first noted by psychologists Gregg Furth and John Money, who wrote about it in their 1977 article "Apotemnophilia: two cases of self-demand amputation as paraphilia." Medical and psychology academics often disagree about whether apotemnophilia is neurological or psychological. Most apotemnophiles are male, but female apotemnophiles have also been noted.
Apotemnophilia should not be confused with acrotomophilia, a fetish where individuals become aroused by other people who are amputees.
It’s not uncommon for some apotemnophiles to seek surgical removal of their limbs. However, as most medical practitioners won’t remove healthy limbs, many apotemnophiles purposely injure their limbs so that medical amputation is necessary. Many apotemnophiles also suffer from depression until their limb is removed. Paradoxically, most apotemnophiles who have their limb(s) removed report that they feel more "complete" once they become an amputee.
In most cases, apotemnophiles can trace their desires back to seeing an amputee during their childhood.
Apotemnophilia is often linked to Body Integrity Identity Disorder, where otherwise normal individuals long for the amputation of a healthy limb or limbs. However, some professionals suggest a real distinction between these two conditions, as apotemnophiles do not see their body parts as defective in any way. Instead, much like transsexual individuals, apotemnophiles simply feel as if they were born into the wrong bodies. Apotemnophilia also shares similarities with somatoparaphrenia, where an individual denies ownership of a limb or entire side of their own body.
While apotemnophilia has long been linked to sexual arousal, some apotemnophiles insist that sex has nothing to do with their condition. Instead, they classify it as a body-image disorder.