On the topic of fictosexual rights, there is one question I get asked without fail: why?
Why do fictosexuals need advocacy? What rights don’t they have already? This is said with varying degrees of well intent: sometimes it’s from a person who genuinely wants an answer, and other times it’s from someone who thinks they’ve got you cornered.
No matter what category your particular interlocutor falls into, there is an answer to this question.
First off, there’s the obvious consequences of living as a fictosexual in the world today: the social ones. You are generally presented with two options: hide your identity by any means necessary, or be open about your identity and face immediate, intense ostracization.
Sometimes it manifests in overt hate, and you may be called weird, creepy, sad, pathetic, or if they’re particularly insensitive, the r-slur or ‘autistic’ as an insult.
More often though, it takes on a more subtle form — suddenly, people are ‘just concerned for you.’ They ‘just want you to be happy’ — as long as your vision of happiness entails finding a 3D partner and being rehabilitated into polite society. You may lose friends over arguments, or discomfort may cause them to become distant.
Even if you don’t face any hate directly, even if you keep your identity a secret, there will always be immense social pressure to conform. Communities dedicated to your identity are generally small and almost exclusively online. You may regularly feel alone, as if you have no one to speak to about your experiences or turn to for advice.
A bit below the surface, there are the psychological effects. If your expression of 2D love gets to be ‘too much’ by any reasoning, a particularly ‘considerate’ friend or family member may attempt to have you put into therapy to ‘fix’ your sexuality. If you’re underage, as many fictosexuals are when their identity first starts becoming clear, you won’t have a say in the matter.
When you explain to your therapist why you’re there, the goal of your sessions may gradually shift to include ‘getting over’ your fictosexuality — or just figuring out who in your life must have hurt you to make you this way. If you downplay the role that 2D love plays in your life, they might sanction it as a ‘coping mechanism,’ but any acceptance is strictly conditional — as long as it doesn’t stop you from pursuing 3D relationships.
And, somewhat obviously, any anxiety or depression you may have been struggling with before may be exacerbated by the new level of social ostracization you’re dealing with. It may lead to self-esteem issues, self-hatred, or trouble socializing with others.
If you voice these feelings, it may give people an opportunity to blame your fictosexuality on these preexisting problems — you love fictional characters because you’re afraid of ‘real’ intimacy, because you don’t think you’re good enough for a real person, because you don’t think yourself attractive enough to find a 3D partner. By positing your fictosexuality as a vestige of your mental health struggles, it is itself further painted as a problem, something that simply cannot exist in the mind of a healthy, happy human being. In the same breath, blame is shifted away from the people ostracizing you, and from the deeper cultural attitudes that permit it.
And, of course, when you try to raise awareness that any of this is happening, you’re likely to be brushed off, told that it’s not that bad, that the things you describe aren’t really a problem, or even that you’re bringing it upon yourself by daring to exist as a fict person openly.
So…let’s unpack all this.
What a lot of discussion surrounding fictosexual advocacy fails to adequately comment on is the fact that the social stigma surrounding 2D love does in fact have consequences beyond mere discomfort for those affected. If the very worst of anti-fictosexuality manifested as ‘people with too much free time making fun of us on the internet,’ then indeed the necessity of fictosexual activism would be questionable. But that’s simply not the truth.
This stigma is real, and it causes real harm. It can separate people from their friends or even their family, make it more difficult to receive mental health counseling, and lead to years of shame and isolation. More likely than not, any fict or 2D lover you know can relate to one or more of these experiences — they’re painfully common, and well-documented in 2DL spaces.
Fictosexual advocacy is mainly and primarily focused on destigmatizing 2D love and fictional attraction. It’s about giving fict-aligned people the freedom to exist as they are without hate or judgment, a freedom that they, unambiguously, do not currently have.