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Shrink rap: A beginner’s guide to microphilia

Microphilia appears to be an increasingly popular sexual paraphilia in which individuals derive sexual arousal from a fascination with small (miniaturized) people and/or a sexual fantasy involving small (miniaturized) people. It is the opposite to macrophilia (i.e., deriving sexual pleasure and arousal from giants or giantesses) that I examined in a previous blog. Such fantasies appear to include the microphiles thinking of others shrinking in front of them (male or female, but shrinking women appears to be more popular based on the content I have looked at on dedicated websites). Alternatively, microphiles may fantasize about their sexual partner shrinking to an abnormal height while the microphiles themselves remain unchanged.

A small article on Wikifur claims that microphilia may be associated with masochism as opposed to sadism and also closely allied with other paraphilias such as vore [vorarephilia]”. The Urban Dictionary’s definition of microphilia claims that it is a fetish for unrealistically tiny people or the shrinking of” and that it is “popular in the furry fandom but not exclusive to [it]”. All of these alleged associations are anecdotally based as there has been no empirical research on microphilia whatsoever. As with macrophilia, the reason that this particular paraphilia appears to have increased massively over the last decade is because the internet has played a crucial role in helping create and facilitate the paraphilia. Because the paraphilia is almost totally fantasy-based, much of the material from which microphiles gain their sexual gratification is placed and distributed online. There is a wide range of microphile artwork, photographs, and video on the internet. Applications such as Photoshop are widely used to create collages of fake miniaturized people.

The term ‘microphilia’ is rarely used amongst the microphilic community. They prefer to use the acronym ‘SW’ (shrinking women). I presume there is also an ‘SM’ (shrinking men) community out thee too but they probably don’t use the SM acronym as in sexual circles that is far more likely to be see  as meaning ‘sadomasochism’. Arguably one of the best online forums that cater for those into all things sexually miniature is The Minimizer website. The person that runs the site says of microphilia that:

“It is one of those secret fantasies that’s rarely discussed publicly, sort of like bondage or domination but far less known, probably because it is not something that can be realized in reality. Mostly it’s enjoyed through the imagination, on film or photos/drawings, via writing, or through roleplaying (typically with oversized clothes).

 Basically, the fantasy centers around women being reduced in size. Everyone seems to have their own favorite height. Personally, I like around three inches, where they fit neatly in the palm but aren’t so small you can’t appreciate them. Others like them smaller, but the majority seem to enjoy seeing women at Barbie doll height. This allows them to be used in a variety of sexual ways”.

He also claims that there’s no specific size that seems to be favoured by the SW community, and that in general SW fans “can appreciate a tiny lady at any height, simply for the fact that she’s really small”.

 The sexual fantasies of microphiles appear to be well thought out and elaborate including the specific ways of how the person is shrunk in the first place. Many of these methods appear to have been influenced by film and television portrayals of shrinking humans and (according to The Minimizer’s website include “shrink rays, strange radiation, magic spells or potions, collapsed space, teleportation gone awry, science experiments, [and] alien abduction”.

The Minimizer also claims that not all SW fans are men and that there is a significant minority of women who are microphiles (although he claims that this is more the case of women wanting to be miniaturized themselves for sexual pleasure rather than deriving sexual pleasure from seeing other miniaturized people. There are many facets and dimensions to microphilic sexual fantasies. For instance, there are ethnic preferences for the type of women that microphiles like to see shrunk (such as those who are sexually aroused by a miniature Japanese woman (known as a ‘koonago’).  There are differences in the shrinking process as to whether the woman’s clothes shrink along with the body or whether the woman shrinks and the clothes remain the same size (causing her to be suddenly naked).

There are those that like to help the women (so the SW fan becomes a ‘gentle giant’) but there are those who do the opposite and want to hurt the shrunken woman. Here, there are crossovers with other sexually paraphilic behaviours such as sadism and masochism (including verbal and sexual humiliation). For instance, some male microphilic fantasies involve sexual violence against shrunken women who they hold as a captive and/or prisoner. Here, the microphiles may also be sexually aroused by the fact that the shrunken women may be in a distressed psychological state (e.g., scared, frightened, horrified, in shock, etc.) as a result of being miniaturized. There also appear to be crossovers with those people who are into transformation fetishes (which I covered in a previous blog).

There is very little written – even anecdotally – about the psychology behind microphilia. The Minimizer gave his own personal insight and claimed:

“A psychologist would tell you that a fantasy about shrinking women down to tiny size suggests some kind of subconscious hatred of women or a desire to dominate them. This may be true, I wouldn’t know…It’s unfair to generalize in this way, of course, because not everyone has the same SW fantasy. While some would indeed enjoy humiliating a tiny woman in a variety of nasty ways, just as many would see a miniature girl as something to be protected and taken care of, and would do anything they could to help one if they found one. Does that show a desire for domination? I doubt it.

 It’s really not fair to psychoanalyze a SW fan anyway. Shrinking is not something that can happen in real life”.

Until there is some empirical research undertaken, we can only speculate as to the psychological motivations underlying microphilia. Given that microphilia and macrophilia appear to be the psychological and behavioural opposites of one another (or at either end of the same continuum), it’s easy to speculate that if macrophiles’ enjoy the behaviour for it’s dominating aspects, then microphiles will enjoy the behaviour for it’s submissive aspects.

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

Further reading

The Minimizer (2012). What’s this SW thing, anyway? Located at: http://www.the-minimizer.com/

Wikifur (2012). Microphilia. Located at: http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Microphilia