Necrophilia, also called thanatophilia and necrolagnia, is a paraphilia characterized by sexual attraction to corpses.
The word is artificially derived from Ancient Greek: νεκρός (nekros; "corpse," or "dead") and φιλία (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):
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.
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
Legal status in the USA
As of May, 2006, there is no federal legislation specifically barring sex with a corpse , though multiple states apply their own laws.
Carl Tanzler was a radiologist in Key West, Florida who developed a morbid obsession for Elena Milagro Hoyos (1910-1931). She was one of his patients, and she died from tuberculosis in 1931 at the hospital. With her parents' permission he had an above ground mausoleum built for her, so she wouldn't decompose underground. He visited the tomb every night and by 1933 he had taken the body home with him and kept it in his bed. He restored her body as best he could and kept a full wardrobe to dress her.
Necrophilia has also been a motive for some serial killers, including murderers Ed Gein, Richard Chase, Winston Moseley, John Reginald Halliday Christie, Bruno Lüdke, Jerry Brudos, Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dahmer, who ate his victims after killing them; the technical term for this particular variant activity is necrophagia. Several other murderers have described drawing sexual excitement from killing, as well, such as Karla Faye Tucker, who claimed to have an orgasm with each swing of the axe she used to kill Jerry Lynn Dean. The guilty-plea testimony provided by serial killer Dennis Rader provided a rare public glimpse into the workings of such a controlling mind.
"You feel the last bit of breath leaving their body. You're looking into their eyes. A person in that situation is God! You then possess them and they shall be a part of you, and the grounds where you kill them or leave them become sacred to you, and you will always be drawn back to them", said Ted Bundy, regarded as one of the most intelligent serial killers. Though he was not a true necrophile, his case illustrates some of the sexual behavior patterns associated with necrophilia, sadism, and the many variants of "edge play" which involve a desire for sex with someone who is near-dead or dead.