Wise old Wikipedia calls it agalmatophilia (statue love), describing the act of statue groping as "the sexual attraction to a statue, doll, mannequin or other similar figurative object." It's weird... at first, you assume it's just a bunch of people goofing around, posing for a funny photo without much Freudian thought. Then you discover an entire subreddit and community of online agalmatophiliacs, mixing humour with arousal, fetish with ridiculous... And you’ve got to wonder, where do those photos end up?
Intrigued, I posted an interview on Reddit, hoping to coax a few real-life gropers out into the open. Praying I didn’t get some Carl Stargher (The Cell) nutcase, into skin bleaching and suspension. At this point, I think I should point out the difference between statue groping and sex machines... Move along!
Only two gropers replied in the end. But one of them, perhaps fearing public exposure, went back and deleted their answers before I had a chance to copy and paste them. So the only genuine response I got came from a user called BlackbeltJones. Here’s what he/she had to say:
Is statue groping an actual fetish or just a wacky, fun-to-look at sub-reddit group?
I have a sincere appreciation for sculpture as an art form. It beats painting, wood carving, photography and anything else, hands down. Sculpture is just more impressive than other forms of art. It's more of a unique talent. I could never create something so wonderful. I am incapable. And I can't crap on them like a pigeon. So the next best thing to do is statue-grope.
If you're a statue groper, what do you get out of it?
And what's better, groping your own statue or looking at photos of someone else's grope?
Groping my own, unless another's is a clever or quality grope.
Is there a downside to statue groping?
Getting kicked out of museums.
What's the statue groper take on pigeons?
Pigeons are disease-laden pests.
Best kind of statues to grope?
Statues that are only slightly larger than life-size.
Are there any famous statues in the statue groping community? I imagine David’s quite high on the list?
I tried to grope the official David, but David's on a pedestal and security are dicks about cameras. Fortunately, Italy has about 999 other David replicas sprinkled around the country. I think the best statues to grope are those sculptures whose participants are already engaged in gropes. You can work your way in and create a statue grope orgy.
Any advice to would-be statue gropers?
Don't be shy. You know you wanna...
One other poster, Kjoneslol, did add, "You're taking us far too seriously". And when I approached one of the moderators of the group, complaining about the lack of response from the statue groping community, he/she replied, "I was afraid of that. This sub has kinda died, which is why I wanted to mod it, to try and bring it back to its former glory. But, to be frank, I've always seen r/statuegropers as a gag. People taking suggestive pictures with statues are funny to me, and I sorta like the idea of a fake-ish fetish poking fun at some of the serious fetish subreddits. Keep trying, I wish there was more to say, but to me, it's always been just a silly joke with funny pictures." But then he/she added, "Try submitting some pics of you and a statue. That will get a response."
Look, I can see the fun, "silly joke side" of it, of course. But - and you can call me old fashioned here - I've never sexually assaulted a statue for the sake of a funny photo. And when you Google the subject, some of the gropers have climbed fucking high, risking their necks to snare their petrified victims. Also, some of the expressions look a bit too much like "utter glee". Yeah... I'm unconvinced. I think it's a grey area that's all ha-ha fun and games on the surface. Then at home later, when no one's looking, who knows what goes on.
Either way, when a statue groper's kicking back between gropes, do you think they're unwinding to something like this?