Ammosexualism: A Culture Bound Mental Disorder


Ammosexuality: “A term for someone who feels affection for firearms. Often an attraction to the beauty and design of the gun, but can also refer to love for the history, freedom, security, or tactile feel of the gun. Also typified by those who feel joy in being able to find and acquire ammunition to feed their firearms, especially at an affordable price.”

Ammosexuals have been “ruthlessly attacked by pinko socialists” who apparently desire the “eradication of individual liberty and equality.” Indeed this seems to be the mentation…”I have a few guns to protect my family from these commie Republican haters.” This argumentation ad nauseum ends up with an expected Godwin comment…”This (anti gun rhetoric) smells of Nazi Germany. Our right wing is easily manipulated” There is something very wrong with the gun culture in the USA. Most of the civilized world lives fine without guns.

When you need a weapon to feel like you “belong” to be a member of a particular culture, then there’s something wrong with the culture.Essentially the American paranoid driven obsession with guns could be designated psychiatrically as a culture bound syndrome much like Amok in Indonesia or Piblokto in Inuit culture.

Americans have loved their guns for over 200 years. The second amendment came about to arm a civilian militia and aid the fight against British imperialism. The weapon of choice at the time was the flintlock rifle which could take up to 30 seconds to load assuming it wasn’t raining. Plus they were wildly inaccurate. A modern AR 15 fires 13 rounds per second. One could argue that American gun worship is an anachronism….a cultural value system that is no longer in synch with the rest of humanity or the times……

Americans have a love affair with individuality and freedom that borders on pathological insofar as it can create stress for others. I am referring to love in the meaning of bonding, attachment and sexuality. But this is fixated at a primitive level of object relations and psychosexual development-phallic narcissism by any other name.

Indeed gun lovers have names for their weaponry paramour…. “this is Vera my Mossberg 500, my Pa gave her to me when I was 5 and I blew away my first unarmed pheasant with it. We’ve been close ever since” ….strange bunch these Yanks are. I lived and worked among them for 7 years in the cow and wheat country of central Kansas. But I never felt threatened or unsafe. The key word being feel. Guns don’t really ensure safety and indeed they give you false courage to enter into potentially dangerous situations. So thus creating a false statistical conclusion which is that guns actually make you safe.

What I learned about the gun psyche was that it is well introjected into US culture and not going anywhere anytime soon. And furthermore why they like guns so much is beyond freedom worship and the justification of their bizarre ideation of “lets arm school guards” to decrease mass shooting by the disaffected and alienated. It is far more basic and atavistic.

And it is a love affair which means sexual connotations and that means simply, fun. Back in Kansas and without much fuss at a gun shop, I acquired a 9 mm Beretta handgun ostensibly for my 15-year-old son to target shoot. The sensual feel and weight and craftmanship of this Italian work of art bespoke a burgeoning romance. It was a thrill to fire, I could never hit anything with it and soon the excitement wore off. I thus overcame this narcissistic attachment quickly but my son is presently a tank Sargeant in the Marine Corps and blows stuff up for a living. This could be poor role modeling/parenting but I prefer to blame peer pressure and cultural immersion. His friends had more firepower than Paraguay.

Beyond the unavoidable Freudian link between guns and potency, there’s also an addicting quality to trying to improve your accuracy with a target at the range. And thus with ammosexuality there is an element of dependency in addition to romantic love and thrill seeking. Two very potent neurochemicals and hormones are operative factors: dopamine and adrenaline. Not to mention the CNS hard wiring found in republicans that amounts to an organic brain syndrome.

Ammosexualism thus is therapy resistant at least at the individual level and cultural change seems unlikely in the near future. Gun culture in the U.S may be rooted in the days of the early settlers, given some impetus by the American Revolution, and proliferated during and just after the Civil War. And so gun culture is deeply ingrained in portions of American life.

It has two parts — the hunting/sporting tradition, and the frontier/militia. The former is recreational, the latter is political and ideological. Both of these contribute to the modern attachment to guns. And all that means a poor motivation for change and a grim prognosis for the future.

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