Paraphilia of the Day: Body Integrity Identity Disorder

(Editor’s note: If you missed our first installment in this series, it is recommended reading: The Fight for Paraphilia ‘Rights’: Let the Debate Begin.)

Back in late 2012 BarbWire contributor Laurie Higgins wrote an article titled, “Whole: A New Documentary on a Troubling Disorder.” Here is the opening:

The new documentary Whole, which recently premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, explores the troubling topic of Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID). This disorder, which I have mentioned in several articles, used to be called apotemnophilia.

Those who suffer from BIID identify with amputees and seek to have their bodies align with their psychological identity. That is to say, they seek to have healthy limbs amputated. Many of those who suffer from BIID (known colloquially as “amputee wannabes”) recount feeling these desires from a very young age. Some have accomplished their goal through self-mutilation, and at least two have been facilitated in their quest by a doctor in Scotland.

Higgins’ excellent summary of this troubling issue is worth your time — you can read it here. If you need more incentive than what’s in the above two paragraphs, here is a little more from the piece:

We in our intellectual laziness, cowardice, and desire to live a morally undisciplined life in which we too can indulge our sinful impulses are failing to challenge this perverted understanding of identity. And when we allow the fatuous construct of “identity” to supplant the true concepts of sin, immorality, and mental disorder, on what rational basis can we justify opposition to elective amputations of legs or arms?

If you think that I’m already off the rails in this second installment highlighting paraphilias, let me assure you I’m not. “What does BIID have to do with sexual desires?” I’m a glad you asked. At the end of Laurie Higgins’ article she linked to a write up about the documentary at Here is an excerpt from that article:

Oddly, the film also glides past the sexual aspect of the condition and views it as a problem of identity, like gender identity disorder. (A rare exception is a moment in which George Boyer points to a sketch of a boy amputee and says, obliquely, “I could even get turned on by that.”) In the few medical articles where the condition has been discussed, it is known as “apotemnophilia,” because clinicians view it as a paraphilia—a displaced sexual desire like transvestism, voyeurism, and pedophilia. This is because many wannabes are attracted to the idea of themselves as amputees, and some are attracted to other amputees.

Even though BIID isn’t on all lists of paraphilias, it’s a good bet that it can be found among the 549 types of paraphilias referenced here. If it’s not, then I’ll officially add BIID as number 550.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s Wikipedia (emphasis added):

Body integrity identity disorder (BIID, also referred to as amputee identity disorder) is a psychological disorder wherein sufferers feel they would be happier living as an amputee…

BIID is typically accompanied by the desire to amputate one or more healthy limbs to achieve that end. BIID can be associated with apotemnophilia, sexual arousal based on the image of one’s self as an amputee.

So, to our basic and important questions:

  • How will society respond when those who suffer from Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) start clamoring for their “rights”?
  • How will society respond to After the Ball-type efforts to normalize BIID, remove it from the DSM’s (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) list of mental disorders, and demonize those who disapprove of it?
  • If someone were to donate to an organization that lobbies against BIID normalization, will this donor be fired?
  • Will the expression of disapproval of the BIID-desired amputation surgery be deemed bullying or hate speech?
  • How will schools respond to requests to start pro-BIID clubs to support students who believe they will be happier living as an amputee and who seek to come out of the closet? Will the Day of Silence expand to include BIID?
  • Will therapies to help minors change their unwanted desires to become amputees be banned?
  • Will “wannabe amputee orientation” be added to enumerated anti-discrimination policies and laws?
  • Will the letters BIID be added to the LGBTQIA (etc.) abbreviation?
  • Will we see prime time television programs and movies with lovable characters suffering from BIID?
  • Will wannabe amputee-oriented journalists form professional journalism associations (such as this one) to monitor and exploit the Fourth Estate in the service of breaking down barriers and normalizing BIID?
  • Will those who are pro-unnecessary amputation join “pride parades?”
  • Will loud and proud pro-BIID people or groups “out” those who prefer to remain in the BIID closet?

It’s all food for thought. Be sure to join us next time as we make inquiries about another paraphilia. If America is to be truly free, shouldn’t all sexcentric-identified individuals be treated equally under the law?