Advertisement

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 5, Issue 2–3, pp 183–192 | Cite as

Dis-orienting Paraphilias? Disability, Desire, and the Question of (Bio)Ethics

  • Nikki Sullivan
Article

Abstract

In 1977 John Money published the first modern case histories of what he called ‘apotemnophilia’, literally meaning ‘amputation love’ [Money et al., The Journal of Sex Research, 13(2):115–12523, 1977], thus from its inception as a clinically authorized phenomenon, the desire for the amputation of a healthy limb or limbs was constituted as a sexual perversion conceptually related to other so-called paraphilias. This paper engages with sex-based accounts of amputation-related desires and practices, not in order to substantiate the paraphilic model, but rather, because the conception of these (no doubt) heterogeneous desires and practices as symptoms of a paraphilic condition (or conditions) highlights some interesting cultural assumptions about ‘disability’ and ‘normalcy’, their seemingly inherent (un)desirability, and their relation to sexuality. In critically interrogating the socio-political conditions that structure particular desires and practices such that they are lived as improper, distressing and/or disabling, the paper constitutes an exercise in what Margrit Shildrick [Beyond the body of bioethics: Challenging the conventions. In M. Shildrick and R. Mykitiuk (Eds.), Ethics of the body: Postconventional challenges (pp. 1–26). New York: MIT Press, 2005] refers to as “postconventional ethics”.

Keywords

Paraphilia Disability Ethics Amputation Transsexualism 

References

  1. 1.
    Abel, G. G., & Osborn, C. A. (2000). The paraphilias. In G. Gelder, J. J. Lopez-Ibor Jr., & N. C. Andreasen (Eds.), Oxford textbook of psychiatry, volume 1 (pp. 897–913). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aguilera, R. (2000). Disability and Delight: Staring Back at the Devotee Community. Sexuality and Disability, 18(4), 255–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ahmed, S. (2006). Orientations: Toward a queer phenomenology. GLQ, 12(4), 543–574.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Blanchard, R., Clemmensen, L. H. & Steiner, B. W. (Eds.) (1985). Social desirability response set and systematic distortion in the self-report of adult male gender patients. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 14, 5–16.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bruno, R. L. (1997). Devotees, pretenders, and wannabes: Two cases of factitious disability disorder. Sexuality and Disability, 15(4), 243–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Diprose, R. (1995). The body biomedical ethics forgets. In P. Komesarof (Ed.), Troubled bodies: Critical perspectives on postmodernism, medical ethics, and the body (pp. 202–221). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Duncan, K., & Goggin, G. (2002). Something in your belly: Fantasy, disability and desire in my one-legged dream lover. Disability Studies Quarterly, 22(4), 127–144.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fiduccia, B. F. W. (1999). Sexual imagery of physically disabled women: Erotic? Perverse? Sexist? Sexuality and Disability, 17(3), 277–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    First, M. (2005). Desire for amputation of a limb: Paraphilia, psychosis, or a new type of identity disorder. Psychological Medicine, 35, 919–928.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Furth, G., & Smith, R. (2002). Amputee identity disorder: Information, questions, answers, and recommendations about self-demand amputation. London: 1st Books.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gatens, M. (1996). Imaginary bodies: Ethics, power and corporeality. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Heidegger, M. (1977). The question concerning technology and other essays. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hope, T. (2004). Medical ethics: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Komesaroff, P. (1995). Postmodern medical ethics? In P. Komesarof (Ed.), Troubled bodies: Critical perspectives on postmodernism, medical ethics, and the body (pp. 1–19). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kraft-Ebing, R. (1965). Psychopathia Sexualis. London: Staples.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lawrence, A. (2006). Clinical and theoretical parallels between desire for limb amputation and gender identity disorder. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 35(3), 263–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lawrence, A. ‘Men trapped in men’s bodies’: An introduction to the concept of autogynephilia. Retrieved from http://swipnet.se/∼w-13968/autogynephilia.html.
  18. 18.
    Merleau-Ponty, M. (2002). The phenomenology of perception. London: Routledge C. Smith (trans).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Money, J. (1984). Paraphilias: Phenomenology and classification. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 38(2), 164–178.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Money, J., Jobaris, R., & Furth, G. (1977). Apotemnophilia: Two cases of self-demand amputation as paraphilia. The Journal of Sex Research, 13(2), 115–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sedgwick, E. K. (1990). Epistemology of the closet. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Shildrick, M. (2005). Beyond the body of bioethics: Challenging the conventions. In M. Shildrick, & R. Mykitiuk (Eds.), Ethics of the body: Postconventional challenges (pp. 1–26). New York: MIT.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Singer, P. (1995). Rethinking life and death: The collapse of our traditional ethics. New York: St Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Singer, P. (1995). How are we to live?: Ethics in the age of self-interest. London: Prometheus.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Singer, P. (1999). Practical ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Smith, R. (2004). Amputee identity disorders and related paraphilias. Psychiatry, 3(8), 27–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Solvang, P. (2007). The amputee body desired: Beauty destabilized? Disability re-valued? Sexuality and Disability, 25(2), 51–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sullivan, N. (2008). The role of medicine in the (Trans)Formation of ‘Wrong’ bodies. Body & Society, 14(1), 103–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sullivan, N. (2007). “The price to pay for our common good”: Genital modification and the somatechnologies of cultural (In)Difference. Social Semiotics, 17(3), 395–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Sullivan, N. (2005). Integrity, mayhem and the question of self-demand amputation. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 19(3), 325–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Tremain, S. (2000). Queering disabled sexuality studies. Sexuality and Disability, 18(4), 291–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Critical and Cultural StudiesMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeUSA

Personalised recommendations