The following is a collection
of references I've located that suggest the devotee phenomenon
is nothing new. Deformity or enforced disability appears to
be a cultural phenomenon in every age. Even today one has only
to look at what women wear to appreciate how "disabling"
fashions are eroticised in modern society as it was in the 19th
If you are aware of further historical
let me know.
A South American Indian tribe who
The Viru valley in northern Peru was the home 2000 years ago of an Indian tribe known as the Moche or Mochina.
This tribe had a reputation for rather unusual aspects of human behaviour such as human sacrifice and various
kinds of bizarre sexual behaviour. Among the predelictions of the Moche was an attraction or obsession with
physical deformity of every kind. This is evidenced in the artefacts such as pots that have survived to this day
showing images of deformed bodies. It has been suggested that the Moche venerated deformity.
See Readers Digest book "Quest for the Past" p176-177.
From Michel De Montaigne
(1533-1592) - chapter 11 of his
"Essays" entitled "On Cripples"
"As a matter of fact or beside the point, it doesn't matter, it's said as a common proverb in Italy that the person
who hasn't slept with the cripple doesn't know Venus in her perfect sweetness. Luck, or some particular accident,
put this saying in the mouth of the people long ago; and it's said of males as well as of females. For the Queen of
the Amazons replied to the Scythian who invited her for love: "the cripple does it best." In this female republic, in
order to get away from male domination , they maimed ("amputated" or "mangled") during childhood, arms, legs,
and other members which gave them an advantage over the women, and they used the men only for what we've
used women in fact. I would have said that the swaying motion of the cripple might bring some new pleasure to
the toil (of love) and some bit of sweetness to those who try it, but I've just learned that even ancient philosophy
was decided in that; it says that since the legs and thighs of crippled women, because of their imperfection, don't
get the nourishment that is due them, it follows that the genitals, which are right about them, are fuller, more
nourished and more vigorous. Or that, this default prohibiting exercise, those who are tainted use less force and
come more fully to the games of Venus."
The reference to the passage from the classical philosophy text seems to be Aristotle's Problems, X,26.
For a thousand years women with intentionally
tiny and deformed feet were considered highly erotic. These
deformities were created by tightly bandaging the feet from
an early age. Many girls became so deformed and disabled that
they had to be carried everywhere. The origins of foot binding are
unclear although evidence suggests it started as far back as the
Sung dynasty in
AD 960-1280. It
was eventually banned in 1911.
"...this is a non-devotee instance where the dominant culture
actually defined 'disabled' as desirable and sexually attractive."
The Karen people of Burma and
In the Padaung region of what was
once Burma a tribe of people encase the necks of women in metal
. This is a brief extract from that site:
"There are many different accounts of why the Padaung practice this bizzare
custom. Their own mythology explains that it is done to prevent tigers from
biting them! Others have reported that it is done to make the women unattractive
so they are less likely to be captured by slave traders. The most common
explanation, though, is the opposite of this - that an extra-long neck is
considered a sign of great beauty and wealth and that it will attract a better
husband. Adultery, though, is said to be punished by removal of the rings. In
this case, since the neck muscles will have been severely weakened by years of
not supporting the neck, a woman must spend the rest of her life lying down.
According to Paul and Elaine Lewis in Peoples of The Golden Triangle,
adultery and divorce among all Karen groups is extremely low."
Russian Emperor Peter II
Russian Emperor Peter II, the murdered husband of (later) Empress, Catherine the Great had a disabled
mistress, with whom he spent almost all of his time. Catherine constantly complained (this was before she
succeeded him) the he preferred to spend all of his time with her and has, in fact, never spent a night with her
Pierre de Brantome
Pierre de Brantome (l540-1614), mentions Anne of Brittany, an intelligent and beautiful woman linked to two
French monarchs, Charles VIII and Louis XII who had one leg shorter than the other one. After he had noticed
that many beautiful women possessed this defect he is reported as saying, "the kind of the movement, which
results from the different leg length, is extremely fascinating".
Amazonian women in Greek mythology were said to handicap their male children by damaging the knee
ligaments. This was to prevent them having a dominating role in society yet permitting the women to satisfy their