Featured Fetish: Devoteeism

Hi everyone!

So, this is a Featured Fetish that I've been meaning to do for a long time. It's one of those that can be controversial and I enjoy talking about fetishes that may not be well known or accepted because you rad readers always chime in so wonderfully in the comments with your own knowledge of these fascinations. :)

So, Devoteeism!
Like with many of the fetishes I talk about here there are alot of variances between each fetishists own attraction but it can loosely be defined as being attracted to someone with a permanent and marked disability. This goes for amputees, paraplegics, the blind and more. It doesn't usually matter which part of the body is affected, although each person who engages this fetish has individual preferences.

Devotees, like any people, can vary widely in how they act out their fetishes. This is part of where the controversy surrounding this particular fetish comes from. While many devotees are loving and doting care-givers (likely the majority) some are fascinated by watching a disabled person struggle with their disability. The porn industry that caters to this fetish can sometimes be disturbing in nature as they often verbally condescend the disabled actors/actresses and/or depict them struggling. (But, honestly, I believe any porn can show the negative side to sex.)
Another side to the controversy is that devotee fetishists are sometimes viewed as seeing a person just for their disability, instead of personality. Again, this is widely debated in the community, with disabled persons themselves having conflicting views on devotees.

However, controversy aside, many disabled people find loving, caring romantic partnerships with devotees who love them for all that they are. This can be a blessing to people who, being different, can be told by society that they are not allowed to be sexualized. Like any adult person, disabled people are just as deserving of love, sex and relationships. :)
That's why I chose to depict a more intimate image of a devotee with his partner. They're making eye contact instead of his focusing on her amputated legs. I decided on the leg amputation because it allowed me to take a very traditional image (a gent sweeping his lady off of her feet) so that hopefully her missing legs are an afterthought until you notice her wheelchair in the background.
I know some other parts of the controversy surrounding devoteeism don't like that disabled people are often depicted as weak and feeble and so I'm sorry if this came across this way, I just wanted to show a closeness between the two characters AND show the devotee providing and helping her in a gentle, romantic way.

I hope this was enlightening! Please share if you have your own stories or insight to add!

I've been painting, working and helping PrettyBoy with his acting a ton lately, leaving me with very little comicing time! I'm mad at myself about it and I swear I'm gonna get back in the swing starting now. :)
PB and I are going to a reading for a new webshow he's acting in tonight which means I'll have some sketch-time while they rehearse!
More multi-panel comics coming atcha soon!


Anonymous said...

I'd heard about the fetish, but I didn't know what it was called.

When I saw the name in the address bar, I figured it was like one person basically worshiping another.

I like that picture, especially the expressions (so adorable ^^) because she may look weak on the surface, but sometimes it takes strength to admit when you need help.

AngelShinigami said...

This is an all around beautiful picture.

Moxie said...

Your best method for side-stepping controversy may well have been to give the characters such loving expressions towards one another.

Anonymous said...

I love this illustration. And you did a good job of explaining all aspects of it in a very short space.

Commenting anonymously mostly because this is my major kink, and because of the controversy, it's one I'm extremely hesitant to talk about and one I'm extremely careful about--I only indulge myself with written fiction or art of fictional people. It's a line I can't cross, because of exactly what you mention--the porn industry can be terrible enough as it is, but especially when it comes to niche markets. Plus, there's always the issue of whether the person in a given photograph has consented to being fetishised. Some people don't mind and take photos of themselves specifically for that purpose. But sometimes it's not so clean cut, and I don't really want to risk hurting anybody.

I have mixed feelings about the term "devotee". On the one hand, it's a much much broader term than specifically discussing, acrotomophilia, abasiophilia, etc--it's an umbrella term. On the other, I just...don't like the connotations it has, and I really don't like the way it frequently gets used. So it's not a term I'd apply to myself.

All the same. I really appreciate that you chose to do this particular fetish/cluster of fetishes, because I feel like it's something that needs considerably more explanation. So. Thank you.

Jada Deatheater said...

It's really beautiful. I particularly like that the love/relationships aspects of this fetish are put forward this way. I think it may have been the ONLY human way to present this fetish which is, after all, very twisted by itself.

Miss Kara said...

There's something very loving and affectionate about this piece. I absolutely adore it.

And good luck with your acting, Pretty Boy ^_^

somnium said...

Just spend the past 2 days reading every single entry you made (I know I lack alive. :D) and all I can say is that I love your art work.

Bill_Wa said...

Jeff Gord did a story about a woman who lost her arms and legs after being hit and mangled by a truck, focusing on her being fit only as a sex object, but the love the Doctor had for her was brought out in the story. I love the expressions, there is true love there. I suspect he was her nurse. There was also an Omaha The Cat Dancer subplot involving a woman losing the use of her legs after a gangland style shooting..

stillknowing said...

Woah... I love love love it! It is really beautiful, though i have never before heard or read of this fetish. Thanks for enlighten me ;)

Ruth Madison said...

Thanks for writing about my fetish in such a fair way.

We hear so much horrible stuff said about us that is so extraordinarily hurtful and this is a fair post showing both sides of devoteeism!

For those interested in learning more about devoteeism, I've literally written the book on the subject. My novel (W)hole is the story of a young woman growing up as a devotee and what happens when she meets the paraplegic man of her dreams.

It is emotionally very closely based on my own experiences.

Nic said...

Ruth, where can we find a copy of your book? :)

Ruth Madison said...

Thank you for asking :)

It's on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Here are the links for the e-versions. There is a paperback as well.


Ever since I first came out with this book in 2009, I've been connecting with other devotees and working hard at spreading the word that most of us are not creeps! Unfortunately the creepy devotees are the most vocal (making the rest of us afraid to come out). It's become my mission in life to give a voice for this attraction and to make people feel safe in acknowledging that side of themselves. I know I felt so horribly alone and broken when I was dealing with it growing up and I hope my books can prevent that experience happening to others!

Sheridan Salyer said...

So... now I have a name to fit my particular leanings.
I always thought of it in terms of "service" to Pet (a nickname we came up with long ago.) she has Sub leanings and I am not really Dom minded but i can Switch rather easily since that what she wants/ needs.
but as to the disability aspect... not all of them are as obvious as amputees et al.
Pet suffers from severe life long depression along with a few other choice problems.
i am Devoted to her and always will be.I will serve her until she doesn't need me anymore. but i will Always love her.
in hind sight I think this explains my previous marriages. Especially #1 we are still friendly and her husband is the best person for her. she out grew her need for me, as the song says
If he ever hurts you
True love won't desert you
You know I still love you
Though we touched
And went our separate ways

...and this has gotten long winded and sappy

Lucretia said...

Interesting graphic, I do like the expressions. My friends and I have been discussing devoteeism as fetish quite a bit lately. It brings up a lot of emotions, especially when it crosses over from fantasy to reality. My boyfriend has a disability, and we have always been open and upfront with our preferences and fetishes (we have more than one between us), but my being a devotee is both the least and greatest of these. I met him BECAUSE I am a dev, so in that sense, it is the greatest, or at least, the most obvious. Our daily lives (we are in a serious, long-term relationship and live together) are about us as a couple, and the hows and whys of our meeting pale very much in comparison to the life we are building together, as two people very much in love, so in that sense, my being a dev is also the least.

He is a psychologist and I am a writer, so we discuss the issue of devoteeism as fetish from many angles. I have even said, and continue to say, that fetish is not really the right word for it in most cases of actual relationships between people we know... but on the other hand, I know people for whom it IS a fetish.

This is a highly complex and controversial subject, but I am always glad to see positive comments and discussion.

Devushka said...

I liked the graphic. And as a devotee with a disabled partner, I echo what Lucretia said about the role of devoteeism within the context of a long term, committed relationship. It was the reason we met, my partner and I, but it doesn't play a major role in the relationship we have spent years building. In practical terms, of course, it enhances our physical intimacy because we know that we share a deep, mutual attraction for one another, and it allows us to be open and to experiment with one another without feeling shy or insecure, but apart from that, we are like many other couples. We talk, we laugh, we cry, we go out, we stay in, we share our frustrations and our happiness. We watch tv, we eat dinner, and we talk about our day. We don't gloss over his disability or the challenges it creates, but we don't focus on it either. The most important things for us are the love we share, our shared interests and sociopolitical views, the shared experiences we've had, the in-jokes we share, and the way we can each tell what the other is thinking. Devoteeism is not a fetish for me. It is more like a sexual orientation, and I think that, for different devotees, there are many different ways of experiencing and expressing devoteeism.

I also wanted to touch on another thing mentioned in this article - the idea of devotee as loving caregiver. While I know that there certainly are devotees out there who enjoy the caregiving aspect of a relationship with a disabled person, I would also like to point out that another type of devotee-disabled person relationship is one that is just as loving, but where instead of a caregiver role, the devotee and disabled person have a relationship where either there is no need for caregiving, or the caregiving is done by someone else, like a home care assistant, so that the caregiving and the intimacy are kept separate. Different devotees and disabled people have different preferences in that regard. My partner pays someone to assist him with the things he cannot do for himself, and my relationship with him is, I think, more equality/partnership-based as a result. So that is another way devotees can differ from one another, as well.

Nic said...

I'm so pleased with all of you readers who have chimed in with your personal thoughts and experiences. You've added so much beyond what I can say in this single page comic. :)

I think with ANY person and with ANY fetish people can get lost behind their labels. It's important to remember that we're all human, different though we may be... in shape, in size, in abilities, in color, in interests, in the bedroom, in kink! :)

Ruth Madison said...

"It's important to remember that we're all human"

EXACTLY! And that's the message that I really want to get out there. We should always remember to treat others with respect because even if we don't understand their desires or lifestyles, they are human beings the same as us :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Nic. i wanted to thank you for finally putting this up. i am a disabled person and for the longest time i thought i would have to settle simply because of my disability. but i found the most wonderful woman (also with a disability) but we don't even see that. we love each other because of who we are. Yet I really enjoyed this comic because it shows us out there and being able to be loved for whom we are.

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