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Agalmatophilia (from the Greek agalma 'statue', and -philia φιλία = love) is a paraphilia involving sexual attraction to a statue, doll, mannequin or other similar figurative object. The attraction may include a desire for actual sexual contact with the object, a fantasy of having sexual (or non-sexual) encounters with an animate or inanimate instance of the preferred object, the act of watching encounters between such objects, or sexual pleasure gained from thoughts of being transformed or transforming another into the preferred object. Agalmatophilia may also encompass Pygmalionism (from the myth of Pygmalion), which denotes love for an object of one's own creation.[1] Agalmatophilia is a form of Object sexuality.

Clinical study[edit]

Agalmatophilia is a twentieth-century term for a medicalization of statue-eroticization widely attested in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century legal medicine.[2] Actual historical cases are few. Krafft-Ebing recorded in 1877 the case of a gardener falling in love with a statue of the Venus de Milo and being discovered attempting coitus with it.[3]

Fantasy, transformation, role-play[edit]

An important fantasy for some individuals is being transformed into the preferred object (such as a statue) and experiencing an associated state of immobility or paralysis. Such fantasies may be extended to role-playing, and the self-coined term used by fetishists who enjoy being transformed into what appears to be a "rubber doll" or "latex doll" or trapped within a statue and displayed in a museum.

In the arts[edit]

Sexualised life-size dolls have extensively featured in the work of famous art photographers such as Hans Bellmer, Bernard Faucon, Helmut Newton, Morton Bartlett, Katan Amano, Kishin Shinoyama[4] and Ryoichi Yoshida.

Agalmatophilia features prominently in Luis Buñuel's L'Âge d'Or, in which the female protagonist sucks a statue's toe; in the novel Kort Amerikaans ("Crew Cut") (1962) by Dutch writer Jan Wolkers (and the movie of the same name, based on the novel, from 1979), in which the main character (in the movie played by Derek de Lint) develops an interest in, and ultimately is caught having sex with, a plaster torso; as well as in Tarsem Singh's thriller film The Cell (2000), which centers on a serial killer who bleaches his victims' bodies so they resemble dolls.

The romantic comedy film Mannequin (1987) is about a window dresser who has a relationship with an animated mannequin, which he had found at a department store.

The character Number Five in the superhero web television series The Umbrella Academy (2019) falls in love with a mannequin named Dolores.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ellis, 1927.
  2. ^ Janssen, Diederik F (2020-06-30). "From Libidines nefandæ to sexual perversions". History of Psychiatry: 0957154X2093725. doi:10.1177/0957154X20937254. ISSN 0957-154X. PMID 32605397.
  3. ^ Kick, 2005.
  4. ^ "シノヤマネット - 篠山紀信 写真・映像ライブラリー". Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2019.


  • Alexandre, Elisabeth (2005). Des poupées et des hommes. Enquête sur l'amour artificiel (Dolls and Men - Investigation into Artificial Love). La Musardine. ISBN 2-84271-252-8.
  • Dorfman, Elena (2005). Still Lovers. Channel Photographics. ISBN 0-9766708-1-X.
  • Ellis, Havelock (1927). Studies in the Psychology of Sex. "Volume V: Erotic Symbolism; The Mechanism of Detumescence; The Psychic State in Pregnancy". ISBN 1-4375-0927-4.
  • Gross, Kenneth (1992). The Dream of the Moving Statue. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-2702-9.
  • Kick, Russ (2005). Everything You Know about Sex Is Wrong. The Disinformation Company. ISBN 1-932857-17-6.
  • Krafft-Ebing, Richard von (1906). Psychopathia Sexualis, with Special Reference to the Antipathic Sexual Instinct: A Medico-Forensic Study. ISBN 1-55970-425-X.
  • Plumb, Suzie (Editor) (2005). Guys and Dolls: Art, Science, Fashion and relationships. Royal Pavilion, Art Gallery & Museums. ISBN 0-948723-57-2.
  • Scobie A, Taylor J. (January 1975). Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences: Vol 11, Issue 1: "Agalmatophilia, the statue syndrome." Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
  • Simmons, Laurence (2006). Freud's Italian Journey. Rodopi. ISBN 90-420-2011-3.
  • Wenk, Silke (1989). "Pygmalions Wahlverwandtschaften. Die Rekonstruktion des Schöpfermythos im nachfaschistischen Deutschland" IN: Konstruktionen von Männlichkeit und Weiblichkeit in Kunst und Kunstgeschichte. Berlin.
  • White, M. J. (November 1978). Journal of Sex Research; Vol. 14, Issue 4: "The Statue Syndrome: Perversion? Fantasy? Anecdote?".

External links[edit]