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What Does Fictosexuality Mean?

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Relationship experts explore the motivations and behavior of people who go beyond fantasy to say they’re actually in love with a fictional character.
The heart wants what it wants and, for some people, that’s a fictional character. Fictosexuality—falling in love with an imaginary figure—is unusual, but it’s an instinct at least as old as the Pygmalion myth in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (first published in 8AD). Much more recently, the idea made headlines around the world when Akihiko Kondo, a Japanese school administrator in his thirties, married Hatsune Miku, « a turquoise-haired, computer-synthesized pop singer », in the words of The New York Times. The bride is a Vocaloid—singing software produced by Yamaha—who looks like a 16-year-old girl. She has « performed » at virtual concerts, even opening for Lady Gaga, and appeared in manga and video games. According to Kondo, he and Miku started dating in 2008. Ten years later, they tied the knot in an unofficial ceremony in Tokyo, which reportedly cost around $17,000. That’s not the only sum Kondo has invested in the relationship. He has a collection of Miku dolls, including a life-size figure he commissioned, and splurged $1,300 on a Gatebox, a holographic device that allowed people to interact with fictional characters. The machine was discontinued during the pandemic, however. In a New York Times interview published in April this year, Kondo said he was aware that some people might find his passion strange, adding that he knows Miku isn’t a real person. His feelings for her are real, he said, and that’s all that matters. « When we’re together, she makes me smile. In that sense, she’s real. »
Kondo told the newspaper their routine wasn’t much different than that of a traditional couple. They eat, sleep, watch movies and even go on romantic trips together. The relationship with Miku had pulled him out of a deep depression, he said. According to Amy Pritchett, relationship expert at MyDatingAdviser, the core benefit of fictosexual attraction is that your imaginary partner « can’t fight with you, break up with you, or do undesirable things that real people do.

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