A1 Journal article (refereed)
Fictosexuality, Fictoromance, and Fictophilia : A Qualitative Study of Love and Desire for Fictional Characters (2021)

Karhulahti, V.-M., & Välisalo, T. (2021). Fictosexuality, Fictoromance, and Fictophilia : A Qualitative Study of Love and Desire for Fictional Characters. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, Article 575427. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.575427

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsKarhulahti, Veli-Matti; Välisalo, Tanja

Journal or seriesFrontiers in Psychology


Publication year2021


Article number575427

PublisherFrontiers Media

Place of PublicationLausanne

Publication countrySwitzerland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/73662


Fictosexuality, fictoromance, and fictophilia are 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. This article explores the phenomenon by qualitative thematic analysis of 71 relevant online discussions. Five central themes emerge from the data: (1) fictophilic paradox, (2) fictophilic stigma, (3) fictophilic behaviors, (4) fictophilic asexuality, and (5) fictophilic supernormal stimuli. The findings are further discussed and ultimately compared to the long-term debates on human sexuality in relation to fictional characters in Japanese media psychology. Contexts for future conversation and research are suggested.

Keywordsfictional charactersmediasexuality (sexual orientation)social relationsrelationscomicsgame researchtelevision seriestelevisions (devices)gamesfilms

Free keywordsparasocial relationships; fictophilia; game characters; characters

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Other organizations:

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 17:42