Love is love, as they say, and these days that adage applies to an increasing number of relationships between nontraditional — or in some cases nonexistent — partners. Some people have elected to make their self-love official by marrying themselves, and others, apparently, are pursuing full-fledged relationships with fictional characters.
Fictosexuality, according to a recent New York Times report, is a sexual identity that refers to sexual attraction experienced towards fictional characters. While most of us have probably experienced crushes on a favorite book or movie character, fictosexuals reportedly differ in that they experience sexual attraction exclusively towards fictional characters, and can’t get it up for actual people.
These relationships, which are particularly popular in Japanese culture, often involve spending money on one’s fictional beloved by way of merchandise designed to tap into the fictosexual market. Some hotels reportedly even offer special packages, featuring spa treatments and elaborate meals, for people celebrating with the fictional object of their affections.
“To the general public, it seems indeed foolish to spend money, time and energy on someone who is not even alive,” Agnès Giard, a researcher at the University of Paris Nanterre, told the New York Times. “But for character lovers, this practice is seen as essential. It makes them feel alive, happy, useful and part of a movement with higher goals in life.”
Some fictosexuals even go as far as to make their relationships (unofficially) official, tying the knot with their fictional partners in unofficial wedding ceremonies. Japanese man Akihiko Kondo went viral after marrying a made-up pop singer named Hatsune Miku back in 2018. Since then, Kondo has dedicated himself to raising awareness of fictosexuality, telling the Times, “It’s about respecting other people’s lifestyles.”
Still sounds a little weird, but to each their own I suppose. Not to mention, there are some obvious benefits to being in a relationship with a fake person. They can’t break up with you, start fights with you, age, call you out for anything or do any of the other undesirable things that real people are wont to do in relationships. If what you want is a partner who will never challenge you in any way, marrying a made-up character seems like the next best thing to marrying yourself.