Fictosexuality is one of the newer occurrences in the LGBTQIA+ community. Though seemingly present as early as the 18th century, its term has not been coined, recognized nor legitimized until recently. Even then, it has sparked debate on whether it belongs within the community.
Also known as fictisexual, fictionsexual, fictiosexual or fictionalsexual, ficts or fictos, the LGBTA Wiki regards this identity as “an umbrella term for anyone who experiences exclusive sexual attraction toward fictional characters, a general type of fictional characters, or whose sexuality is influenced by fictional characters.
“Some fictosexual individuals experience attraction to certain genders in fiction but don’t experience attraction to said genders in the non-fictional world,” the wiki continues. “For example, one may experience attraction to all genders in fiction but only experience attraction to women in the non-fictional world.”
The site LGBT+ Fandom states fictosexuality as part of the ace-spec label and identity, “where one lacks attraction to anyone but fictional characters,” which also can go beyond gender.
Those who are fictosexcual may, of course, identify with any other orientation (bisexual, pansexual, gay, omnisexual, etc.) in accordance with being fictosexual. The Sexuality Fandom page further describes such as not an orientation in itself but a label “to better express their experience with attraction.”
A January 2021 study was done about fictosexuality, actually, to further investigate “love and desire for fictional characters.” Its authors, Veli-Matti Karhulahti and Tanja Välisalo (another link to the same study here), describe fictosexuality, fictoromance and fictophilia as “terms that have recently become popular in online environments as indicators of strong and lasting feelings of love, infatuation or desire for one or more fictional characters.”
Karhulahti and Välisalo date fictosexuality occurrences as early back as the 18th century in one’s infatuation with drama characters, musicians and celebrities. The western history of “fantasy relationships” tracks to “the lifelong bonds people in different cultures have conventionally had with gods, monarchs, spirits and other figures they may never have had the chance to meet in person.”
Findings of this study indicated an initiation of fictosexual discussion by people “experiencing love, desire or deep attachment to a fictional character and often wanting to discuss whether it was ‘normal,’ ‘healthy’ or searching for others like them.”
Several discussions led to how fictosexuality lies in the asexual spectrum and other sexual preferences and identities. In most forums, according to Karhulahti and Välisalo, it was deemed problematic.
Among the 71 analyzed forums and discussions, there were five key themes the authors found: 1) fictophilic paradox; 2) fictophilic stigma; 3) fictophilic behaviors; 4) fictophilic asexuality; and 5) fictophilic supernormal stimuli. If you want to read more on this, I’ve linked the study again here (specific information about these themes can be found just under Table 1 and under Discussion).
The LGBTA Wiki lays out the flag and its colors quite well:
– Black and Gray: lack of attraction toward non-fictional individuals
– Purple: sexual attraction and the asexual spectrum
– Black circle: a “portal” to the fictional world in question
– Pink: attraction to fictional characters
Additionally, fictosexuality does not include attraction to harmful fictional characters or tropes, such as lolitas. The target group for fictosexuals is not those with harmful attractions.
If this resonates with you, fear not. Please know this is a valid orientation and identity.
And here’s more from the LGBTA Wiki regarding other identities that may fall under fictosexuality:
- Animatesexual – the attraction to anime/manga characters.
- Cartosexual – the attraction to cartoon/comic characters.
- Booklosexual – the attraction to novel/visual novel characters.
- Visualnovelsexual – the attraction to visual novel characters.
- Gamosexual – the attraction to video game characters.
- Imagisexual – the attraction to fictional characters one can never see (book characters, podcast characters, etc.)
- Inreasexual – the attraction to live-action TV show/movie characters.
- OCsexual – the attraction to original characters.
- Teratosexual – the attraction to monster-related characters.
- Tobusexual – the attraction to vampire-related characters.
- Spectrosexual – the attraction to ghost-related characters.
- Nekosexual – the attraction to neko-related characters.
- Anuafsexual – the attraction to other animal and human hybrid characters.
- Multifictino – a mix of exclusive fictional attraction. Example: being attracted exclusively to anime and cartoon characters.
- Aliussexual – an attraction for fictionkin. The attraction to fictional characters from their source.
Happy knowledge hunting!