Devotees in History

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 century.

If you are aware of further historical references please let me know.

A South American Indian tribe who worshipped deformity

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.

Chinese Foot Binding

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 Thailand

In the Padaung region of what was once Burma a tribe of people encase the necks of women in metal rings.  

See . 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 (Catherine).

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".

Greek Mythology

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 sexual desires.