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Blog-nitive psychology: 500 articles and counting

It’s hard for me to believe that this is the 500th article that I have published on my personal blog. It’s also the shortest. I apologise that it is not about any particular topic but a brief look back at what my readers access when they come across my site. (Regular readers might recall I did the same thing back in October 2012 in an article I wrote called ‘Google surf: What does the search for sex online say about someone?’). As of August 26 (2014), my blog had 1,788,932 visitors and is something I am very proud of (as I am now averaging around 3,500 visitors a day). As I write this blog, my most looked at page is my blog’s home page (256,262 visitors) but as that changes every few days this doesn’t really tell me anything about people like to access on my site.

Below is a list of all the blogs that I have written that have had over 10,000 visitors (and just happens to be 25 articles exactly).

The first thing that struck me about my most read about articles is that they all concern sexual fetishes and paraphilias (in fact the top 30 all concern sexual fetishes and paraphilias – the 31st most read article is one on coprophagia [7,250 views] with my article on excessive nose picking being the 33rd most read [6,745 views]). This obviously reflects either (a) what people want to read about, and/or (b) reflect issues that people have in their own lives.

I’ve had at least five emails from readers who have written me saying (words to the effect of) “Why can’t you write what you are supposed to write about (i.e., gambling)?” to which I reply that although I am a Professor of Gambling Studies, I widely research in other areas of addictive behaviour. I simply write about the extremes of human behaviour and things that I find of interest. (In fact, only one article on gambling that I have written is in the top 100 most read articles and that was on gambling personality [3,050 views]). If other people find them of interest, that’s even better. However, I am sometimes guided by my readers, and a small but significant minority of the blogs I have written have actually been suggested by emails I have received (my blogs on extreme couponing, IVF addiction, loom bandsornithophilia, condom snorting, and haircut fetishes come to mind).

Given this is my 500th article in my personal blog, it won’t come as any surprise to know that I take my blogging seriously (in fact I have written academic articles on the benefits of blogging and using blogs to collect research data [see ‘Further reading’ below] and also written an article on ‘addictive blogging’!). Additionally (if you didn’t already know), I also have a regular blog column on the Psychology Today website (‘In Excess’), as well as regular blogging for The Independent newspaper, The Conversation, GamaSutra, and Rehabs.com. If there was a 12-step ‘Blogaholics Anonymous’ I might even be the first member.

“My name is Mark and I am a compulsive blogger”

Dr. Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Griffiths, M.D. (2012). Blog eat blog: Can blogging be addictive? April 23. Located at: http://drmarkgriffiths.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/blog-eat-blog-can-blogging-be-addictive/

Griffiths, M.D. (2012). Stats entertainment: A review of my 2012 blogs. December 31. Located at: http://drmarkgriffiths.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/stats-entertainment-a-review-of-my-2012-blogs/

Griffiths, M.D. (2013). How writing blogs can help your academic career. Psy-PAG Quarterly, 87, 39-40.

Griffiths, M.D. (2013). Stats entertainment (Part 2): A 2013 review of my personal blog. December 31. Located at: http://drmarkgriffiths.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/stats-entertainment-part-2-a-2013-review-of-my-personal-blog/

Griffiths, M.D. (2014). Top tips on…Writing blogs. Psy-PAG Quarterly, 90, 13-14.

Griffiths, M.D. (2014). Blogging the limelight: A personal account of the benefit of excessive blogging. May 8. Located at: http://drmarkgriffiths.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/blogging-the-limelight-a-personal-account-of-the-benefits-of-excessive-blogging/

Griffiths, M.D., Lewis, A., Ortiz de Gortari, A.B. & Kuss, D.J. (2014). Online forums and blogs: A new and innovative methodology for data collection. Studia Psychologica, in press.

Blind faith: A brief overview of amaurophilia

“I have a blindness fetish. It’s something I’ve been obsessed with it all my life. Also, I would consider my sexual orientation to be asexual. I’m really not at all turned on by guys and I have no interest in sex – in fact, it honestly disgusts me. However, when indulging in my fetish, I do masturbate” (Susan at All Experts)

According to Dr.Anil Aggrawal in his 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices amaurophilia is a sexual paraphilia where the individual derives sexual pleasure and arousal “by a partner who is blind or unable to see due to artificial means such as being blindfolded or having sex in total darkness”. A similar definition of amaurophilia was provided by Dr. Brenda Love in her Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices who simply defined it as “a preference for a blind or blindfolded sex partner”.  She also added one exclusion criterion that if both partners are blind, then it wouldn’t be classed as amaurophilia. Dr. Love also made reference to a similar paraphilia called lygerastia, which refers to those individuals who derive sexual pleasure and arousal only in darkness. The critical similarity in both of these is that the individuals in question are sexually aroused by sexual partners who are unable to see them.

Amaurophilia is yet another paraphilia where there has been no academic and/or clinical research most probably because the focus of sexual arousal is fairly innocuous and it is highly unlikely people would come forward wanting any kind of treatment (i.e., amaurophiles are likely to live with their sexual preference without any problem). Most of what is known appears to be somewhat anecdotal. Brenda Love also wrote that:

“Amaurophilia usually manifests itself by an inhibition of sight with either one or both partners using a blindfold or having sex in total darkness. This might be caused by reasons such as religious guilt about nudity and sex, low self-esteem, or feelings of inadequacy. Other amaurophiles may have become conditioned to respond sexually only when a partner is asleep or has their eyes closed. They may have had childhood experiences of sex with siblings who were either sleeping or feigning sleep. Necrophiles also may be aroused by their partners keeping their eyes closed, but would further require a lack of movement”.

Much of this – while plausible – appears to be highly speculative. The comments about “childhood experience of sex with siblings” is unlikely to be a common factor among amaurophiles and in papers that I have read on sex between siblings, I have never seen a single reference to amaurophilia as a consequence. The comments in relation to sexual arousal while someone is asleep (i.e., somnophilia) and necrophilia again have no basis in empirical evidence (although I did talk about the psychological and behavioural overlaps between somnophilia and necrophilia in previous blogs). Dr. Love also notes that there may be other medical conditions that underlie amauarophilia. For instance:

“There is also a natural physical condition that causes people discomfort when attempting sex under bright lights. This discomfort can be great enough to interfere with some people’s sexual performance. An advantage of darkness is that tactile stimulation can reach the greatest sensitivity when all other senses are inhibited, particularly light”

Other online sources note that amaurophilia is extremely rare and that for some people, the simulation and/or role-playing of having sex with someone who is blind is also a sexual turn-on. This can be achieved with a wide range of accessories including sleep shades, blindfolds, eye patches, and/or or vision-restricting contact lenses. Furthermore, partners may swap roles.  One short online article claimed that:

“Some amaurophiliacs may even extend this play outside of sex through the use of blindfolds or contact lenses in conjunction with a white cane for mobility. Some amaurophiliacs may choose to learn Braille in order to enhance their experience during play sessions”.

This type of behaviour (if true – and I have yet to find any empirical evidence that it is) is very similar to the psychology and behaviour of ‘pretenders’ of the ‘DPW’ typology (i.e., “devotees, pretenders and wannabes”) that I wrote about previously in relation to apotemnophilia (i.e., those who derive sexual pleasure and arousal from the thought of being an amputee). Much of the psychology here is about the one-to-one attention that being disabled can bring and has been linked to factitious disability disorders such as Munchausen’s Syndrome. Should amaurophiles be like apotemnophiles, and based on the research of Dr. Robert Bruno, Director of the Post-Polio Institute (New Jersey, US) I would expect the following DPW characteristics:

  • Devotees would be non-blind people who are sexually attracted to people who are blind, typically those with obvious signs of blindness (i.e., use of white cane, guide dog, and/or dark glasses).
  • Pretenders would non-blind people who act as if they are blind by using assistive devices (e.g., white cane). This may be done in private or in public so that they can ‘feel’ blind or are perceived by others as being blind.
  • Wannabes would be people who actually want to become blind, going to extraordinary lengths to achieve it (e.g., self-enucleation). (There are clinical and medical cases of enucleation but none of those I have read are amaurophilia-related).

As with most other ‘niche’ fetishes and paraphilia, online communities of like-minded individuals have developed such as the Blind-Fetish Live Journal and the Blind One’s websites. Their page is “devoted to those with an interested in blindness and blindfolds from an erotic point of view”. The site’s founder informs readers that if they think amaurophilia “ is weird or sick, you don’t have to look at this page. I feel a bit weird about it myself, but for some reason I am really turned on by blind or blindfolded women”. Here are some insights I have come across online from self-confessed amaurophiles:

  • Extract 1: “For me, although I do enjoy blindfolding and being blindfolded, I am specifically interested in blind people. I don’t know why I feel that way. I’ve read that people who are attracted to the disabled are trying to save people they perceive as helpless. I don’t feel that way, and I don’t treat blind people like they’re helpless. I know they’re not, and I probably screw up sometimes, because everything you do is bound to offend someone, but I try to treat everyone the same… At some point, though, when I was young, a blind person or fictional character probably just had a big effect on me. Blindness just became another trait that I enjoy, like dark hair, and blind people are just as likely to love sex and be kinky as someone with dark hair”
  • Extract 2: “My particular interest deals with limitations of vision. All my life, I have found the experience of wearing a blindfold or some similar item to be very enjoyable. A couple of years ago, when I found that I needed glasses to see properly, I began to develop more of an interest in blindness”
  • Extract 3: I also have a blindness fetish. I would like to find someone who would agree to wear contacts that made them blind so that I could watch them try to make their way around without sight. I would also enjoy hurting them without them being able to see when it was coming. I might make him complete tasks for me blind so I could watch him struggle. With contacts instead of a blindfold I could still fully see their facial expressions, which are very important to me. Then I would be aroused enough to have sex with them. I would want them to still wear the contacts during sex so I was in complete control”

Unfortunately, very few of the accounts I have come across give any real indication as to how their blindness fetish developed. Should empirical research be carried out, the etiology and motivations for blindness fetishes would certainly be an obvious place to start.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

All Experts (2012). Fetishism/Amaurophilia. February 22. Located at: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Fetishism-2835/2012/2/amaurophilia.htm

Bruno, R.L. (1997). Devotees, pretenders and wannabes: Two cases of Factitious Disability Disorder. Journal of Sexuality and Disability, 15, 243-260.

Bukhanovsky, A.O., Hempel, A., Ahmed, W., Meloy, J.R, Brantley, A,C., Cuneo, D, Gleyzer, R., & Felthous, A.R. (1999). Assaultive eye injury and enucleation. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 27, 590-602.

First, M.B. (2005). Desire for amputation of a limb: Paraphilia, psychosis, or a new type of identity disorder. Psychological Medicine, 35, 919–928.

Love, B. (1992). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books.

Wikibin (2012). Amaurophilia. Located at: http://wikibin.org/articles/amaurophilia.html

Ready, teddy, go: A beginner’s guide to ursusagalmatophilia

Teddy bears and sex are two things that rarely appear in the same sentence. (Having said that, the film Ted was recently described in one film review as “rude, crude and lewd. We don’t expect our teddy bears to be like that, but foul language, weed smoking and promiscuous sex are all in a day’s work/play for the title creature in Ted”). However, earlier this year, there were many news reports of a 28-year old American man called Charles Marshall who was arrested for the fourth time since 2010 for being seen by a number of eyewitnesses having sex in public with a teddy bear in Ohio. On this latest occasion he was caught in an alleyway masturbating with a teddy bear near to where he could have been seen by children. His first arrest was back in February 2010 when he was caught masturbating with a stuffed animal in a public library toilet.  In late 2010 he was caught having sex with a teddy bear for a second time and Marshall admitted in court that having sex with stuffed teddy bears had been “an ongoing problem”. This appeared to be true as in August 2011 he was caught in public yet again having sex with a teddy bear.

This type of sexual behaviour is known as plushophilia and is something I looked at briefly in a previous blog. According to Dr. Anil Aggrawal’s 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices, plushophilia is defined as a “sexual attraction to stuffed toys or people in animal costume, such as theme park characters”. However, as I also mentioned in that article, other online sources simply define plushophilia as a sexual paraphilia involving stuffed animals (particularly those people who are self-confessed plushophiles). The reason I am focusing in on sex with teddy bears is because there is actually a paraphilia that solely relates to deriving sexual pleasure and arousal from teddy bears known as ursusagalmatophilia. The online Urban Dictionary simply defines ursusagalmatophilia as “the fetish for teddy bears”.This is not only a sub-type of plushophilia but also (given the name of the paraphilia) appears to be a sub-type of agalmatophilia (in which individuals derive sexual arousal from an attraction to statues, dolls, mannequins and/or other similar body shaped objects) – a paraphilia I also wrote about in a previous blog. Interestingly, there are now press reports surfacing that the titular hero of the film Ted is becoming a sex symbol for plushophiles.

I ought to add at this point that when it comes to teddy bears, I probably know more than most people would care to admit as (a) my mother and aunt had a teddy bear shop in the town I grew up in (The House of Bruin in Loughborough, England) when I was younger, (b) my uncle [Frank Webster] is a renowned teddy bear maker, and (c) my aunt [Sue Webster] used to write a regular column in the Teddy Bear Times magazine. Most lovers of teddy bears have no sexual inclinations towards them at all and their hobby is known as arctophily. (However, in some circles, arctophilia is viewed as a sub-type of zoophilia and includes humans having sex with real bears).

As far as I can ascertain, there is no academic or clinical research on ursusagalmatophilia, although as the newspaper story on Charles Marshall (above) highlights, it does appear to exist, even if it is rare. It is also featured in most online lists of top 10 or top 20 weirdest fetishes and paraphilias (such as the ones as Coed Magazine, Pop Crunch, Dating Dish, Paraphilia Dramatica, Plucky Charms)

I’ve searched every database I can think of to get some information about teddy bear fetishes but there really isn’t a lot out there. You can certainly buy teddy bear fetish fiction on legitimate sites such as Amazon (such as Jade Scott’s short story – Taming My Teddy Bear: An Erotic Story) but it’s hard to know if such fiction is based on anything other than one person’s fantasy or whether it’s written from the position of personal experience. In one of the few online articles about ursusagalmatophilia, Toddy English wrote about her relationship with Adam, an ursusagalmatophile:

“He started showing me pictures of all these teddy bears. The photos of the Teddy Bears were really cute. I just found it bizarre that all of his wallet photos were of teddy bears. One of them was of him sitting on his bed surrounded by Teddy bears. Adam also had a picture of a really big bear (life-sized) that he named Robbie.I thought nothing about it, initially. It seemed innocent enough…That was until he told me what he liked to do with those damn bears. [Adam] got aroused having oral and anal copulation with ‘Robbie’…He further elaborated that he had been in actual threesomes with Robbie…At first I thought he was playing. But as he continued his expression never changed. Adam was being for real. Hell, the way he discussed it he LOOKED like he was getting turned on…I asked Adam had he ever had sex without a bear around. He answered honestly and said no”

Again, this is a second-hand account based on one person’s perception of another person’s behaviour. The first person account presented by English again suggests teddy bear fetishes exist, but there is no third party verification. Unless a person’s fetish becomes a criminal behaviour (like that of Charles Marshall), the behaviour is unlikely to be the topic of scientific investigation any time soon.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Evans, K. (2008). The furry sociological survey. Located at: http://www.furrysociology.net/report.htm

FoxWolfie Galen’s Plushie Page (2012). Definitions. Located at: http://www.velocity.net/~galen/furrydef.html

Hill, D. (2000). Cuddle time: In the world of plushophiles, not all stuffed animals are created equal. Salon, June 19. Located at: http://www.salon.com/2000/06/19/plushies/

Peltzman, L. (2012). Ted’s titular bear is a sex symbol to some, an abomination to others. Gawker, June 30. Located at: http://gawker.com/5922604/teds-titular-bear-is-a-sex-symbol-to-some-an-abomination-to-others

Rust, D.J. (2001). The sociology of furry fandom. Located at: http://www.visi.com/~phantos/furrysoc.html

Show, C. (2012). Man arrested for the fourth time for having sex with a teddy bear in public. Daily Mail, June 15. Located at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2160017/Man-arrested-FOURTH-time-having-sex-teddy-bear-public.html

Wiki Fur (2012). Plushophilia. Located at: http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Plushophilia

Dressed to thrill: A brief look at clothing fetishes

Earlier this year, the Huffington Post reported a story that got me thinking about the relationship between clothing and sexual arousal. The news item reported that an ‘intimacy dress’ had been designed by Daan Roosegaarde that detects when the person wearing it is feeling aroused. It was reported that:

“The futuristic ‘Intimacy 2.0’ design is made of hi-tech fabric, leather and opaque e-foils and becomes transparent when it ‘detects’ a quickening heartbeat. The technical dress, dubbed ‘techno-poetry’ by the designer himself, operates with the help of wireless technology, LEDs and various electronics. Talking about his saucy design, Roosegaarde told the Daily Mail that ‘Intimacy 2.0 is a fashion project exploring the relation between intimacy and technology. Technology is used here not merely functional but also as a tool to create intimacy as well as privacy on a direct, personal level which in our contemporary tech society is becoming increasingly important’”.

Whether the dress serves any real practical purpose is debatable but clothes have long been a source (in and of themselves) as a source of sexual arousal and fetishization. In fact, the term ‘fetish fashion’ has now permeated into popular usage and related to any style or appearance in the form of a type of clothing and/or accessory that has been created to be deliberately extreme and/or provocative.

Clothing fetishes are sexual fetishes where individuals derive sexual arousal and pleasure from either (i) viewing or imagining very specific items of clothing, (ii) viewing or imagining a set of clothes (e.g., a particular uniform or fashion look), and/or (iii) individuals (themselves or others) wearing the clothing item or uniform. As with other fetishes, the item that the individual has fixated upon normally has to be present for sexual arousal to occur. The source of the arousal may also depend on the material from which the clothing items are made and/or the function of the clothing on the person wearing them (e.g., clothes that may restrict a person’s movement, or may accentuate a particular attribute of the body). Some clothing fetishists also collect particular clothing items.

In a previous blog on fetishism, I wrote at length about a study led by Dr G. Scorolli (University of Bologna, Italy) on the relative prevalence of different fetishes using online fetish forum data. It was estimated (very conservatively in the authors’ opinion), that their sample size comprised at least 5000 fetishists because fetishists may be subscribed to many fetish forums (but was likely to be a lot more). Their analysis included a breakdown of sexual preferences for objects associated with the body including clothing. Excluding footwear – which is associated more specifically with podophilia (i.e., foot fetishism) – the results of the study showed that the most fetishized items of clothing were underwear (12%; 10,046 fetishists), whole body wear such as coats, uniforms (9%, 9434 fetishists), upper body wear such as jackets, waistcoats (9%, 9226 fetishists), and head and neckwear such as hats, ties (3%, 2357 fetishists). From this particular study, the authors concluded that the most common clothing fetishes are footwear, underwear (including swimwear), and uniforms.

Clothing fetishes are known to overlap with other sexual paraphilias including transvestite fetishism, sexual sadism and sexual masochism. Obviously it is the restrictive types of clothing that are most associated with sadomasochistic activity (and which are often made from PVC or latex). This includes very narrow skirts that impede movement (often referred to as hobble skirts that are often ankle length to make walking almost impossible), and very high heel shoes (which make it difficult to walk). Another popular item of restrictive clothing is a tight corset. Those individuals in sexually submissive roles are often forced to wear a bondage corsets (also known as a ‘discipline corset’) as a form of punishment. This is also associated the masochistic sexual practice of ‘tightlacing’ (also known as corset training and waist training) where submissive partners (typically female) are forced to wear a tightly-laced corset that result in extreme body modifications to the submissive partner’s figure and posture (e.g., ‘hourglass’ figures in which the woman looks as though they have an incredibly small waist).

Kevin Almond (University of Huddersfield) published a conference paper investigating how the body has been distorted through the cut and construction of fashionable clothing. He noted that fetishists cover their bodies in rubber cat suits or are restricted by corsetry, and that the clothing promotes levels of sexual desire and satisfaction. Valerie Steele also makes an interesting observation in her 1996 book Fetish, Fashion, Sex and Power that”

“The corset, like the shoe, was one of the first items of clothing to be treated as a fetish, and it remains one of the most important fetish fashions. But it is crucial to distinguish between ordinary fashionable corsetry, as practiced by most nineteenth century women and the very different minority practice of fetishist tight lacing”.

Excluding footwear fetishes (which are very prevalent), there are many other particular types of clothing fetish. The most well known are arguable stocking and suspender fetishes, and uniform fetishes (for instance, a woman dressing up as a nurse or a man dressing up as fireman) which I will look at in future blogs. However, there are other less reported clothing fetishes including sock fetishes, denim jean fetishes, and coat/jacket fetishes. For instance, the Wikipedia entry on jacket fetishism makes the following observations (although none of them are referenced so there are issues around to what extent the information is reliable):

“Jacket fetishism in its pure form is most usually associated with padded nylon jackets though can be associated with leather jackets, particularly in association with bondage (BDSM). Jacket fetishists are generally (but not necessarily) male and gay in the 20 to 45 age range. The fetish often revolves around the feel and look of the nylon though can also relate to elements such as: padding thickness, nylon shiny through wear, orange lining (a well known element), dirty nylon (through normal wear or sexual use), and ripping the nylon. Part of the muddy/dirty fetish can also include getting jackets dirty and then ripping them up… Whilst jacket fetishism does not have the widespread popularity of other fetishes like bondage, it is a popular niche fetish and has numerous successful websites and discussion/picture groups dedicated to it”. 

A 1999 paper by Kathleen O’Donnell in Advances in Consumer Research examined the consumption of fetish fashion and the sexual empowerment of women in a qualitative interview study involving five women self-identifies as followers of fetish fashion. O’Donnell’s conclusions were interesting and perhaps surprising: Each of them spoke of the changes in posture that occurred as they slipped into their stilettos, their corsets or their latex dresses. By forcing them to stand tall, chest held high, the fetish gear instilled in them a sense of self-confidence that many indicated they had previously lacked. As they appeared more confident, self assured, and sexy, they also experienced increased attention from others, which further increased those feelings of self-confidence. Ultimately, fetish fashions gave these women the mechanism to tap into the power of their own sexuality and for that they seemed grateful”.

This is certainly area that would benefit from more empirical research

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Almond, K. (2009) ‘You Have to Suffer for Fashion’: An investigation into how the body has been distorted through the cut and construction of fashionable clothing. IFFTI Journal of Conference Proceedings (pp. 197-210).

Hazell, K. (2012). Dress ‘Becomes Transparent When Wearer Is Sexually Aroused’. Huffington Post, April 5. Located at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/05/intimacy-dress-transparent-aroused_n_1405917.html

Kunzle, D. (2006). Fashion & Fetishism: Corsets, Tight-Lacing and Other Forms of Body-Sculpture. London: The History Press.

Kathleen A. O’Donnell (1999). Good girls gone bad: The consumption of fetish fashion and the sexual empowerment of women. In Advances in Consumer Research Volume 26, eds. Eric J. Arnould and Linda M. Scott, Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 184-189.

Scorolli, C., Ghirlanda, S., Enquist, M., Zattoni, S. & Jannini, E.A. (2007). Relative prevalence of different fetishes. International Journal of Impotence Research, 19, 432-437.

Steele, V, (1996), Fetish, Fashion, Sex and Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wikipedia (2012). Fetish fashion. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetish_fashion

Wikipedia (2012). Jacket fetishism. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jacket_fetishism&oldid=115173167

Something to get animated about: A brief overview of toonophilia

While researching previous blogs on the Furry Fandom (i.e., those individuals who derive sexual pleasure from dressing up as an animal and/or derive sexual pleasure from having sex with someone dressed as an animal) and objectum sexuality (i.e., those individuals who develop deep emotional and/or romantic attachments to specific inanimate objects or structures), I kept coming across various online references to toonophilia.

Toonophilia is a sexual paraphilia in which individuals are sexually and/or emotionally attracted to cartoon characters (including Japanese anime characters). There are a number of slightly different definitions found online some of which claim that toonophilia only applies to those individuals whose primary or exclusive sexual interest is in cartoon characters. There also appears to be other similar paraphilias such as fictophilia (in which individuals are romantically and/or sexually attracted to fictional characters in books) and gameophilia (in which individuals are romantically and/or sexually attracted to fictional video game characters such as Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft). One website claimed that toonophilia is seen as a life-style and that “due to the absence of physical contacts between humans and cartoon characters” most toonophiles’ sexual activity (unsurprisingly) comprises masturbation.

I’ve only come across one academic reference to toonophilia and that was in a comprehensive list of paraphilias in the 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices by Dr.Anil Aggrawal (Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India). However, there is nothing more than a one-line definition. The same book also notes that tooniphilia is also known by another name – schediaphilia. I also checked out Brenda Love’s (normally very reliable and all encompassing) Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices but there was nothing on toonophilia at all.

One of the most infamous toonophiles is cartoonist and comic book artist Robert Crumb who has gone on record saying that as a youngster he was sexually attracted to Bugs Bunny when he was dressed in drag. More specifically he said:

When I – what was it – about five or six? – I was sexually attracted to Bugs Bunny. And I – I cut out this Bugs Bunny off the cover of a comic book and carried it around with me. Carried it around in my pocket and took it out and looked at it periodically, and – and it got all wrinkled up from handling it so much that I asked my mother to iron it on the ironing board to flatten it out, and – and she did, and I was deeply disappointed ’cause it got all brown when she ironed it, and brittle, and crumbled apart”

In one of the regular polls carried out on the Deviant Art website, 58 “deviants” responded to the poll “Do you have toonophilia?” with 60% responding that they did (n=35), 14% responding “not really” (n=14), and 16% responding “sort of”. Yes, I know it’s not scientific and it’s a very small number of respondents, but that was the only numerical data of any description I could find. An article in a 2008 issue of the Huffington Post reported that some toonophiles wanted to make their relationships with cartoon characters official. They reported that the Toonophile Planet website were offering marriage certificates (assuming the character was not already married to another toonophile). At the Go Petition website, there is a genuine petition asking for relationships and marriages between humans and cartoon characters to be made legal. The petition said:

“Toonophilia is a growing belief. Not only do our kind love cartoon/videogame characters, we feel their presence and our love for them are as real as you and I. Toonophiles are registering marriages to their virtual lovers on the Internet and the number of virtual marriage certificates are growing. An example of toonophile oriented websites are: www.sonic-passion.com, www.toonophilia.net. These marriage certificates sadly are only virtual. We desire to have “legal” marriage certificates with our name and loved one’s name written on it. I have never been interested in relationships with real people and am only interested in virtuality. This petition will be sent to the BBC as soon as enough signatures have been signed. We the undersigned request that you allow the marriage between Humans and virtual cartoon/videogame characters be permitted in the UK”

The Huffington Post article also noted that other websites (like the ToonsPortal) featured obscene and/or pornographic images and videos of many different cartoon characters (like The Flintstones) having sex. In March 2012, Willow Monroe wrote an online essay about toonophilia. There was nothing to back up what was written but she claimed that:

“Sexy for the Toonophile need not be a blatantly erotic character like Jessica Rabbit, or Betty Boop, rather, the subject of affection and desire can be any animated or sketched figure from Bugs Bunny, to Ms Pacman. Toonophiles are known to carry pictures of their adored character and even collect the plush toy and figurine versions of them. Some Toonophile friendly sites even allow members to wed their preferred character, provided that character is unspoken for.There is an abundance of sites on the web that cater to this fetishist’s fantasies. A range of characters can be watched performing pretty well every – and any – kind of sexual act imaginable. By far the most popular form of cartoon pornography on the internet is served up courtesy of the Japanese anime market. The pornographic cartoons in the anime style are casually called Hentai. The word’s etymology gives insight into what the original artists of this style thought of their work, as the word can be translated as ‘perversion’”

I spent an idle hour scouring toonophile forums and I came across dozens of people claiming to be in love and/or having longstanding sexual relationships with cartoon characters.For instance, here are a few (genuine) confessions and just the tip of the iceberg:

  • “I think I have schediaphilia because whenever I watch a show with the particular anime character I like, my heart beats like crazy. I can almost hear it beat and my stomach does a flipping thing, and I even have sexual dreams about that character. I have a full on crush on this anime character”
  • I’m the neighborhood toonophile. I’ve known I’m one for a good 4 years now, but even long back into my childhood days when I didn’t even realize it. I’ve always had a fascination with cartoon characters, and it just grew in my adulthood. Can’t really explain it to most people because they’ll be like ‘whaaa?’ and some don’t even think it’s a real thing, but it really is honestly. I can’t really find attraction in real people. I honestly get sick to the stomach at the thought of having sex with a real person, it’s just not my thing, but with a certain character like Beast from Beauty and the Beast, it’s a real turn on for me”
  • “Ever since I was 15 I fell in love with a cartoon character by the name of Amy Rose [a character in the Sonic The Hedghog video game]. To this day I am still in love with her and share my life with her. Most of you will think ‘what a loser, loving a fictional character. Get a real girlfriend’. But Amy makes me happy, so let’s leave it at that”
  • “I am a Toonophiliac or should I say fictosexual since I’m attracted to fictional characters and not just toons. I just noticed that I wasn’t attracted to real people but that I had sexual and relationship fantasies about fictional characters. I imagine myself with a fictional character, having a relationship then having sex. Depending upon the character, it might be more sexual or more relationship based. One day it’s one, the other day it’s another. It’s like polygamy, but none of them are jealous and there’s no risk of getting a disease or ending up pregnant”
  • “I have no idea how it finally clicked, other than a strong fascination with cartoon characters since childhood that sort of matured with me. It’s physical for me too, of course – things like ponies or Beast or cartoon dragons or Pokemon or Digimon. They’re literally physically attractive to me in their base state. I think part of the appeal to me is that, by being attracted to characters that by definition don’t necessarily confine to reality like that, it lends itself to more ‘creative’ or ‘unrealistic’ fetishes too”
  • “Ever since I was 15 I fell in love with a cartoon character by the name of Amy Rose [a character in the Sonic The Hedghog video game]. To this day I am still in love with her and share my life with her. Most of you will think ‘what a loser, loving a fictional character. Get a real girlfriend’. But Amy makes me happy, so let’s leave it at that”

From my research into video game playing, I can certainly see echoes of toonophilia among younger players when looking at video game characters such as Lara Croft. In previous articles, I have asked myself what explains Lara’s immense popularity. At one level this may seem fairly obvious – she’s a big-breasted digital icon. However, most Tomb Raider players aren’t lusting adolescents. I questioned a group of players and asked them about why Tomb Raider was such a good game. The single most important factor appeared to be the problem-solving component as part of the treasure hunt genre. Her physical attributes didn’t seem to be important for most players apart from the youngest teenagers. Maybe it’s among this group of teenage video game players where some toonophile tendencies begin to develop?

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Griffiths, M.D. (1998). Shrink Rap: The Croft Report. Arcade, 1 (November), p. 49.

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

McCombs, E. (2008). Toonophilia: Is it porn? Huffington Post, October 1st. Located at: http://www.asylum.com/2008/10/01/toonophilia-is-it-porn/

Monroe, W. (2012). Fetish of the Week: Schediaphilia (Toonophilia). ZZ Insider, March 12. Located at: http://www.zzinsider.com/blogs/view/fetish_of_the_week_schediaphilia_toonophilia

Space invaders: A brief overview of claustrophilia

A couple of months ago, the print and broadcast media were full of reports about the inquest of Gareth Williams, the British spy who was found dead in his rented London flat, naked, and padlocked inside a North Face duffel bag in August 2010. However, some of the reports concentrated on whether the fact he was found dead in a small bag, was an indication that he was a claustrophile. The inquest heard that he had an interest in bondage websites, but this was only a very small part of his internet browsing history. The coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, declared his death as “unnatural”.

According to Dr. Anil Aggrawal in his book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices, claustrophilia is a paraphilia in which individuals derive sexual pleasure and arousal from being confined in small places. The online Urban Dictionary defines claustrophlia slightly differently as individuals deriving sexual gratification from sexual intercourse in tight spaces. There are other sources that use the word ‘claustrophilia’ simply to mean “a love of small spaces” without any sexual element attached to it. For instance, the science fiction author Isaac Asimov was a self-confessed claustrophile. Citing from Asimov’s autobiography (I, Asimov: A Memoir), Asimov’s Wikipedia entry noted that:

He enjoyed small, enclosed spaces. In the first volume of his autobiography, he recalls a childhood desire to own a magazine stand in a New York City Subway station, within which he could enclose himself and listen to the rumble of passing trains while reading”.

In the wake of the Gareth Williams story, Anneli Rufus was asked to write an article on claustrophilia for both Psychology Today and The Daily Beast. Rufus’ article in Psychology Today (‘Turned on by tight spaces’) described claustrophilia as an extreme form of bondage whose adherents are aroused by total encasement in tight spaces such as boxes, bags, cages, caskets, and car trunks”. The press started to speculate whether Williams’ death was a claustrophilic sexual misadventure that went wrong (and according to Rufus’ article, there was some evidence that Williams was “interested in this fetish”). Rufus’ first asked Carol Queen (a sex educator from San Francisco, US) speculated that the sexual thrill in claustrophilia “could stem from a sense of helplessness (a staple among the bondage-discipline-submission-masochism set), or from altered breathing, which gives a sense of being high”. Alternatively, she said it could be associated with proprioception (“the body’s experience of itself in space”).

Rufus then interviewed Cornell University’s Professor Cary Howie (whose book 2009 book – Claustrophilia: The Erotics of Enclosure in Medieval Literature – I first came across over a year ago). As a literary academic, Professor Howie examined the fetishistic elements of claustrophilia in relation prose and poetry. Professor Howie told Rufus that the motivation for claustrophilia concerned “the use of space to intensify desire [and] small spaces from which we cannot escape make us hyperaware that we have bodies”. I’m not convinced that this would explain sexual desire in claustrophiles but given he’s written a book about this (and I haven’t) I’m not really in a position to criticize.

For the article in The Daily Beast (“Did claustrophilia kill U.K. spy Gareth Williams?”), Rufus used slightly different quotes from the same interview with Carol Queen.

“Gas masks and hoods could be considered related, I think. I once attended a fetish party in the Hollywood Hills at which a dominatrix put her client into a full-body cast, clearly a variant of claustrophilia…There’s helplessness: the neurological turn-on is probably related to proprioception, the body’s experience of itself in space…And there is likely a rush from doing it because it’s extreme. It would also powerfully alter the breath, which would give a feeling like being high…It’s even possible that part of the thrill [is] being left by that other person and then the idea would be that they’d return to let him out. Clearly this could go wrong. Having someone to monitor you would be imperative. As with autoerotic asphyxiation, there’s a level of altered state with this kind of play, as well as physical stress, that could leave a participant doing it alone unable to save him – or herself if necessary. Prior discussion about how to communicate if the claustrophilic individual couldn’t speak would also be very important”.

Rufus also contacted the American [bondage-wear company Winter Fetish (WF) based in Seattle who make and sell straitjackets, vinyl hobble dresses, and Spandex ‘sleepsacks” (“sock-like skintight enclosures that zip up in back from the shins to the top of the head”). Those who buy sleepsacks use them to facilitate feelings of helplessness – one of the bedrocks of BDSM (i.e., bondage, discipline, submission, sado/masochism). Tonya Winter, one of the WF designers told Rufus that:

“The sleepsacks have internal sleeves so that the captive cannot protect or pleasure themselves. There are also access zippers that make the captive’s most sensitive areas available, should the captor desire. [Also] the tight fit can cause some people to experience a sense of calm”.

Rufus claims that the type of closed space preferred by claustrophiles varies from person to person but that getting into enclosed from which it may be impossible to escape is the primary goal. Rufus also writes about an online forum for claustrophiles called ‘Trunk Stories’ (TS). Rufus made the following observations in relation to the TS website:

“[The TS forum] features pictures of smiling people curled up in car trunks, waiting eagerly to be locked inside. The “Locker Fun” group asks potential members: ‘Were you ever locked in a locker at school? Or did you think it fun to lock others inside lockers?…Would you like to relive those fun school locker pranks?” The ‘Bagged’ group beckons fans of ‘the romance, escape artistry, or kidnap fantasy of being put into a burlap or canvas sack. Perhaps bound and gagged and spirited off to some hideaway’”.

Another closely related paraphilia to claustrophilia would appear to be taphephilia, Dr. Aggrawal defines taphephilia as deriving sexual pleasure and arousal from being buried alive. I have to say that when I first read about this paraphilia I had major doubts about it’s existence until I came across groups such as the Six Feet Under Club and the Buried Stories website. As the home pages of these sites assert:

  • Extract 1: “Buried or burial whilst still alive is a nightmare to some but a joy or fetish to others. The desire to be boxed, bagged and buried is a great turn on for many. The feeling of utter helplessness as the sounds of the first shovel of dirt hits the top of their coffin. The fantasy may also involve being placed in a casket, bodybag, or other enclosure before being buried either on the beach, in dirt or even in quicksand. Encased or entombed, enclosed or just bagged. ‘Buried Stories’ contains stories of people being buried, sunk in quicksand or encased within an enclosure. Some may have acted out their desires whilst others have written about their fantasy to share with you”
  • Extract 2: “Even though a sexual nature is one of the few things most humans share in common, our social convention is to push all trace of it out of the public sphere. The ‘Six Feet Under Club’ offers attendees a unique opportunity to experience the warping of public and private intimate space. At [the Monochrom] conference, couples can volunteer to be buried together in a casket beneath the ground. The space they occupy will be extremely private and intimate. The coffin is a reminder of the social norm of exclusive pair bonding ‘till death do us part’”.

Apart from Professor Howie’s book, I know of no academic that has written or examined either claustrophilia or taphephilia. Furthermore, despite the many academic merits of Howie’s research, I wouldn’t describe it as in any way empirical (particularly as most of the source material is from English, French and Italian readings from the thirteenth and fourteenth century). Interesting but hardly contemporary.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Howie, C. (2009). Claustrophilia: The Erotics of Enclosure in Medieval Literature (New Middle Ages).Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Littlejohn, R. (2012). So that’s why they’re called the Funny People. Daily Mail, May 3. Located at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2139141/Gareth-Williams-death-claustrophilia-So-thats-theyre-called-Funny-People.html#ixzz1xraBYdXY

Rufus, A. (2012). Did claustrophilia kill U.K. spy Gareth Williams? The Daily Beast, April 30. Located at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/30/did-claustrophilia-kill-u-k-spy-gareth-williams.html

Rufus, A. (2012). Turned on by tight spaces. Psychology Today, May 2. Located at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stuck/201205/turned-tight-spaces

Wikipedia (2012). Isaac Asimov. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Asimov

Trance-sexuality: A beginner’s guide to hypnofetishism

Back in 1986 when I was still an undergraduate psychology student, an optional part of our degree allowed some of us to attend a training course on hypnosis. As a consequence of taking the course, I became very interested in the clinical applications of hypnosis and (along with one of my fellow students Cheryl Gillett, and our supervisor Dr. Peter Davies) carried out some research using hypnosis and aversive classical conditioning techniques. Our undergraduate work was eventually published in a number of scientific journals back in the late 1980s and although I stopped researching in the area I never lost my academic interest in all things hypnotic.

Given my personal interest in both hypnosis and sexual paraphilias, today’s blog briefly examines the relationship between hypnosis and sexual behaviour, and more specifically hypnophilia and hypnofetishism. According to a short article on hypnofetishism at the Health Explores website, seduction through mind control (i.e., erotic hypnosis) has a long history in Western culture dating back to the sirens in Greek mythology who are portrayed in Homer’s Odyssey as having a  “bewitching” song that lured sailors to their deaths. The article also claimed that Middle Ages witches had a “hypnotic aspect” to their sexuality. Despite the long history, the hypnotic aspects of sex have not been widely researched.

In collating material for this article, I came across a number of references to hypnophilia although most references to it are more concerned with sleep rather than hypnosis. For instance, Dr. Anil Aggrawal (in his book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices) defines hypnophilia as being sexually aroused by the thought of sleeping (which for me suggests the condition is more akin to somnophilia which I wrote about in a previous blog). More recent online sources such as the Write World website define hypnophilia as an ”abnormal affection towards sleep or of being hypnotized”. Peter Masters, author of the book Look Into My Eyes: How to Use Hypnosis to Bring Out the Best In Your Sex Life defines hypnofetishism as “the use of hypnosis or images of hypnosis, to cause or increase sexual arousal”. Lady Izabelle, arguably the most infamous ‘hypnodomme’ (a BDSM dominatrix specializing in hypnotic sex play) and a practitioner of sexual hypnofetishism has written a number of online articles about the practice of hypnofetishism. She claims that:

On its own, the hypnofetish involves the use of hypnosis for an erotic thrill, that only a fetish can bring. This should not be confused with hypnotic submission, which is the BDSM or [dominance and submission] version of hypnofetish…A hypnofetishist can be intensely aroused by watching someone be hypnotized, acting as a hypnotist, or as a hypnotic subject. Some hypnofetishists are interested in erotic hypnosis, in which post hypnotic suggestions of a sexual nature are given to the subject, but no explicit sexual content is necessary in hypnofetishism”.

When it comes to sex and hypnosis, there are other areas of interest outside of paraphilias and fetishes. For instance, Dr. Brenda Love in her Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices has a whole section on sex and hypnosis that does not mention either fetishes or paraphilias. Her entry concentrated on the use of hypnosis for improving sexual health and the treatment of sexual problems, and the use of hypnosis as a seduction technique (of which some is non-consensual and would be classed as a sexual assault). She noted that:

“There are historical records of cases where hypnotists were able to use hypnotic suggestions to facilitate intercourse. [Dr. Magnus] Hirschfield was consulted during a trial where an impotent husband filed sexual assault charges against a wife’s physician. The doctor confessed that he’d ordered her to ‘raise her skirt, lie down, spread her legs, take out his penis, introduce it into her vagina, then, during the act, perform parallel movements until mutual orgasm occurred’. Suspicion was aroused when she became pregnant and a detective was hired by the husband, who confirmed his fears”.

Dr. Love also makes reference to the fact that hypnosis has occasionally been used in the treatment of sexual problems and dysfunctions. One paper that Dr. Love makes heavy reference to is a 1989 paper by Dr. Douglas Ringrose in the British Journal of Sexual Medicine. In this paper, a young adult male sought treatment for his overwhelming sexual attraction to his mother-in-law. Dr. Ringrose used hypnosis and an aversive conditioning technique to pair thoughts of his mother in law with both an aversive smell (ammonia) and an aversive taste (castor oil). The treatment was said to be successful as following treatment as the man no longer had sexual feelings toward his mother-in-law. I tried to track this paper down (particularly because my own research career began with my work on aversive conditioning) but it doesn’t appear in any academic databases and the journal’s website only has papers dating back to 2002 (even though the journal was founded in 1973). Therefore, I can only go on Dr. Love’s reading of the paper and the fact that I have no methodological details of the therapy utilized.

There are countless claims that erotic hypnosis can include suggestions intended to improve overall sexual health. Various online sources claim that hypnosis can be utilized to help enhance sexual libido, increase confidence around sex, reduce sexual inhibitions, overcome apprehension about sex, enhance sensuality, enhance sexual role-play, and even increase breast size (for instance, check out the Contouring and To Sleep websites. Dr. Love – citing from a 1963 book called Perverse Crimes in History (by Robert Masters) – also claimed that:

“People who experience sexual phobias (impotence or frigidity) have sometimes been successfully hypnotized to overcome this fear and thus experience orgasms. Others have used autohypnotic suggestions to induce orgasms for themselves. Cases are mentioned in the annals of hypnosis that describe hypnotist-induced hallucinations that are visual, auditory, and tactile. These hallucinations are said to said to be of seductive women who sing, dance, and provide tactile stimulation needed for orgasm”.

A Wikipedia article on recreational hypnosis (which it claims is just another name for ‘erotic hypnosis’) notes that hypnosis for sexually recreational activities are utilized mostly in sexual sadism and sexual masochism practices. More specifically (but without any supporting evidence), the article claims that:

The placement of trigger words in the subject’s mind as post-hypnotic suggestion to produce actions and experiences on-demand is a common practice…Hypnosis can be used within a dominance and submission relationship to reinforce power exchange and as a form of play. This ranges from hypnotically-induced orgasms to long-term conditioning. The act of hypnosis itself is erotic and relationship-affirming for many power exchange couples as the subject surrenders control and opens themselves to mental vulnerability…People who identify with the submissive side of erotic hypnosis often fantasize about being freed from responsibilities or inhibitions and transformed into someone who can freely enjoy sexual pleasures. Such sexually submissive personae include the slave, female stereotypes like the bimbo, slut, stripper and fictional characters from popular media”.

Hypnofetishism certainly appears to have a small but significant following online as there are lots of bespoke online sites containing hypnofetish (and hypnotic dominance and submission) stories (both fictional and autobiographical that sometimes include elements of telepathy and subliminal messaging), and hypnofetish images, photographs, and videos, as well as various discussion groups and forums (for instance, check out the Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive).

Peter Masters (author of Look Into My Eyes, and self-proclaimed expert on hypnofetishism) notes on his website that:

The preparation for a hypnosis-based sex escapade is usually arousing initially through the fetish aspect, and then once the hypnotist has guided his or her partner into a trance, both can gain the benefits from the enhanced and stronger sexual experience of the hypnotised subject…The use of a shiny pendant, a pocket watch on a chain, or a ticking wooden metronome as the object of focus for doing the hypnosis can add significantly to the excitement and anticipation”.

Masters also makes some interesting observations in relation to the “strict, dictionary definition of fetish” and erotic hypnosis. As I noted in a previous blog on sexual fetishism, fetishes are typically body parts (e.g., feet, hair, noses, etc.), inanimate objects (e.g., shoes, masks, etc.), or conditions (e.g., obesity, pregnancy, etc.) that in and of themselves have a non-sexual focus. Masters noted that “hypnosis appears to be completely non-sexual” but then cites work by Dr. Craig Hill and Dr. Leslie Preston published in a 1996 issue of the Journal of Sexual Research showing that:

“Over 20% of young adults look at sex as being an opportunity to experience the power of their partner, and over 20% look at sex as an opportunity to exert power over their partner. Clearly hypnosis is one way they can experience this power because hypnosis is explicitly one person taking control of another and using that control”.

One thing I know about hypnosis from my own research over 25 years ago is that among humans there is a wide range of hypnotic susceptibility. Hypnofetishism is always likely to be a minority sexual interest because the degree to which people can be hypnotized depends on many factors including (i) the confidence and trust that someone has in letting someone else hypnotize them, (ii) the general fears people have about being hypnotized in any capacity, (iii) the level of previous experience someone has of being hypnotized, and (iv) the level of experience of the hypnotist. (I, for one, have never been able to be hypnotized by anyone).

There are also many ethical questions. For instance, Dr. Don Gibbons in a short article on hypnophilia (on his Hypnothoughts blog) wondered to what extent hypnophilia occurred amongst professional hyphotherapists and how many in the profession are sexually obsessed with the use of hypnosis and use their skill as an instrument of serial seduction? As yet, we simply don’t know, but as highlighted in Dr. Magnus Hirschfield’s case study above, it certainly appears to have occurred. There are also ethical questions concerning informed sexual consent. Just because someone allows another to perform hypnosis on them, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are fully consenting to sexual acts engaged in while in a hypnotic trance.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Gibbons, D. (2011). Does hypnophilia exist? October 13. Located at: http://www.hypnothoughts.com/forum/topics/does-hypnophilia-exist

Gibbons, D. (2011). Hypnosis, seduction and hypnophilia. October 28. Located at: http://hyperempiria.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/hypnosis-seduction-and-hypnophilia.html

Gillett, C.A., Griffiths, M.D. & Davies, P. (1989). The hypnotic suppression of conditioned electrodermal responses. In D. Waxman, D. Pederson, I. Wilkie & P. Mellett (Eds.). Hypnosis (pp.60-66). London: Whurr Publishers.

Griffiths, M.D., Gillett, C.A. & Davies, P. (1989). The hypnotic suppression of conditioned electrodermal responses. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 69, 186.

Griffiths, M.D., Gillett, C.A. & Davies, P. (1989). An experimental investigation of ideational and exteroceptive conditioning. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 69, 494.

Health Explores (2011). Hypnofetishism. Located at:  http://www.healthexplores.com/wiki/hypnofetishism

Hill, C.A. & Preston, L.K. (1996). Individual differences in the experience of sexual motivation: Theory and measurements of dispositional sexual motives. Journal of Sex Research, 33, 27-45.

Hirschfeld, M. (1948). Sexual Anomalies and Perversions. New York: Emerson.

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

James, W.E. (1974). Stimulation of breast growth by hypnosis. Journal of Sex Research, 10, 316-326.

Lady Izabelle (undated). Hypnofetishism and erotic hypnosis. Located at: http://erotichypnosis.ladyizzabelle.com/

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Masters, P. (2001). Look Into My Eyes: How to Use Hypnosis to Bring Out the Best In Your Sex Life. Eugene, Oregon: Greenery Press.

Masters, P. (2011). Look Into My Eyes. May 6. Located at: http://www.peter-masters.com/hypno/index.php/Hypno_fetish

Wikipedia (2012). Recreational hypnosis. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recreational_hypnosis

Rubbing someone up the wrong way: A beginner’s guide to frotteurism

Frotteurism (originally called frottage) is a sexual paraphilia in which individuals (typically male and occasionally females) derive sexual pleasure and arousal from non-consensually rubbing up against other people (typically but not always female strangers) particularly with their erect penis and/or pelvis. Given that frotteurs like to carry out their activity relatively undetected by their victims, they frequent public places where individuals are crowded close together such as in underground tube trains, lifts, and anywhere where there are crowds (music gigs, sporting events, etc.). Most acts of frotteurism are carried out from behind the selected victim and without eye contact. The act itself is viewed as a criminal offence (i.e., a sexual assault) in most Westernized cultures but when reaching the criminal justice system is more typically classed as a misdemeanor. Frottage now tends to indicate consensual rubbing between two individuals.

Frotteurism was first recognized as a specific paraphilia in the revised third edition of revision of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R). The current criteria for the diagnosis of frotteurism are: (i) over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving touching and rubbing against a nonconsenting person, and (ii) the person has acted on these sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.

Much of the academic and clinical literature on frotteurism comprises single case studies and individuals that have been studied are characterized as being pathological opportunists. In a 2008 book chapter review on frotteurism by criminologists Dr. Patrick Lussier and Dr. Lynn Piche, they noted that it is “difficult to draw a valid and reliable epidemiological picture” because of (i) the paucity of literature on frotteurism, (ii) the relatively recent inclusion of frotteurism as a disorder in the DSM, and (iii) the conceptual and definitional problems of frotteurism. Despite these limitations, Lussier and Piche examined prevalence surveys among four different groups (i.e., non-clinical samples of children; clinical samples of children and adolescents; non-clinical samples of adults; clinical samples of adults). There are many problems with the data collected particularly as to whether the rubbing and touching by children really constitutes frotteurism. Furthermore, there only a limited number of studies on which to base prevalence estimates coupled with the fact that the studies have used different methodologies to collect the data. The main problem is the lack of a standardized diagnostic definition of frotteurism meaning no firm conclusions can be drawn. Given these many caveats, the findings on the prevalence of frotteurism can be summarized as follows:

  • Non-clinical samples of children: Between 4% and 10% of US children commit activities of frottage, while between 6% and 8% have touched others’ sexual parts. There may be cultural differences, as rates of sexual touching in Swedish children (aged 3 to 6 years) were as high as 25%.
  • Clinical samples of children and adolescents: Between 26 and 46% of sexually victimized children have committed acts of sexual touching with between 22% and 34% having committed acts of frottage. Between 6% and 19% of juvenile sex offenders have a history of sexual touching or frotteurism against a non-consenting partner.
  • Non-clinical samples of adults: Based on some fairly large-scale surveys, approximately 30% of the general population of adult men has committed at least one act of frotteurism.
  • Clinical samples of adults: Based on a number of studies comprising various paraphilias and paraphilia-related behaviours, approximately 10% have committed acts of frotteurism.

A few studies have attempted to examine the frequency of frotteurism among those who engage in the behaviour. However, the evidence base is very small and based on self-selected samples of either those incarcerated for sexual offences and/or those seeking treatment for their behaviour. A 1993 study by Dr. J.A. Shaw and colleagues published in the Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law reported that of the 25 juvenile sex offenders they examined, a total of 15 acts of frottage had been committed, for a mean number of about 0.6 acts per sex offender. A 1987 study by Dr. Gene Abel and his colleagues published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, found that their sample of 62 frotteurs had a mean of 849 acts of frotteurism but a median of only 29. A later 2001 study also published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence by Dr. S.C. Zolondek and colleagues included about 80 frotteurs. They reported that the mean number of victims as 9 and the mean number of acts as 15.

Paraphilic comorbidity is common among frotteurs. For instance one study by Dr. Kurt Freund and colleagues on 144 frotteurs found that 68% also had at least one other paraphilic behaviour (with exhibitionism and voyeurism being the most common). Another 1991 study of 60 men published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior by Dr. T. Templeman and Dr. R. Stinnet reported similar results.

The review by Lussier and Piche asserts there are two types of theory that attempts to explain manifestations of frotteurism. These are the ‘social incompetence’ hypotheses and the ‘sex drive’ hypotheses. Social incompetence hypotheses speculate that frotteurism arises because of certain psychological disturbances (e.g., extreme shyness, mental retardation, psychopathology, etc.) that lead to social incompetence, and therefore limit access to consenting partners. Sex drive hypotheses speculate that frotteurism arises because of high sex drives and/or the inability to control sex drives explain frotteurism. Both of these theories could operate simultaneously but, to date, there is no empirical evidence that supports either theory. Therefore, Lussier and Piche suggests that a theoretical model attempting to explain frotteurism should address the following empirical observations:

“(1) It can start very early in childhood, especially when sexual victimization is part of an individual’s childhood experiences; (2) activities associated with frotteurism tend to co-occur with a wide range of other sexually inappropriate behaviors in childhood; (3) those youth who are sexually aroused by activities of frotteurism are also aroused by other paraphilic activities as a function of age; (4) there is some preliminary evidence that different paraphilias first occur at different ages, with acts of frotteurism first occurring in early adulthood, on average; (5) a later onset of activities of frotteurism has been noticed after individuals have sustained brain injuries; (6) in adulthood, acts of frotteurism tend to co-occur with more specific paraphilic activity (namely, exhibitionism and voyeurism), as well as with other nonsexual criminal behavior; and (7) a small number of individuals appear to commit a great many acts of frotteurism”

Lussier and Piche argue that researchers and clinicians need to take a broader approach to frotteurism where age and development are taken into account. They claim that the emergence of frotteurism behaviour in one developmental period or another may reflect various difficulties in successfully completing these developmental tasks:

“(1) Shifting to a more covert expression of sexual activities in childhood as the child grows older and become more aware of parental and cultural norms; (2) developing internal inhibitors to control sexual urges while experiencing a shift from parental vigilance and influence to peer influence and opportunities in early adolescence; (3) learning to develop trusting and intimate relationships with peers in middle and late adolescence; and (4) learning to communicate effectively with an intimate partner in adulthood. The continuity of the manifestations of frotteurism may be attributable to the persistence of those excess and deficits over time”.

In summarizing Lussier and Piche’s main argument, Dr. Niklas Langstrom said in a 2010 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior that “frotteurism is strongly reinforced behaviourally by immediate sexual gratification with very little cost and investment (albeit at the expense of another person)”.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Abel, G. G., Becker, J. V., Mittelman, M., Cunningham-Rathner, J., Rouleau, J. L., & Murphy, W. D. (1987). Self-reported sex crimes of nonincarcerated paraphiliacs. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2, 3-25.

Bezeau, S. C., Bogod, N. M., & Mateer, C. A. (2004). Sexually intrusive behaviour following brain injury: Approaches to assessment and rehabilitation. Brain Injury, 18, 299-313.

Freund, K., Seto, M. C., & Kuban, M. (1997). Frotteurism and the theory of courtship disorder. In D. R. Laws & W. T. O’Donohue (Eds.), Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment (pp. 111-130). New York: Guilford Press.

Horley, J. (2001). Frotteurism: A term in search of an underlying disorder? Journal of Sexual Aggression, 7, 51-55.

Krueger, R. B., & Kaplan, M. S. (2008). Frotteurism: Assessment and treatment. In D. R. Laws & W. T. O’Donohue (Eds.), Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment (pp. 150-163). New York: Guildford Press.

Langstrom, N. (2010). The DSM Diagnostic criteria for exhibitionism, voyeurism, and frotteurism. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 317–324.

Lussier, P. & Piche, L. (2008). Frotteurism: Psychopathology and theory. In Laws, D.R. & O’Donohue, W.T. (Eds.), Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment and Treatment (pp.131-149). New York: Guildford Press.

Myers, W.A. (1991). A case history of a man who made obscene telephone calls and practiced frotteurism. In G.I. Fogel & W.A. Myers (Eds.), Perversions and near perversions in clinical practice: New psychoanalytical practice (pp. 109–123). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Shaw, J.A., Campo-Bowen, A.E., Applegate, B., Perez, D., Antoine, L.B., Hart, E.L., et al. (1993). Young boys who commit serious sexual offenses: Demographics, psychometrics, and phenomenology. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 21, 399-408.

Templeman, T. N., & Stinnet, R. D. (1991). Patterns of sexual arousal and history in a “normal” sample of young men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 20, 137–150.

Zolondek, S.C., Abel, G.G., Northey, W.F., Jr., & Jordan, A. (2001). Self-reported behaviors of juvenile sexual offenders. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16, 73–85.

S’tuff love: A beginner’s guide to plushophilia

I’ve only come across one academic reference to plushophilia and that was in a comprehensive list of paraphilias in the 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices by Dr.Anil Aggrawal (Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India). I also checked out Dr. Brenda Love’s (normally very reliable and all encompassing) Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices but there was nothing on plushophilia at all. Dr. Aggrawal defines plushophilia as a “sexual attraction to stuffed toys or people in animal costume, such as theme park characters”. However, other online sources simply define plushophilia as a sexual paraphilia involving stuffed animals. Sexual and pornographic activities involving animal anthropomorphism (including plushophilia), is known among the plushophile community as ‘yiffing’.

Plushophiles are often referred to as plushies, although as I noted in a previous blog on the Furry Fandom, the term can also refer to stuffed animal enthusiasts who have no sexual interest at all (i.e., people who just love cuddly toys). Because of an infamous 2001 article by George Gurley in the magazine Vanity Fair, plushophilia is often assumed to be a common practice among members of the Furry Fandom. However, survey research has shown this not to be the case. For instance, an old and unpublished survey from data collected in the late 1990s by David J. Rust of 360 members of the furry community (325 respondents from furry conventions and 25 respondents online) suggested less than 1% of them were plushophiles (0.3%).

In a more recent attempt to replicate Rust’s study, Kyle Evans carried out a survey in 2008 on 276 people who self-identified themselves as being furries and who were recruited from furry or furry-related online message boards and forums. Evans reported a much higher prevalence rate of plushophilia (7%) than the study by Rust (although this was still a low prevalence rate suggesting that the overlap between plushophilia and the Furry Fandom is minimal). Evans claimed that because the majority of Rust’s survey was conducted in person at conventions, participants were susceptible to the social desirability bias when it came to plushophilia. Many plushies do not want any association with furries whatsoever.

Many plushophiles are avid collectors of cuddly toys and many began accumulating their collections in childhood (although some have already reached adulthood before their interest in stuffed toys begins). Some plushies are said to be totally obsessed with their hobby and may share behavioural similarities with pathological hoarders. Among a small minority of plushies, the collecting may border on being an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like many collectors, plushies may focus their collecting behaviour on very specific types of cuddly toy such as teddy bears. For some plushies, their passion for collecting may lead them to careers that involve making and/or trading plush toy animals. The online Wiki Fur website claims that:

“A common practice among plushophiles who are serious collectors is to purchase two of each plushie; one for display and use, and another for safe keeping and preservation. Many plushophiles consider their toys very dear and rarely trade or sell them, even when there are concerns such as limited space and storage”.

As mentioned earlier, a small number of furries consider themselves plushophiles. Some furries and/or plushies have specific animistic beliefs (i.e., a set of beliefs concerning the existence of non-human “spiritual beings”) that cross over into their love of toy animals. Furthermore, for some furries, toy animals are said to serve as representations of totem animals. The Wiki Fur website defines an animal totem as:

“An important symbolic object in furry spirituality used by a person to get in touch with specific qualities found within an animal which the person needs, connects with, or feels a deep affinity toward. Some Furry lifestylers find they draw spiritual energy from a totem animal which guides their lives and causes them to imitate behaviors of that animal”.

Role players among Furry Fandom members may also create characters based on the idea of living toys and stuffed animal characters. Plushies frequently enjoy interacting with furries whose primary avatar is a toy character. However, as the Wiki Fur website asserts “not everyone who enjoys playing as or with such an avatar is necessarily a plushophile or collector of stuffed animals in real life”.

The sexual element of plushophilia has been overplayed and sensationalized by both the print and broadcast media. However, there are plushie sex and dating sites (such as Plushie Love and Plush Yiff), and for those plushies where sex is an important part of their activity, their behaviour has been argued by the Wiki Fur website to be a genuine sexual paraphilia.

“Depending on the individual, sexual stimulation and plush toys may arise from purely sensual enjoyment, may act as an aid for fantasy gratification and physical or mental stimulation alone or with another person, or may have an animistic and spiritual component. For example, some plushophiles who make use of their toys in intimate ways do so with a partner, while others only experience such feelings toward a plush animal that they view as more than an inanimate object. A common practice among sexual plushophiles is to modify a plush toy in order to make it sexually accessible or to minimize damage to it from such use”.

However, Wiki Fur is quick to point out that not all plushies who relate to their toys sexually modify them, and not plushies actually make direct contact with their stuffed toys for intimate stimulation. One infamous plushophile is FoxWolfie Galen who has his own website was interviewed for Salon magazine. He was first asked how he had sex with a stuffed animal:

“Well, none of [my toy animals] have an SPA [strategically placed appendage]. It’s been thought of a couple of times, but part of the difficulty would be constructing one and not having it fall off the plushie. That’s a problem people have dwelled on for a long time. It’s usually just cuddling and rubbing with me. There’s usually no need for the penetration. Most of [my toy animals] don’t have an SPH [strategically placed hole], but some do. It’s not a requirement for me – if’s there I’ll use it, and if not, I’m just as happy without it. It all depends on what you allow happen to them. Some people wear condoms for complete protection”.

Galen has more than a 1000 stuffed animals and he was asked how he chooses his “sexual partners”. He said:

“It’s basically the same as with people,” Galen says in explaining how he chooses his lucky winners. Some you’re attracted to sexually and some you’re not. I’m not interested in just human-human [sex]; it’s gotta be human-plushie-human. The person would have to be interested in plush”.

Academic research is beginning to be carried out on plushophilia (but only in relation to Furry Fandom and/or zoophilia). There are some aspects of plushophilia that might have psychological resonance with pathological collecting and hoarding, but most research is likely to examine the more sexual elements of plushophiles’ lifestyle.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Evans, K. (2008). The furry sociological survey. Located at: http://www.furrysociology.net/report.htm

FoxWolfie Galen’s Plushie Page (2012). Definitions. Located at: http://www.velocity.net/~galen/furrydef.html

Gerbasi, K. C., Paolone, N., Higner, J., Scaletta, L. L., Bernstein, P. L., Conway, S., & Privitera, A. (2008). Furries from A to Z (anthropomorphism to zoomorphism). Society & Animals, 16(3), 197-222.

Hill, D. (2000). Cuddle time: In the world of plushophiles, not all stuffed animals are created equal. Salon, June 19. Located at: http://www.salon.com/2000/06/19/plushies/

Rust, D.J. (2001). The sociology of furry fandom. Located at: http://www.visi.com/~phantos/furrysoc.html

Wiki Fur (2012). Animal totem. Located at: http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Animal_totem

Wiki Fur (2012). Plushophilia. Located at: http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Plushophilia

Bottoms up! An overview of rectal foreign bodies

In a previous blog I looked at the practice of urethral manipulation where men insert objects into their urethra for sexual stimulation. Another similar sexual practice is the insertion of ‘foreign bodies’ into the rectal passage. Most of what is known academically and clinically is from people (almost always male) who turn up to hospital emergency department requiring treatment (i.e., removal of the foreign object that has become trapped inside their rectum). A 2010 review by Dr. Joel Goldberg and Dr. Scott Steele in the Surgical Clinics of North America noted that retained rectal foreign bodies have been reported in patients of all ages, genders, and ethnicities, more than two-thirds of patients with rectal bodies are men in their 30s and 40s”.

There are dozens and dozens of papers on the topic of rectal foreign bodies and the list of objects and items that have been removed by doctors is almost as long as the number of papers and includes (but not restricted to): vegetables (e.g., potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, turnips, onions), fruit (e.g., bananas, apples), other foodstuffs (e.g., salami, hard boiled eggs), food and drink containers (e.g., glass bottles, plastic bottles, peanut butter jars, glass tumblers), sporting items (e.g., baseballs, tennis balls), household and kitchen objects (e.g., candles, light bulbs, broomstick handle, spatulas, mortar pestle), sex toys (e.g., vibrators, dildos), and improvised objects (e.g., a sand-filled bicycle inner tubing, plastic fist and forearm, shoehorn, axe handles, aluminium money tube, whip handles, soldering irons, glass tubes, frozen pigs tail). Some of these can become very dangerous (e.g., light bulbs that break with broken glass bits causing perforation of the rectum and/or colon), and in one case reported in the American Journal of Surgery led to peritonitis. Despite the many published case studies, there are no estimates of the incidence of rectal foreign body insertion among the population as almost all that is known is only based on the people that end up seeking medical intervention.

Many of the people seeking treatment are gay men although some of the literature features females who have been rectally assaulted. Object removal by the medical team can sometimes be difficult. For instance, one case in the American Journal of Proctology described an instance where a light bulb was lodged in the rectal cavity and the medical team had to improvise to remove the foreign body. They had to attach a light bulb socket to the end of a stick, insert the ‘homemade’ devise into the patient’s rectum, screw the socket onto the lodged light bulb, and then pull it out the same way as it went in. In the same paper, the authors described how they removed a glass tumbler from one man. Here, they managed to pour molten plaster into the tumbler along with some rope placed into the molten plaster. When the plaster has set and stuck to the inside of the glass, they pulled the tumbler out using the rope that had set in the hardened plaster.

There are also cases in the literature where the foreign body has remained inside the rectal cavity for long periods. For instance, one case published in the Medical Journal of Australia reported that a man had a vibrator removed after six months of it being inside him. The published papers also report the many alleged non-sexual reasons as to how such objects came to be lodged in the rectum. Common ones include accidentally falling on the specified object or item after showers or baths, and deliberate insertion of the object or item to dislodge constipated fecal mass. Some stories are a little more elaborate such as one published in the Southern Medical Journal where the man who said he had slipped on a glass jar while washing his dog in the shower. In the same paper, another man who was found to have a vibrator stuck in his rectum claimed to have been abducted and sexually assaulted by a group of men rather than admit that the incident was self-inflicted.

One of the most bizarre cases was reported in a 2004 issue of the journal Surgery. Here the authors described what they believed was the very first case of something living lodged in the rectal passage. After reporting abdominal pain, and being diagnosed with peritonitis, an X-ray revealed that the 50-year-old man had a 50cm long eel stuck inside his abdomen (claiming he had inserted it to relieve his constipation. The authors even provided all the photographic evidence in their paper. It is also worth mentioning at this point that a paper on anorectal trauma in a 1989 issue of the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology by Dr. W.G. Eckert and Dr. S. Katchis. They commented on what has now come to be called felching (and which I covered in a previous blog). More specifically they said: “A sexual practice has been mentioned recently where living rodents, including gerbils and mice, have been inserted into the rectum; the animal’s futile efforts to claw its way to safety result in mucosal tears in the rectum”. However, as I noted in my previous blog, no actual cases have ever been reported in the medical literature.

In a previous blog I wrote on klismaphilia (a sexual paraphilia in which individuals derive sexual arousal and pleasure from the receiving of enemas), I reported a case by Dr Peter Stephens and Dr Mark Taff in the American Journal of American Pathology. They wrote about a young man who turned up at the hospital complaining of rectal pain. After an examination by the doctor, it became apparent that there was a stony hard mass lodged in the man’s rectum. Upon further questioning, the patient revealed that four hours earlier, he and his boyfriend had been “fooling around” and that after stirring a batch of concrete mix, the patient had laid on his back with his feet against the wall at a 45 degree angle while his boyfriend poured the mixture through a funnel into his rectum. The concrete had set and had to be removed by the medical team. On removal, a ping-pong ball was also found. The reason a ping-pong ball was also found in the rectum was because klismaphiliacs use the ball as a plug to promote retention and increase stimulation. The use of such a device suggests the person was an experienced klismaphiliac. As Dr Anil Hernandas and colleagues conclude as the exploration of anal eroticism increases in popularity, more and more cases of complications as a direct result of their abuse are likely to be encountered”.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Benjamin, H.B., Klamecki, B. & Haft, J.S. (1969). Removal of exotic foreign objects from the abdominal orifices. American Journal of Proctology, 20, 413-417.

Buzzard, A.J. & Waxman, B.P. (1979). A long standing, much travelled rectal foreign body. Medical Journal of Australia, 1, 600.

Byard, R.W., Eitzen, D.A. & James, R. (2000). Unusual fatal mechanisms in nonasphyxial autoerotic death. American Journal of Forensic and Medical Pathology, 21, 65-68.

Eckert, W.G, & Katchis, S. (1989). Anorectal trauma: Medicolegal and forensic aspects. American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 10, 3-9.

Goldberg, J.E. & Steele, S.R. (2010). Rectal foreign bodies. Surgical Clinics of North America, 90, 173–184.

Graves, R.W. & Allison, E.J, Bass, R.R., et al. (1983). Anal eroticism: Two unusual rectal foreign bodies and their removal. Southern Medical Journal, 76, 677-678.

Hemandas, A.H., Muller, G.W. & Ahmed, I. (2005). Rectal Impaction With Epoxy Resin: A Case Report. Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, 9, 747–749

Lo, S.F., Wong, S.H. & Leung, L.S., et al. (2004). Traumatic rectal perforation by an eel. Surgery, 135, 110-111.

Memon, J.M., Memon, N.A., Solangi, R.A., & Khatri, M.K. (2008). Rectal foreign bodies. Gomal Journal of Medical Sciences, 6(1), 1-3.

Schaupp, W.C. (1981). Commentary. American Journal of Surgery, 142, 85-88.

Stephens, P. & Taff, M. (1987). Rectal impaction following enema with a concrete mix. American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 8, 179–182.

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