What is apotemnophilia?

There are many different disorders in the world of health, but some are better known than others. That’s why I want to talk about apotemnophilia. This condition is also called amputation fetishism. Here a man or woman has no connection with one of his or her limbs. They therefore want to be rid of that ‘disturbing element’ in their body as quickly as possible. There are people who want to change gender, but everyone knows transsexuals. Apotemnophilia is much less known. There are not many people on earth who suffer from this disorder. Yet it has already appeared in the media a few times and immediately caused a stir.

‘Disfigured’ image of oneself

A person suffering from apotemnophilia has no connection with certain limbs. This could be an arm or a leg, but sometimes even a testicle,… People have a clear image of themselves, but that is an image of a ‘mutilated’ body. They see themselves without a leg, without an arm,… and on crutches and find this much more natural than their perfect body. Apotemnophilia sufferers do not consider a body without limbs to be a mutilated body, they see this as normal.

How to achieve amputation?

Visit a doctor and/or psychiatrist

Most people with apotemnophilia spend a long time thinking that there is something too much on their body. Some go to the doctor with their problem. It goes without saying that doctors do not simply amputate a healthy part of the body. By the way, there is a sacred doctor’s principle that says non nocere or do no harm. They usually refer people with such wishes to a psychiatrist.

Take matters into your own hands

A visit to the psychiatrist may help amputation fetishists in one area, but they still cannot get rid of their limb(s) that they label as too much. That’s why they often take matters into their own hands. There are people who shoot themselves in the knee or leg, others use a homemade guillotine and still others opt for extensive hypothermia. Doctors are therefore obliged to proceed with amputation.


In America there are some doctors who have examined the brains of people with apotemnophilia by means of a brain scan. It turns out that when they touched the redundant limb they labeled, there was virtually no response in the brain. While that is the case when you touch something else on their body. So you can safely speak of a mental illness here. In America it is called BIID or Body Integrity Identity Disorder. So it is a disorder in which the mental body image does not correspond to the actual body.


Acromophilia is a condition closely related to apotemnophilia. People with this psychosexual disorder are attracted to people who are missing limbs.


  • Apotemnophilia is ten times more common in men than in women.
  • Michael First is an American psychiatrist who has done research on this subject.
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