Dwarves and Giants

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Dwarves and Giants

Dwarves and giants are part of a sexual fetish based on a substantial difference in size, so that one individual is a giant compared to another who is tiny. These size fetishes are called macrophilia, or the attraction to large people, and microphilia, or the attraction to small people. Some people fantasize about giants, thus seeing themselves as small and sometimes weak and endangered. Others fantasize about being the giant. Still others have a particular fetish for dwarves, which are not necessarily the opposite of giants, because they have a distinct set of cultural associations all their own. Because both dwarves and giants can exist as real people and as cultural fantasies and myths, sexual fetishes differ based on whether one is aroused by extraordinarily tall or short people or by the mythological ideas of godlike giants or fairy-tale dwarves.


Cultural references to giants are found in the Bible, Greek and Roman mythology, Norse mythology, and in tales of medieval Europe. Giants are a race of creatures distinct from humanity; in the Bible, they are the hybrid progeny of angels who mated with human women and so are tainted by sin. In medieval English literature, ancient ruins, such as Stonehenge, were attributed to giants who were believed to have roamed the earth before humanity's rise to power. Linked to many European creation myths, giants are thus both humanity's progenitors and the enemy of all humanity. As villains, their enormous and grotesque bodies are complemented by exorbitant desires, appetites, and vices. They are also very strong and usually not very intelligent, as in Cyclops of Homer's Odyssey (c. 700 bce), and like Cyclops they often devour humans. The voracious destruction wrought by giants is thus often caused by a giant mouth, and it is not uncommon for this mouth to be compared to a large and destructive vagina. Most mythological and medieval depictions of giants are masculine and not seen as sexual fantasies, although in their rampant destruction, these giants sometimes rape women.

While male giants have dominated cultural representations for most of history, giantesses have emerged as a particular sexual fetish (macrophilia) following the feminism of the twentieth century. Thus, many movies, comic books, films, and music videos feature large women who are often destructive of cities, cars, and sometimes smaller men. The 1958 movie Attack of the 50-Foot Woman is one of many examples of a large yet well-proportioned and scantily clad woman causing destruction and mayhem. An active online community exists for those who share this fantasy, and they use the abbreviation GTS (giantess) to label their web sites. In both pornography and fantasy enactment, giantesses are dominant and/or sadistic, trampling, sitting on, or crushing smaller people. Most theorists connect the trampling fantasy to foot fetishism, because these images focus on a giant foot crushing a little man. Some fantasies involve being eaten by the giantess, another fetish in which the small person is typically devoured whole. A variation on this is the insertion of the small person into the giantess's vagina. Rarely, these fantasies depict the giantess as a nurturing, motherly figure tending to her infant.

Macrophilia also includes the desire for male giants, and the 1957 movie The Amazing Colossal Man corresponds to the 50-Foot Woman. Other male giants in cultural history include the title character in Jonathan Swift's 1726 satire Gulliver's Travels, in which Gulliver repeatedly exposes himself in order to defecate and urinate in public before the tiny population of Lilliput. Some macrophiles thus use the term Gulliver as a code name. Male giants are currently less popular in the sexual imagination perhaps because the extraordinary size of a giant or giantess renders that figure extremely powerful. Because women are generally less physically powerful than men, this fantasy reverses the norm of physical and cultural male superiority. The gay community also participates in macrophilia, although these depictions are less common.

Both macrophilia and microphilia typically involve a process of growing or shrinking, so that macrophilia may involve one person shrinking or the other growing. These actions may become fantasies in themselves related to the fetish of body transformation. Similar to seeing an entire body enlarge (or shrink) before one's eyes, it is also arousing to see various parts of the body expand, such as breasts, bellies, and buttocks (although not genitals).


In ancient Greek and Roman culture, dwarves and other abnormal individuals were especially valuable as slaves, entertainment, and charms against evil. In addition, they were granted special privileges in the wealthy or imperial households they often inhabited. Although Greek and Roman sculpture celebrated the ideal human form, other less prestigious arts such as vase painting and miniatures often depicted dwarves, hunchbacks, and other imperfect bodies as grotesques. Such depictions in both these arts and the literature of the Hellenic period (c. 500 bce) depict dwarves as tiny satyrs, dancers celebrating the god Dionysus, and boxers. Most images of male dwarves feature extremely large penises, and Aristotle reported in The History of Animals (350 bce) that this trait was a typical feature of dwarves.

The extra large penis is also found in many modern depictions of dwarves. In midget porn, a type of pornography that features midgets having sex with full-size people or other midgets, many of the male midgets are notable for having penises that appear disproportionately large in comparison with the rest of their bodies. Female midgets are often depicted having sex with full-size men, and one appeal is to see a large penis in a small vagina. The attraction to midgets seems to be largely voyeuristic; such pornographic material is appealing as a sexual oddity.

Those who desire to have sex with dwarves or midgets may feel like giants in comparison, or they may feel that they are part of a fairy tale, myth, or other fantasy. For women, fantasies about sex with male dwarves easily lets the woman feel like Snow White, a beautiful woman in the company of exotic, possibly dark-skinned, little men. Because of their diminutive stature, dwarves are also often imagined to be childlike creatures whose innocence is especially appealing. Within the genre of slash fiction, in which fictional characters are written into (often homoerotic) sexual encounters, many fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien (books published, 1954–1955; films released, 2001–2003) imagined such narratives for the midget-like male hobbits. Here, then, the appeal comes from both the perverse homosexual pairing of familiar fictional characters and the vision of these exotic figures of fantasy in sexual scenarios.

see also Cannibalism.


Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. 1999. Of Giants: Sex, Monsters, and the Middle Ages. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Garland, Robert. 1995. The Eye of the Beholder: Deformity and Disability in the Graeco-Roman World. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Gates, Katharine. 2000. Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex. New York: Juno Books.

                                              Michelle Veenstra