Sexuality and Disability

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 243–260 | Cite as

Devotees, Pretenders and Wannabes: Two Cases of Factitious Disability Disorder

  • Richard L. Bruno


Despite having been described for more than a century, there is no understanding of the origin of the attractions, desires and behaviors of devotees, pretenders and wannabes (DPW's). Devotees are non-disabled people who are sexually attracted to people with disabilities, pretenders are non-disabled people who act as if they have a disability by using assistive devices and wannabes actually want to become disabled, sometimes going to extraordinary lengths to have a limb amputated. Two cases are presented in an effort to understand the psychology of DPW's and to suggest one psychologic concept—that of Factitious Disability Disorders—that may explain not only the obsession to be with disabled persons, but also the desire to pretend to be disabled and even the compulsion to become disabled. Also presented is a combined cognitive-behavioral approach to modify DPW's obsessions and compulsive, intrusive, illegal and sometimes self-injurious behaviors.

amputees paraphilias sexual deviations factitious disorders Munchausen's syndrome 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard L. Bruno
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Post-Polio Rehabilitation and Research ServiceKessler Institute for RehabilitationSaddle Brook
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationUMDNJ/New Jersey Medical SchoolNewark

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