Necrophilia, also called thanatophilia and necrolagnia, is a paraphilia characterized by sexual attraction to corpses. Necrophilia, also called thanatophilia or necrolagnia, is the sexual attraction to corpses. It is classified as a paraphilia by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. The word is derived from the Greek words: ?e???? (nekros; "dead") and f???a (philia; "love"). The term was coined by the Belgian alienist Joseph Guislain, who first used it in a lecture in 1850. Rosman and Resnick (1989) reviewed information from 34 cases (supplied by psychiatric colleagues) of necrophilia describing the individuals' motivations for their behaviors: these individuals reported the desire to possess a non-resisting and non-rejecting partner (68%), reunions with a romantic partner (21%), sexual attraction to corpses (15%), comfort or overcoming feelings of isolation (15%), or seeking self-esteem by expressing power over a homicide victim (12%)
Singular accounts of necrophilia in history are sporadic, though written records suggest the practice was present within Ancient Egypt. Herodotus writes in The Histories that, to discourage intercourse with a corpse, ancient Egyptians left deceased beautiful women to decay for "three or four days" before giving them to the embalmers. In some societies the practice was enacted owing to a belief that the soul of an unmarried woman would not find peace; among the Kachin of Myanmar, versions of a marriage ceremony were held to lay a dead virgin to rest, which would involve intercourse with the corpse. In a modern example, Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer who suffered from necrophilia. In order to be aroused, he had to kill his victims before having sex with them. Dahmer stated that he only killed his victims because they wanted to leave after having sex, and would be angry with him for drugging them. He fit the criteria of the desire "to possess an unresisting and unrejecting partner" according to Rosman and Resnick's study listed below. British serial killer Dennis Nilsen is considered to have been a necrophiliac.
In animals, necrophilia is since 1960 commonly referred to as Davian behaviour allegedly named so by Dickerman after a lewd limerick
The word is artificially derived from Ancient Greek:(nekros; "corpse," or "dead") and (philia; "love"). The term seems to have originated from Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing's 1886 work Psychopathia Sexualis.
Necrophilia is sexual gratification from intercourse with a deceased individual the phenomena is called. If instead of intercourse the perpetrator inserts foreign objects into the victims orifice, the phenomena is called Insertional Necrophilia. Figuratively, the term necrophilia describes an inordinate desire to control another person, usually in the context of a romantic or interpersonal relationship; the accusation is that the person is so interpersonally controlling as to be better-suited to relationships with nonresponsive people.
Necrophilia is a common among disorganized offenders. It should not be mistaken for a form of mutilation.
Overview on Necrophilia Cause and prevalance
Virtually no research has been conducted regarding the prevalance of necrophilic attraction among humans. Klaf and Brown and William Brown in their "Necrophilia: Brief Review and Case Report," refer that, although rarely described, necrophilic fantasies may occur more often than is generally supposed.
Rosman and Resnick (1989). "Sexual attraction to corpses: a psychiatric review of necrophilia," theorized that either of the following situations could be antecedents to necrophilia (pp. 161):
1. The necrophile develops poor self-esteem, perhaps due in part to a significant loss;
(a) He (usually male) is very fearful of rejection by women and he desires a sexual object who is incapable of rejecting him; and/or
(b) He is fearful of the dead, and transforms his fear of the dead—by means of reaction formation—into a desire for the dead.
2. He develops an exciting fantasy of sex with a corpse, sometimes after exposure to a corpse.
The authors also reported that, of their sample of 'necrophiliacs,' 68% were motivated by a desire for an unresisting and unrejecting partner; 21% by a want for reunion with a lost partner; 15% by sexual attraction to corpses; 15% by a desire for comfort or to overcome feelings of isolation; and 12% by a desire to remedy low self-esteem by expressing power over a corpse (pp. 159). (It could be surmised that only the 15% motivated by an attraction to corpses were true necrophiliacs.)
Necrophilia in neo-psychoanalysis
In the analytic social psychology of Erich Fromm, necrophilia is a character orientation which shows an increasing tendency toward destructiveness. Used in a non-sexual sense, Erich Fromm understood necrophilia as an everyday behavior which is not an expression of a biologically fixated death instinct, but the consequence of a life without being really alive.
For Erich Fromm, necrophilia is the opposite of biophilia. The lack of love in the western society leads to necrophilia. Symbols of the necrophile are facades made of concrete and steel, modern weapon systems, the idolatry of the technology of the megamachine (technophilia), the wasting of resources in consumerism and the treatment of people as things in bureaucratism.
* Biting behavior is quite common, especially on the breasts and neck area, but not only there. Bites may be being minor and hard to find, or severe. The purpose of biting, as opposed to "hickies", is to leave permanent marks.
* Anal assault is quite common, usually accompanied by penetration of objects up the anus, into the intestinal area, and even up to the chest area. The intent is to impale the victim and bring the immediate look of suffering on the part of victims. There are lots of other possible motivations, like latent homosexuality, compulsive masculinity, and displaced revenge for a prison rape.
* Oral assault, with the victim's head still attached, or detached occurs in some cases. It occurs first when there's not so much anger and more pent-up sexual frustration (as in vaginal penetration). The offender may be playing out a script in which he thinks fellatio is the proper act of foreplay, or it may be an all-out assault on the face of the victim if certain victim selection characteristics are present.
* Strangulation is a technique that can be done in two ways: manually or by ligature with a rope, wire, etc. to compress the arteries in the neck to restrict the flow of blood to the brain. Offenders love to bring their victims in and out of consciousness this way, achieving sexual gratification from the victim's intermittent suffering responses. It's also a common form of killing a victim besides blunt force trauma.
* Killing or torturing a victim in front of another victim is common. In these cases, there's no precise order in which victim goes first. Whoever does go first is usually the preliminary victim to what the offender really has in mind. When one victim is killed in front of another, it's usually precautionary, to get rid of another living witness. In other cases, the killing of one victim is retaliatory for the offender's perception of another victim's misbehavior.
* Mutilation (postmortem) is usually committed for a couple of reasons: either the victim was not responsive enough for the offender or the offender wants to exercise some power over the deceased.
* Necrophiliacs generally tend to be people who are clinically depressed. They believe it is easier to objectify sex with the dead, to obtain compliments from them (meaning they assume they can talk to them) and appreciate the variety of positions victims can assume as well as the artifically created orifices found in those who came to gruesome deaths.
Although obtaining consent is not usually considered a prerequisite for activity with non-living material, sexual activity with a human corpse is taboo and frequently labelled abuse, based on the presumption that the person would not have consented to the act while alive, and that it would thus constitute a profound and disturbing disrespect for their remains to be treated in a way other than their wishes. In rare cases, however, necrophilic acts can be consensual: for example, in the Armin Meiwes case, the victim gave his consent to the mutilation and death inflicted upon him.
Although virtually all societies condemn sexual activity with the dead, as a form of symbolic disrespect, several groups, individuals, and publications have pushed for the legalization of necrophilic acts. "The NecroErotic", for example, argues that "necrophiliacs have as much right to engage in their orgasmic release of choice as do normal' couples" and that "all human rights cease the moment a person draws their last breath
In 1958, Klaf and Brown commented that, although rarely described, necrophilic fantasies may occur more often than is generally supposed.
Rosman and Resnick (1989) theorized that either of the following situations could be antecedents to necrophilia :
The necrophile develops poor self-esteem, perhaps due in part to a significant loss;
(a) He/she is very fearful of rejection by women/men and he/she desires a sexual partner who is incapable of rejecting him/her; and/or
(b) He/she is fearful of the dead, and transforms his/her fear — by means of reaction formation — into a desire.
He/she develops an exciting fantasy of sex with a corpse, sometimes after exposure to a corpse.
The authors also reported that, of their sample of 'necrophiliacs,':
68% were motivated by a desire for an unresisting and unrejecting partner;
21% by a want for reunion with a lost partner;
15% by sexual attraction to dead people;
15% by a desire for comfort or to overcome feelings of isolation; and
11% by a desire to remedy low self-esteem by expressing power over a corpse (pp. 159).
At the end of their own report, Rosman and Resnick wrote that their study should only be used like a spring-board for further, more in depth, research.
Necrophilia is known to occur in animals, with a number of confirmed observations. Kees Moeliker allegedly made one of these observations while he was sitting in his office at the Natuurmuseum Rotterdam, when he heard the distinctive thud of a bird hitting the glass facade of the building. Upon inspection, he discovered a drake (male) mallard lying dead outside the building. Next to the downed bird there was a second drake mallard standing close by. As Moeliker observed the couple, the living drake pecked at the corpse of the dead one for a few minutes then mounted the corpse and began copulating with it. The act of necrophilia lasted for about 75 minutes, in which time, according to Moeliker, the living drake took two short breaks before resuming with copulating behavior. Moeliker surmised that at the time of the collision with the window the two mallards were engaged in a common pattern in duck behavior called "attempted rape flight". "When one died the other one just went for it and didn't get any negative feedback — well, didn't get any feedback," according to Moeliker. This is the first recorded case of necrophilia in the mallard duck.
The film The Cane Toads: an Unnatural History shows a male toad copulating with a female toad that has been run over by a car. It goes on to do this for eight hours.
In the case of a praying mantis, necrophilia could be said to be part of their methods of reproduction. The larger female will sometimes decapitate or even eat her mate during copulation. However, this only happens in 5-31% of cases.
In a short paper known as "Sexual Habits of the Adélie Penguin", George Murray Levick described mating with dead females in the Cape Adare rookery, the largest group of Adélie penguins, in 1911 and 1912. This is nowadays ascribed to lack of experience of young penguins.